Investing is a proven pathway to riches, given enough time and discipline. Even beginning stock investors can get started with relatively little money, and all it takes are modest additions on a regular basis to start building a savings stash that will eventually add up to a whole lot of cash.

With stimulus payments, tax refunds, and other money coming in, more people than ever find themselves with the capacity to put $1,500 to work in the stock market. Below, you'll learn about three investing opportunities that offer a wide range of different kinds of investment exposure. Whether you're a seasoned investor or are making your first foray into the world of Wall Street, one or more of these ideas is worth pursuing.

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1. A simple stock index fund

If you're not comfortable with individual stocks, then your best bet to get stock market exposure is a broad-based stock index fund. Among the most popular are those tracking the S&P 500 Index, such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEMKT:SPY). Another choice is the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ETF (NYSEMKT:VTI), which adds small and mid-size companies to the mix.

Stock index funds aren't going to crush the market. They're designed simply to match the performance of broad-based stock benchmarks. But over time, that's historically been enough to generate considerable wealth. For instance, $1,500 invested in the SPDR ETF 30 years ago would have grown to nearly $25,000, including the dividends the ETF paid out.

With low fees and easy trading, stock index funds make a great investment. If you're looking for something low-maintenance for your portfolio, it's hard to go wrong with stock funds.

2. Home Depot

Those who are willing to look at individual stocks often prefer to start with well-known blue chip companies. Among those that trade in the popular Dow Jones Industrial Average, it's hard to beat home improvement king Home Depot (NYSE:HD).

Home Depot has redefined its retail category, helping do-it-yourself homeowners and professional contractors alike get the materials and supplies they need for maintenance and renovation work. Dating back to the early 1990s, the company has rewarded longtime shareholders with amazing returns. A $1,500 investment back then would have grown to nearly $75,000 today.

Home Depot's business has proved to be recession-resistant, with the pandemic even helping to bolster the business by leading people to invest in their homes. With $1,500, you can buy nearly five shares of the home improvement leader. With a commanding lead in its niche and plenty of plans for growth, Home Depot should make a solid investment for years to come.

3. Shopify

Lastly, those who are more willing to take risks beyond the bluest of blue chip stocks should look at what's happening in the technology sector. The transition to a digital economy has accelerated over the past year, and many companies now find it essential to maintain an online presence in order to survive.

Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) has been the answer for millions of small and mid-size businesses looking to move to the internet. With its e-commerce enabling platform, the company makes it affordable and convenient for its customers to tap into online demand for key products and services. Moreover, with an ever-expanding suite of ancillary services, Shopify is aiming to be the one-stop destination for businesses looking to make a bigger impact online.

Shares recently touched the $1,500 mark. Through fractional shares, though, you don't have to worry about coming up with an extra few dollars if the stock continues to climb from here. Even with gains of around 5,700% just since 2015, Shopify is just getting started in tapping into the e-commerce trend across the globe.

Get started today

Regardless of which of these three investments appeals to you the most, the smartest thing you can do is to get started investing now rather than later. The sooner you get moving, the longer your money will have to work harder for you and generate the strong returns that can make a huge difference in your financial life.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.