As a means of investing money long term, few commodities are as accessible or as reliable as silver in all its forms. Choosing to buy one-ounce rounds can be a great way to start small, allowing you to gather a considerable volume over time without committing to a large transaction all at once. Understanding how and when to time your purchases can take some effort though, and a solid understanding of the market you're dealing with.
Watch the Spot
The current spot price of silver varies on a daily basis, and by watching it you can begin to identify patterns and trends. Looking at historical records of silver's rise and fall will help you find what events coincided with those changes in the market, such as rising or falling gas prices, or other market indicators. Anything that might cause people to start stock piling supplies or fearing for long term financial security can end up driving the price of silver up.
Downward trends are often sparked by a sudden selling spree on the part of people holding large amounts of silver. This might be caused by a lack of confidence in the world's financial markets, or a sudden abundance of resources in other areas. Watching for these factors, and identifying those factors that have caused down-swings in the past, will help you see when the time is right for you to purchase silver for your own long term savings.
Paying Over Spot
It's almost unheard of for a vendor to sell silver in any form without adding a fee for their services. Some use a percentage while others use a flat fee, especially if they're regularly moving large volumes through their facilities. Use your best judgment when deciding on who to buy from, especially if you're planning to purchase large amounts in a single transaction.
Unfortunately, the reverse is rarely true, and you'll often end up receiving at or just under the spot value of any silver you end up selling in the future. In this case it's rarely a flat rate, so avoid anyone who seems to be low-balling you in order to turn an extra profit themselves. A few percentage points won't ruin your plans, but cutting out a dollar or two per gram can really add up.
Always conduct transactions based on metric wait to avoid the confusion of troy ounces versus standard ounces. Use reputable dealers with long histories of good service. When selling, move smaller amounts at a time through more than one buyer to avoid over-saturating the market near you. For advice, talk to a professional like Beaverton Coin & Currency.