I recently spoke with a good friend who announced she was going to pursue her long-time dream of writing. I was so happy for her. She then said she was going back to school. Much like me, my friend is a young mother and wife with a heart full of ideas and budget that doesn’t always make them possible. That’s why I want to talk to you about several ways I recommend you invest in yourself – even on a budget.
Invest In Yourself – 10 Tips to a Healthier, Happier Life
As I mentioned, my friend eagerly began making plans to attend college courses for her interest in writing. College is a wonderful resource that has been the gateway for billions over the course of our history. However, it has also become the source of one of the largest debt crises in America today.
If you wish to invest in your education, but money is a problem, consider the wealth of resources online. For example, an aspiring writer can join writers guilds, attend online courses for blogging, creating an ebook, or freelancing, or join free support groups for writers on Facebook.
What online resource exist in your field of interest?
Investing in your health is one of the biggest money-saving steps you can take. Medical bills are the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., according to this report by CNBC. Taking time to eat right, exercise, and attend check-ups regularly may just save you thousands down the road.
Want to work out on a budget? Try some Zumba or yoga on YouTube. Check out some workout videos at your local library. Find out if your family qualifies for a discounted rate at your local Y.
3. Your Mind
A great way to invest in yourself is to read. Reader’s Digest tackled this topic with their extensive report on the many health benefits (reducing stress, reducing risk of Alzheimer’s, encourages positive thinking, etc.).
There are so many FREE ways to read. I love using my Hoopla app which allows me to borrow digital books, audiobooks, music, and movies from my local library instantly. Another great option is FreebookSifter.com. Sift through over 16,000 books from Barnes & Noble – absolutely free.
4. Your Heart
One of my favorite shows is Parks & Recreation. I love the episode when two of the main characters take time off from work to go on a shopping spree. They call it “Treat Yo Self.” I don’t recommend dropping a few grand for someone to bedazzle your elbows, but a healthy life must have balance.
I discovered my lack of balance when I became a mother of two. As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children thrive, but it often means we slip into “indentured servant” status eventually. So, I hired a sitter one morning per week to have some guilt-free “me” time. It was so refreshing to recharge with a book in a cafe or to open my laptop and write. Once I got back in the car, I was excited to see my family again.
Frugal Tip: If you’d like a more cost-effective method for finding balance when little ones are strapped to your ankles, consider swapping childcare with another mom.
5. Financial Habits
If you want to invest in yourself financially, the most common method is to, quite literally, invest. Other ways that might seem less obvious, but will improve your mental state and quality of life are:
- Sign up for life insurance.
- Get a will.
- Reduce debt.
- Automate a long-term savings goal (i.e. Start sending $50 a month into a savings account for a second honeymoon).
Even if you don’t have a lot of extra money coming in, there are a few key ways you can prepare for a healthy retirement. Time is on your side, so let’s review your options:
- Estimate your costs with a free calculator.
- Meet with an adviser about your plans.
- Make sure you’re contributing to your company’s 401k.
- Start a Roth IRA, even if you can only contribute the minimum at first.
7. Your Dream Job
Perhaps you’re not currently working in your field of choice. If you have a dream job waiting in the wings, invest in yourself by researching that job. Pick up a book like “Quitter” by Jon Acuff that equips you with the tools, knowledge, and advice to work toward your dream before you quit your day job.
Go for a walk. Sit on your porch and sip some sweet tea. Invite some friends over for a board game night. Putting the screens away will enable your senses and your concentration to reboot, improving your balance the more you do it.
Perhaps investing in yourself means identifying some toxic elements of a relationship that need to be addressed. It may mean setting up some healthy boundaries that will protect you from that toxicity and enable you to grow even closer to that person. I highly recommend the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend to learn more.
You may not have the money for a huge renovation project, but there are still things you can do to bring more joy in your home.
For example, start a project like gardening or choose a fun, new color to paint in your living room. Find some garage sale decor and spruce it up. Pinterest and HGTV are definitely my two biggest resources for this category!