Making sure you’ve got your bases covered at work and home is difficult. We know that some days, it’s challenging just to make it to bedtime. But, that’s no reason to neglect yourself! In fact, we think now is the perfect time to actually invest in yourself - the future is coming, ready or not! In this article, you'll learn 9 different ways on how to invest in yourself so you can feel great, be successful and live your best life! Let's go!
1. Manage your money
You know what they say - money makes the world go ‘round! The fact is that we all (obviously) need a certain amount of money to live. The amount of money you need to be happy could be vastly different than the amount of money I need to be happy. And that’s fine! Money is a personal thing and we’d do well not to compare to others on the financial front. That said, you do need to know your numbers. To be financially successful, it’s important to know what’s coming in every month and what’s going out every month.
Create a budget
Invest in yourself with a budget! Some people hate the “B” word, but having a budget is key to managing your finances. According to Mint, 65% of Americans have no idea how much they spent last month! There are many different ways to budget. It can be as simple as a sheet of paper that you write your income and expenses on each month, or you can invest in an app that automatically tracks your spending. Either way works fine - the choice is yours. Whatever you choose, just make sure you religiously track your income and expenses so you have a handle on where your money goes. And get over the mindset that a budget is limiting. It’s not! A budget is your way to tell your money what to do, not the other way around.
If you want to try a budgeting app, I’d recommend Mint. It’s super easy to use and connects to almost every bank so you can see your account balances real-time. It also tracks your spending and even tells you things like the average amount you spend each month on subscriptions! Mint is the perfect tool for the beginning budgeter and is free so there’s no downside to giving it a try.
2. Get a side hustle
Do you know what a side hustle is? A side hustle is anything that you do to earn money outside of your “day” job. Side hustles can be just about anything from dog walking to being a virtual assistant. And it doesn’t have to be tough to start a new side hustle!
Benefits of side hustles
Side hustles are an awesome way of generating more income! Everyone likes more money and multiple income streams are the way to get it. Side hustles don’t have to be super time-consuming and can even be mostly passive, once the foundation is set.
Types of side hustles to consider
I’ve personally done quite a few different side hustles and had really good luck with all of them. I’ve done everything from taking orders at a food company over Christmas, working at a pumpkin patch, dog sitting, and freelance writing. I’d highly recommend investing in yourself with a side hustle. There are so many different possibilities out there. You need to think about what you like to do and what might work with your schedule, then go for it! If you’re looking for online administrative work or a creative gig like writing or graphic design, Upwork is a good place to start.
3. Invest in your education
Knowledge is power! You can never know too much and you’ll never be sorry that you’ve dedicated yourself to learning more.
There’s a lot of different ways to invest in yourself with education. Of course, you can dive into a formal university degree. In fact, people that have a bachelor’s degree earn almost 20K more per year than people that don’t, according to Northeastern University. If you want to earn more but don’t want to dive into a four-year degree, check out less time-consuming alternatives like coding schools and other online courses.
In addition to formal education, there’s no shortage of informal courses and classes you can take to broaden your knowledge in all kinds of subjects. It’s safe to say that if you’re interested in a particular area of study, you can find a course on it online. Check out Udemy or MasterClass to study everything from art history to SEO. Plus our 30+ courses here at Clever Girl Finance are completely free.
4. Get a life coach or business coach
Did you know that almost every successful person has a mentor or a coach? It’s true! You can’t possibly do it all or know it all. Invest in yourself with a business coach or mentor.
Benefits of a coach
Working with a coach can help you zero in on what’s important to you. Whether that means mapping out your career goals, working through a difficult issue at work, or figuring out a new career, coaches can tailor their coaching sessions to your exact needs.
5. Invest in yourself by saving money for your future
We never know what the future holds so it’s important to be prepared! You’ll especially want to be prepared financially in case any unforeseen circumstances cause you to not be employed for a while. Even if you’ve just graduated from college and you think you have plenty of time to save up for an emergency fund and other savings, it’s best to start as soon as possible. You won’t be sorry!
Pay yourself first
I used to pay all my bills as soon as I got paid every paycheck and I was so proud of myself for getting bills paid so quickly. But there was one problem - I forgot one payment every month! And this was the most important payment to maket payment each month - a payment to me! Make sure you pay yourself first every time you get paid. Aim for saving at least 15% of your paycheck each month.
6. Invest in yourself by reading
There’s almost nothing you can do as easily and is as beneficial as reading. Without exception, great leaders and successful people read. A lot! It’s mind-blowing that something as simple as reading can pay off tenfold! Reading is the absolute best way to expose yourself to new trends and new ways of thinking so it’s well worth it to invest in yourself by reading!
To get the most benefit, get into a groove and make reading a daily habit. To start, try setting aside just 30 minutes a day for reading. Block out your calendar and read or listen if you’re into audio books, and podcasts!
What successful people read
There’s just so much great information out there to get your hands on. Try an e-subscription of one of the big national newspapers like the NY Times or the Wall Street Journal.
And, get an electronic library card and check out books from your library with the Libby app. I absolutely love this app! It’s super easy to search for specific titles or you can browse popular books to see what other people are reading. If a title you want isn’t available, you can get on the waitlist and you’ll be notified when it’s ready. Plus you can get the books downloaded to your kindle - for free!!
I’m also somewhat of a blog junkie and can attest to the fact that there are a plethora of great blogs out there. Find a few blogs that you relate to and read their posts regularly. Blogs are a great way to get super timely information on all kinds of subjects and another easy way to invest in yourself.
If you don’t know where to start with your reading plan, we’ve got you covered! Check out our list of the 55 best self help books for women!
7. Invest in your mental & physical health
Another great way to invest in yourself is physically. You only get one body, make the most of it! We’ve all read the countless health studies that promote exercise and good nutrition. It just makes sense to invest in yourself with the best healthy habits you can.
Exercise is a must for good health - we already know that! But, it might surprise you to know that you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to get great health benefits from exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, even 30 minutes of exercise a day helps improve health. So even if you don’t have an hour for spin class, get out and walk for 30 minutes - you’ll still benefit.
Yoga and meditation
I’m a yogi and I love it! Yoga has done as much for me mentally as it has physically. And that’s the point. Yoga is a lifestyle and a mindset, not just a class. To get the most out of yoga find the right studio! I’d suggest taking a class at multiple studios until you find “the one”! You’ll know it when you find it. Most studios offer an intro special so you can take a class or two without having to formally sign up, to see if it’s right for you.
There is definitely something to be said for getting away from it all. Unplug yourself from all your electronics and get outside! There’s a reason that most of the relaxation apps on your phone are nature-related! Forget that fake nature and actually go outside! Take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful planet. Feel the wind in your face. Hear the birds sing. Really listen. You’ll feel so calm after spending quality time in the great outdoors.
8. Build relationships
People need people to be happy and successful. We can’t do this life thing alone. It’s super important to invest in building and maintaining close relationships in your life. Spending time with loved ones should be high on your list of important things to do. And make sure the people in your life are good for you! Did you know it’s often said that you are a combination of the 5 people you spend the most time with?! If this phrase makes you gasp, then maybe it’s time to replace some of the negative people in your life with people that bring you joy!
9. Try new things
Growth happens most often when we do new things and have new experiences. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new! Some overachievers try something new every day! That might be a little aggressive, but I think everyone can try something new at least weekly. Now it doesn’t have to be a monumental thing like learning a foreign language or giving a speech to a packed room, but little things count too. So consider trying a new recipe, tackling the crossword puzzle in the Times, or hitting up the new coffee shop - anything new is good!
Experience new places
For epic newness, you really can’t beat travel! There is so much to see in this grand world that opportunities are pretty limitless. I’ve got trips planned to NYC and Napa later this year already! And don’t let money hold you back because there’s plenty of travel that can be done on a budget. Think of things like renting a cabin at a nearby state park (where you can get out in nature!!) or glamping for a fun new take on camping!
How to invest in yourself: Just start!
So now you have some great ideas to get you started on investing in yourself. These ideas are really just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure you can come up with at least ten more meaningful ways to invest in yourself. No matter how to choose to invest in yourself, know that you’ll benefit in the way of personal growth, and I’m willing to bet the dividends will pay off in other ways you’re not even thinking of!