3 Tips to Improve Yourself on a Budget
It’s challenging to improve yourself without spending money. Most people tend to think if they want to work out, they have to pay for a weekly gym membership. Get accreditations? Spend thousands of dollars on university or postgraduate programs. And there’s only so much disposable income we have left after rent, groceries, transport and other necessities so we are lucky if we get some well-deserved self-care.
Australians spent about $20.5 billion on ‘brainy’ activities (personal development) in 2016 and the trend hasn’t stopped. It could be motivated by career change, competitiveness, global expansion of startup culture and gig economy, etc.
Regardless of your motivation, personal growth is on all of our to-do lists. How do we do this without taking 5 steps backwards to go forward?
Intellectual Growth: A New Way to Achieve Continuous Learning
We all want to broaden our horizons, expand our knowledge and become more skilled at a lot of things. Having a degree you can add to your resume can also boost your appeal as a candidate when you’re on the job market.
This could be accomplished by a lot of different. You can take courses or sign up for programs to obtain a degree or certificate without taking 2 years out of your life. Many of these highly esteemed institutions are getting on digital education platforms to offer affordable and flexible online courses across all topics imaginable. Many companies offer education subsidies for employees, make sure you enquire with HR to see if you can get a portion of the cost covered by your employer. In fact, quite a few people close to me have done this.
You can also sign up for Meetup groups to find one-off workshops, industry events, or like-minded people with whom you can learn about a particular area of interest. You can even start a book club.
Wealth Growth: Investment Opportunities without High Minimum
As we grow older, we need to have multiple sources of income if we want to achieve wealth and go beyond living paycheck by paycheck. In general, the recommended number is 7.
Investing in stocks, mutual bonds, etc. requires you to open up a trading account with a financial institution. Most often, it requires you to have a high minimum deposit to begin trading, making it difficult for regular folks to participate. However, there are more and more DIY trading platforms that do not charge restrictive fees.
Thanks to the recently passed legislation that extends equity crowdfunding to all proprietary companies in September 2018, anyone 18 or older can now invest in any startups in Australia and New Zealand and own shares. This is a riskier investment class for sure but if there is a startup cause you believe in, it’s a high risk, high reward trade. There is no strict minimum requirement for Aussies so you can buy however many shares based on your budget!
Micro-investing apps where you can automatically invest a small % of your income in various tradeable asset classes are also available to many Aussies. There’s no excuse not to get started on enriching yourself!
Personal Growth: Self-Care for Better Mental Health
Just like how we have to use our muscles by working out regularly, our mind muscles work the same way. If we don’t invest in our personal growth, we are more likely going to suffer from some form of mental health disorder or issue.
Therapy is highly recommended but unless it’s covered by your insurance, it can be quite pricey. Healthdirect, an Australian government-funded service, provides a list of free or affordable online therapy options on their site that you can check out.
With the rise of mindfulness though, you can also meditate using an app on your phone. Most of them require subscription fees but they are not extravagant.
You can also journal each day as an alternative or add-on, which is free of charge. Experts recommend a 3-page rule to help you achieve a meaningful level of release/reflection.
How do you do self-improvement on a budget?