According to Warren Buffett, “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” Unlike investment in stocks or real estate, investing in self does not necessarily require a significant amount of money. Here are 12 frugal but effective ways to invest in yourself for improving physical and emotional well-beings, developing social and intellectual skills, and promoting overall life quality.
1. Cut junk food and add more green and nuts to your diet
Healthy foods will fuel your body with nutrients and boost your immune system. Contrary to our common belief that healthy foods cost more, results from a large government analysis show healthy foods such as carrots, onion, and lettuce are less expensive per portion than ice cream, French fries, sweet rolls, etc.
2. Regularly engage in physical activity
Regular physical activity improves our overall health and decreases the risk for many chronic diseases. Exercise gives you the energy to take on the day with confidence. You don’t have to purchase a gym membership to achieve your fitness goals. There are some budget-friendly ways to do exercises, such as running, biking, and gardening. Also, try my favorite 7-minute workout.
3. Get a good night sleep
A good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to your body. Good sleep improves memory and productivity, reduces stress and anxiety, lowers heart health problems, and brings about numerous other health, emotional and social benefits.
4. Read books
Walter Disney said, “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” A great book allows us to learn new knowledge, gain rewarding experience, and practice mindfulness. Not much budget for books? No problem. There are various ways to get free books–check out your local library, download Amazon’s free e-books, read free books from Google Play, just to name a few.
5. Take an online course
Taking a course on your favorite subject can be a fulfilling experience. There are online resources that provide free or inexpensive courses. For example, Harvard Extension School offers free and open courses on interesting topics such as “Poetry in America” and “Science & Cooking.”
Udemy offers a large variety of self-paced courses on almost everything from IT/software to business, from music to self-development. It frequently offers big discounts, so you can take a course at a very low price. <Read more: Where to Find Best Free Online Courses>
6. Learn DIY skills using YouTube
YouTube is filled with helpful tutorials on various DIY projects. I particularly like the video tutorials on home improvement, which not only turns me into a handy person, but helps me save time, money, and hassle. Check out the best DIY YouTube channels that turn you into a fix-It master.
7. Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are another awesome resource to learn new skills. There are numerous topics to choose from so you can always find something that interests you. It is also super convenient. You can listen to a podcast when you are driving, walking, or taking a bus.
As an avid language learner, I listen to a podcast that teaches Japanese on my way to work. I am hoping someday I can communicate in Japanese when I visit Japan.
8. Read news and trending stories every day
Reading daily news is a wonderful way to keep up to date on current events and to broaden your perspectives. You don’t have to subscribe newspapers to read the news; instead, read newspapers online or use apps such as Flipboard or SmartNews to browse news in your interested categories. <Read more: 5 Things I Would not Spend Money on>
9. Start a side hustle
Use several hours a week to work on your side hustle, such as starting a blog, hosting a podcast, or selling on Etsy. Use your knowledge and skills to make extra money. It will allow you to pursue your passion and sharpen your entrepreneurial skills.
10. Make time for family and friends
The famous Harvard Grant Study shows supportive, loving relationships are the key to happiness and success. Don’t ignore the daily interaction with your family and friends. Make sure to carve out time to catch up face-to-face, give a phone call, or send a message to your loved ones. <Read more: Why Family Dinner Time is My Favorite Time of a Day>
11. Create a gratitude jar
Write down your brief reflections on moments for which you are thankful and save those notes in a jar. It is a fantastic practice of being grateful for things in your life and cultivate a feeling of thankfulness. <Read more: Feelings of Gratitude>
Volunteering allows us to give something back to the community and make a difference to the lives of others. What’s more, volunteering gives us opportunities to gain professional experience, meet new people, and build self-esteem.