Every day, you invest your time and energy into friendships, businesses, causes, movements, and more. But, how can you better invest in yourself?

I’ve been writing about investing for several years, so it’s easy to forget that the term applies to much more than money.

When you call your mom or best friend “just to check in,” you’re investing in a relationship. When you volunteer, you invest in an organization or cause that matters to you. The concept of investing may be intimidating for many Millennials, but the reality is, we invest in some way or manner every day. In fact, right now as you read, you’re investing in something important—yourself.

Every time you watch a documentary, go on vacation, play sudoku, visit a spa, or even read an article like this one, you’re spending time and energy on your own health and growth. You’re investing in yourself, and, in return, you become a better version of you.

Investing in yourself can also give you the confidence to make bigger financial decisions, such as buying a home or pursuing a new career. Listed below are several small ways you can start investing in yourself today to prepare for those bigger decisions in your future!

Set Goals

9 Ways To Invest In Yourself - Set goals

The best place to start your journey of investing in yourself is by determining what it is you hope to accomplish.

After my husband, Steve, graduated from college, he decided to pursue two specific financial goals: to pay off his student loans and to buy a house. For many young 20-somethings, goals like these can seem daunting or out of reach, but it’s the little choices we make every day that can amount to big successes in the future.

The Chase Savings℠ Account, for example, provides an automatic savings feature to help you take small, intentional steps towards your goal. After selecting “Autosave” on the app’s home screen, choose the “Custom goal” option, and set a rule that works for your budget and lifestyle. You can select a daily savings goal and transfer as little as $1 per day or periodic savings, such as $10 every Sunday.

Disclaimer – The information about Chase Savings℠ has been collected independently by MoneyUnder30.com. The details have not been reviewed or approved by the bank.

Steve didn’t find a high-paying job or win the lottery. Instead, he said “no” to eating out, he purchased secondhand furniture and housewares, and he remained focused and diligent in his saving. In a few years, he had accomplished both of his goals!

Find a Budget that Works for You

For many of us, the word “budget” may have some stressful ties. In fact, when Steve and I review our budget, I make sure to get some dark chocolate or a glass of wine (or both) before we start.

Fortunately, your budget doesn’t have to look like mine—or your parent’s or your mentor’s or even Dave Ramsey’s. Once your fixed expenses like rent/mortgage are accounted for, your budget can look however you want.

For example, Steve and I are able to live off of one full-time income, but that is because we’ve chosen to spend less in other areas—such as shopping and eating out.

Related: How to Make a Budget: Our Step by Step Guide

Pay Yourself First

9 Ways To Invest In Yourself - Pay yourself first

According to a report from the Federal Reserve, more than half of Americans would not be able to afford a surprise expense of just $400. An easy way to avoid becoming (or remaining) one of these individuals is by paying yourself first.

As you learn to manage your money better over time, create an automatic transfer in your budget that moves a certain sum or percentage of your paycheck into a savings account each month. Again, you could also utilize the automatic savings feature in your Chase Savings℠ Account. Select the “Safety net” option and start preparing for the unexpected expenses ahead!

You may be tempted to spend this money on present matters, but, any time you face a minor car accident or a hefty bill from your dentist, you’ll be happy you let your savings grow!

Start a Side-Hustle

My husband and I live on a pretty trim budget, and, after I adopted my dog, I realized I would need to make a little more to afford her—so I started a reselling business on Instagram.

A side-hustle can not only give your budget some extra cushion, but it can also relieve you of certain financial stresses and free you up to make new decisions. You could become a delivery driver or a dog walker. You can also search sites like Craigslist and TaskRabbit for a variety of one-off side-hustles, such as picking up someone’s groceries. 

Now that I can make an extra hundred bucks when I need it, I can afford to pay for high-quality dog food, fun treats and toys, and even surprise vet bills.

Go to College or Take a Class

9 Ways To Invest In Yourself - Go to college or take a class

When I worked as an admissions counselor, one of the many questions I asked high school juniors and seniors was what they hoped to study. Many students were actually embarrassed to say they’d yet to decide (which, I would reassure them, is completely normal).

However, even for those 18-year-olds who knew what degree they wanted to pursue, people change. Several years have passed since my own college graduation, and I have developed interests in topics and industries I never thought I’d enjoy back in high school.

If you too have the itch to learn something new, or to improve your education for your current career, try participating in a webinar or a college course. HubSpot, for instance, offers free webinars to help professionals expand their understanding of topics like SEO and Startups. You could also check out edX or Coursera to take college classes from top universities like Harvard and Stanford.

Or, pursue a degree! Going to college—or back to college—can help people deepen their knowledge of budding (or established) interests, broaden their resume and experience, and become better prepared for our diverse world.

Travel

If you’re able to find safe ways to travel in 2020, visiting new places can help you rest and relax, as well as expand your understanding of the world around you.

My husband and I are open to some traveling now, but we generally opt for affordable over luxurious. Consequently, we love road trips and camping spots and have found resources like freecampsites.net to help up travel on the cheap.

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We’ve also utilized opportunities for travel gift cards, deals, and rewards programs. I recently discovered the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an extremely competitive option among the many travel rewards programs available today.

Not only can you earn two points for every $1 spent with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but the sign-on bonus is phenomenal! After spending $4,000 in the first three months, you can earn 60,000 bonus points, which amounts to $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®!

Build Relationships

9 Ways To Invest In Yourself - Build relationships

I’ve said this to many people and believe the sentiment will resonate with Money Under 30 readers as well: it’s hard to make friends as an adult!

While building relationships may not necessarily be financially productive means of investing in yourself, studies show that strong social ties can be extremely important for your health and can even help you live longer! In addition, it can also help you network professionally, leading to a more fulfilling work life.

One way to connect with new friends in your community is through Bumble BFF. Although Bumble is known as a popular dating app, Bumble BFF is a feature designed specifically for those seeking friendship. Another popular resource is MeetUp, which connects individuals with groups of people, by highlighting local events—including online gatherings. Browse through categories such as “Health & Wellness,” “Career & Business,” “Sports & Fitness,” and more!

Get Life Insurance

Amid exciting options like “start a side-hustle” and “travel,” “get life insurance” may seem a little out of place. However, I like to think of it as the “helmet” of the group—a little dorky, but absolutely essential for the adventures ahead.

Insurance, in general, can be a great means of investing in yourself, by helping you preserve your financial health and wellbeing when unexpected events occur. Life insurance allows you to offer that safety net for the people you love, providing for them when you are no longer able to do so yourself. 

Furthermore, depending on your age and the type of insurance you select, you could pay a relatively low premium to ensure your family receives a substantial death benefit. Utilize resources like Fiona and Policygenius to compare personalized policy quotes from top insurance companies for free!

Practice Investing

9 Ways To Invest In Yourself - Practice investing

What better way to invest in yourself than to practice investing!

There are multiple financial companies that recognize the dread Millennials feel when confronted with the topic of investing—and they’ve worked hard to help us learn! M1, for example, is a FREE investing platform that helps you automate your investing, and they also offer fractional shares, so you can invest in any company you want.

Or, if you’re ready for a more hands-on approach to investing, Robinhood may be a good fit! Robinhood was specifically designed for the Millennial investor who wants to learn how to invest well but doesn’t necessarily have excess cash to play with. They offer commission-free trading and will convert your dollars to parts of a whole share, so you can invest as much or as little as you want!

Advertiser Disclosure – This advertisement contains information and materials provided by Robinhood Financial LLC and its affiliates (“Robinhood”) and MoneyUnder30, a third party not affiliated with Robinhood. All investments involve risk and the past performance of a security, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Securities offered through Robinhood Financial LLC and Robinhood Securities LLC, which are members of FINRA and SIPC. MoneyUnder30 is not a member of FINRA or SIPC.”

Summary

Investing in yourself is arguably the most important first step you can make towards improving your future.

The energy you spend becoming a better budgeter will bring you closer to achieving goals like paying for the down payment on your first house. The time you invest in a side-hustle can help you set aside more “fun money” for hobbies and other interests. Even the effort you make to become a better friend or traveler can help you be a more compassionate and relatable individual.

Stocks and mutual funds and such may still leave you feeling a bit flustered, but investing in yourself can give you the confidence needed to try new activities and endeavors.

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About the author

Photo of MoneyUnder30 writer Kate Van Pelt
Total Articles: 49
Kate Van Pelt is a writer and editor based in the Pacific Northwest. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and English and has established her professional career in marketing and research writing. Since 2015, Kate has created educational materials covering a variety of financial topics, from home loans and credit cards to retirement accounts and estate planning. She spends her free time thrift shopping, making cocktails, and enjoying the outdoors with her dogs, Vira and Elmer.