|Investing in Yourself|
Want some surefire investment tips? No fees, no commissions, no down-side risk? Here are ten ways that will benefit you and your quality of life no matter what the economy does. Help yourself!
1. Always look for ways to increase your skills. This is true for your job and when you are not at work. Whenever I find myself in a negative situation I ask myself, what can I learn from this? What skills could help you advance at work or make you more attractive to another employer?
2. Work on your people skills. Networking is good for your job prospects. Having a network of friends is important as a social back-up plan. Friends make difficulties more bearable and your life richer. We’re not all born with great people skills. But we can all work on them.
|Cook Healthy Tasty Meals|
3. Become a savvy cook. I’m sure you cook already, but learning to cook healthier, tastier meals on a budget is a high-level skill. It takes practice, and the more you work at it the better you’ll be at it. It will improve your health, happiness, and keep your food costs under control.
4. Find ways to include exercise in your schedule. Even if it’s just 3 days a week, regular exercise contributes to health, mental health, and can be as inexpensive as taking a walk. This really can improve your quality of life.
5. Strengthen family ties. This is important in your immediate nuclear family for so many reasons. Spending time with your spouse and kids is an investment that pays off exponentially. Keeping up ties with your extended family is not always easy, but making periodic efforts is a good idea in most cases.
|Sharing Family Values|
6. Look for ways to save money on energy. Whether it’s increasing the insulation on your house or driving a car that gets better mileage, changes continue saving you money for years after you make them. That’s a better return on investment than you can make in most markets. Click here for ways to shrink your energy bills and watch the savings pile up. More savings = more flexibility in your budget. That money could pay for taking a class or course to improve your skills, as cited above for tip #1.
7. Examine your spirituality/values. If you have religious beliefs, consider joining a church, temple, etc. Having a spiritual base can be a great source of strength during trying times. Studies show that people who identify themselves as being religious or spiritual tend to be more resilient to life’s ups and downs. Passing on your values to your children is also very satisfying no matter if you are religious or not. You are sending your values out into the world with the next generation. Just talking with your children during activities is a good way to do this without being overbearing.
8. Make your own social back-up plan. Keeping up ties with friends can be difficult when you are busy with everything else. Just do what you can when you can. If you are going to be watching the football game anyway, invite friends to join you. Making it a potluck or a bring-an-appetizer party keeps the cost down and makes it easier on everyone. Click on the “inexpensive entertaining” label below this post for more ideas. Joining a church, temple, etc. can be a great social back-up plan as well. You don’t have to be totally religious to get the benefits. Just sayin’. Many churches are mainly social organizations organized around religious values. Not every member believes every single thing that is preached. If you don’t feel comfortable in an organized religion, you might want to volunteer in a community organization.
|Grow Tomatoes in a Container|
9. Grow something. You don’t have to be 100% into gardening. Just put your toe into the water by growing a plant or two. Herbs on the kitchen windowsill are great. A pot of cherry tomatoes on the back step works too. Growing easy indoor plants like ivy add a touch of nature and clean the air. They are inexpensive decor for awkward corners as well. Later you might be able to lower your grocery bill with some home grown vegetables. Nothing like veggies fresh from the garden for flavor and vitamins. Your health will improve and it’s a great way to reduce stress. The important thing is to make a start.
10. Invest in items that will save money. Some gadgets pay for themselves over and over. Of course if you won’t use them, don’t buy them. I’m thinking of a slow cooker that keeps you from going out to eat when you come home tired. A pressure cooker saves so much money and makes a meal fast. Click here for more money-saving gadgets to buy for yourself or as gifts.
This is not totally selfish, though it is in your self-interest. If you are reaching out to family members, improving your people skills, and participating in community and/or church functions, you are most likely broadening your outlook to include the needs of others. Sharing some of what you grow helps build your social network. You are demonstrating your values to your children by your actions more than by your words. Show them what you think is important. For example, they see how you treat your parents and will treat you in the same way one day!
These are not the only ways to invest in yourself, of course. I just find that I come back to these ways over and over again as things that really make a difference in creating a higher quality of life. No matter what happens in the rest of your life, these investments will pay off. How many of these do you do already? I’d love to hear your ideas. We’re all in this together!