It’s here – 2020 is HERE. The last week of the year is always a weird one for folks; do we relax? Do we hustle? Is it more for reflection of what’s passed or revving up for what’s to come? I’ve been doing a bit of both, and part of that process for me has been a solid brain dump + a comprehensive annual review. And with that comes an analysis of everything that’s gone in AND out of every part of life this year, from my brain to my bank account. Since so many of you have loveloveloved all of the more finance-centric or professional development sortof content this year, I wanted to flesh out some ways to invest in yourself in the new year if you’re looking for more ways to grow intentionally across the board.
Admittedly, my gut instinct first reaction when jotting out some investments below was to shrink into a weird money space mentally. One of justifying why we got some of them ourselves, because I didn’t have most (OK any) of these things growing up.
But, that’s the thing with investments.
They don’t happen overnight. They take time + money + resources to make happen, but once they do – they can be oh so worth it and make a true world of difference on your life in a variety of ways, from saving you time to saving you more money or just making your quality of life better and easier.
And they don’t all require thousands of dollars you don’t have; “investment” by definition includes “an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile results,” so you might be investing your time, you might be investing your money, or you might be investing your resources in some other way in the hopes of bettering the future. Here are 10 ways to invest in yourself this year and beyond.
- Mental health – Arguably one of the MOST important investments you could ever make, ever. Your mental health + mindset is really, really important. Investing in therapy when I needed it was truly transformative (+ insurances can help out with that, too!). But investing in your mental health doesn’t even necessarily have to mean formal counseling or clinical training – it can be as simple as investing time in a good book to end the night, or investing a few bucks in a good bath bomb. I think what’s most important here is knowing thyself, first + foremost, and then knowing what you currently need most based on an honest self-assessment. Where are you lacking? Where are you insecure or in pain? And why – is it because of fixable, workable thoughts that were planted in your brain years ago? Do what you have to do for you so that you have true peace + joy in your head and in your heart at the end of the day!
- Career development/furthering Education – Maybe this means a Masters degree, or maybe this means signing up for daily vocabulary emails and the SAT question of the day. For my fellow blogger babes in the house, I may be biased, but I 100% recommend my own course, BossPitch – especially if you’re looking to monetize your blog and influence for the new year. I’ve got hundreds of students with rave reviews who have so much as tripled their blog incomes, instantly doubled their rates, landed 4 or even 5-figure brand deals, booked their dream partnerships – and feel more confident than ever doing it. So, I recommend. 😉
- Emergency fund + Savings fund – Really, these are the epitome of ways to invest in yourself as they’re literally putting money aside for your own use down the road if/when the need for it arises. We talked all about an emergency fund here, from why you need one to how to actually create yours and how much should be in it, even if you don’t feel like you have “enough” to get started today. I couldn’t even tell you how many times our Emergency Fund saved our family’s butt when the unexpected happens (since it always does). Going into debt by putting emergencies onto a credit card (instead of having something like an emergency fund) can hurt your credit score by up to 100 points especially if you’re just putting your credit utilization ratio off-balance with debt you can’t readily pay off.
- Credit repair – If you’ve ever been victim to things like identity theft, student debt, medical debt, divorce, or military leave and your credit has been negatively affected by it – and the credit repair leaders at Lexington Law may be able to help. Credit repair is always worth considering if you’re a good fit for it and is definitely a worthwhile way to invest in yourself for the new year. While you’re never guaranteed free money in the credit repair process, you may be eligible for funds back, which is good to look into further as means to better your own financial future. Call a credit consultant at Lexington Law or sign up online for a credit report consultation to see if credit repair is the best next step in your own credit journey! Sign up for a Lexington Law credit report consultation here!
- House cleaner – One of our best household decisions of 2019 was hiring a house cleaner. Denise comes only once a month and spends maybe half a day deep cleaning everything, but MAN – does the place sparkle by the time she’s done. This came after having Olivia; J + I had previously dedicated entire Saturday’s to cleaning the house. We were (slash are) a great tag team, but we came to the point where doing that with a baby was difficult, and we really just didn’t WANT to spend our free time as a family cleaning when it might be some of the only hours all week that we got as a trio together. We also didn’t want the answer to just be having a dirty house or never actually doing a *deep* clean, so we pulled the trigger and invested in a cleaner. It saves us time, and it leaves us happier + healthier as a family. There’s a WIDE range of price points for something like this, so I recommend really doing your research before ruling it out altogether or before investing in one service over another – it’s crazy how much it runs the gamut!
- Meal subscription service – I had first tested a meal subscription service last year and loveloveloved it, but we had been so busy at the time it kinda flew on and off of our radar just like that. Fast forward to this year with Olivia under our roof – and man oh man, we needed help. The Gwynns had had one too many times of Ramen for dinner from neither one of us making it to the grocery store, and a few too many times of overspending AT the grocery store on a yummy cookie splurge or new iced tea. Our schedules were (+ are) mutually insane most days, so we wanted to eliminate meal planning from our plate while making sure our actual dinner plates were full of yummy, healthy meals that didn’t take all night and then some to make. We got back on HomeChef and haven’t looked back since – we get three meals a week, spend less money than we did before on better meals, and we’re not left having to throw away food (we both HATE that!) or wonder what’s for dinner. (They kindly gave me discount code ERICAL80 for any of you to snag $80 off your first 4 orders – $20 off each of the meals -, so carpe diem with that!). Katie and her husband just got their first box last week and are already obsessed – she texted me saying “Holy moly Home Chef is AMAZE,” so I’d say it’s a true hit. 😉
- Retirement – Lexington Law found some alarming results from a study conducted; less than half of Americans know how much of their earnings should be contributed to retirement savings. This is so scary to see, especially with how important it is to start thinking + caring about retirement and savings as early as possible (actual data + info on that here, if you’re interested – there’s info to help you literally retire a millionaire!). Don’t worry about having it all figured out immediately, or having a fully-funded retirement account by the year’s end – that’s just unrealistic. But DO think about it, talk to your employer if they’re a part of your retirement plan, and make sure you know what’s going on with your own retirement accounts so that you can afford to be on mental autopilot without being hit with a hard dose of realityand panic around age 65. If you’re unsure where to start, Lexington Law has a few 401(k) alternatives listed out here, as well as other resources on their website + blog to make the most of your planning now!
- Childcare – Another biggy here, but WHAT A BLESSING. We recently were able to hire a nanny for two days a week so that I could have two full “traditional” work days at home. Being a stay-at-home parent is truly the hardest job in the world, so major KUDOS to any of you who do it! Personally, I always loveloveloved working also and knew I would likely never stop that when we started our family, but having TWO full-time jobs is…holy moly. I needed help. I was majorly burnt out and blatantly exhausted and it was affecting everything, from how I was at my job to how I was as a mom and wife, and that’s no bueno. We also toyed with the Goddard School closest to us but ultimately decided that with Liv being this young, an in-home nanny would be best since I could also see her at any point if I wanted/needed and there was dedicated 1:1 play and learning happening. We had what felt like a fruitless search for months but finally found what ended up being our dream nanny and Olivia adores her, so it’s been such a help. Really, the key here is investing in whatever you can that makes sense for your family at this point in time. We went back and forth for quite some time – a “school” setting or 1:1? How many hours? How many days? How much can we afford to invest in this in the first place? It was a puzzle, but ultimately we put it together and it definitely makes sense for now!
- Physical health – Nearly just as important as mental health! Maybe investing in your physical health to you means a gym membership or pilates pass, maybe it means a little at-home set-up (this is the bike I have at home + lovelovelove!) – maybe it means investing in a pair of Lululemon leggings to inspire daily walks around the culdesac with your dog + kid. Really, whatever works to get your body moving is key!
- A hobby – Don’t forget about the fun! I can be blatantly bad at this sometimes, because I have a tendency to try and tie my activities to work somehow. Luckily, I’ve been playing the piano since age five and that’s not tied to my job AT ALL, and I lovelovelove it and it’s the best hobby to recenter my mind + let off steam. But find something that works for you! Maybe you invest in an art class, or maybe you pick up a cross stitch kit at the craft store, or maybe you just try a fun new activity with your significant other or best friend on the weekend.
How will you invest in yourself this year?
What can you add to your own list that wasn’t there before?
*Thanks to Lexington Law, a brand I lovelovelove, for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions + thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank YOU for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!