Three Important Ways to Invest In Yourself On A Monthly Basis
Money

Three Important Ways to Invest In Yourself On A Monthly Basis

by Joy Lin
Photos Tonhya Kae | August 04, 2015

HOW CAN YOU BUILD A BUDGET THAT PRIORITIZES YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL GROWTH? HERE ARE THREE FUNDS TO CREATE AND CONTRIBUTE TO EVERY MONTH SO THAT YOU ALWAYS INVEST IN YOURSELF.

Creating a monthly budget is like a dance. We swing through variable expenses, a few fixed expenses, and slide in some savings action, all so at the end of the month we are living within our means.  

However, it’s too easy to get lost in the shuffle and miss an important category: investment in yourself

Self-investment includes anything that boosts your growth and development as an individual. Months or years can pass by before young professionals realize that they haven’t read a single book, signed up for any classes, or enjoyed a simple massage. 

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If this sounds like you, try adding these three funds to your monthly budget to channel a portion of your earnings and invest in yourself, personally and professionally.

NETWORKING FUND 

Create a networking fund strictly set aside for building new relationships and meeting people outside of your normal circles. By sectioning out a fixed dollar amount every month specifically to attend events, conferences, meet-ups, or take a mentor out to dinner, you prioritize finding like-minded individuals and potential future professional opportunities. Learning to find new relationships, as well as building existing ones, will ensure you have people who vouch for you, support you, and can provide honest feedback.

By sectioning out a fixed dollar amount every month specifically to attend events, conferences, meet-ups, or take a mentor out to dinner, you prioritize finding like-minded individuals and potential future professional opportunities.

Also, the repeated interactions will help develop interpersonal skills, self-awareness, and confidence. Try starting out with just $25 dollars a month and see how far your dollar can take you for your personal and professional network. Since many events and meet-ups are actually free, choose the best ones for you based on the curation, host, and the kinds of people who are likely to attend. 

Related: 5 Types of Networking Events That Are Actually Worth Your Time

This fund can also pay for membership fees in more exclusive organizations or conferences that gather more high-level professionals in your field or allow you to interact with them on a closer level. A budget set aside for networking can change the course of your career and your personal community.  

EDUCATION FUND

Education as a young professional can easily take a back seat when work hours get long and personal responsibilities increase. It’s important to keep a separate budget for learning or developing skills because job roles and creative skills often need to shift along with your industry landscape or your goals. {Click to tweet} Having an education fund will remind you to sign up for classes, books, or events that helps you develop new skills you want to learn or improve. 

Have a little fun with this fund and use it for both professional development and creative exploration. With even a small amount, you can use it to purchase the latest book by the newest female boss on Wall Street or take that exciting salsa class on weekends. 

Education after college does not need to stop—in fact, it can flourish even more with the freedom of putting together your own monthly “curriculum”.

Education after college does not need to stop—in fact, it can flourish even more with the freedom of putting together your own monthly “curriculum”. Take it another step further by setting goals for your education fund, like “take digital marketing classes to increase impact at work, and get promoted by next year” or “learn a new dance style and audition for a dance group”.

TREAT YO'SELF FUND

This friendly fund is dedicated towards a small gift to yourself every quarter for reaching your goals. Whether it's a spa treatment or a nice dinner, this fund reminds you to recognize your own achievements and celebrate all progress. 

Not to be confused with “splurges”, this fund acts more like a reminder to check in every month and acknowledge your own achievements. The ability to contribute to this monthly, but redeem it at the end of a quarter (or when you reach a goal), exercises your willpower and long-term planning abilities. And the anticipation of a reward can also provide extra motivation or plant a focus point to work towards when short-term progress is hard to evaluate.  

For example, give yourself that expensive spa treatment, but work towards it! Figure out how much you need to contribute to your fund for three months, so you can enjoy it at the end of the quarter. The feeling of accomplishment when you are savoring that massage will be worth the wait.

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Investing in yourself can go beyond the financial definition of contributing to your Roth IRA or 401k. {Click to tweet} It can be explorative, interesting, and motivating. Taking initiative on one of the above funds will ensure you’re using your income to guide you closer towards your professional and personal goals.  Which self-investment fund will you add for yourself?

Related: Learn to Negotiate Your Salary Step-by-Step