When Fall hits, I get the urge to go back to school so that I can better myself. I think it’s the cooler weather that reminds me of the beginning of the school year.
Now that I’m out of university, I don’t have any classes to enroll in, books to buy, or papers to write, but I still get the urge to improve myself in some way.
Fortunately, there are endless ways to indulge in a little self-improvement without going back to school, and I’ve taken advantage of a few of them in the past two falls.
These personal improvement strategies can do wonders for your budget – and some can even pay for themselves a few times over.
Improve Your Side Hustle Skills
For Christmas of 2011, I was lucky enough to receive an intro to photography course as a gift. I used it the following Fall. I was really excited to take this class since photography was a hobby of mine, and I really love taking photos.
What I didn’t expect was to get interest from several friends and colleagues about doing some amateur photography for them. While I didn’t build this out as a real side hustle, there was definitely potential there to develop photography as a second stream of income.
Learn a New Skill to Help Save Money
My husband is an amateur brewer. He makes his own home-made wine and beer. It’s a great way to save money on alcohol and it’s a fun hobby for him. The process of learning to brew was a little slow at the beginning, but eventually he got the hang of it and now he’s a pro.
There are tons of similar skills that you could add to your repertoire that would help save money, like carpentry, landscaping, basic car maintenance, or cooking.
Go Back To School (Part Time)
I have no desire to go back to school full-time. The time, and expense of school is something that I absolutely do not miss, but I wouldn’t dismiss going back to school part-time if the right opportunity presented itself. If there is an additional certification or qualification that could better prepare me for a promotion or raise, heading back to school in the fall – part-time, is a good idea.
Improve Someone (or Something) Else
This fall, I’m taking my dog, Molly, to obedience class. I’m loving the class and she’s really good at it, but there are a ton of other dogs there that are working on behavioural problems that are costing their owners lots of money. One dog chews on the door whenever their owner leaves the house, another digs holes. If you have a dog that has a bad behaviour that is costing you money, why not enroll in an obedience class to eliminate that behaviour?
The crisp fall air definitely inspires something in me, whether it’s the urge to learn a new skill or head back to school entirely, I try my hardest to harness that new-found inspiration into profit generating activities. This fall I’m using it to successfully transition into a new job, and next fall I’ll move on to the next self-improvement activity, whatever it ends up being.
What new skill have you learned to help improve your finances lately?
Related content: Your Fall Financial Checklist: 17 Things To Do Now
FI Pilgrim says
For me it’s blogging, conveniently enough… as an IT professional by day, I’ve had a lot of experience in helping others build websites as well as building and managing large sites for my company, but I’ve never really tried to build and promote my own like this. And honestly there’s not been any “income” from it yet (don’t know if there ever will be), but I’m learning a TON, especially about writing. It’s an experience that I think will only enhance my abilities as the information age continues.
Mark Ross says
Yeah. Just like FI Pilgrim, I would also like to improve my blogging skills. I need to learn how to network better and create better posts. 🙁
Taynia | The Fiscal Flamingo says
I’m taking a graphic design course to improve my skills. And you’re right. Fall is the perfect time to make improvements. I love the fresh feeing of a new season.
Lisa @ Cents To Save says
I want to start a fall garden. I don’t think it to late, especially since we live in Central Florida. But, it might be. Hopefully by spring, I will be more prepared to get a garden together.
Autumn is surely a time for me to get the urge to learn more, do better planning and work more productively. I love summer, but it’s my ‘worst’ season when it comes to work and being effective, while autumn gets me into school/work more better.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Great ideas Jordann! I just started brewing beer on my own and I would agree that it is a little slow in the beginning. But, I am looking forward to doing more of it and saving a bit because of it and the final product too. 🙂
EL @ MoneyWatch101 says
I know the feeling as when I am out of school for more than a year, I get the same urge to learn somethinn new. I took a photography class way back in High school and I enjoyed it. I will hopefully take a professional finance class for free this fall to improve my job skills.
Matt Becker says
My old roommate got into brewing his own beer and it was pretty awesome. I used to help him out and it definitely wasn’t all that difficult, though I’m sure you can make it as complex as you want. And he made some pretty good beer, even right from the start.
This fall (and hopefully many falls in the future) for me did mean going back to school – but as an employee. Back when I was a University student myself, I worked a PT job in academic support and now that I’m back doing that, I feel like I’m finally right where I’m supposed to be.
This job opens a lot of opportunities for me, professionally and personally. I have a pension now! And make enough money to pay down my debt and save simultaneously. And I can take college classes for only $20 a class. And I get a discounted gym membership, and I’m done work at 4:30pm every day, and have my weekends off. I’m going to have so much free time to do all of the suggestions you have made!
Great post – so many people think that their education finishes the day they finish school.
I think I learnt far more from the books I read before I go to sleep at night, than I ever did while in formal education.
Kali @CommonSenseMillennial says
I’ll throw in my hat to the “improve blogging skills” ring 🙂 That’s definitely my goal for this fall! I’ve started by working on learning more about SEO – both to try and use on my own blog and my 9-to-5 full time job’s website. It’s really interesting, and nothing beats learning something new.
I absolutely LOVE fall! I’m not working on any self-improvement right now, just because my life is a mess with selling our house and everything. But, I would love to get into a new (and better) routine once we move and life settles down a bit.
Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says
I’m working on my people skills. I’m just fine at communicating with people via the internet, but face to face conversations can be a bit intimidating to me sometimes. I’m getting better at it though, and I expect that better people skills will help improve our finances in the long run.
Don @ BreathOfOptimism says
I think it’s important to continually improve ourselves, regardless if it is with our finances. If we continually improve and get better, we are growing as a person which leads to more opportunities and an overall better life.
Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia says
We should always be looking for ways to improve ourselves even if it’s smaller stuff. In a way, if you aren’t progressing you’re regressing. Bonus points if the area of improvement means extra income or money saved!
I’ve always felt like I want to be improving every single day. It can be small, it doesn’t have to be a huge thing, and over time it will accumulate into something impressive. Two years ago, I started running after not “being a runner” all my life. I was in decent shape but I just couldn’t run, I’d go half a mile and be spent. Now I can go 3 miles without a problem and it was because I started off slow and improved each week. Incidentally, I chose the Fall to start doing that because the weather was so nice. 🙂
Budget and the Beach says
I don’t think there is any new skill I used to improve my finances, but I’m trying to improve my skills. I’m learning as much as I can about podcasting. But right now I’m getting to the point where I need to start investing in things like equipment, which always makes me hesitant, but at the same time it could be useful later down the road and it’s also a write-off, which always makes my accountant happy. 🙂
I want to improve my cooking skills. The local community college offers baking classes that I plan to take.
Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet says
I started doing SEO on the side about 5 months back and it has been amazing to see how I have been able to turn that into a good side income. Much like your photography story, I just started doing it for my own sites because I enjoyed it, but I quickly learned that my friends and associates would be willing to pay me to help them with their sites as well. Here’s to continuing to improve my side hustle skills!
Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans says
Fall is the perfect time for an improvement! I’m thinking of going back to school, only part time. Probably not this fall, but maybe next.
I really like the fall. As the nights begin to get dark earlier, I always feel like starting a new project, whether it’s learning a new language, learning to cook, or improving my blog.
And the greatest thing is that you can keep learning throughout your life.
At present, from a financial point of view, I’m learning how to publish an ebook through Amazon and itunes.
Jacob | iHeartBudgets says
AHHHHH! Just the mention of more school makes me shudder!
I’m going to be pouring more time into online entities, and hopefully expanding my blog’s reach a bit. Heading to FinCon, so hoping for some genuine connections and ideas to flow from there.
I plan to return to school in retirement. Our state universities offer free tuition for seniors. Of course, I cannot get another degree, but I can take classes.
I definitely agree that there is something about Fall that is motivating. It makes me want to get more things done and achieve more goals. Such as start my blog and pursue more side hustles. Maybe its knowing that Winter is coming and that it will hamper all of our ambition and drive!
C. the Romanian says
When fall comes, I tend to get all upset that summer is over and winter, the season I hate the most despite the holidays, is coming. But I do plan to use the extra indoor time to learn at least the basics of a new language: either Spanish or Portuguese. I am really serious about becoming a digital nomad and these two languages make sense right now for my plans to start with either Spain or Portugal.
My Wealth Desire says
I want to improve my skills in blogging and carpentry crafts. If I will to go back to school, I want to learn more on entrepreneurship, operating retail shop and farming. I will take short courses if possible (part time). I want to have a huge farm with vegetables, poultry, livestock and ranch as well. I want to entrepreneurship because we are planning to open small store in the countryside this coming December.
I try to learn new recipes and new ways of making things instead of buying them. This fall, Brian and I are making our own vanilla extract.
I feel the same way when fall starts, maybe it’s the part of me that loved being a student and buying school supplies but I just want to start something new and excel at it. I’m glad you feel the same way!
Alexandra @ Real Simple Finances says
I have a dog named Molly, too. 🙂 I just walked in on my Molly chewing a door frame the other day… she hasn’t done it since, luckily!
Since I’m still in grad school, and needed to quit my full-time job to pursue a teaching assistantship, this semester is all about trying things I’ve been afraid to do. So far I’m learning a lot!
Investing in oneself is a good way to go. Improving yourself and making yourself more equipped can never be taken away by anyone.
David Smith says
Learning new skills is something that we should really try. It pays to be resourceful and earn some money at the same time. Try Internet marketing for a change or content writing if you love to write. Search the Web to get good ideas.
Anton Ivanov says
Maximizing your income and minimizing your expenses is definitely the way to go. I also think that when most people look for ways to improve their finances, they naturally focus on spending less money. But they often forget that you can also make more money…