How to Invest in Yourself — Without Spending a Dime


Two people sit in pink chairs with a pedestal holding a laptop between them. They're smiling and laughing.
Photo by Windows via Unsplash

When was the last time you invested in yourself?


Was it when you negotiated your firm’s offer for yourself? Maybe it was when you decided to pursue your CPA certification? Or when you decided to dive into entrepreneurship?


These are all specific mile markers along the path of career success for a lot of women in accounting and finance — but they’re not the only ways you can invest in yourself personally and professionally.


Often, we think that investing in yourself has to coincide with an impactful career decision or turning point in your life. And, that this practice has to come with multiple dollar signs.


This can cause a lot of women to put their own professional and personal development on pause, and who could blame you? We’re already pressed for time and energy — and even if our revenue streams are plentiful and healthy, we may choose to put that flow of income elsewhere before putting it back into ourselves.


But investing in yourself doesn’t have to look like a huge time commitment. It also doesn’t have to include opening your wallet.


So, what could this look like, then?

  • Finding a mentor — or becoming a mentor

  • Attending a webinar or taking a course

  • Planning a staycation

Discover a mentor for you — or become a mentor for someone else


Mentorship is a fruitful way to invest in yourself and your career — and it doesn’t have to cost a thing. While networks like The Lady CPA can help do most of the heavy lifting for you (and you can rest assured that your mentor has been vetted to fit your specific needs) you can find a mentor that’s right for you by looking right in front of you!


A person in a black blazer sits at a desk typing at their computer.
Whether you decide to go in-person or online: there's a mentor (or mentee!) out there waiting for you. Photo by Keren Levand via Unsplash.

Is there anyone you work with who you admire? A professor or instructor you’ve had that seemed knowledgeable and receptive to helping you when you needed it?


Then, reach out to them! Invite them out for a cup of coffee and be honest with them — you don’t have anything to lose.


The benefits to entering a mentorship are endless, for both the mentor and the mentee. 25% of employees who enrolled in a mentoring program had a salary-grade change compared to only 5% of those who didn’t enroll. Mentees are promoted 5 times more often than those who aren’t actively in a mentorship. And, this goes both ways: mentors are 6 times more likely to be promoted.


A mentor supports you when you need it, access to a wealth of knowledge from their own experiences, and can even offer you resources that you might not have known about otherwise.


For women in accounting and finance, in particular, a mentor can help you fight against the feelings of isolation that are so common in the finance industry, showing you that you’re not alone and you are worthy of being here.


Upgrade your education — without going back to school


Getting certified isn’t just time consuming, but it’s also incredibly expensive.


This is a hard trade-off because the value of progressing your knowledge and skill set can’t be understated. Plus, with such a fast-paced industry, you don’t want your expertise to be rendered obsolete, so it’s important to stay current and up-to-date within your niche and specific proficiency.


But, you don’t have to go into debt to continue your education. Instead, you can opt for an online course or webinar — for free!


Webinars are a great opportunity to learn from experts in your field without breaking the bank and can give you a chance to connect with them as well.


And with remote learning at an all-time high, the odds that the conference you were wanting to attend (and budgeting for) will now be virtual. What does that mean? You no longer have to contend for travel costs, lodging, or expenses for food. Instead, you can choose to pay the cost of entry itself.


But, there’s a plethora of free webinars and seminars available out there for women in accounting and finance. Sites like CPA Academy and myCPE all have listings offering free webinars for CPAs and accountants all the time. Just pick what’s relevant for you, clear your schedule, and attend, all from the comfort of your home.


Take time off to renew and recharge


Maybe it’s too much to ask for you to take a week or two off for an extravagant tropical getaway. Planning an elaborate vacation takes a lot of time and effort itself — and can put a burden on your wallet.


But you don’t need to check into an all-expenses-paid resort to reap the benefits of taking time off for yourself. (And trust us, there are benefits!) Instead, consider trying a staycation.


An aerial view of two people sitting on their couch with their laptop open on their laps as they FaceTime with someone.
Make yourself FaceTime available or set up an OOO auto-reply: it's vacation time! Photo by Windows via Unsplash.

Have a family member or friend take the kids for the weekend and plan a relaxing few days at home doing absolutely nothing!


Walk into your kitchen without someone asking you what’s for dinner. Take a nap on your couch without someone else turning on the T.V. and blasting it at full volume. Soak in the tub without your spa session getting interrupted by some crisis that has nothing to do with you!


Don’t feel like you have the time to take off of work for a weekend? Consider it essential for your work.


According to a study by Sabine Sonnentag, a professor of organizational psychology, taking time away from your work makes you “more resilient in the face of stress and more productive and engaged at work.” Even a short time away, like a weekend at home, can be enough to let you recharge and get back to it with renewed energy.


Conclusion


Investing in yourself is essential to your growth, personally and professionally. And, you don’t always have to spend the big bucks to do it.


For women in accounting and finance, there is a myriad of ways to invest in yourself without spending a dime — so what are you waiting for?


What are some ways that you invest in yourself on a regular basis?


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