How to Educate Yourself for Less

6 Tips to Get Educated on a Budget

How many things have you wanted to learn but either didn’t have the time or money to do it? As a mom, it can be hard juggling everything in the home, taking kids where they need to go, working, etc.

If you add any courses into the mix it can feel impossible to manage to get yourself to school, not to mention the cost of it.

Recently, I had time to sit down and look at all the things I have wanted to do or learn since I was a teenager, that I still haven’t done. I wrote my list and then researched the best ways to go about it.

Going to school in person wasn’t possible, most of the courses I liked were scheduled at times that wouldn’t work for my family and cost thousands. Speaking with other moms, this seems to be the case.

How to Get Educated on a Budget

Education doesn’t need to cost more than a house. Depending on the career or types of things you want to learn, you might not even need to go to university. Here are some tips to get educated on a budget.

1. Know What You Want to Learn and Why

Learning isn’t always about your career, maybe it is simply a skill you want to develop. Decide what you want to learn and why.

When I was younger, some of my friends hopped around courses and cost their parents thousands because they didn’t know what they wanted to do. Many were following a particular path because it is what their parents wanted but not what they wanted.

If you don’t know what you want, you can waste a lot of time and money doing the wrong thing.

When getting educated for a career, do the research to know what qualification is needed, how to get it and how to get the experience. Knowing this will enable you to work out how to do it all on a budget.

Learning for a skill because you want it can be done differently e.g. swapping lessons with someone, doing a night class, using YouTube etc. Since you won’t need a specific qualification usually for whatever you want to learn, you have more options.

2. Seek Opportunities e.g. Volunteer/Intern/Work Experience

Once you know what you want and why, you can do the research to find out what you need to do to make it happen. For some career changes, you might not need a specific qualification so volunteering, being an intern or starting at the bottom might all be options.

Volunteering, work experience and similar opportunities can also give you a taste of the career you are considering without the huge financial outlay of a degree. By doing this, you can see if the career really is suitable for you, you can ask people in that field questions and get to know more about it before committing.

Brainstorm ways for you to trial what you want to learn then see how you can make them happen. These experiences also look great on your resume and can assist you in securing a job later.

3. Alternative Qualification Options

University is one way to learn and get a qualification but they aren’t the only way. Many people assume they need a degree from a top university in the USA to get anywhere.

Unless your chosen career specifically needs a degree, other schools or courses might work better for you. There are loads of options to choose from online, many are free or extremely affordable, especially when compared to student loans and the cost of a degree.

4. Scholarships and Other Funding

If you have to pay for your education, find out what scholarships, grants and funding is available and apply for anything relevant to you. Or if you are employed and the qualification is relevant to your employment, approach your employer to discuss options.

Some will assist you to study or even pay for your education. Others have a fund that will contribute part of the cost of the course. Check the requirements though as most then require you to stay working with them for a period of time too.

5. Self Education

More people are going the self-education route through YouTube, podcasts, books etc. There is so much information readily available on any topic now that with some effort, you can learn a lot without going to school.

Of course, if you need the actual qualification, this won’t be enough. But if you are learning for yourself or looking at a career that doesn’t require a degree or similar, then this is a great option.

By using the library, podcasts and YouTube, you can learn a lot for free. Google courses in your field of interest and you might even find some free ones for what you want to do.

Self-Education Resources

Knowing where to start when it comes to books, podcasts and YouTube can be tricky. Here are a few resources that are often recommended.


Everyone wants to improve their finances, some want to retire early and some don’t know how to budget or where to start. These are the best books to get you started, many of the authors have podcasts too.

The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel
Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required by Bryce Leung and Kristy Shen
The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life by J L Collins
Money School: Become financially independent and reclaim your life by Lacey Flipich


The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume by Josh Kauffman
Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses: The Million Copy Bestseller Driving Entrepreneurs to Success by Eric Ries
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss
Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy by Patrick Bet-David


Atomic Habits: the life-changing million-copy #1 bestseller by James Clear
Make Your Bed: Small things that can change your life and maybe the world: Feel grounded and think positive in 10 simple steps by William H. McRaven
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey


8 Rules of Love: From Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author Jay Shetty, a new guide on how to find lasting love and enjoy healthy relationships by Jay Shetty
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

6. Study in Another Country

Look outside the US and see if universities elsewhere have better options that can be transferred to the US later. Some have extremely affordable degrees, others offer great job opportunities and a completely different lifestyle.

Plus, it gives your kids an opportunity for something new, education elsewhere and a unique experience for their lives and future.

Add to that, experiencing another country shows your capacity to adapt, understand other cultures and similar skills which are appealing on a resume.

What do you want to learn and what’s holding you back? 

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