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10 Inexpensive Ways To Continue Your Education Outside of School

10 Inexpensive Ways To Continue Your Education Outside of School

Colleges and universities are great institutions for individuals to learn a subject of specialty that they are interested in going further in after they finish their studies. With the networking skills and organized track that studying in an institution gives is currently still unmatched, however times have changed with the advent and advancement of technology over the past few years. Individuals are beginning to notice that they learn a lot outside of an institution and even after life in a university, they can learn to advance their knowledge. Today, we will talk about ten inexpensive ways to continue your education outside of college.

1. YouTube

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    YouTube is a great resource for individuals looking to continue their education outside of school because of the various channels available that teach any subject you could think of. On the subject of foreign languages, the options are endless, from Learn Arabic with Maha to French lessons with Alexa Polidoro. Math help and science videos are also found on everything from Earth Science to Calculus, and everything in between. All it takes is a quick YouTube search and your world of knowledge opens up.

    2. Code Academy

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      Having a knowledge of coding is an important and useful skill for today’s job market. Due to the initiative in institutions to get more individuals to, at the very least, get some knowledge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects, and at most, to get them into STEM careers.

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      Code Academy makes learning common coding languages, like HTML/CSS, Javascript, Python, Ruby, among other languages more approachable for the individual without extensive experience. This is done through interactive exercises on the fundamentals. Getting started with a Code Academy lesson can allow you to learn the basics and figure out what direction you’d like to go in learning how to code in an advanced manner.

      3. Khan Academy

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        With over 300 million views collectively, Khan Academy is a great resource for individuals who want to learn in depth on just about any subject they fancy. The brain-child of Sal Khan, Khan Academy is useful for both children and graduated adults alike with its vast array of subjects, all free to learn. Many even come with exercises to ensure that you were able to grasp the material. It’s all at your own pace, ensuring that what matters is that you are learning, not trying to make a deadline (graduation). Check out Khan Academy today and start learning.

        4. Learn at an Ivy League

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          An Ivy League education has the prestige and status due to usually their long periods of existence and the quality of education that individuals expect. But you don’t have to study at an Ivy League school, with many individuals succeeding in smaller known schools, it doesn’t hurt to learn a thing or two from an Ivy League school if you aren’t paying for it. Through MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, you are able to learn from Ivy League professors in the comfort of your own home. Along with each school offering their own domain for courses, iTunes U and Coursera are two other popular MOOC providers .

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          5. Check out Udemy

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            Udemy is the resource for individuals looking to learn and get started with applying those skills right away. Many aren’t self paced due to the fact that you’ll have an instructor, however with an instructor you have a more personalized learning experience. Udemy excels in teaching tech skills, like programming and learning the advanced aspects of certain desktop applications and office suites, however you can find lessons and courses on a wide variety of subjects as well.

            6. Learn with TED Talks

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              TED Talks are a compilation of videos of TED and TEDx conference speakers held around the world. If you are familiar with TED conferences, you’ll know that the subjects covered can run the gamut. While they aren’t courses or your conventional “lessons” they do offer a lot that individuals can take away from. In the technical sense, TED talks are educational. You can view the official TED website to take a look at posted videos, searchable by subject.

              7. Approach the Source

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                A great way to continue education outside of college is to approach individuals in the industries and subjects you are interested in learning more about. They can act as your mentor, offering tips, advice, or even explanations on the complex factors of their industry that they work in.

                They don’t have to be award winning laureates, they can be a friend who works as a software engineer, or a family member working in marketing and you’re looking to get into either one of those sectors. They can connect you to both well known as well as lesser known resources to get you on the right path.

                If you don’t find yourself with such individuals, check out Quora. Standing for Question or Answer, Quora is the well organized, more educated Yahoo Answers! that we all hoped for, featuring industry professionals and common Joes alike who ask and answer some of life’s simplest and most complex questions.

                8. Learn Through Entertainment

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                  Entertainment isn’t always considered a time waster. It can be the key to learning a multitude of things. If you are learning a language, making use of multimedia including movies and television shows are a great way to not only keep the language fresh, but to also make use of context clues to learn new words. This beats learning in a classroom and is a great supplement to language learning through the means we discussed above. Netflix is a great place to find international movies with subtitles. If you want to have complex subjects explained to you, Netflix also offers various television shows from Discovery Channel as well as non-fiction movies.

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                  9. Read On

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                    Reading is a great way to continue your education outside of college. If you are like a lot of students, you may find that learning out of your textbook, a long with a bit of supplemental Q&A time with a knowledgable individual on the subject can be more beneficial than sitting in an hour long class itself. Amazon is a great resource for finding books, especially on programming. Many individuals find that books can be a good guide to starting programming. iBooks can be an affordable digital alternative to purchasing hard copies. If you want the feel of a book, but in digital form, investing in an Amazon Kindle could be a good option.

                    10. Apply Your Skills

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                      Once you begin to gain skills, or even with the skills you already have, it may be wise to find ways to apply these skills through internships or entry level jobs in your field or position you’re looking to obtain. This is considered one of the best ways to continue learning outside of college because many employers will pay for you continual advancement in learning and you’ll learn the best way many individuals find they can, by doing. Make use of internship and job websites to find opportunities and pay close attention to benefits they have for continual certification assistance.

                      Let us know in the comments below which route you’ve chosen to continue learning outside of college.

                      Featured photo credit: Pegasusoverseas via pegasusoverseas.com

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                      Last Updated on January 2, 2019

                      How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                      How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                      Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

                      Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

                      Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

                      This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

                      Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

                      What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

                      Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

                      When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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                      How It Leads to Financial Improvement

                      It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

                      Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

                      Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

                      It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

                      Types of Personal Finance Software

                      When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

                      Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

                      For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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                      Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

                      When to Use Personal Finance Software

                      So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

                      Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

                      1. You Have Multiple Accounts

                      There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

                      If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

                      Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

                      2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

                      Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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                      There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

                      With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

                      3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

                      Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

                      Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

                      Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

                      4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

                      Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

                      You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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                      How to Get Started

                      From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

                      Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

                      It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

                      When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

                      Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

                      In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

                      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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