Follow these tips to make yourself smarter for free! Learning doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny, education is free.
You’re cutting back on expenses.
The cable bill is gone, the gym membership canceled, you may have even sold the TV.
Well, maybe not, but you’re trying to save money so that means you’ve scaled back some creature comforts.
So, what will you do with your time now?
How about learn something new or finish an education? I know what you’re thinking, that’s going to cost you money, but keep reading.
I’ve got some free (or really cheap) alternatives to the classroom. Below are 6 ways to make yourself smarter.
Coursera offers courses from high-profile universities like Penn, Stanford, MIT, and Duke.
You can attend full online courses and get a certificate in the field if you want to pay. The courses are affordable and if you’re in the U.S., for at least 2016 and 2017, you’ll be able to get an education credit on your taxes (but ask a tax professional to be sure).
If you don’t want to pay for the certificate, with a free account, you can audit the course by taking the classes at your own pace.
Learn anything from computer science to dog psychology (my favorite). All for free (or really cheap).
If you’re looking to learn stuff in math, science, computing, or finance, Khan Academy offers free video courses that you can take at your leisure.
They also offer arts and humanities courses and test prep courses for SAT and GMAT and others.
All video courses are free and signup is free.
Khan Academy videos helped me get through college algebra and statistics. All the step to the problems are broken down in a visual way that makes the topic easier to understand.
If you’re the college graduate who just couldn’t afford to continue on to get your masters in business administration, the $100 MBA has you covered.
$100MBA offers podcasts, video courses, guides, and resources that can teach you everything you need to know to have an MBA education. Sign up is free, the podcasts and resources are free, and you can take the free course if you’re still not ready to plunk down cash.
If you choose to get on board with the program, it only costs $100. That’s a lot cheaper than a $50,000 MBA degree that will take you 3-4 years to get.
New to the free online education pool is Smartly. Currently in beta, they offer a new kind of online education platform. It’s structured similarly to the way the Duolingo language app is set up where you participate in interactive learning (as opposed to sitting down and watching a video or listening to a lecture).
As of this writing, Smartly is offering free online MBA degrees. It is free to signup and register, but if you’re not ready to register, you still can take their interactive courses at your pace without signing up for the degree.
Your Local Library
Everyone is online and tethered to electronics nowadays. We forget that our local library has a wealth of information and resources. You’d be surprised to find that some libraries even offer ebook lending too.
Fiction and nonfiction books for the whole family can be found at the local library. Whether you want to learn about investing or read the biography of Benjamin Franklin, the library has you covered.
If you have been eyeing a new ebook, check the library to see if they have a copy. One thing though, your local library may not have newer editions or titles.
Podcasts have been around since the late 80’s and were born from radio talk shows. They have enjoyed a recent boost in popularity but people don’t think to look to podcasts teach new stuff and make you smarter. They are a wealth of information shared for free by successful people in the field.
Podcasts are available free for iTunes and Android users and can be accessed by everyone online. The best podcasts for learning new stuff are TED Talks and NPR, but you can find podcasts on almost everything from learning guitar or a new language, to freelancing and saving money.
There is no more excuse for not learning something new. With connection to the internet through computers and smartphones you can get on one of these free applications and learn a new skill, brush up on an old skill, or learn something completely out of your norm.
Set up a daily learning time for the whole family. Read a book, watch a video, or work on an interactive class online for 30 minutes to 1hr each day. Then spend 30 minutes talking about what you learned with each other – this will enrich your connection with others and make you smarter. And, it’s all for free (or really cheap).
Do you have a favorite free learning app? What’s your favorite way to make yourself smarter for free?
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