Personal Growth on a Budget

6 free or inexpensive ways to grow yourself


One of the false myths of personal growth or development is it costs a lot of money. The truth is personal growth does not need to be expensive. This is good news for the people who are on a tight budget, going through school, or in an entry level position and not yet earning a lot of money. While there are benefits for high-end personal growth content or experiences like high performance leadership conferences or hiring a professional coach there are just as many benefits from low cost growth content. Here are 6 ways to grow yourself while on a budget.

1. Read blogs

There are millions of blogs on the internet with a wealth of content and information. Searching the internet for the top blogs in the field or areas you want to grow is a great way to read articles for free. One key point is to find the blogs you enjoy reading the most and then subscribing via email so you can receive blog post updates when the person releases new content.

2. Listen to Podcasts

Podcasting has become very popular over the past several years. You can search through to find and listen to different Podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to listen to free growth content. Check out my post 10 Podcasts Every Leader Should Have on Their Playlist to find some great podcasts.

3. Volunteer at conferences

One of my goals each year is to attend at least one leadership conference. It was difficult in previous years to attend conferences due to the financial costs until I discovered I could volunteer at certain conferences and attend for free. I started to volunteer at the Catalyst conference which is a high-end leadership conference for church leaders. I would help set-up the event, pass out food & drinks during the intermissions, and at times usher. Most of the time I was able to sit in on the different sessions or keynote talks or at the very least be able to hear the speaker.

You can do the same thing. Take time to search for the conference you want to attend then contact the event host to see if you can volunteer during the conference. Catalyst would be a good conference to start with.

4. Go to the Library

Libraries are a great place to go to check out different books, audio books, or magazines. You might want to find a local library and see what types of leadership or growth books they have. I personally find it difficult to use this method because I want to mark and highlight the different hard cover books I read but you might find going to the library beneficial.

5. College scholarships

You might be able to receive a college scholarship or, depending on the state you live in (in the United States), might be able to take inexpensive classes at a community college. You will want to determine which college you want to take classes from and do your research about the different scholarships you can apply for. Taking the time to do this could save you a lot of money and grow yourself while earning a college degree or taking extra classes. Just to be clear, I’m not saying taking out loans for a college degree or classes is a good idea, since you will have to eventually repay those loans.

6. Free or cheap books on has millions of different books. Most of the time you can find free or inexpensive books to purchase. You can find daily deals on as well as for audio books). Simply search out free or cheap books in a given category. If you have a Kindle reader there are many books that are free to Kindle owners.

Questions: Have you used any of the above ways? Which one has been most beneficial? What are some other free or inexpensive ways to grow yourself?

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6 thoughts on “Personal Growth on a Budget

  1. Great article Dan! I agree that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to grow as a leader. Through podcasts and the like, we gain access to people we otherwise would never meet. The greatest leaders in your field can literally become your distance mentor. Also, you’re right…Catalyst is a great conference to be part of. Have an awesome week!

  2. Great ideas. I have to tip my hat to you for the desire and perseverance you’ve shown at honing your craft and chasing your desire. That’s the key to success, period.

    One of the ways I’ve found most beneficial is to find other successful people that may not be famous, but have a ton of wisdom to share.