Being, looking, and acting professional is important, but sometimes the logistics of it all can be expensive. In some fields the payoff is lucrative, but in other’s you have to wonder how you can be expected to afford maintaining your career when compensation is low. Here are some creative ways to get professional savings, while still establishing yourself as a savvy virtuoso.
The First Impression
No matter your field, it’s generally a good idea to have business cards. In today’s world, you can easily order some online for super cheap. However, when you order something super cheap you run the risk of getting a super cheap product. Companies like Moo offer the best of both worlds. They offer high quality, attractive products at reasonable, though not rock bottom, prices, plus they have some pretty great deals and coupons codes to save you even more of your hard-earned cash.
Many of these sites, Moo included, allow you to design your own cards. This is usually done by uploading your own images and playing with pre-selected formats. Some people may have the skill set to get all of that done and come out with a great looking card. For the rest of us, it’s worth spending a little bit of extra money to have someone more inclined towards graphic design do it for us. Check out sites like Fiverr where people offer these services for as low as $5/design. It’s well worth the extra investment to make sure your finished product looks, well, professional.
Many fields now require certifications and continuing education units to go along with them. These certifications and their maintenance can be a particularly expensive part of being a professional woman. To lower costs, look at joining the professional organization that offers your field’s certification. While membership fees upfront may be high, it will often significantly discount the amount required to take your certification test in the first place, and the cost of all those trainings required in order to maintain your mandatory CEUs.
Believe it or not, some professional organizations also offer specials and discounts. For example, the National Academy of Sports Medicine has promo codes that reduce the amount you pay for their specializations, workshops, and online trainings. Researching if your organization offers these same types of discounts could end up saving you tons of money over the course of a year.
A large part of being a professional is looking the part. Keeping up your wardrobe can be a huge drain on your budget unless you implement some frugal tactics. Name brands often give you the best quality, and while the intial investment in more expensive clothes may be scary up front, it can save you money long-term over buying cheap again and again. The good news is that when you shop online, many clothing retailers. like Ann Taylor, will offer a ton of ways to save via coupon codes and sales on online only items that are going out of style. Unless you work in the fashion industry, no one’s going to bat an eye if you’re wearing a blouse that is so Fall 2014. Before ordering online, always make sure you’re familiar with the company’s return/exchange policy.
Another great option is to shop upscale resale or consignment stores. These places don’t buy items that are worn out, as they won’t be able to sell them. You are able to get a lot of quality for your dollar so you can walk out the door with a professional wardrobe and a bank account that’s not sitting on empty.