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7 Best Online Courses for Under $20: Start the Year the Smart Way!

Updated: May 12

If you’re a student (or have family members or friends who are), you probably celebrated January 24 – the International Day of Education – this week! Education would probably be at the top of the list of sectors that experienced massive changes in the last few years. Most noticeably, the popularity of online learning has been through the roof – and we don’t just mean students who had to take their usual classes online.

Spending more time at home during lockdowns, a lot of people discovered various self-paced online courses as a smart way to spend their free time. Some strengthened their professional skills, while others discovered new hobbies or mastered new languages.

Of course, just like books or live classes, self-paced online courses come in various topics and prices. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 7 great courses that will boost your personal development… without hurting your wallet!

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies (edX)

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

Crypto talk is so prevalent in today’s society that whether you’re looking into investing in cryptocurrencies or not, it’s always good to have some common knowledge on the topic. Why would you listen to your friends’ conversations without having any idea on what they’re talking about when you could take self-paced courses created by UC Berkeley's Computer Science department and get a grasp on all the basic concepts in just a few weeks?

Don’t get spooked by the almost-$100 price tag you’ll see next to the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies course: you can access all the materials for free using the Audit version! The only difference is that you will not get the official certificate once you complete the course, and the materials will not remain accessible to you forever.

The Science of Well-Being (Coursera)

This personal development course was extremely popular during lockdowns – and why would anyone be surprised by that? It has been created by psychology professors at Yale University and aims to teach people to not only increase their happiness but also build productive habits. Moreover, it’s absolutely free!

The Science of Well-Being is one of those self-paced online courses that you can start at any time, and it takes just under 20 hours to complete. It has subtitles in 10+ languages to make it more accessible, and the crowd of 11,000+ students who have finished the course already have rated it at 4.9/5!

Perspective: Photography Tools That Make Your Pictures Pop (Udemy)

Photography tools

The popularity of photography classes has been growing steadily in the last few decades – and it’s hardly surprising. With technologies improving at an incredible pace, most of us can now take pretty professional-looking pictures without even buying a camera: smartphones do a pretty good job!

If you want your Instagram pictures to look incredible, you could definitely use some photography classes that teach you the basics of perspective. In this online course taught by professional photographer Adam Marelli, you’ll learn how to make your pictures pop without the need for expensive cameras or retouching tools in less than two hours!

Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design (Skillshare)

If you’re looking for a place to unleash your creativity, you might enjoy graphic design courses. Not only is it a fun skill to master, but it can also help you get some side hustles and make some extra money on the side if you want to!

While Skillshare is typically paid, it has a handful of short self-paced online courses for free – including Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design. In it, you can grasp the basics of concepts like scale, symmetry, framing, etc. Rest assured, the core principles of design will come in handy no matter what software you choose to work with!

Dropshipping business

How to Start a Dropshipping Business (Shopify Learn)

If you’ve been looking into side hustles and ideas of making money outside of a traditional 9-5 job, you might be interested in dropshipping – a form of retail that allows you to operate as more of a middleman without needing to physically store items yourself. This saves you a ton of money since you don’t have to worry about renting huge spaces or ordering inventory.

For those looking to start dropshipping but unsure of how they should do it, the e-commerce giant Shopify offers a free course of 18 short lessons one can easily finish in one evening. They're taught by Shopify professionals who often have their own side hustles aside from working at the company, so they certainly know what they're talking about!

The Daily Journal – Habit of Successful People (Udemy)

There are many personal development practices people swear on – and journaling is probably among the most popular. They say it’s a great way to collect your thoughts, get a clearer picture of your goals, plan better, and use your potential to the fullest.

Journaling and clearer goals

The Daily Journal – Habit of Successful People course is taught by Jawwad – the founder of the JournalingHabit community. In 14 short lectures, he explains why you need to keep a journal, what benefits it provides, and how you should turn it into an everyday habit. The course also has a Facebook group for learners to connect with each other and share their experiences!

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing (Google Digital Garage)

Whether you’re interested in marketing roles or looking to promote your freelancing business, learning the basics of digital marketing is a great starting point. In this free course, Google introduces you to the core principles of content marketing, analytics, SEO, email marketing, and other things that come in handy when creating a strong online presence for you or your business.

The self-paced online course consists of 26 modules, and the learner gets short quizzes between their lectures to solidify what they’ve learned. 300,000+ people have already completed the course and obtained official certifications – why shouldn’t you?

Bee divider

All of these self-paced online courses are either free or cost under $20 – but did you know that you can also earn money while you’re learning online?

All you need to do is leave Honeygain running on your internet-connected device while you’re busy with other things, and the app will generate passive income without you putting in any effort! Honeygain is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices – and signing up takes seconds.

Honeygain widget for a $5 starting gift