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9 Free Ways to Learn Something New Every Day

Meg Favreau

You're never too old to learn something new.

In fact, a 2012 study in the journal Health Affairs found that people who are more educated tend to live longer. But you don't need to go back to school to reap the benefits of education. Instead, you can learn something new every day with these nine methods.

1. Subscribe to educational email newsletters.

There are email newsletters available for almost anything you'd want to learn, and many of them are daily, which means learning something new every day is as simple as opening your inbox. A few examples: Today I Found Out and Now I Know teach you about weird history, Dictionary.com offers a Word of the Day email, and The New York Times and other news outlets offer daily news recaps. You can also do an online search for the term "daily newsletter," and sign up for whatever you're interested in.

2. Take free online classes through Coursera.

If you want to get more in-depth with your daily learning, check out Coursera.org. This website offers online classes from some of the world's most prestigious colleges -- for free. You can take cryptography from Stanford University, learn computer programming from the University of Michigan, study Roman architecture from Yale University and more. If you're itching to go back to school but don't want to spend the money, this might be the perfect opportunity for you.

3. Break a big task into little chunks.

You might feel like you don't have the time to learn what you really want to, whether it's something like playing the guitar, speaking a new language or building furniture. Mastering a new skill -- or even just getting adept at it -- can be daunting, since it can take hundreds or even thousands of hours. But if you break the task down by setting aside just a half hour each day, you might be surprised how quickly and easily you'll pick it up.

4. Try a new recipe every day.

Cooking is a great skill to have -- it can help you save money, impress friends and woo potential mates. If you're learning how to cook, challenge yourself to make one new recipe every day. It doesn't need to be complicated -- it could even be a different way to dress up that leftover chicken into a sandwich. But if you try one new recipe every day, you'll have a huge repertoire of dishes -- and great cooking skills to match.

5. Have a "fun fact" exchange with a friend.

If you have a friend who also wants to learn new things, try a daily fact exchange with each other. You can do it over email, the phone or, if you work together, write out cards and put them on each other's desk. You can even make it into a contest, trying to stump the other person with facts he or she hasn't heard before.

6. Listen to podcasts.

One of the best things about podcasts is that you can use them to learn new things while you're doing something else, like commuting to work or going for a run. There are many free podcasts for all interests, from history to architecture to writing, and much more. You can search for podcasts in the iTunes store, or do an online search for the word "podcast" and find whatever you're interested in learning.

7. Visit the library.

You don't need to go to the library with the intention of checking out a specific book. Instead, you can visit the library to read magazines, check out the day's newspaper or even just browse the stacks until you see a title that catches your eye. This is an especially great option if you live or work near a library and can hop over on your lunch break or after work.

8. Learn to code With Codeacademy.

If you'd like to learn how to code -- it is a highly marketable skill -- work a little bit each day on the tutorials from Codeacademy.com. The site is dedicated to ensuring that anyone, anywhere, can learn to code -- for free.

9. Learn a new language with Duolingo.

Another free online website that offers brief, quick-to-complete lessons is Duolingo.com. It currently offers five language courses for English speakers and several English courses for non-English speakers, but more might be offered in the future.

Meg Favreau is the senior editor for the personal finance blog Wise Bread, which covers rewards credit card mistakes and other personal finance tips.

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