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30 Money Sites to Check Out in 2009

30 Money Sites to Check Out in 2009

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    There are so many personal finance resources online that it’s hard to know where to start. There are blogs, web applications, news sites and more. This list is a beginning — if you take a look at the sites included here, I know you’ll find something new for 2009. Some of these sites are brand new, some are the online presence of organizations that have been around for decades. But all of them look like they’ll have great things happening in the next year: these sites have the information that we all need (no matter our current financial situation) to get a great start on 2009.

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    Blogs

    1. Get Rich Slowly: I never fail to be impressed by the posts on GRS — this blog started as a personal financial journey, but has grown into so much more.
    2. I Will Teach You To Be Rich: While most personal finance blogs focus on cutting costs, I Will Teach You… pushes readers to increase their income, instead. It’s an approach that I think is ignored all too often but is absolutely important.
    3. WiseBread: There are plenty of money blogs that focus on one person’s journey: it’s a useful view point, but there’s just as much value in seeing what a community of people come up with. WiseBread offers an amazing community of writers.
    4. Yielding Wealth: When it comes to keep track of news in the personal finance sector, Yielding Wealth is always on the spot with the facts.
    5. The Simple Dollar: Of all the great content on TSD, I recommend the book reviews. There are plenty of great books on personal finance out there and I typically find them through TSD.
    6. Mrs. Micah: Another ‘speaking from experience’ blog, Mrs. Micah is more detail-oriented: her posts offer great tips on how to handle specific situations.
    7. No Limits Ladies: If you’re interested in focusing more on the money-making side of personal finance, NLL talks about everything from real estate to building a business. While the blog is geared towards ladies, I don’t think that they’d mind if guys stop by.
    8. The Frugal Duchess: The Frugal Duchess herself released a book earlier this year, and her blog is full of the same level of advice she dispenses at the Miami Herald.
    9. Five Cent Nickel: Full of practical advice and great deals, Five Cent Nickel offers a quick clue-in on all sorts of personal finance topics.
    10. The Color of Money: While not properly a blog — The Color of Money is the Washington Post’s regular column about personal finance — you’ll find tons of great information that doesn’t always make it through the rest of the personal finance blogosphere.

    Web Applications

    1. Mint.com: Probably the most popular money management application online, Mint.com is continuing to evolve. Most recently, the application became available on the iPhone.
    2. Wesabe: Another popular money management application, Wesabe is community-oriented. You can get lots of help and advice with any financial situation you encounter.
    3. Shoeboxed: My favorite financial tool of the last year is Shoeboxed: for a small fee, they’ll take care of sorting and scanning all of your receipts.
    4. QuickenOnline: You can take advantage of the full power of Quicken online — and for free. It’s a solid money management tool, based on Intuit’s years of work in the field.
    5. Thrive: If you’re in your 20s or 30s, Thrive offers all sorts of personal finance help targeted just at you.
    6. BillShrink: BillShrink helps you compare your cell phone plan and credit cards to make sure that you’re getting the best possible deal.
    7. Rudder: When visiting several sites to manage your money is too much, Rudder provides a solution — it delivers all of your personal finance information straight to your email inbox, allowing you to control your money there.
    8. SmartyPig: SmartyPig offers a head start on savings, allowing you to put money out of reach while you work towards a goal.
    9. Billster: Sharing expenses among a group — like splitting the rent with your roommates — got a lot easier with Billster. The site tracks shared bills and payments.
    10. Xpenser: For an easy way to track expenses, consider Xpenser. It works through email, an iPhone app, SMS, IM and Twitter.

    Resources

    1. Consumer Reports: While Consumer Reports has gotten into blogging in a big way lately, the whole site is very useful even if you aren’t a member.
    2. Bankrate: No matter what kind of financial information you’re looking for, Bankrate can lead you to it: loans, credit scores and taxes are just a sample of this website’s resources.
    3. The Motley Fool: The Motley Fool’s main focus is investments, although it does provide resources for other financial topics.
    4. Investopedia: Another site focused primarily on investing, the tutorials availbale on Investopedia provide a great education in a variety of topics.
    5. CNN’s Money101: For a complete guide to your financial life, Money101 can’t be beat. It’s full of step by step lessons that walk you through all sorts of financial projects.
    6. Tip’d: Tip’d launched this year — it’s sort of a Digg for money news. It’s full of great articles if you’ve got some time to spend reading.
    7. Inner8: If you’ve been looking for a place to discuss investments with other investors, check out Inner8. This new site provides tools to a large investment community.
    8. AnnualCreditReport.com: No matter what all those TV commercials say, the only place you can get all three of your credit reports for free is through ACR. It was established as to legislative requirements and protect consumers.
    9. PayScale: For financial information about your salary, check out PayScale. The site provides information about just where your salary should be.
    10. Kiplinger: Kiplinger offers solid personal finance advice on all sorts of topics, as well as current financial news.

    Have any more websites you’d like to add? Tell us about them in the comments!

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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