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10 Best Websites that Help Make You More Money-Savvy

10 Best Websites that Help Make You More Money-Savvy

Many people don’t believe me when I say this, but learning about finance can actually be really fun. You might be rolling your eyes at me as you read this, and I don’t blame you. When most of us think of a financial advisor, we envision someone in a suit behind a mahogany desk talking about stocks and a bunch of other things that are hard to understand.

The truth is that these days, you can find out anything you want to about money by just reading some great financial blogs and signing up for unique programs. There are so many websites out there that can teach you about paying off your debts and investing, and they do so in a fun and engaging way. Below are my top ten favorite websites that can help make you smarter with your money and by extension, wealthier than you ever thought possible.

money savvy

    #1 Payoff.com

    Payoff.com_-1024x574

      The first step to becoming 100% financially independent is to pay off your debts. It’s rare these days to find someone that has no debt: between sky-high student loan debts and mortgages, chances are almost everyone you know owes money for something. That’s why Payoff.com is so unique—it’s an encouraging website that joins with social media to help keep you motivated to pay off debts. They give out virtual badges when you reach certain steps, and you can encourage others through their unique community.

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      #2 Mint.com

      mint.com

        Mint.com is a favorite among finance professionals. The tools on their site can help you to live on a tight budget and also see where you money is going every month. It’s completely free to sign up and keeps your information secure.

        #3 LearnVest

        learnvest

          LearnVest is a relatively new company that is earning a lot of praise for their great financial advisors and unique programs. They have an online community where you can go and ask questions as well as tools to track your budget.

          #4 Investopedia

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          Investopedia

            Investopedia is just like it sounds: an encyclopedia for you to educate yourself on anything and everything finance. Learn about investing and check in for the latest news and articles on financial topics.

            #5 GoGirlFinance

            GoGirlFinance

              GoGirlFinance is a great grassroots company that is devoted to helping women gain the confidence to handle their finances. They provide unique blog posts every week on a variety of financial topics from the fiscal cliff to when it’s a good time to have a baby, and they also partner with several talented financial advisors to bring free webinars to the public.

              #6 MyMoney.gov

              MyMoney.gov

                MyMoney.gov is a US government website that exists as a way to educate citizens on finances. You can learn about mortgages and loans and utilize their tools such as debt and mortgage calculators to find out how to best manage your money.

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                #7 WiseBread.com

                wisebread

                  WiseBread.com is one of the top personal finance websites with tons of resources to help you better understand how to manage your money. They have a team of highly accomplished writers who all bring a unique perspective to the site. They also have an invaluable, regularly-updated list of all of the top personal finance blogs.

                  #8 RetailMeNot.com

                  retailmenot

                    One easy way to get smarter with your money is to start learning how to save money on simple things like your grocery bills. Coupons are all the rage, and there’s no shame in carrying a stack of them into the store with you—in fact, before I buy anything, whether it’s a scented candle or a nice computer, I always check RetailMeNot.com to make sure there isn’t a coupon for it that I’ve missed. Simply search the store where you are about to shop just to be sure there isn’t a $5 off coupon or a free shipping code: by doing this you can easily live like a king on a peasant’s income.

                    #9 BankRate.com

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                    bankrate.com

                      I like BankRate.com because it almost acts like an interactive newspaper. You can get updates on the best mortgage rates while enjoying interesting and fun articles and useful tips, and they also provide several calculators that you can use to determine how much you’ll need to spend each month for that new home or car.

                      #10 ManVsDebt.com

                      manvsdebt

                        ManVsDebt.com is a great personal blog belonging to a couple who sold all their belongings and traveled around the world. If you’re looking for inspiration for the goals you can achieve when you save, this is the place to get it. They also offer great tips for smarter ways to save money while simultaneously encouraging you to live a minimalist life.

                        Hopefully, these ten great websites can help you get on track with learning all you can about finance in a way that is enjoyable and fun. All it takes is a little bit of knowledge to make big changes that can lead to a happier and healthier financial life this year.

                        Featured photo credit:  Balancing Time and Money via Shutterstock

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                        Published on September 17, 2018

                        How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                        How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                        Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

                        With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

                        So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

                        1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

                        It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

                        You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

                        So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

                        2. When you want something big, wait

                        Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

                        It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

                        We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

                        A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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                        So, you get the itch.

                        You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

                        Here’s where you have to take a step back.

                        Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

                        Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

                        It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

                        The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

                        3. Live smaller than you can afford

                        You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

                        You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

                        That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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                        Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

                        Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

                        The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

                        But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

                        4. Practice smart grocery shopping

                        Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

                        But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

                        Create a grocery budget

                        Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

                        Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

                        I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

                        Make a list… and never deviate

                        Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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                        You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

                        These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

                        Eat before going grocery shopping

                        It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

                        If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

                        After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

                        Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

                        However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

                        This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

                        5. Cancel your gym membership

                        Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

                        The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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                        Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

                        I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

                        Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

                        Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

                        For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

                        Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

                        There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

                        It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

                        I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

                        Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

                        The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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