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16 Great Personal Finance Resources & Blogs

16 Great Personal Finance Resources & Blogs

    It’s one of the most common reasons for arguments and divorce in marriages. It can keep us from achieving our dreams, or it can enable us. It can cultivate the worst in people, and it can cultivate the best. Money is one the most fundamental, crude, material parts of our existence, yet we look at it like some kind of metaphysical, unknowable force.

    If this describes your relationship with money, it might be time to dedicate some time to improving your knowledge of your finances and set about improving them. You could even make a 30-day trial out of getting a grip on your money. From reducing your debt to automating your tax accounting records, there’s something for every reader.

    Get Rich Slowly – JD Roth’s immensely popular blog covers personal finance topics for the everyday individual, by breaking down the world complex and intimidating information so that anyone can understand it. With articles on investing for beginners and money saving tips, Get Rich slowly is also well-known for its reviews of personal finance and money-related books and products. Visit here.

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    The Simple Dollar – Trent Hamm’s blog also focuses on breaking down intimidating personal finance topics for everyday people, but it focuses on those who are in massive debt and need to do a complete 360 degree turnaround. If you’re experiencing serious financial difficulty, check out The Simple Dollar and learn from someone who has been there before and done something about it. Visit here.

    Wise Bread – This community blog features many talented contributors (such as Linsey Knerl, David DeFranza and Andrea Dickson) who share their tips on living frugally. Wise Bread excels at and is best known for providing those handy tips and tricks your grandmother would’ve given you to save a buck—maximizing tight budgets. Frugality is baked into this Wise Bread, and you can check it out here.

    Investopedia – Forbes’ site is useful for those who are interested in, but totally clueless about, the topic of investing, all the way up to the experts. It features articles, tutorials, tools, reports and simulators and will give you all you need to get started. It’s also got a Community section where you can ask advice from other ordinary people who happen to know a bit about investing (no substitute for professional advice, of course). Take a look here.

    AllFinancialMatters – AllFinancialMatters is a blog that covers the gamut of personal finance topics from budgeting to portfolio management. It’s run by a guy called JLP and is a breath of fresh air for me—having spent a lot of time in the blogosphere I know that there aren’t many bloggers who tell it like it is. JLP offers answers to his readers even when they’re not the ones they wanted to hear. Have a read.

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    CNNMoney – Despite belonging to CNN, this subsite is a handy reference for those who need to keep on financial news. Besides, if you’re not keeping up on news at all, this may truly be the one aspect that affects you (unless you’re an athlete or celebrity!) and can give you an upper-hand for financial decision-making. Take a look.

    Five Cent Nickel – Last time I visited Five Cent Nickel, the story on the frontpage was about rotating your car’s tires in order to make them last longer and hence save money. Beneath that? How to save 5% on gas with a credit card. This is really a blog that endeavors to serve up good info on saving the last penny. Check out this frugal living blog here.

    Consumerism Commentary – Consumerism Commentary finds its niche in commentary on financial news (such as whether women find rich men attractive or whether the rich are more stressed) with personal finance tips thrown in between. Take a look here.

    Free Money Finance – This blog’s tagline is Grow Your Net Worth and covers all sorts of useful and practical topics. For instance, recently it has looked at what to do about your financial situation when you’ve been laid off until you’ve got a new job, and how to best manage severance packages. Check it out here.

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    No Credit Needed – the No Credit Needed blog offers more handy advice, and their recent post on the Bills-in-a-Box system for organizing personal finances almost sounded like a Lifehack post. Check it out here.

    The Family Wallet – Are you managing the budget for a family or just for yourself? If it’s just you, you might want to move right along, but the Family Wallet is a fantastic blog for those who want family-specific financial ideas and advice. Check it out.

    Moolanomy – This personal finance blog is oriented towards wealth building and investing (as opposed to debt reduction, a common focus for blogs in this field) and about creating more money for yourself. It does cover topics such as frugal living, but for inspiring ideas on building your income, take a look here.

    Zen Habits – Leo Babauta just posted a big round-up of the best money-related posts he’s written since starting the blog. Get ready for some in-depth link exploration here.

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    Fix My Personal Finance – Here’s another resource on managing your money and fixing your personal finance problems. Take a look here.

    Binary Dollar – This blog has a quirky sense of humor and provides “free money tips for everyone” and seems to have a fetish for link round-up posts. Check it out here.

    Of course, we don’t advocate that you make serious decisions based off nothing more than the advice of a blog, and while these are all useful resources you should certainly check with a professional who you trust before taking action.

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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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