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Top 10 Highly Useful Websites to Learn About Personal Finance for Free

Top 10 Highly Useful Websites to Learn About Personal Finance for Free

Understanding how to manage your personal finances like a pro is essential for paying bills, building savings, amassing wealth, and enjoying a long and comfortable retirement. Although banks and financial advisors sometimes charge clients hundreds or thousands of dollars for personal finance advice, the Internet provides a vast array of free resources for individuals who seek to increase their financial literacy without making a huge dent in their pocketbooks.

Below are 10 highly valuable personal finance websites that offer resources and information to help you reach an array of goals, from living frugally to choosing the right credit products and investing wisely.

1. WiseBread.com

Wise Bread is an extremely popular personal finance community that includes bloggers and experts in its membership. As they like to say, “You don’t have to sacrifice your financial independence to enjoy life.” That’s the driving force behind what they do, and their goal is to help people live well. The most popular areas of the site are the “Personal Finance” and “Frugal Living” sections. It also offers a “Life Hacks” area that covers everything from technology tips to managing an organization.

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Top 10 Highly Useful Websites to Learn about Personal Finance for Free 1

    2. Kiplinger.com

    Kiplinger takes a much different approach, but it’s valuable in its own way. This site is only one of many distribution channels for this D.C.-based publisher, but it’s definitely one of the most popular. In addition to personal finance tips and tricks, Kiplinger gives you solid and accurate business forecasts. It’s seen as a trusted thought leader. One of the greatest benefits of Kiplinger is the variety of content available to the visitor. It has slide shows, videos, quizzes, news columns, special reports, blogs, and more.

    Kiplinger

      3. TheMilitaryWallet.com

      For families in the military, The Military Wallet is a unique and specially tailored personal finance site. The site’s goal is to assist the military community in becoming fiscally smart and informed about the variety of benefits and programs available to it. Financial topics such as investing, insurance, and retirement are covered in detail, as are subjects like military discounts and post-military money management.

      The Military Wallet

        4. BankingSense.com

        Banking Sense is one of the most valuable and instructive resources on this list. It has a unique way of presenting valuable financial news, tips, and advice without using highly technical jargon or phrasing that’s difficult to understand. The site covers such topics as credit cards, insurance, small-business finance, personal finance, taxes, and more. Part of what makes Banking Sense so useful is its community aspect. Readers are encouraged to interact and comment with the content, so they can learn from one another.

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        Banking Sense

          5. CashMoneyLife.com

          Having been featured on top media websites like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, and more, Cash Money Life stands out as a reliable source of advice on personal finance and small business. Set up in a typical blog format without all the bells and whistles that make other sites so confusing, readers can come here to get clear information. One of the most popular sections is the “Free Money” page, which provides information about referral bonuses, free trials, and the like.

          Cash Money Life

            6. Bankrate.com

            One of the most knowledgeable and respected sites on this list is Bankrate. Launched in the pre-Internet area, way back in 1976, this former newsletter has transformed itself into one of the most respected websites in the personal finance arena. As its name implies, Bankrate supplies plenty of information on bank rates, mortgages, and credit cards, but it’s also a source of personal finance advice in such areas as financial planning, retirement, and investments.

            Bankrate

              7. ModestMoney.com

              Modest Money readers appreciate this site for its honest and unassuming approach. Started by an “average guy,” this blog provides an unbiased and simplified look at financial product reviews, credit card deals, and other finance blogs.

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              Modest Money

                8. MyMoney.gov

                The only government-operated website on the list, MyMoney.gov offers its own unique spin on personal finance. It has information about earning, borrowing, saving, investing, spending, and protecting your money. Other popular pages include financial tools and money quizzes.

                My Money

                  9. CreditCardForum.com

                  If you’re really into personal interaction and online communities, check out the Credit Card Forum. The New York Times says it’s “for people who love credit. Its posters are a fount of tips and tricks for acquiring cards.” As you may have gathered, the personal finance information found here focuses on credit card offers and how to use them wisely.

                  Credit Card Forum

                    10. DoughRoller.net

                    The last site on our list is Dough Roller. This blog gives information, resources, and tips on how to make, donate, save, and spend money in fiscally smart ways. People who regularly read Dough Roller are intensely loyal because they appreciate the broad variety of content. Whether you like blogs, podcasts, newsletters, or anything in between, Dough Roller has something for you.

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                    Dough Roller

                      If you’re looking for reputable resources and solid information on personal finance, start with these 10 sites. You won’t be disappointed, and best of all, they’re free!

                      Featured photo credit: photopin via photopin.com

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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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