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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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                      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                      The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

                      The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

                      Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

                      Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

                      Identifying All of Your Debts

                      The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

                      Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

                      1. Own Your Debt

                      Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

                      Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

                      2. Make a Debt Tracker

                      It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

                      Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

                      3. Get Your Debt Number

                      Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

                      Prioritizing Your Debts

                      All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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                      1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

                      Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

                      There are three main types of bad debt:

                      • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
                      • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
                      • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

                      Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

                      • Student Loan Debt
                      • Mortgage Loan
                      • Business Loans

                      2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

                      Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

                      Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

                      If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

                      3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

                      Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

                      Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

                      Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

                      1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

                      “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

                      It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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                      Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

                      Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

                      2. Hide Your Credit Cards

                      If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

                      Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

                      3. Automate Everything

                      Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

                      4. Plan Ahead

                      Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

                      For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

                      5. Live Cheaply

                      The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

                      • Live with roommates
                      • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
                      • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
                      • Take public transit or bike to work

                      Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

                      The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

                      If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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                      1. Maintain a High Credit Score

                      Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

                      • Never miss a payment
                      • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
                      • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
                      • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
                      • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

                      2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

                      Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

                      Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

                      If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

                      How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

                      Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

                      1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

                      Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

                      Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

                      2. Earn More Money

                      There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

                      Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

                      Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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                      Talk to Your Boss

                      Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

                      Start a Side Hustle

                      This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

                      Build an Online Business

                      There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

                      3. Celebrate Your Wins

                      As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

                      While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

                      4. Set New Financial Goals

                      Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

                      Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

                      These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

                      Conclusion

                      Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

                      Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

                      More Tips on Getting out of Debt

                      Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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