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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 January 2, 2019

                      How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                      How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                      Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

                      Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

                      Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

                      This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

                      Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

                      What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

                      Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

                      When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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                      How It Leads to Financial Improvement

                      It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

                      Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

                      Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

                      It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

                      Types of Personal Finance Software

                      When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

                      Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

                      For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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                      Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

                      When to Use Personal Finance Software

                      So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

                      Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

                      1. You Have Multiple Accounts

                      There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

                      If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

                      Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

                      2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

                      Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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                      There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

                      With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

                      3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

                      Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

                      Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

                      Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

                      4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

                      Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

                      You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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                      How to Get Started

                      From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

                      Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

                      It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

                      When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

                      Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

                      In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

                      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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