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We want you to get the most out of your money. These are the tools we use and recommend to take charge of your personal finances and build wealth.
Getting ahead financially requires a supportive community of friends. If you want to learn how to save money, consider checking out the saving advice forums. The forums is full of some characters, but the quality of conversation is really good. The site is advertisement free and doesn’t cost anything to sign up.
You may also check out Monica Louie’s debt free families Facebook community if you want a family-like environment where you can share your tips and insights in becoming debt free.
Free Credit Scores
Credit Karma is a free credit score site owned by one of the big three credit companies. This is a no scam, 100% legit way for you to check your credit score for free as much as you’d like. They will try to sell you add ons, but the core service is free.
It’s extremely important for you to check your credit score on a regular basis not only because your credit affects interest rates, but it also immensely impacts insurance premiums, and can determine the outcome of both job and rental applications. Get your free credit score.
Also, don’t forget about annualcreditreport.com. This site is a no-nonsense, no-frill free service which allows consumers to check their credit score one per year. Definitely check it out.
Money Management Platforms & Discount Tools
USAA Bank — USAA bank has a really excellent reputation, they have solid products and good customer service. While their products are mostly geared towards people serving the US Armed Forces, the fact you can call them up and talk with a real real person without a lot of hassle means they are worth checking out. USAA Bank isn’t free, but their service is above average. Sign up here.
Personal Capital (FREE) — If you’re looking for a more robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go. They’re like Mint but on steroids, and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. Most personal finance bloggers love and use them since they automatically give you a snapshot of where all your money is along with super helpful graphs. The good thing about Personal Capital is they have a ton of free tools and a free sign up – they will want you to transfer your assets to their platform, but you don’t have to. Clicky here.
Savings Honey (FREE) — Honey is a widely used coupon finding service. We like it because Honey looks on-line and finds coupons for you. This is key because most people buy coupons online and many don’t get the savings they could have. Coverage is good, with major retailers being covered like Amazon.com and Macys.com. It is free to use – just go to joinhoney.com/install and sign in.
Books We Like
The Millionaire Next Door — The Millionaire Next Door is a classic of personal finance. The authors are two marketing professors, Thomas Stanley and William Danko. The book is based on their research in marketing to the affluent and draws a surprising portrait of what real American millionaires look like. They find that in contrast to the public conception of millionaires as champagne swilling yacht traveling blue bloods, most of Americas wealthy are frugal owners of unglamorous small businesses. We definitely recommend it. Click here to grab a copy on Amazon.com Don’t forget to use Honey to see if there are any savings! 🙂
Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Self-Made Millionaires – The author of this gem is Tom Corley. For this book Corley interview over 300 millionaires and looked what what daily habits made them productive. Corley found that Millionaires were more likely to read, eat healthy, set goals, develop multiple streams of income and avoid time wasters. If you are interested in developing success patterns in your own life, the book is well worth the read. Get it here and get on the road to healthy habits.
The Richest Man in Babylon — This is a classic. The book was published in 1926 and has sold millions of copies. The book teaches financial principles through parables and storytelling. The lessons of the stories are simple. They advocate saving, reducing your expenditures, investing to grow your wealth and mitigating risk. Its also sold millions of copies since the 1920s.
Click here to get with the Babylonian insight.
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits – Philip Fisher is among the most influential investors of recent years. The book was first published in 1958 and has had an outsized impact on growth investing philosophy and practice. The work argued that important business characteristics would include a growth orientation, high profit margins, high return on capital, a commitment to research and development, superior sales organization, and proprietary products or services. Fisher also said you should social network as much as possible to get information about a company that others don’t know. If you are into stocks, buy this book.
The Intelligent Investor – This classic text is continually updated to reflect prevailing market conditions. The author, Benjamin Graham, is the greatest investment advisor and value advisor of the 20th century. Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” — which teaches investors to buy stocks for less than the company’s intrinsic worth is renown for shielding investors from substantial error — has made The Intelligent Investor a stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949. If you are interested in emulating the value investing philosophy, which has been shown to produce superior investment returns over the past 60 years, this a must read. It retails for something like 10 bucks online. It retails for 10 bucks on line.
Build up your money muscles with America’s favorite finance coach. Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There’s one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that’s with The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition. By now, you’ve heard all the nutty get-rich-quick schemes, the fiscal diet fads that leave you with a lot of kooky ideas but not a penny in your pocket. Hey, if you’re tired of the lies and sick of the false promises, take a look at this—it’s the simplest, most straightforward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it’s based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies. If you want to be financially fit, click here.
The 4-hour Work Week – Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint. Grab a copy now!
Think and Grow Rich has been called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” It was the first book to boldly ask, “What makes a winner?” The man who asked and listened for the answer, Napoleon Hill, is now counted in the top ranks of the world’s winners himself. The most famous of all teachers of success spent “a fortune and the better part of a lifetime of effort” to produce the “Law of Success” philosophy that forms the basis of his books and that is so powerfully summarized in this one. Click here to get a copy.
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? How much do parents really matter? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. Click here to get a copy.
The Automatic Millionaire starts with the powerful story of an average American couple–he’s a low-level manager, she’s a beautician–whose joint income never exceeds $55,000 a year, yet who somehow manage to own two homes debt-free, put two kids through college, and retire at 55 with more than $1 million in savings. Through their story you’ll learn the surprising fact that you cannot get rich with a budget! You have to have a plan to pay yourself first that is totally automatic, a plan that will automatically secure your future and pay for your present.
David Bach gives you a totally realistic system, based on timeless principles, with everything you need to know, including phone numbers and websites, so you can put the secret to becoming an Automatic Millionaire in place from the comfort of your own home. This one little book has the power to secure your financial future. Do it once–the rest is automatic! Click here to find out more.
Your Money or Your Life: In an age of great economic uncertainty when everyone is concerned about money and how they spend what they have, this new edition of the bestsellingYour Money or Your Life is an essential read. With updated resources, an easy-to-use index, and anecdotes and examples particularly relevant today-it tells you how to get out of debt and develop savings, reorder material priorities and live well for less, resolve inner conflicts between values and lifestyle, save the planet while saving money, and much more!
In Your Money or Your Life, Vicki Robin shows readers how to gain control of their money and finally begin to make a life, rather than just make a living. Get it for less than 10 bucks!
Rich Dad Poor Dad, the #1 Personal Finance book of all time, tells the story of Robert Kiyosaki and his two dads—his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad—and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you. Click here to get a copy.
We’re firm believers that there is simply no one-size-fits-all budgeting system. Instead, you need to figure out what works best for you. Here are some recommendations:
- Mint.com (For those who prefer the computer to do the heavy lifting.)
- Here’s a handy list of awesome budget spreadsheets
- And last, but not least, our list of fun downloads including budget and net worth spreadsheets
Really, it doesn’t matter how you get your budget together just as long as you have one!
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