4 Crazy-Useful (& Mostly Free) Resources for Cracking the Money Mystery

There are two reasons people have issues managing their money:

1. Ignorance (meaning, you don’t know enough about money management and personal finance to make solid decisions)

2. Self-control issues (we live in a culture where consumerism is rampant and we are obsessed with having everything and having it now).

There are also a slew of issues that come from things like the wage gap, pay inequality, poverty, and various other social issues that I’m not going to get into here (chances are, if you’re reading this, you earn a wage).

But I think that with enough knowledge, the second issue becomes easier to manage. So, how do you learn about money?

Nobody comes out of the womb crunching numbers, investing their savings and calculating their net worth. We all have to learn from somewhere, and it’s clear that that North American school system isn’t that place.

And with an emerging cultural trend of self-directed online education through online courses, articles, eBooks, MOOCs, and countless other platforms, we’re taking it in our own hands.

Here are a few ways to learn about personal finance on your own so you can up your money game and start making awesome decisions about your cash.


BlogShareImage_MoMoneyPodcastI’m a HUGE fan of podcasts.

I have one of my own, and I listen to them constantly. When I’m driving, working out, walking anywhere, or doing anything mindless, I’m listening to a podcast.

I find audio learning the perfect way to learn something at my convenience.

I suggest my friend Jessica’s podcast, from Mo Money Mo Houses. She just launched and her episodes so far are great. Jess has the perfect radio voice and you always go away having learned something.

It’s a millennial focused podcast with interviews new guests each week about their personal money story. Topics include getting out of debt, doing a shopping ban, trying to overcome their inner shopaholic, quitting their 9 to 5 to become a solopreneur, starting a side hustle, money and relationships and more.

If you enjoy her podcast I highly recommend you leave a review here (every review helps – take it from a podcaster!) and subscribe to Jess’s show.

Jess is also hosting a giveaway to celebrate the launch of her podcast for:

You can (and should!) enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway.


I don’t think books will ever go out of style.

Think about it – when you think of learning anything, what do you think of? For me, it’s picking up a book.

There are some amazing books out there about money, and you’d be surprised as to how much you’ll learn from each one – even if you think you already know everything about personal finance. I’m a blogger on the topic and I still learn something from every finance book I read.

Some great books are:

  • Anything from Gail Vaz Oxlade
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • The Wealthy Barber
  • Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money: The Handbook of Financial Peace University
  • MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

Everyone will have a different style, so some of these books might not jive well with you, but you won’t know until you pick them up.

If you find yourself solid on one financial topic (ie budgeting) but lacking knowledge in another (ie investing), there are plenty of books about each topic so don’t worry about running out.

Blogs and Online Publications

I’m obviously a huge fan of blogs.

Hopefully you are too (otherwise you might be hate reading this =) ). And I’ve learned a crazy amount of information about money from blogs and online magazines (like FastCompany).

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of personal finance blogs out there, touching on every topic from investing to home ownership, to saving and budgeting and more, so it’s difficult to make any recommendations, but spend some time on a handful of blogs getting to know the author and the style.

Every once in awhile you’ll land on the perfect blogger/reader match and you’ll be hooked.

Courses and Products

Big, commercial courses and products are sometimes too faceless to be effective when it comes to learning about personal finance – after all, the word personal is used in there.

So once you find your favorite blogger (or two, or three) or authority on money who you trust, see if they have any products or courses you can sign up for to teach you a bit more about personal finance.

There are a ton out there and they can be mind-blowingly useful.


There’s no need to wallow in ignorance about money. We all need to start learning somewhere, so start where you are – and with what you have. Podcasts, books, blogs and courses are some of the best places to start.


How to Save Big on Your Budget Without Sacrificing the Fun

You’ve done your homework and created a budget that maps out what you should be spending each month, but despite weeks of trying to stay within those limits, your outgoing expenses are always more than your incoming funds.

You’re probably beginning to feel hopeless and ready to give up on this whole budgeting thing. Maybe you’re even wondering if it’s impossible to live within your means.

Luckily, there are ways you can cut back without losing your quality of life. From grocery bills to insurance premiums, there are several methods to reduce spending in virtually every category.


For big families, this category can be the most expensive of all, but there are ways to reduce your grocery bill while still enjoying the food you love. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Join a warehouse club like Costco and buy in bulk
  • Learn the art of couponing to save big on name brands
  • Shop local farmer’s markets and buy direct from the grower
  • Join a co-op to save money on produce
  • Sign up for your store’s rewards club to get exclusive savings


  • Consider cooking a meatless meal a few days a week to cut back on high meat costs


One of the greatest fears of establishing a budget is that you won’t be able to eat out anymore, but you simply have to be smart about your choices.

Some people limit eating out to a certain number of times per week, while others choose a set amount for the month. Either way, there are options to save money at a restaurant. First, join a membership club for access to coupons and discounts. Next, check out specials, such as “Kids Eat Free” days and free birthday meals. Eating family style can also be cheaper if you have several people.


One of the best ways to ensure financial freedom is by maintaining necessary policies. Car accidents and medical emergencies can strike without any notice, leaving you thousands of dollars in debt. Insurance is the only way to protect yourself from the financial downfall of such a catastrophe and while your premiums may be fixed each month, there are still ways to reduce your spending in this category. Contact an insurance agent to compare prices and check for specials, such as good student and driver discounts. Even a few dollars a month can add up to big savings over time.


Your mortgage is a payment that stays the same for several years, but even it can be reduced. If you purchased your home when interest rates were high, consider refinancing to a lower rate. The upfront costs can be recouped within a few years if you reduce your payment enough, meaning you’ll then be saving money each month for the life of your loan. The same principle applies for other forms of financing, such as vehicle or other loans.

Finding areas to make tweaks in your budget can seem like a small change at first, but the savings add up and over time you could be increasing your bank account by thousands of dollars. Whether it’s your grocery bill or your insurance premium, there are always ways you can cut back without sacrificing your quality of life.


6 Easy Changes You Can Make to Improve Your Finances

Improving your finances may have been on your past New Year’s resolutions list, bucket list, some-day-in-the-future list, but really, it can start right now. People often shy away from talking about or tackling their financial problems head on because it can be stressful and can make us feel shameful.

People often shy away from talking about or tackling their financial problems head on because it can be stressful and can make us feel shameful.

We’ve all been there at some point in our lives where we weren’t spending as smartly as we would like to. The good news is that you can make changes to your financial plans at any point and turn things around. Even if you are in debt, it’s not too late to get yourself on a better path. You can do this by making a few, easy changes to improve your

Even if you are in debt, it’s not too late to get yourself on a better path. You can do this by making a few, easy changes to improve your situation.

1. Make a Budget

The first thing to do should come as no surprise: make a budget.

Take an honest look at your monthly income and compare it against your monthly expenses. Filter out “wants” from “needs” and budget based on your needs.

Non-negotiables such as rent, car payment, and electric bills are a must in the “need” section which must be budgeted in, but other items such as eating out three times a week or getting your hair done once a month can be reassessed when figuring out your budget.

If you’re stuck, download a budgeting app such as Mint to assist you with all of your obligations and goals.

2. Create Some Financial Goals

The second thing you should do is create some goals both big and small.

Is there a credit card you’d like to pay off for good? Allocate your payments to concentrate specifically on upping your monthly payment.

Smaller goals can be as easy as saving twenty dollars a month. Set it up automatically through your bank to have this money transferred to your savings on a set day of the week. You don’t have to think about it and more than likely you won’t even notice it’s missing.

3. Cut Down on Expenses

Along with setting a budget for yourself, also cut down on your expenses.

Look over your bank statements for the past six months and look at the day-to-day items that may have been adding up.

  • Are you stopping for a coffee every single morning? Invest in a coffee maker and try making your coffee at home. Only treat yourself to a latte every once in awhile.
  • Have you been to the movies several times over the past few weeks? The cost of tickets plus concession stand food can quickly add up, so look for discount theaters and bring your own snacks.

You don’t have to completely cut out everything that is enjoyable for you, just cut back or make some compromises.

4. Take Note of Deadlines

Another area in which you can improve your finances is to pay back your taxes as soon as possible.

Now that Tax Day has come and gone, people find themselves with overdue taxes looming over their heads.

If you owe taxes and are having trouble figuring out the best way to pay them without spending your life savings, consider enlisting the help of a company like Community Tax to help you best decide. Tax professionals can often help you find credits you are eligible for you that you may not know about, as well as many other helpful items.

5. Track Your Spending

Once you have a financial plan in place, track your spending so you don’t fall back into old habits.

If it’s easier for you, take out a specific amount of cash each month that you have budgeted to spend for the week. Make note of exactly where you are spending your money and list it in the column of either “want” or “need.”

6. Create a Savings Plan

When you have paid down the majority of your debt, the next step is to create a savings plan. You might not be able to contribute very much at first, but over time you will be able to put more and more money into your nest egg.

If you are goal-oriented, a good visualization exercise would be to post a picture of your goal to your desk. This can be a dream vacation, new home, or paying off your car. Whatever your goal is, your savings will become easier if you can see it going directly towards your goal.


Don’t be afraid to take on the challenge of improving your finances. You can begin at any time and all efforts make you that much closer to financial freedom. Debt plagues millions of Americans every year, but it doesn’t have to. Employ a few of these easy changes and think of some of your own to help pay down your debt and build up your savings.