If you’re visiting SmartAsset, chances are you’re here because you’re interested in making smart personal finance decisions. Whether you’re looking for tips so you can save up to buy a home or are contemplating your financial future and saving for retirement, we have a few tips for you. But we know you may want to read from a different perspective now and then.
Find out now: How should I save for retirement?
Below you’ll find some of our favorite money saving reads ranging from blogs about debt-free living to living the frugal lifestyle to advice for the active 20-something.
Squawkfox is written and run by Kerry K. Taylor. She began her blog in 2008, urged by her husband to squawk about frugality to people other than him. Squawkfox is fun, easy to read, well written, and most of all a money-saver in the craziest ways. From duplicating a McDonalds McMuffin for 65% less to a Starbucks Frappucino for only 32 cents, her blog is equal parts helpful as it is creative.
Voted the #1 blog in Canada and praised by various press outlets, both U.S. and Canadian, Squawkfox has created a presence in personal finance. Her blog is chock full of tips on how to de-clutter your life, replicate consumer items for cheaper, cut your spending, accomplish goals within a budget, and make your own products. Organized into categories such as Recipes, Shopping, Holidays, Home & Organizing, and more, Squawkfox is easy to navigate and even comes with a section representing the best of Squawkfox so newbies know where to start with.
2. And Then We Saved
Anna Newell Jones is the writer of AndthenweSaved, a blog guided by a debt-free life pledge. Jones paid off her $24,000 in debt in only 15 months using a “Spending Fast,” a term she’s coined to cut out extra spending through committing to 1 year of spending only on necessities. Think utilities, rent, groceries… and that’s it. After the fast comes the “Spending Diet,” a less extreme version of the spending fast which Jones actually says is way harder. She invites others to join her in taking the debt-free life pledge and start by doing either a spending fast or a diet.
Aside from that her blog is comprised of fun and fresh ways to live “without all the crap.” She also has guest bloggers who regularly contribute with titles like, “How We Got Out of Over $147,000 in Debt” and “How I Got Out of the American Dream and Changed My Life in 3 Years.” A sample of her own articles: “6 Homemade Beauty Recipes Made From Scraps,” “How to Make Money Selling Your Crap” and “98 Cheap Date Ideas.” Jones has been featured by Self, CNN Money, Psychology Today and U.S. News & World Report to name a few.
You may have heard of mint.com – it’s a website that organizes and categorizes your spending for you, and puts all your financial accounts into one place. The idea is that by seeing exactly where your money goes, you can establish patterns to make better money decisions. The good people at Mint now have a second financial resource available, that being their blog.
It’s full of tons of categories including Goals, Investing, Saving, How To, Credit, Consumer IQ, Family, etc. It’s chock full of human interest pieces like “The 10 Cheapest Pets to Own” and “The Top States for Credit Card Fraud.” It’s also full of informative pieces dispensing vital information like “6 Steps to Starting an Emergency Fund” and “5 Times You Should Never, Ever Wire Money.” The website is vibrant, well-designed, and consistent, making for a great reader experience.
4. Wise Bread
“In fact, if you are living a truly frugal lifestyle, you’ll only appear to be paying top dollar for the finer things in life, even as your wallet stays fat and happy.” That sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it? Well, amazing as it is, this kind of lifestyle is exactly what Wisebread.com promises, guided by a mission to help others live large on a small budget.
Wisebread.com is a community of bloggers as varied as their readers, dispensing tips, financial advice, career and money-making ideas, as well as “general adulthood know-how your parents forgot to tell you.” On certain posts the site even offers drawings for readers to win free prizes like Amazon gift cards in exchange for participating via social media or by adding comments.
5. Get Rich Slowly
This site is text-heavy and straightforward. The goal is to stay away from get rich quick schemes and follow sound financial principles. Time Magazine named Get Rich Slowly one of the best blogs of 2011, along with outlets such as Family Circle, Yahoo, and the Los Angeles Times.
More frank then fun, Get Rich Slowly takes a no-nonsense approach to personal finance, guided by 12 key beliefs. Some of them include pay yourself first, spend less than you earn, and money is more about mind than it is about math. Intrigued? Head over to see what the seven hand-picked staff writers have to offer, picked to preserve founder J.D. Roth’s philosophy of sensible personal finance.
6. Budgets Are Sexy
Basically the complete opposite of Get Rich Slowly – this is personal finance’s frivolous, risqué and daring representative. Everything is done tongue-in-cheek, complete with an endorsement in the form of a guaranteed fictitious quote from Benjamin Franklin. Categories include Randomness 3000, Home Ownership, Credit Cards, Side Hustle Series, Cockamammy Indeed and more.
It would be surprising to not come across at least one thing outrageous within the site, whether that be a title (“Sex, Limes, and Making Money at the DMV”), a question (“On a scale from 1-10, how sexy is Ryan Seacrest?”), or the plethora of winky faces that are thrown into the mix. However, Budgets are Sexy does tackle these unorthodox topics with sincerity and tact, such as their post on “Non-Financial Ways to Help the Homeless.” The information may come delivered by a Mohawk-rocking, beer-drinking, hip-hop blaring, baby-toting dad, but that’s what makes it so engaging. The blog-baby of J. Money as he is known, has been praised by Lifehacker, Kiplinger, MSN and more.
7. Simple Dollar
The Simple Dollar leads with “financial talk for the rest of us,” and it delivers just that. Written in a down to earth, laidback and knowledgeable voice, Trent Hamm is just a really good blogger. Much like many personal finance bloggers, he went through a financial meltdown and threw himself into figuring out how to fix it. He emerged eight months later having paid off all his credit card debt and his vehicle, and established a new emergency fund. With The Simple Dollar, the reader gets something they so consistently lack with other personal finance blogs – clear direction.
This blog is so welcoming in the fact that it isn’t visually or textually overwhelming or busy. At the same time, it isn’t boring, and it has straight forward titles that truly tell you what you’ll be reading about – “Your Tax Return Isn’t A Christmas Present,” “Sheltered Children and Money Troubles,” and “Does Amazon Prime Actually Save Money?” Hamm’s blog is great for beginners looking to ease into the personal finance scene.
8. Money Ning
Money Ning is a personal finance blog that shares a little of everything, including investing, frugal living, coupons and promo codes. Ning’s financial know-how is proven in the fact that he completely changed his nine to five lifestyle working for others, successful as it was, to that of an entrepreneur.
He has started several ventures including a social media site specializing in personal finance articles. Written in article form rather then personal posts of any kind, Money Ning is professional, written with a variety of readers in mind, and useful. Tips often come dispensed in number form, from “5 Habits that Lead to Constant Improvement” to “4 Reasons that Renting Isn’t ‘Throwing Money Away.’”
9. 20 Something Finance
Yet another success story, G. E. Miller brings a different twist to the personal finance game with a blog catering to twenty-somethings in desperate need of financial guidance. The content is refreshing in it’s realism and relatability to today’s recent grads. Miller’s “About Me” section speaks to his own twenty something experience of applying to over 300 positions post-college only to land a $30k job one year later working 50-60 hours a week that didn’t even require a B.A.
It was this unbearable situation that motivated him to act – hacking away at his expenses and finding a higher-paying job. Readers of this blog should be ready for an anti-consumption attitude with the desire for financial independence, to learn the basics of personal finance, minimize their impact on the environment, and become healthy, wealthy, and well – rounded.
This is another fun blog, probably most comparable to Budgets Are Sexy. Lenpenzo is both funny and useful, telling you exactly what founder Len Penzo feels you should know. Touted as the off-beat personal finance blog for responsible people, you’ll learn “A Simple Trick for Getting Credit Card Interest Charges Waived,” “4 Kick-Ass Debt Lessons from the Karate Kid” and “Why Bag Ladies are Financially Savvier Than Many Celebrities.”
Len is a personality worth getting to know, as he genuinely tries to teach in a unique and entertaining fashion, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s interesting – Penzo is an electrical engineer currently employed in the aerospace industry. Appreciated by Business Insider, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more, CBS MoneyWatch sums it up best by saying, Penzo is “one of the best people to follow for money tips and tricks.”
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