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Author Topic: Good websites/blogs/programs for managing money?  (Read 18893 times)
MrCrispy
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« on: October 30, 2007, 01:46:38 AM »

This is not really a topic for the software forum, but in my short time here I've seen this site has a lot of members who are very knowledgeable, so I'm sure I'll get some help.

I'm a software geek who's clueless about money  Sad I can spend days and weeks on tweaking programs and searching for the perfect utility, but not so when it comes to money. Even though I make a decent living, my savings do not reflect this because they don't grow like they should. I lost a lot of my savings a few years ago in the stock market and since then have been very hesitant. Currently I've put most of it in online banks such as ING which give me higher APR but thats pretty much it.

What are some good resources you recommend? There are way too many blogs out there, I don't know where to start. I also need some software to track my money and spending - I was going to get either Money or Quicken, but there are also some free web based alternatives like Wesabe, Mint etc which look very compelling (apart from having to trust a website with my account passwords). I'd also appreciate links to some good forums for personal finance.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2007, 02:00:40 AM »

I went to a week-long financial seminar given by a guy named Scott Marsh who very clearly laid out info on finance. His website has lots of financial information. He also says that for the college course he teaches, The Millionaire Next Door is the "textbook" he makes the class use, and that's all they use.

One cool thing he told me about was a website called PowerPay.org that has lots of money stuff you can do. Like make a calendar to pay off your debt, and mess around with it until you can find out the fastest way to pay it off, or other options. I'm not sure of all the features of the site, but it might be worth a look.

Also, again when it comes to getting out of debt and building up savings, a really good book is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This book gets you excited about building wealth and lays out steps very clearly on how to do it. It's not a get rich quick book, so expect to work hard and have patience. Word of warning: In my opinion the first chapter or two mostly consist of Dave trying to convince you to believe the book is good and has good info, so it may come off as one of those infomercials where everyone says how great something is, which automatically makes you not believe it. Once you get past those chapters it really is great and has good info.

Okay that's all for now.
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mnemonic
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2007, 07:41:54 AM »

I've used Acemoney for years and haven't found a better alternative yet (paid and free versions available):

http://www.mechcad.net/products

If I didn't have years tied up in Acemoney, I 'd move to Money Manager Ex, which is free, open-source and cross-platform and has *fantastic* support:

http://www.thezeal.com/so...ndex.php?Money_Manager_Ex

Not sure where you are in the world, but here is a great UK finance website (with a very active forum):

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/
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Renegade
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2007, 08:53:49 AM »

Nope. You're all going in the WRONG direction...

The best money management web sites are all dating sites. Get yourself married & you'll quickly find your wife managing your money for you. cheesy

If you're a woman, you're probably already good at managing your money - still... Go to a dating site. Get married. Take all your husband's money so that you have more to manage. Wink

I got this stuff aaaaalllllllllll figured out!  tease

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matt_man22
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2007, 08:11:31 PM »

Use http://www.mymoneyblog.com for advice

My personal advice is to not be scared of the stock market.  In the long run your returns will be better than any bank.  You just have to keep it there for a while.  The past couple years you would have made all of your money back.  Find low-expense etfs and index funds and let it coast for 10-20 years.

It is a good idea to use a high-yield account like ING for cash savings though.  Keep at it and don't follow any get-rich-quick schemes.
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2007, 08:16:29 PM »

A really nice site to help you spend money wisely: http://frugalforlife.blogspot.com/
Also useful: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/
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zridling
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2007, 10:21:42 PM »

MrCrispy, I just turned 46 years old and the only thing I know about money is "impulsiveness." That's why I have $13 in my checking account at this age!

mouser's recommendations are solid, the getrichslowly guy starts out with the sound, "Pay yourself 10% off the top," but after the bills are paid, who the hell's got 10% left? (Oh, that's right, people with real jobs!) Anyhoo, for short-term spending, also check out The Consumerist, which will keep you away from scams and teach you how to get your money back and not get ripped off. And then look at Zen Habits on living simply and staying productive with what money you have.
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nosh
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2007, 01:51:05 AM »

Solid advice from Matt. I have seen several friends/relatives lose money at the stock exchange which they view as some big get-rich-quick arena. If you must gamble you may as well go to the races, horses are more fun to watch than stockbrokers. The trick is to not speculate but get in for the long run. It seldom hurts to invest in Blue Chip stocks and then keep it there.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2007, 03:05:12 AM »

http://www.fool.com/
http://www.fool.co.uk/
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momonan
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2007, 07:30:57 AM »

My all-time favorite is  www.debtproofliving.com.  The author got herself out of $100,000 in debt and shows you how to manage your money so you can do it, too.  I've used this system for many years, even through several long periods of being unemployed.  Managing money is all about giving yourself options (the option of taking a leave from work, for example).  Being in debt, while it seems really cool at first, cuts off all future options because you have to continue working just to pay -- triple -- for things you don't even have anymore (yes, that $20 book you want to put on your credit card today will cost you $60, if you ever get it paid off, depriving you of the option of buying $40 worth of car repair or dental work).

Basically, five principles apply:

1.  Every time you receive any money, save some (say 10%) and give some away.  EVERY time.

2.  Figure out your irregular, but inevitable, expenses (such as car and house repair, insurance, income taxes, health care) and put something away toward them every month, or every paycheck -- before you spend a dime on anything current (even food).  For a very good reason, this is called a freedom account.

3.  Rapidly retire your debt - there is an excellent calculator that will tell you how much the debt you have is REALLY costing you and how many YEARS (maybe 20 or more--or never) before it will be all paid off, even if you never put another penny on the card, and another to help you retire the debt.

4.  Begin a contingency fund (starting with a few dollars) of three-to-six months of essential expenses as a cushion; only then should you begin to consider "playing" with your money in things like the stock market.

5.  Always live UNDER your means (not as hard as it seems at first).

Unfortunately, there is a fee (around $20 per year) to fully use the site, although there are free calculators for rapid-debt reduction and managing a freedom account.  But the author also has a very popular book, also called "Debt-proof Living," that tells everything you need to know.  For the techies among us, though, the site offers countless calculators for such things as what is saved by paying off a mortgage early, the true cost in the future of buying something now, what a certain investment will be worth after a given number of years, the breakdown of principal and interest of a payment, etc.

The issue of WHERE to put money that you have decided is available for investment is a totally different subject.
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Jammo the OrganizedFellow
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2007, 10:14:31 AM »

Dangmit Mouser! I was gonna mention GetRichSlowly.org lol
I learned a new one today, thanks momonan for debtproofliving.

Here's a unique method!
http://www.johnchow.com/
Start your own blog. I haven't done so yet, but I love to write, and as much time as I spend on the computer, I'd rather be making more money doing something sooo simple.
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Plasma Man
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 02:00:32 AM »

Another vote for Ace Money - very good for personal finances - not too complex to use, either.

Love Thy Spreadsheet. Aside from the good tips mentioned here, if you can get into the habit of using spreadsheets everyday (for both personal and work income / bills / planning etc) and learn some of the formulas this can really help in awareness of your spending and acknowledging how you use money.

As for soul food, if you are hunting for something that goes a little deeper, I highly recommend:
The Secret Life of Money - Tad Crawford
http://www.amazon.com/Sec...y-Food-Soul/dp/188055951X

It's one a handful of books which 1) educates about the history and symbolism of money 2) makes you reflect on your own relationship with it and 3) it's well written.

Btw, I don't have a credit card. Only debit cards. It's tough some of the time, but in terms of enforced saving it bloody well works alright! smiley


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Deozaan
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2008, 10:51:09 PM »

I recently found out about You Need a Budget.com, which is a blog. The guy also designed some software and came up with 4 rules which help you stop living paycheck to paycheck, budget properly, get out of debt, prepare for rainy days, and just in general save money.

Be sure to read the main page and especially the 4 rules.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2008, 10:59:51 PM by Deozaan » Logged

MrCrispy
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2008, 12:57:09 AM »

What do you guys think of financial advisers? I've read that they are not worth the price because the advice they give is the same you can find yourself with research. The reason I'm asking is one of my friends just passed her exams and has become a licensed financial broker and she wants me to come in and be a client with her company.

I also registered with Yodlee moneycenter to track my net worth and pay bills. It seems to a good way to link online accounts and see them at a glance.
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zridling
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« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2008, 01:33:47 AM »

Check out The Simple Dollar, which has been a guide for those of us on the lower end of the income scale.
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MrCrispy
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« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2008, 02:42:39 AM »

Thanks Zaine, thats a great site too. For the last few months I have been very careful about eliminating all 'want's and just spend on the needs and it has already been worth it. I've also begun to realize that instead of aiming for more money, I should aim for a better quality of life which equally means emotional and social wealth as well. At the end of the day I want to be happy and be able to say I have made all the efforts I can towards my goals, and not measure them by the number of zeros in my bank account.

It would be nice to be rid of the trappings of materialism  but I am honest and selfish enough to know thats not going to happen and I will want and desire things for myself and my loved ones. I don't want to lose sight of the nigger picture in pursuit of material goals,  but I also know from personal experience that the only people who say 'money can't buy happiness' are those who've never suffered real poverty and hardship.
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