Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing Your Money. Don’t be offended by the title. This plainly written book shows that anybody can learn to manage their money effectively, and is full of consumer tips, advice on mortgages, debt, mutual funds, auto loans, bank fees, credit cards, and other money-related matters. The book, written by expert financial columnist Robert K. Heady and financial writer Christine Heady, has already gone through four editions and sold millions of copies.
Best for Debt Payoff: You Need a Budget. You Need a Budget. Courtesy of You Need a Budget. You Need a Budget is a personal finance app that’s built around YNAB’s Four Rules. The rules – Give every dollar a job, Embrace your true expenses, Roll with the punches and Age your money – not only help you build a better budget but also help you gain control of your spending. Import transactions from your checking account and apply them to each budget category to get an accurate picture of your spending. Keep a balanced budget by adjusting budget categories if you accidentally overspend (or if you underbudgeted for a certain category). Detailed reports show you how your spending is progressing throughout the month and help you spot places that you can improve your spending. According to YNAB, the average new user saves $600 in the first to months and more than $6,000 in the first year. You can try the app for free for the first 34 days.
If you want to calculate your own finance charge, you have to know your credit card balance for each day of the billing cycle. While your credit card statement won’t list each day’s credit card balance, you can use your statement (or your online transaction log) to figure out the balance. Start with the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle. Then, add or subtract from the balance each day you have new transaction. Let’s say your APR is 12% and your billing cycle is 25 days long. You started the billing cycle with a balance of $100. On Day 4, you made a $100 purchase. On Day 20, a $25 payment was credited to your account. Your daily balance for each day during the billing cycle would be: Day 1 – 3: $100. Day 4 – 20: $200 ($100 purchase). Day 20 – 25: $175 ($25 credit)
US News & World Report: Although US News & World Report is not a finance magazine, it has an excellent money section that is sure to give you insight into the latest market and economic events. The pulse of what’s going on is usually summarized nicely. New York Times: The New York Times has an outstanding reputation for quality journalism. Rather than sensation, you’ll get a thoughtful analysis of current issues. Business Week: Business Week, a weekly publication, is going to give you insight into business and management trends across the globe. Of course, there are many, many more financial magazines on the market. You don’t need to read them all – a sampling of the ones above and you’ll get all the financial news and education you’ll need.For those near retirement, I’d also check out my top ten retirement blogs, which all offer great coverage of age 55+ related topics.
Because there are so many finance magazines on the market, selecting the right ones to read regularly may seem daunting. I have compiled a short list that will get you headed in the right direction on your path to mastering the basics of investing and personal finance. Spend a few hours per month and you’ll pick up knowledge at a fast pace. Browse through the selection below and find one that fits your reading style.
Before downloading transactions, you can select predefined periods of time for the transactions you want to see in the register, and it’s great to have this option, which is particularly helpful if you only want the past six month’s worth (for example) of transactions instead of two years worth. Not all personal finance software offers this option, and you can easily end up downloading months of transactions that you don’t want to track.
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