Budgeting 101?
May 13, 2014 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend budgeting and personal finance courses, or where I should be looking for such a thing?

Several years ago, a friend gifted me a one-year Dave Ramsey membership kit (books, site subscription, etc.) to get my butt in gear with credit card debt, learn to live within my means, etc. Now, I'd like to do the same for my significant other who has significant school debt and, like me, is NOT a natural at mindful money management. I am thinking we could do a course or program together. Should I be looking for such a course at community colleges or elsewhere? If you have taken the Dave Ramsey course in person, can you highlight the pros and cons?

For me, the Ramsey stuff worked spectacularly for the most part -- I am completely debt-free and actually have some savings now, though have since fallen off the budget bandwagon and could be wiser with my saving and spending. (But no debt still.) However, I am more tolerant of overt conservatism and religiousness than my partner, and I wonder if the in-person DR course is so much of that that it'd be harder for my partner to stomach.

I am in the Washington DC area if you have area-specific in-person classes to suggest. I am open to online suggestions too. Main criteria is that it is engaging/motivating, has good info for people who are kind of crappy with saving money/tend to overspend, and/or discusses stuff beyond budgeting like types of savings/investment accounts, how to decide to buy versus rent and how much to put down, that kind of thing. Thank you.

PS: Also, if it matters, we've been dating several years and now live together, and he seems receptive and interested about this, albeit somewhat whiny (eg., thought Suze Orman was 'annoying' when I was watching her on TV)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not familiar with Dave Ramsey, but here, for free, is a great site with lots of tools for financial education. These folks have no agenda.
posted by janey47 at 6:05 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding YNAB, there is no better product out there.
posted by Sternmeyer at 7:15 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thirding YNAB. There's nothing in the program that can't be done in a spreadsheet but the interface makes it so much easier.
posted by foxfirefey at 8:07 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

nth-ing YNAB and the four-rule method they teach. The support videos and articles, plus the discussion forums are super helpful. It is the only budgeting software and method that has ever worked for me.
posted by evolvinglines at 11:08 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, the Get Rich Slowly blog is a little overwhelming for me, but I bought the Money Toolbox and the "Be Your Own CFO" guide alone is well worth the price to help you get all your finances in order in a way that makes sense. I think it pairs well with YNAB.
posted by evolvinglines at 11:28 PM on May 13, 2014

I also liked YNAB, and they do offer lessons of sorts.

I dislike both Ramsey and Orman; see if he likes Mr Money Mustache. It's a blog and a forum mostly, but less... Zealous/annoying. Would assume he's got plenty of links to follow too.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:47 PM on May 13, 2014

I also love YNAB. There are three ways I know of to get it cheap or free. First, college students get it free now (only while they are in school, I think). Second, take webinars; at the end of each they pick an attendee at random and give him or her a free copy. The odds are pretty good. Third, wait for a Steam sale. I bought mine for $15 that way. You just need Steam for the activation code, and after that you can uninstall it.
posted by payoto at 3:58 AM on May 14, 2014

Firstly, get your beau on Mint! It is hugely popular with the take-charge-of-your-finances crowd and they have these great how-to videos, e.g. how to create a budget.

Secondly, introduce him to Mr. Money Moustache. I strongly suspect that someone with a bit of a 'tude towards Suze Orman will really take to MMM.
posted by rada at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2014

I remembered something about Khan Academy and personal finance. I did a search, and found that they partnered with Bank of America on a new site called Better Money Habits (http://www.bettermoneyhabits.com). Not a big fan of Bank of America, but I love Khan Academy. Things look pretty thin right now, but it may be a good supplement to something else if they fatten it up a little.

Also YNAB's videos are great, and I learned a lot just watching the video. The concepts could work with other personal finance software or even a spreadsheet too as someone mentioned. I tried the demo though, and decided it wasn't for me for the price. I ended up using something else.
posted by ohjonboy at 8:31 AM on May 14, 2014

On second thought, I watched a few of the videos on Better Money Habits, and I wasn't impressed. Really feels like they are just using the Khan Academy name. The videos don't seem to have the same no nonsense content as normal Khan videos.
posted by ohjonboy at 8:37 AM on May 14, 2014

NOVA does have several personal finance classes. If you're in maryland or DC it might be a bit of a hike, but check out adult enrichment classes offered by local school districts in the summer.

I find Ramsey and Orman to be incredibly annoying too. I'm thinking if a "celebrity personality" / father figure isn't going to sway him, maybe seeing results will. That'll be easier if he can see the current state of his finances and how they suck.
posted by fontophilic at 9:35 AM on May 14, 2014

Similar in tone to Mr. Money Moustache is Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You to be Rich. The title betrays the quality of information in the book. I've purchased it for all my siblings.
posted by Blandanomics at 11:26 AM on May 14, 2014

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