Online financial resources
December 30, 2007 9:59 AM   Subscribe

What are the best online financial resources?

I've searched old threads and found a lot of information about how to save money, but I know how to do that. What I want, at this point, is to *read* about saving money, or about eroding debt, or developing/maintaining a budget.

My family has a budget and a savings account -- neither is especially extensive, at this point, but it's something that we're working on. Because I find the subject interesting, I want to read more blogs and websites about finances, as well as examine other types of financial software, calculators, and spreadsheet setups. Google returns so many hits (and so many of them shady-seeming) that I'm overwhelmed, so I turn to the wisdom of MetaFilter.

Possibly relevant information: I have no financial background, save for a few years working customer service for a credit card. I started looking into this sort of thing a few months ago, and I had to look up what a money market account was--we're talking about personal finance for morons, here. I'm not especially interested in stocks, simply because it's not something that I have the means to explore at this point. We are not homeowners, nor do we plan to purchase a home any time soon.

I have a five-year-old child, a partner with whom I share finances but to whom I am not married, two cats, and debt that, while not insignificant, is not out-of-control and is being paid on.

Currently, I read a handful of blogs, have an INGdirect savings account, have an unfortunate-looking budget that I made with my (very limited) Excel skills, and have just downloaded PearBudget.

What are your favorite online resources? (Online is important here, as well--I have a stack of personal finance books that I'm making my way through, but I have more downtime sitting at a computer than I do downtime sitting around where I can easily read.) What would you recommend to someone learning about personal finance?
posted by meghanmiller to Work & Money (16 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I really like The Motley Fool website. Don't let the name fool you (no pun intended). It's a website that has all sorts of financial information-Stocks, IRAs, retirement, elimating credit card debt,etc. Their articles are great but don't neglect to check out their wide variety of forums.
posted by GlowWyrm at 10:11 AM on December 30, 2007

FatWallet Finance Forum
posted by rxrfrx at 10:15 AM on December 30, 2007

Fatwallet Finance is great -- I have found many excellent deals there -- but you're going to want to lurk for a good long while to figure out their cryptic abbreviations.

Also, the blogs in the Money Blog Network are all pretty good. I particularly like Consumerism Commentary, Free Money Finance, and Five Cent Nickel, and last but certainly not least, our own jdroth's Get Rich Slowly. Another decent blog aggregator on money topics is PFBlogs.
posted by kindall at 10:32 AM on December 30, 2007

MoneySavingExpert It's a UK based site, so some of the product specific advice won't be right for you, but there is some excellent budgeting advice on there.
Best of luck!
posted by tonylord at 10:33 AM on December 30, 2007

I second Fatwallet. Plenty of good stuff to read there.

And ING as well as some other online banks have *checking* accounts which typically return higher interest than your standard brick and mortar - we use it in addition to our brick bank.
posted by asparagus_berlin at 10:35 AM on December 30, 2007

I'd get in the habit of listening to Public Radio finance shows like Marketplace Money (podcast). The news coverage is digestible and provided with enough background so the novices can keep up, and typically the callers are given pragmatic advice to their questions.
posted by glibhamdreck at 10:45 AM on December 30, 2007

The Simple Dollar is my favourite financial blog.
posted by happyturtle at 11:03 AM on December 30, 2007

I'm seconding The Simple Dollar, which is consistently the most informative and interesting personal finance weblog I've come across. Get Rich Slowly is also excellent, but if you can only read one I suggest you go with The Simple Dollar.
posted by arco at 11:13 AM on December 30, 2007

I posted all my favorite personal finance blogs here.
posted by salvia at 11:28 AM on December 30, 2007

I usually get a lot of good, assorted advice listening to the Clark Howard Radio Show. (podcast)
posted by tfmm at 12:04 PM on December 30, 2007

Here are my favorites ... most have already been mentioned:

Consumerism Commentary
Five Cent Nickel
Gen X Finance
Get Rich Slowly
No Credit Needed
The Simple Dollar
Zen Habits

Also, for what it's worth, we're launching a new, web-based version of PearBudget on January 1st (hopefully?). Once you nurse your hangover, come on over and check it out.
posted by Alt F4 at 2:06 PM on December 30, 2007

Oh. And for audio resources, the above-linked Clark Howard is terrific. A lot of people also really like Dave Ramsey (although his focus is very much on getting out of debt, so if that's not where you are, it won't be as helpful as Clark Howard).

Also, the Get Rich Slowly forums are a good resource for talking with other people about questions you might have.

And, finally, I'd be more than happy to chat about budgeting with you. I think about budgeting and personal finance a lot, and I'd be more than happy to e-mail with you. My info's in my profile, if you want to get in touch. The GRS Forums will probably be more useful to you, but I'd still be happy to help. Just let me know.
posted by Alt F4 at 2:13 PM on December 30, 2007

I received The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing for Christmas--really readable and common-sense and turned me onto the Bogleheads' forums, which are also useful. See for calculators beaucoup. Will have to check out the Get Rich Slowly forums, thanks for posting this question!
posted by jenh at 3:31 PM on December 30, 2007

Also, haven't used this myself, but here's a free budget spreadsheet from and an online budget calculator (I don't know about you, but I wouldn't have the attention span for this one...) from Kiplinger.
posted by jenh at 3:38 PM on December 30, 2007

I like It is a site of financial calculators, over 200 different kinds. It's free. I learned a lot about how making a few dollars more in a payment can vastly impact a debt over time. Play around with some of those calculators and you can see the power of savings, the power of accelerated payments and hard numbers required for achieving specific financial goals. It 's not an advice site, it is a do it yourself see what happens when you alter your spending/saving behaviors to achieve goals.
posted by 45moore45 at 4:38 PM on December 30, 2007

Many of the blogs listed above are great (nthing Get Rich Slowly), but for you I'd also recommend Tired but Happy... while it's not 100% focused on personal finance, it is a strong focus of the blog, plus the blogger is also living with and raising a young child with an unmarried partner (and she sometimes writes about the financial issues specific to that situation.)
posted by EmilyClimbs at 6:04 PM on December 30, 2007

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