Photo: Ben Spark
Students of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University learn a lot about how to manage money. While we at Dough Roller don’t necessarily agree with all of Dave’s views, we do think his basic Baby Steps method can be great for those struggling to gain financial control in their lives.
So with that said, we’re here to give you some print and online resources that can help you expand your FPU learning and put those Baby Steps into practice. Here are 25 resources that Dave’s recent graduates and current students (and anyone else interested in better money management) may find helpful:
Books to Read
1. The Millionaire Next Door: This book by Thomas J. Stanley is one that Dave often recommends. It’s an interesting read and shows how many misconceptions we all have about millionaires. The book preaches much of the advice that we offer here on Dough Roller, like the importance of living below your means.
2. I Will Teach You to Be Rich: Big-time finance blogger Ramit Sethi created this six-week wealth-building program with the younger generation in mind. He presents some ideas that are different from Ramsey’s. For instance, he opts for a less-detailed spending plan, rather than a super-complex zero-based budget. If you’d like an alternative, but still commonsense and helpful, guide to building wealth, this is a good place to begin.
3. Your Money or Your Life: This popular personal finance book focuses less on the nuts and bolts of personal finance (though that’s in there, too) and more on changing your attitude toward money, saving, spending, work and investing.
4. Think and Grow Rich: This personal finance book by Napoleon Hill is a classic for a reason. Similar to “Your Money or Your Life,” it addresses the underlying thought processes behind money decisions. Plus, Hill focuses on creating an above-average life with a great career, as well.
5. Green With Envy: This more recent volume focuses on our incessant need to keep up with the Joneses. If you’re ready to live your own life and succeed financially, you’ll have to break away from this mentality. “Green with Envy” will help you explore financial discontent in a new way.
Tools to Use
6. Mint.com: This personal finance management site is great for setting up and tracking a detailed budget. It syncs with your accounts and imports transactions for you, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to write everything down. Also, you can set up and track goals, like saving for your baby emergency fund or paying down debt.
7. Manilla: Manilla is more than just a financial management tool. It lets you manage everything from bills to subscriptions to travel rewards to daily deals. Like Mint, it links to your accounts for you. But it also lets you manage your other accounts from the Manilla interface, which also comes with a slick smartphone app.
8. Personal Capital: Personal Capital is another budgeting tool, but it’s a bit more sophisticated than a month-to-month budget. It also lets you track your investments and your net worth, and even offers insight on investment choices.
9. PearBudget: PearBudget is an online version of the traditional envelope budgeting method. It’s easy to use and has a nice interface. Unlike the above options, it doesn’t link up with your accounts. This means it takes you a bit more time to put in your spending information, but it may also feel more secure than Mint or Manilla. PearBudget costs $4.95 a month after a free trial.
10. BillShrink: BillShrink is a tool that helps you save money on your bills. You can use this service to compare everything from Internet services to credit card rates to see how switching could save you money. Shrinking your basic bills is a great way to get that debt snowball rolling.
11. Ready for Zero: Ready for Zero is an online tool specifically built to make paying off debt faster. It features an easy to use interface and a coordinating iPhone app. Track your debt balances, see how quickly you can become debt-free, and manage your payments with Ready for Zero. Use the paid version ($4.99 per month) to set bills to auto-pay through the site.
Calculators to Check Out
12. Debt Reduction Snowball Calculator: This downloadable debt snowball calculator works for Excel, OpenOffice and Google Docs. You just download it and use it. The series of worksheets lets you track creditor information, monthly payment information and payment schedules. Plus, it helps you see how extra payments will help you pay off debt more quickly.
13. Debt Snowball Calculator: For an online version of a debt reduction calculator, check out this one from What’s the Cost. You can create a log in to save your calculator, or just run the numbers to see where you’re at today. This calculator helps you see how restructuring debt payoff (in order of interest or balance) and making extra payments will help you pay off debt more quickly.
Blogs to Read
(Besides Dough Roller!)
14. Get Rich Slowly: This personal finance blog is famed for a reason. It’s packed with personal get-out-of-debt stories, as well as advice on how to become debt-free and build wealth.
15. Man vs. Debt: With a tagline of “Sell Your Crap, Pay Off Your Debt, Do What You Love,” you know Man vs. Debt provides some sassy personal finance advice. It started with the story of Adam Baker and his family’s journey toward debt freedom and a life of adventure. Now, the blog gives advice but also tells the story of current editor Joan Otto’s journey to debt freedom.
16. And Then We Saved: In this blog, Anna talks about paying down $24,000 worth of debt in 15 months through a spending fast. The blog tells her story, but also gives great advice on living with less and becoming debt-free.
17. American Debt Project: Here’s another money-focused blog with a younger feel. It offers information on all sorts of personal finance topics and also a heavy focus on consumers and our mental relationship with money and stuff.
18. Money Saving Mom: This site is by a woman who knows a thing or two about debt-free living, having put her husband through law school with no student loan debt and paid cash for their family home. She posts advice on side jobs, as well as daily deals and coupons.
19. Get Out of Debt Guy: You can find good general get-out-of-debt information here, but you’ll also find consumer reports, particularly about companies in the debt-relief industry.
20. Wise Bread: Wise Bread is actually a blogging conglomerate, where many different bloggers post their personal finance advice, opinions and stories each day. It’s well-organized, so you can easily find specific money-saving information, or check out the daily deals section to save cash on things you need.
Places to Connect
21. The Finance Forums: This general personal finance forum is fairly active, and it’s a good place to connect with others who are trying to get out of debt.
22. Get Rich Slowly Forums: The Get Rich Slowly blog has quite a following and, as a result, maintains an active community forum. It offers moderated sections on frugality and simple living, as well as personal development.
23. Total Money Makeover Forums: If you’re not already aware of it, you can ask questions specific to Financial Peace University and other Dave Ramsey items on the Total Money Makeover forums.
24. Money Talk: These forums focus more on small business earnings, money-making ideas, and investing, but they’re a good place to talk with others about personal finance matters, as well.
25. FatWallet Forums: The Fat Wallet forums (and corresponding website) are a great place to get serious money-saving advice or alerts about free stuff and good deals.