Web sites

The web sites listed below may be helpful in advancing your personal finance knowledge and skills. I’ve also included several that may help you save money in a variety of areas.

Budgeting and managing your finances

  • www.annualcreditreport.com : It is a good idea to review your credit report regularly, as incorrect information sometimes gets posted to your record. Also, reviewing your credit report can help you spot Identity Theft. You are entitled to a free credit report once per year through this site.
  • www.choosetosave.org : Published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute Education and Research fund, this site has an amazing variety of resources to help you. They also provide links to dozens of various financial calculators.
  • www.mint.com : From Intuit, the creators of Quicken®, this site has lots of good information on saving, managing, and investing your money. It also hosts the online Mint.com service that helps you manage your money online.
  • www.myfico.com : Visit their “Education” center to get information about managing credit, your credit (FICO) score, and credit reports.
  • www.practicalmoneyskills.com : Sponsored by Visa (the credit card company), this site has a variety of informative personal finance articles, as well as a number of financial calculators.

College education funding

  • www.finaid.org : lots of tips on how to save for college, getting grants and scholarships, and other related topics.

Discounts and deals

  • www.gasbuddy.com : Look here to find the cheapest gasoline in your area.
  • www.coupons.com : Find discount coupons for a variety of items that you typically look for in a grocery store.
  • www.entertainment.com : Home of the famous “Entertainment Book”®, which contains coupons for discounts of up to 50% on dining, travel, entertainment, and so on.
  • www.opentable.com : A free and easy-to-use online booking service for restaurants. Accumulate points to earn dining gift certificates. Look for the “1,000-point tables” to build points the fastest!

Finance news

The sites that follow are all excellent sources for business and finance news.

Government sites

  • www.energysavers.gov : Energy saving tips that will also save you money.
  • www.fanniemae.gov : A government sponsored entity that facilitates the purchase and sale of home mortgages. Learn about “conforming” and “non-conforming” mortgages here.
  • www.ftc.gov : The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has posted a variety of articles on managing credit, preventing identity theft, and other subjects that will help you be a wiser consumer.
  • www.investor.gov : Sponsored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), this web site has lots of good information on how to be an astute investor.
  • www.irs.gov : Ah, everyone’s favorite government agency. Still, this site has all the official tax publications that you could ever want or imagine.
  • www.medicare.gov : You are paying into Medicare now, so you might as well take a look at what it is and how it might benefit you as you get older.
  • www.ssa.gov : The official Social Security web site. Yes, even though you may be 40 years away from retirement, you should understand how the program works and how it is funded (e.g. by withholding money from your paycheck right now.)
  • www.treasurydirect.gov : Here’s where you go to learn about (and purchase) Treasury bills, notes and bonds, as well as U.S. Savings Bonds.

Non-profit organizations dedicated to financial literacy

  • www.jumpstart.org : A national organization with affiliates in the states, Jump$tart is a coalition of groups that are interested in advancing financial literacy for young people. Their “Resources” page is extensive.

Other

  • www.ehealthinsurance.com : A good place to compare quotes for individual and family health care and dental plans.
  • www.nolo.com : A consumer-oriented legal education website. If you want to learn about things like wills, advance directives, employment law, tenants rights, and so on, this is a good place to start. They also have fairly robust sections on personal finance and dealing with debt.
  • www.zipcar.com : Don’t want the hassle of owning your own car? Only need a car occasionally? This company has locations in many U.S. cities and universities and is one of the pioneers of the car-sharing concept.

Retirement planning

  • www.401k.org : With the demise of traditional “defined benefit” plans, many people are increasingly reliant on the 401(k) as their primary retirement plan. Good information here on these (and related) plans.
  • www.brightscope.com : Here is an interesting effort to rate companies’ 401k plans against those of peer groups.

Travel

  • www.expedia.com and www.travelocity.com are good services for comparing prices and booking hotels, air, car, and cruises if you find a price you like.
  • www.hipmunk.com : This is a relatively new site with a unique visual method of displaying flight information and prices. Once you find something you like, they will transfer you to a booking service. Pretty neat!
  • www.priceline.com : Is also a good booking service. I am especially fond of their “Name Your Own Price”® service. I have received amazing discounts on hotels here.
  • www.travelzoo.com : A good source for travel and entertainment deals. I subscribe to their weekly newsletter for “hot deals”.
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