School teaches us many things and expands our knowledge, but it skips one of the basic life skills: personal financial planning. In turn, many adults struggle with saving money and spend more than they need to. These money-saving blogs and podcasts are a crash course in the basics of financial planning and teach you how to set budgets, save money, and invest it wisely.
There is a growing online demand to learn how to manage one’s wealth. If you find it embarrassing to admit you don’t know how to handle your finances, it can be comforting to turn to online experts who teach without judgment. Remember not to take their word as gospel since your financial conditions might be unique. As a cautionary step, it’s best to use this advice to expand your financial literacy and apply it for your money matters.
1. Modern Frugality (Web): Learn How to Curb Your Spending and Save Money
Author Jen Smith and her husband paid off $78,000 worth of debt in two years. She has turned everything she learned along the way into her blog Modern Frugality, and written three books (whose basics you can get through the blog too).
Modern Frugality’s approach is to first bring your spending under control and plan finances accordingly. The touchstone is the no-spend challenge, one of Smith’s best-selling books, which you can do as a week or a month. It’s explained in detail on the blog, and you’ll find other blog posts on recommended resources, short stories, free activities, and more. Once you do the challenge, you can move on to the two broad types of blog posts based on your financial goals: saving money or paying off debt.
Along with fellow frugality advocate Jill Sirianni, Smith is also a co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast, which is one of the top-ranked podcasts to save money and get out of debt. In weekly episodes, they tackle common financial topics like setting budgets, working off debt, and most importantly, how to save money or be frugal with a partner or a family. They both draw upon their personal experiences and often invite expert guests for sound advice.
2. Clever Girl Finance (Web): Free Online Courses to Learn Personal Finance Basics
While Clever Girl Finance primarily targets personal finance education for women in the US, their advice is generally universal enough for anyone to learn the basics of money management. The most impressive arrow in their versatile quiver is the collection of over 30 free personal finance online courses, with no strings attached.
The foundational finance courses start with the basics of money management, such as savings challenges, creating a budget that works, improving your money mindset, building good credit, destroying debt, and setting financial goals. These are all self-paced courses that run entirely in your browser, with step-by-step lessons, video tutorials, worksheets, and a community to discuss your progress or doubts. Once you get through the foundational basics, there are other courses on investment and wellness.
Besides the courses, Clever Girl Finance has plenty of other ways to boost your money mindset. The blog is regularly updated with articles on dealing with finances, while the weekly podcast is a great resource for timely advice.
In a unique move, Clever Girl Finance also offers a free video call with a mentor. This is limited to women in the US and Canada, and each member gets only one call. These are essentially support and encouragement sessions, not financial planning consultations.
The best advice comes from experts in a topic. But often, the advice you can most relate to comes from a non-expert who has lived through the situations you are going through. Andy Hill isn’t a trained financial expert, but his stories and suggestions have resonated with thousands who tune in to his venture, Marriage Kids and Money.
As the name suggests, Hill’s focus is on managing finances as a married couple with children (or a single child). You’ll find practical advice on topics like paying off a mortgage in the shortest and sanest time possible, living on a single income as a family, setting a family budget, retirement, and savings for financial independence, etc. Additionally, Hill conducts weekly interviews with young millionaires, financially independent couples and debt free parents to learn their tips for money management.
Often joined by his wife, Hill shares this advice in three different ways: a blog for those who prefer to read, a podcast for those who prefer to listen, and a YouTube channel for those who prefer to watch. The advice is consistent; it’s just about your preferred medium.
4. One Minute Economics (Web): Learn Basics of Personal Finance in Short Videos
A lot of people struggle to implement advice from personal finance experts because of a shaky understanding of the principles of how economics work. One Minute Economics seeks to give simple explanations of economics in minute-long videos and has created a special YouTube playlist of personal finance topics you need to understand.
Creator Andrei Polgar has taken the template of famous YouTube channels like Minute Physics and adapted it to discuss economics. Each video is roughly a minute in length, with a series of animations playing to illustrate the topic at hand, while Polgar explains it through a voiceover.
In the Personal Finance in One Minute playlist, Polgar isn’t giving practical advice that you can implement. Instead, he teaches the basics of economics that you need to know in order to manage your money and figure out how to grow it. Topics vary from simple to complex, like calculating net worth, understanding insurance, rent vs. mortgage, cryptocurrency investments, assets and liabilities, and more. It’s a total of 120 videos, but remember, they’re quite short.
If you want more practical advice for your own finances rather than understanding larger economics and how they impact you, One Minute Economics has you covered there too. Try the Adulting Explained in One Minute playlist for just 33 of the 120 videos in a series that explain simple steps you can take to manage your money.
Financial planning and management app SoFi has partnered with Coursera to release a series of free online courses to improve financial literacy. Anyone with a Coursera account can take all five self-paced courses individually or take the overall specialization as recommended by SoFis’ experts.
The courses, in order, teach the basics of personal finance, saving money for the future, managing and paying off debt, fundamentals of investing, and risk management to protect your finances from unexpected events. Each course is taught by a certified expert in the field.
All courses are for beginners and include a mix of readings, videos, and activities. SoFi suggests working at a pace of two hours per week, which would take five months to finish the specialization course.
If you want more courses or courses from acclaimed universities, check out some of our favorite sites to learn personal finance basics and manage money.
How to Teach Kids Money Management Skills
While it’s fine to learn the fundamentals of personal finance as an adult, don’t you wish you were taught these basics at an early age? Don’t let the next generation go through what you have been through.
It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money management skills, whether through online tools and games or your own ways of explaining it. Much like many other life skills that are not taught in academia, it’s up to you to pass this knowledge to young minds.