Whether you’re just trying to get your footing as a financially independent newbie adult, or you’re deep into your career with house and car payments and a whole bunch of other bills, it’s good to feel like you know what you’re doing with your money. Being in control of your finances doesn’t just mean spending less money, though—it means knowing where to spend it, and when you should take the plunge and spend a little more.
Figuring out which things are worth the extra expense—a family vacation, the occasional fancy dinner out, a monthly investment that will let you take advantage of compound interest—is essential. Knowing where your priorities should lie will allow you to plan around those splurges by cutting elsewhere. But how do you know which is which? Here are a few apps and website that will help you educate yourself when it comes to money matters.
Get a money-management app.
There are a lot of free, quality apps you can use to manage your spending. One of the most popular is Mint.com; signing up and getting the app on your phone will give you the tools you need when you need them. You’ll be able to do things like create a budget, track where your money is going, and get tips on fee reduction and savings. Other money apps worth downloading include Wally and You Need a Budget (YNAB).
Take an online course.
“Personal Finance for Artists & Freelancers” is a three-day online course from CreativeLive. In it, personal financial expert Galia Gichon, who has her MBA in finance and almost a decade of Wall Street smarts, gives advice to artists and freelancers about how to deal with money in a way that won’t make them crazy and broke. Other money courses worth investing in include Coursera‘s “Personal and Family Financial Planning,” and Udemy‘s “The Core Four of Personal Finance” (which is free!).
Pick a magazine or website that covers money and start reading it regularly.
If you want to become knowledgeable about a topic—any topic—a good place to start is reading about it. Where finances are concerned, it’s hard to go wrong with Money magazine (or the website), where you can choose from subsections like Money 101, and Everyday Money. Other great options for money-focused publications include The Economist, Kiplinger’s, and Barron’s.