Here at Stack Your Dollars, it’s my mission to spread the knowledge needed to increase your financial literacy and take charge of your future. But hey! I’m just one person, and this is just one personal finance website among others. I don’t know it all nor am I able to cover all budgeting topics.
In addition, my way of teaching may not resonate with you as another person may. If I didn’t help you in every way possible to reach your financial goals, it would be a shame. That’s why I asked a few finance bloggers to chime in and give their best financial advice plus a post that would be helpful to readers.
In no particular order, here are the 16 blogs where you can learn about budgeting. These budget bloggers have submitted their best financial advice. Along with that is are useful posts for you to learn from and my commentary on them.
1. What Anika Says
Advice: “Make budgeting fun. You can do so by rewarding yourself for achieving certain goals. For instance, reward yourself with a dinner at your favorite restaurant if you stick to your budget for the whole month. This will give you a reason to look forward to budgeting and not find it strict by limiting yourself too much.” – Anika Jindal
Like a diet, your budget is one of the hardest things to stick to. Anika shares 8 tips that can help you stick to the financial plan you’ve created. Two of the tips that really helped me were to make fewer shopping trips and plan my meals. Now I am able to stay under my $300 grocery budget and spend as little as $200/mo.
2. Time in the Market
Advice: “Imagine a life with less stress, more flexibility, and the potential to retire early. Then ask yourself… Is spending money on “X” worth giving that up? That’s my easy trick to making budgeting work for many. The reality is that budgeting has to be a long-term commitment based on the belief that giving up something today will allow you more happiness in the long-term. Once you realize that, budgeting becomes simpler. It’s often unbelievable how little we use the items we buy and how easy it is to spend hundreds of dollars on something that will just sit on your shelf after a few hours of use. Budgeting has to become about smart long-term purchases because if it’s not, it limits a smart, long term lifestyle.” – Jarek
Compound interest is how you earn interest on your interest. It shows how $10,000 can turn into $18,114 or $100,627 depending on interest rates. If that sounds confusing, read this post by Jarek (he even includes helpful graphics for visual learners like me). Understanding compound interest is important to learn when making investment decisions to grow your money.
Link: The First $100,000 is the Hardest – the Miracle of Compound Interest
3. Thrifty Frugal Mom
Advice: “Don’t ignore little expenses. That $1 here and there adds up way more quickly than you often realize!”
The Thrifty Frugal Mom shares how her family paid off a mortgage of $90,000 in 5 years. Throughout the methods used to do this, the basic principle is to live simply and do without. And sometimes all it takes is a little creativity; such as buying a fixer-upper and finding ways to save money.
Link: 10 Things That Helped Us Pay Off Our $90,000 Mortgage In 5 Years
4. Strict Money Mastery
Advice: “Find your “why” with money. Associate pain to anything that doesn’t align with your “why”.” I believe finding a “why”, or a personal drive for accomplishing some type of goal is what sets people up for success or failure in achieving that goal. Anyone could set some type of goal but what’s the purpose of the goal?
Someone could set the goal to lose weight but if it doesn’t have a “why” behind it, it most likely won’t be achieved. However, if my “why” is that I want to lose weight to set a good example for my kids, feel better every day so I have the energy to play with my kids and live a long healthy life where I get to see my kids grow up and become adults, this is a “why”. Now, if you don’t accomplish this goal it means emotional pain for you because you know that you’re failing your children.
Making money isn’t a goal. What you can do with that money is the goal. Setting up a budget is pointless if you don’t know why you’re setting it up. Creating clearly defined financial goals with savings/budgeting is critical to the success of the budget. You could set a goal of saving $500 a month in a savings account, but what for? If you create a “why” you’re saving $500 a month (i.e. because I need $3000 to take my kids to Disney), you’ve just created a “why”.”
As someone in the military community, I try not to accumulate too many things. It helps to avoid the headache of having tons of THINGS when it’s time to move again. But this post explains why living a more simple life enables you to save time and money. In the end, having less allows you to have MORE.
5. Debt Free Forties
Advice: “People often fail at budgeting because they’re using “all or nothing” thinking. Instead, it’s essential to focus on the small victories and progress made every day. Budgeting isn’t about doing it 100% right all the time. It’s about spotting the slip-ups and bumps in the road and adjusting. Learning to be flexible and open to adjustments are your most significant assets to help you stick with a budget.” – Tana Williams
Here are a few frugal living tips that will help you save money every month. #5 (buying your own modem) is something I’ve recently been sharing a lot with others. The investment works out cheaper in the long term and I haven’t had patchy internet service like others.
6. Intentional Saver
Advice: “Being “bad” with money or a poor budgeter is not a personality trait. It’s a skill you can hone and become good at by changing your mindset around money, and by creating a budget that’s personal to your situation and one that motivates you to want to stick to it. I have found success by budgeting every single little thing I can think of, so I have no surprises. You may find a less detailed budget with higher-level categories works for you. Just keep tweaking until you find something you can stick with.” – Stephanie Schill
Even though we should be staying safe and eating healthier than ever right now, I know it’s still nice to eat out sometimes. When we do, it’s great to save some money. This post shows various ways to save money when eating out. I always do #10 when I have a cheat day at Chick-Fil-A!
7. Budgets Made Easy
Advice: “Focus on just one thing at a time. It’s less overwhelming and you’re more likely to follow through with it.” – Ashley Patrick
After a job loss, Ashley and her family found themselves in trouble with a debt of $45,000; It was a combination of student loans, a car loan, and a 401(k) loan. In her post, she shares her journey to paying off the debt in 17 months to show others that they can do it too!
8. Frugal Fortunes
Advice: “Always remember… If you borrow and spend beyond your means today, you’re borrowing from your future self at a higher cost. But if you budget and invest your savings, you’re giving your future self a raise.” – Brian Kehm
In this useful post by Brian, he breaks down 3 steps for building a path to financial freedom. Saving money, making more money, and investing wisely are the building blocks to success.
9. The Remote Mom
Advice: “The best advice I can give is to make your money work for you. Instead of putting most of your money towards savings, find ways to invest your money to make it grow. By creating more income, you will find it easier to budget and pay off your debt.” – Suzanne
Suzanne shares 25 things to stop buying that may be convenient but are money wasters. A few of these are also ways to save that I love to share. And may I reiterate the usefulness of your local library? Why spend hundreds on books when you can download them through their apps for FREE?
10. Cash for Tacos
Advice: “Know your why. Why do you want to budget? Do you want to get out of debt, save more money, or simply feel better about your finances? Everyone’s why will be different.
But I strongly believe that for any budget to be successful, a budgeter needs to know why they want to budget. When you know why you want to budget, you will be that much more likely to stick to the budget. This is because your “why” fuels your motivation and inspires you to keep budgeting even when you want to throw your budget out the window.” – Melody Fanslau
People advise that you should “take control of your money”, but what does that mean? Melody defines this, why it’s important, and exactly how to do it. She shares her story of the stress felt every month from not knowing if her bills could be covered and the relief that came once she decided to take charge.
Link: Take Control of Your Money: What Does it Mean and How to Get Started
11. The Savvy Couple
Advice: “Change your money mindset when making purchases. Instead of viewing the items’ cost in dollars. View the actual cost in your precious time you have to give away at work in order to afford it.” – Brittany Kline
That meal you had in the restaurant isn’t $30, it’s 2-3 hours of work. The true cost of anything is not the money you pay for it, it’s the time that you had to exchange for it. This post will help you rewire your brain to think of purchases in terms of time versus money, thus… allowing you to save more money.
Link: We Don’t Buy Things With Money, We Buy Them With Precious Time From Our Lives
Advice: “When creating a budget, structure it in 4 sections: Income, Bills, Daily Spending, and Savings. This allows you to focus on improving one section at a time. Income can increase with raises, promotions, or side hustles. Bills can be negotiated or optimized by finding better deals on your services. Daily spending can be controlled with daily decisions to stop spending on things that don’t matter to you. These changes can help you to increase your savings toward your goals.” – Jacob Wade
These are the 5 simple steps that allowed Jacob to go from being in debt to a six-figure net worth. One tip that I’ll be making use of is to open a Roth IRA. As a new homebuyer, you can withdraw up to $10,000 (including interest returns) without any penalties after having it for 5 years.
13. Cents + Purpose
Advice: “When it comes to budgeting, keep it simple. Overcomplication leads to confusion and confusion eventually leads to failure. Create a system you can use week after week to effectively track your spending, maintain your budget, and work towards your financial goals.” – Kristin Stones
These are the steps that Kristin and her husband took to pay off $54,500 In 20 Months. One of the most important takeaways from this post is that it’s not a “good” thing to get money back from your tax return. In essence, it’s as if you’re giving an interest-free loan to the government when you could be making better use of it now.
14. Money Bliss
Advice: “Start your budget based on the bare essentials. This bare-bones budget will make sure the necessities in life are taken care of like housing, food, medical, and transportation. Next, take out how much you want to save. Then, slowly add on the fun spending and discretionary spending.
That way you will always keep your spending below your expenses. This makes budgeting work the best.” – Kristy
Kristy’s bare-bones budget is a great way to focus on getting out of debt, saving more money, and building an emergency fund. With this, you’ll be able to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
15. How To FIRE
Advice: “Find the best budgeting tool that works for you. Don’t be afraid to try several before settling on one or many tools. If you force yourself to stick with one that you hate or find difficult to use, you will be less likely to continue sticking with your budget.” -Samantha Hawrylack
How do you budget? Samantha shares a few tools that can help you keep track of and reach your financial goals. My favorites include spreadsheets and the good ol’ pen and paper.
Link: The Best Budgeting Tools to Reach Financial Independence
16. Cara Palmer
Advice: “Buy a used car for $6,000 or less. You can find a reliable vehicle in that price range and keep your payments low. The average car payment is over $550, that’s a lot of money. Use the money that you save on car payments to pay down your debt as quickly as possible.” – Cara Palmer
Cara shares great tips on how to pay off debt when you have no money! I completely agree with her that it’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much you keep.
Did you learn something new today? I did and I truly hope that you did as well. If you care to share, get on the train of financial education and spread the knowledge, or join in the discussion below.
P.S. If you need a little motivation to start saving, here are a few free money savings challenges you can grab!