Budgeting & Personal Finance: Most Popular Articles
You'd love to pay for updated cabinets, countertops, faucets and vanities, but the cost of home remodeling is just too high. Try these 20 cheap ways to remodel your home in small, finishing-touch forms. Upgrade your cabinet handles and doorknobs. Change out those yellowing switchplate covers. See what more tips await ...
No matter how tight your budget, there are certain expenses that you should never, ever skimp on. Here's a list of the items that you should always make sure you're buying -- even if you have to seriously cut back in other areas, or take a second job, in order to do it.
How much should you spend on groceries? Your home? Your vacation to France? The 50/30/20 rule of thumb helps you figure out if you're spending too much.
Want to double or even triple your money? This handy rule-of-thumb shows you how long it will take you to turn $10,000 into $30,000.
The S&P 500, the NASDAQ, the Dow Jones, the Russell 2000, the Wilshire 5000 - what is this stuff? Those terms get thrown around on the news everyday, but what do they mean, exactly? How are they defined and what do they represent?
Does your monthly mortgage bill put a serious dent in your budget? Here are four ways you can lower your monthly payment.
How much should you save for retirement? Ten percent? Twenty percent? The answer depends on the age at which you start saving, as well as your other sources of retirement income. Learn more in this article.
Your budget is comprised of fixed and variable expenses. But what do these two words mean? How do they differ from necessities vs. discretionary spending?
How much should you set aside for home maintenance? Learn how factors like your home's age, condition, location and square footage can affect your budget.
How much money will you need in retirement? Two popular rules of thumb outline the answer, but don't confuse one with the other.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >How much money
Want to create $1 million dollars? If you start investing while you're young, you can. This article shows you how.
Thinking of buying your first rental property? Here are two formulas that will help you evaluate deals.
This budgeting worksheet helps you track your earnings and your necessary spending.
The ABC budgeting method is a simple, three-step plan to help you manage your money, pay your bills, set aside savings, and stick to your budget.
What's a millionaire? The answer is not as straightforward as you might expect.
Are you bored or restless on weekends? If you're feeling broke, you might spend the weekend staring at the TV -- or worse, you might bust your budget, paying for entertainment and distraction. Here's a better alternative: a list of 30 free or ultra-cheap weekend activities. Some are great solo activities, while others are good for the whole family. Check it out!
If you're self-employed, how can you budget for taxes? Here are three tips.
You had a late start in saving for retirement. What should you do? Here are 7 tips to guide you through a comfortable retirement, even if you started saving in your 40's.
Let's say you want to earn some extra money, but you're not satisfied with hourly jobs that your teenager could do. You want to start a small business -- and possibly grow it to the point at which you could hire a few assistants. Here are 7 small businesses that require only a small amount of start-up capital and that you might be able to run part-time or seasonally.
There are a huge variety of methods for just about every aspect of money management, and co-mingling finances with your significant other is no exception. Learn three of the most common strategies that couples use when they decide to co-mingle their money.
Can you become a millionaire, even if you only earn a modest income of $30,000 or $40,000 annually? Yes, you can. Read this article to find out how.
Create a Budget – How to Make a Budget
Want to create a budget? These worksheets will walk you through making a budget with detailed, step-by-step instructions.
How much money should you have saved for retirement? Check out these age-related guidelines that help show you whether or not your retirement is on track.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Looking for more
Track your discretionary (your fun!) expenses here. Sorry to say it, but this category is the easiest place to hunt for savings.
You and your partner want to maintain separate accounts. How can you equitably and fairly divide your expenses?
Want to double your money? The Rule of 72 explains how to double your money, without accepting too much risk, in a realistic 7 year time frame.
Budgeting is the art of setting priorities. Here are three expenses that should be at the top of your priority list.
You can have lots of savings goals - how can you keep track of them all? This worksheet will help you organize your savings and compare your goals to the rest of your budget.
Don't get caught off-guard by unexpected expenses. Learn how to anticipate once-a-year, once-a-decade and once-in-a-lifetime costs.
What habit do the majority of self-made millionaires have in common? According to two professors who study the habits of millionaires, the most millionaires make a budget.
You invest money in small amounts throughout the year. So how can you calculate your annualized returns? Discover your annual return through a formula called the Internal Rate of Return, or IRR. This article explains what IRR is, and how you can calculate it.
: Albert Einstein reportedly described compound interest as "the most powerful force in the universe."
You’ve decided to start tracking your spending. How can you do this effectively? Here’s a brief explanation of why tracking your spending is an important practice, plus three tactics that people use to log their spending habits.
Are you a traditional employee who gets paid every two weeks? If so, design a budget around the assumption that you'll get two paychecks per month. During the months that you get three paychecks, you'll be able to throw your entire paycheck towards savings.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Conventional wisdom
Let's compare two popular debt payoff strategies: traditional
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Growing rich is
You need to buy gifts this holiday season, but you're anxious about the price tag. Don't worry -- you can find plenty of personal, meaningful gifts at a low price. Here are 10 inexpensive gift ideas for the holidays.
Check out these four retirement savings tips for people 40 and over. The first tip helps you figure out how much money you need for retirement, while the rest of the tips help you find ways to earn more money.
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class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >One of the key
You don't think of yourself as lavish. You're not dining at fancy restaurants or jet-setting to Europe. So where on earth is all of your money going?
You have an irregular, sporadic income that comes from freelance or self-employment work. How can you budget in spite of this irregular income?
Want a budget that's not too specific, but not too broad? Use the 5-category budget.
There's a lot of money advice floating around. What's the most important? This article outlines 11 rules for building wealth.
Contribution limits for IRA and 401k retirement plans are increasing, beginning in 2013. Eligible workers can now contribute $17,500 to their 401k and 403 retirement plans and $5,500 to their IRA retirement saving accounts.
Retirement, college, celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary in Maui -- how can you juggle and balance your priorities when you have so many savings goals?
Motivation is crucial when you're trying to pay down debt, budget for a large goal, and save for retirement. Here are some tips that can keep you motivated to manage money wisely.
Visit Their Website Looking for a bank account that will help motivate you to save for specific goals?
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How much money will I need to retire? Sometimes I open a magazine and see that I need $1 million or $2 million. Could that possibly be right? Check out this rough guide to getting a back-of-the-envelope idea of roughly how much you'll need when you retire.
Tuition might create sticker-shock, but it's not the only expense you'll face during your college years. From cars to clothes, laptops to lounge chairs, you'll be amazed at how many costs pop up during your college years.
The average couple spends $27,000 on a wedding, according to a recent report in USA Today. But why? What on earth could possibly cost so much? Why are weddings so expensive?
What are the key ingredients of a successful budget? What qualities cause some budgets to succeed and other budgets to fail?
Many experts say that you should plan to spend a percentage of your current income -- such as 85 percent of your present income -- in retirement. But a competing school of thought argues that you should plan for retirement based on the lifestyle you hope to enjoy, not the income you currently earn.
As a teenager, you don't earn much. How can you save enough money to buy a car -- plus pay for gas, insurance and all other car-related expenses?
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The 50/30/20 Rule says to spend 50 percent on needs and 30 percent on wants. But what's a want? What's a need? Is internet a want or a need? What about fixing a dent in your bumper? This article looks at the fuzzy line between
Curious about managing your money and making a budget? Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked budgeting questions.
Do you find yourself spending far more than you'd anticipated ... and you're not sure why? These three savings tips can help you get back on-track.
Today Show financial editor Jean Chatzky picks up the phone to share her thoughts with About.com on retirement planning, paper-and-pencil budgets, and nearing age 50.
Want to double your money? Of course. Here are three tactics that can help you turn that $100 into $200 ... without taking massive risks, winning the lottery, or falling prey to a gimmick.
Andrew Hallam is a high school English teacher ... and a self-made millionaire by age 38. In his book, Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School, he explains how he became a millionaire on a schoolteacher's salary.
The 50/30/20 budget is popular, but it demands that you track your expenses. Don't want to do that? Try an even easier approach: the 80/20 budget.
How can you teach your kids to budget their money?
Can someone on a tight budget take an extended vacation to New York City? One reader asked me this very question. In this article, I explain how I did it. Hopefully it will inspire you to be creative with your money - and take a budget vacation!
Your personal budget should work for you. Learn seven steps to creating a budget you can use and how to make it work.
Are you a two-income couple? Living on one person’s income and saving the other is one of the most effective ways to ramp up your savings.
As Tony approached his 60's, he started realizing that he hadn't saved enough to retire, and now he was stuck. He pondered what to do. Years earlier, he had visited Costa Rica and absolutely loved it. He also remembered that it had a low cost of living. Tony realized he could rent out his home in Nebraska and use the rental income to enjoy a lower cost of living in Costa Rica. But did he dare? Isn't that a bit dramatic? Do other retirees do this? Find out in this article ...
How can you make the most of your limited money? Budgeting -- at its core -- has almost nothing to do with dollars and cents. The heart of budgeting is aligning your values with your spending habits.
Popular financial expert Dave Ramsey, the host of the nationally-syndicated radio program The Dave Ramsey Show, suggests that you follow seven
I challenge you to a save-off! Games and competitions make saving fun. Saving money doesn't need to be based around deprivation. Check out these awards, prizes and challenges!
I have so many goals - I can't keep track! What online banking programs can help me track my progress?
Home interest rates are low, but you're locked into a higher payment. Should you refinance your mortgage? How much interest will you save? Learn the pro's and con's to refinancing your mortgage in this article.
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Buying a home for the first time? You might not have thought about these three budgeting mistakes, which are all-too-common among homebuyers.
Congratulations -- you've decided to make the switch to a one-income household. What factors will you need to consider? How can you make the transition as smooth as possible? Here are four tips to help you convert from two incomes down to one.
How much money do you need to save for retirement? The answer depends on your expected annual expenses and your other sources of income, like Social Security and pensions.
The number of one-income households is shrinking. If you want to defy the norm and transition into a one-income household, you'll need strong budgeting and savings skills. Here are five tips that can help.
The myth that buying is always a better deal than renting simply isn't true. Whether it's a better deal to buy or rent your home depends on a wide variety of factors, including how long you expect to live at that location and the rent-to-purchase-price ratio of your area.
You've allocated a specific budget for your wedding -- perhaps $5,000 or $10,000 or $20,000. Regardless of the amount, how should you divide that money? Here are tips to help you budget your wedding expenses.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Motivational speaker
You've found the person you want to share your life with. But should you share your bank account with them? Learn the pro's and con's of co-mingling finances with your partner.
What's a checking account, and what are the typical fees associated with checking accounts?
Plan your retirement in 9 easy steps! Discover how much money you'll need in retirement, and then work backwards to figure out how much you should set aside every month for your retirement.
: Albert Einstein reportedly described compound interest as "the most powerful force in the universe."
Bob puts his money in a passively-managed fund that tracks the 5&P 500 Index. Sheila puts her money in an actively-managed mutual fund. What's the difference between Bob and Sheila's investments? How will their fees, performance and expectations be different?
Need help getting out of debt? Here are a few tips on that can help you eradicate your debt, regardless of whether you're struggling with a home loan, car payment or credit cards.
Save hundreds off your grocery bill! Here are in-depth, actionable tips.
You're romantically compatible. But are you financially compatible? Here's a great way to launch into a big-picture conversation to make sure you and your mate are really right for each other -- financially speaking.
Do rich people need to budget their money? It's tempting to imagine people lavishing in luxury without paying a shred of attention to their bank account. But the reality is quite different. Here are seven reasons the rich should budget, too.
Irregular expenses are always emerging: you'll need to visit the dentist, buy gifts for your cousin's wedding or replace the tires on your car. Some of these you can predict, but some you can't. How do you budget for this?
Need more motivation to save and invest? Imagine all the opportunities that you're missing as a result of spending your money now, rather than later.
Even if you buy a brand-new home, it'll be time to remodel your house at least a decade before you're done repaying your mortgage -- not because you want to, but because your roof, carpet, siding, gutters, paint, cabinets and water heater will probably be worn-out and in need of replacement. Learn about the many costs of owning a home, including buying appliances, maintaining a lawn and replacing things you've probably never thought about replacing, like bathtubs and faucets.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >When most people
What's the 401k contribution limit in 2014?
How much money should you spend on a wedding? The answer depends on how important a wedding is to you, relative to your other spending priorities: buying a home, paying for school, paying down debt, saving for retirement.
Learn the pro's and con's of Mint.com's budgeting app for Android phones.
Financial experts are always saying that you should build an emergency fund. But when will you need to use this? What constitutes an emergency?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >I recently received
It's simple to know how much you should save when you have a specific goal: a $10,000 wedding in 2 years, for example, or a $8,000 car in 1 year. But how can you save when you don't have a specific goal in mind?
Learn how to save money on all types of entertainment including movies, restaurants, sports games, concerts, live comedy shows and recreational shopping.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >It wasnât long
Meet Shari Olefson, a guest contributor at the About.com Budgeting site.
Confused or overwhelmed about retirement planning? Here are six easy-to-follow steps that can help you get prepared for your golden years.
The IRS announced 2012 contribution limits to some of the most popular types of retirement accounts, such as the 401k.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >You think you
What's the ideal income that you'll collect each year during retirement? That's a crucial question: you can't know how much money you'll need to save for retirement unless you know how much money you plan to live on each year.
The true story of David and Lauren Weliver, an average middle-class couple from Portland, Maine who were shocked by the bills that started piling up after their daughter was born. Learn how they coped with a $1,400 monthly daycare, strollers, cribs, diapers, formula and other expenses.
Feeling overwhelmed by the idea of making a budget? Here's a very simple first step.
Travis wasn't sure if he could afford to take his family on a weekend getaway. But once he looked closely at his budget, he discovered that with a few small changes, his family could take the vacation of a lifetime ...
Most people create a budget by culling their spending habits to fit their income. But here's an unusual approach: decide how much you want to spend. Then force your income to match your spending desires. Learn the pro's and con's of these two methods.
The Schwab app lets customers deposit checks instantly, through their smartphone or tablet, just by taking a photograph of the check. Why can't every bank offer this type of service?
How much of your retirement portfolio can you safely withdraw every year? Most financial advisers say that the answer is 4 percent, but lately there's been some chatter that you should plan to only withdraw 3 percent per year in retirement. That means a $1 million retirement portfolio will allow you to live on $30,000 - $40,000 per year.
One of the best ways to improve your finances is to earn more. There's a limit to how much you can save. There's no limit to how much you can earn. Of course, earning more money in your spare time is tough. Are you trying to figure out what to do to make a little extra money on the side -- without quitting your day job? Here are 7 suggestions.
What type of mortgage should you choose: fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, or interest-only? What other homeownership costs -- beyond the mortgage -- should you include in your budget?
How much house can you afford? How much life insurance do you need? How much should you save for retirement? Find the answers to all these and more.
Not sure what asset allocation means? Here's an explanation.
An emergency fund will help you avoid falling into credit-card debt the next time an unexpected expense pops up. Learn why you need an emergency fund -- and find out how large it should be.
Want a calendar of events for managing your money? Check out this monthly money calendar that describes everything you need to do in January.
What's a savings account? How is it different from a checking account or a brokerage account?
Money management is about mentality, not just tips and tactics. This book teaches you how to fundamentally shift your mental framework about money.
Taxes are one of the two only guarantees in life, to paraphrase a cliché. Yet each year, millions of Americans fall short of the funds they need to pay Uncle Sam. How can you make sure this doesn't happen to you?
Have you never created a budget before? Are you wondering how you can start? Don’t worry. There are plenty of programs that make it easy for you to create a budget.
What is variance, as it relates to budgeting?
When you're saving for retirement, you're making assumptions about how much money you want to spend, per year, during your golden years. But do you need to adjust this figure for inflation?
Traveling is fun, but many people mistakenly assume it needs to cost a fortune. This article shows you how to take a budget-friendly vacation.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Myth: If you make
Most experts advise having an emergency fund -- but what, exactly, is this? Why do you need an emergency fund? When would you use one?
There are dozens of different budgeting styles and techniques that suit a variety of tastes.
Did you know that couples who fight about money more than once a week are 30 percent more likely to get divorced? Don't let this happen to you. Here are some tips for (peacefully) discussing money with your spouse.
Congratulations -- you've made your final car payment! Don't run out to celebrate just yet, though. Sooner or later, you'll need another car. Why not keep making the same car payment, but direct it into a savings account earmarked for your next car purchase?
Perhaps you’ve heard of a ledger. People use ledgers to track their spending habits. But is a ledger the same thing as a budget? Or are these different concepts?
Learn what to do when money is tight and your emergency fund just doesn't cover your expenses.
Personal finance expert Jane Bryant Quinn sits down for an exclusive interview with About.com, in which she sounds off about budgets, debt payoff, and building savings even if money is tight.
Learn four reasons why your budget does more than just tell you how much money you need to save and how much you can spend.
You have many savings goals: you want to pay off your loans, send your kids to college, and you save for retirement. Which of these goals should you fund first?
How on earth can you afford to keep your kids entertained all summer? Activities like camp, sports and vacations are outside your budget. Find frugal fun with this list of free or cheap summer activities for kids.
Finding it tough to stick to your budget? These three mental tricks can help.
Want a sophisticated budgeting program that's also easy-to-use? You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a detailed program that helps you track your accounts. It's designed to be user-friendly, but also through.
Watch out! These eight landmines -- ranging from unrealistic expectations to not understanding your non-monthly bills -- can derail the most carefully-planned budget.
One of the best ways to save for retirement, especially if you're young or you're in a low tax bracket, is through the Roth IRA. Learn all about this special retirement savings account.
Following certain companies on Twitter can help you save money. Here's a list of some Twitter accounts that tweet major savings and discounts.
You're feeling pulled in a million different directions. You need to save for retirement, pay for your child's college, remodel your home and fix the transmission on your car. How can you prioritize?
You've probably heard chatter about the Bush tax cuts, but maybe you're having trouble sorting fact from punditry. What are the Bush tax cuts? What happens if it expires? How does it affect you?
Choosing between being a stay-at-home parent or a working parent? Don't forget to factor the cost of going to work in your decision. Work-related expenses like gasoline, professional clothes, childcare, dry cleaning and occasional coffees or lunches out can take a pretty big bite out of your paycheck.
I occasionally hear people say that they don't ever plan to retire. They love their careers, and don't want to quit when they're 62 or 65. But that doesn't exempt them from needing to save for retirement. Here's why.