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Personal Finance and Investing

Dig into the big picture with these personal finance topics for a holistic look at your money and relationship for growing your wealth.

Watch Your Money Grow

Starting a budget is like planting a seed for a money tree, but you’d better know something about gardening if you expect to see it grow. Do you know what to do if there’s an income drought? How to sidestep expense pests? What works best as financial fertilizer? 

We took the metaphor too far with the fertilizer bit, didn’t we? It happens.

Build stronger budgeting roots with better spending and savings habits by learning more about growing that greenery.

Let’s Talk Personal Finance:

  • 5 Healthy Money Habits

    When you want to build better money habits, sometimes the best thing you can do is to start small.  Last year, I had a small goal to simply check in with my budget every day. To do that, I attached the budget check to something I already do without fail—put on sunscreen. It doesn’t matter …
  • Rich People Think Differently

    8 Ways Rich People Think Differently

    When you think about a rich person, do you picture fancy cars, big houses, and a life of luxury? When observing truly wealthy people, it turns out they don’t often look like the Hollywood-type wealthy folks we might imagine. Most of the truly wealthy don’t appear in the media – they’re more like “The Millionaire …
  • Which Comes First: Emergency Fund or Pay Off Debt?

    You might be asking yourself, “Should I build my emergency fund or pay off debt first?” If you’re debating between paying off debt or saving more cash, your emergency fund should come first! You heard that right, debt—we’ll deal with you later (soon, but later). See, they’re both good options, but there is a gooder, er, …
  • How Big Should Your Emergency Fund Be?

    ~~~ As the season of spontaneous summer spending comes to a crashing halt, we thought it might be a good refresher (for all of us!) to get back to basics. A little “Budgeting 101” to help us reset and refocus on the “why” and “how” of budgeting, prioritizing, saving, spending—all of it! There may even …
  • 10 Ways to Get a Month Ahead of Your Expenses

    Want to learn how to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle? Get a month ahead with your money! We’ve got some ideas to get you started. Picture this: ten bills all come due at the same time and instead of wallowing in despair, you just pay them—without batting an eyelash. The money has been sitting …
  • How to Live Within Your Means

    How to Live Within Your Means

    It seems like the golden rule of personal finance is to “live within your means.” Those four little words seem simple enough, so why don’t more people do this? Well, do you know what your “means” actually are? If the first thought that pops into your head is your yearly salary, you’re on the right …
  • Is It Bad to Keep Money in a Savings Account?

    Kids, gather round, because an old man wants to tell you a story of the glory days. It was 2007, and you could put your money in a savings account earning an annual interest rate of 5 percent. It’s true! I have the receipts! Nowadays, even if you open a “high yield” savings account at …
  • How to Get Your Life Back on Track Financially

    Have you gone off the rails for one reason or another and are wondering how to get your life back on track financially? Whether it’s rising credit card debt, an emergency fund that never seems to build, or really just being overwhelmed by complexity, we have different financial situations that make us feel like we …
  • How to Get Rich Fast (& It’s Not Budgeting)

    When I graduated from college, I spent every dollar that I had on an incredibly used VW Jetta and drove across the country to Nashville for my very first job. I remember calling my mom and saying the following: “Mom! I’m going to make twenty-four thousand dollars! HOW WILL I SPEND IT ALL?” Direct quote. …
  • 12 Best Personal Finance Episodes from the YNAB Podcast

    We recently put together a list of our favorite YNAB podcasts and split them out whether you’re a new to budgeting or well-seasoned. But while we were at it, we noticed the podcast isn’t strictly budget talk—listen close and you’ll find it’s bursting with personal finance gems and advice. We’ve waded through the many (many) …
  • Roth IRA vs Traditional IRA

    What's the Difference Between a Roth IRA vs. a Traditional IRA?

    What’s the difference between a Roth IRA vs a traditional IRA? I could explain it in one sentence: With a Roth IRA, you tax the seed. With a traditional IRA, you tax the tree. All right, there you have it. Do you get it? Let me explain a little bit more. With a Roth IRA, …
  • How to Get a Month Ahead With Your Budget

    How do you get a month ahead in your budget and start living on last month’s income?  We’re so glad you asked! As you get going with your budget, getting a month ahead is key if you’re someone who is trying to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle. And it might take time, but you’ll …
  • Do You Really Need an Emergency Fund?

    One of the best parts of my job as a teacher at YNAB is the interaction I get with the participants in our free, online budgeting workshops. You all ask some great questions! And, lately, one question in particular has come up again, and again: “Should I have an emergency fund category?” I remember the …
  • How to Spend Less Money Starting Now

    Everyone deals with excess spending a little differently: some of us opt for an intense all-out sprint approach to financial health while others plod on with slow, steady consistency like hitting a daily step goal. Whatever your intensity level, we’ve got ten ideas to spend less money. Prefer to watch instead of read? Ashley walks …
  • How to Avoid the Slippery Slope of Lifestyle Creep

    If you’ve ever received a raise at work or switched to a higher paying career, you’re familiar with the exciting rush that comes with that first paycheck. You’ve marveled at the practically sparkling new number and thought about how magical your life will soon be because of all this extra income. Or, if you’re anything …
  • The Secret to Successful Investing

    When payday arrives, do you give every dollar a job? Does your budget, more or less, account for all of your needs (even the less frequent, larger expenses)? Do you adjust, as necessary, so that your income supports the things that you need and want the most? And, finally, do you live comfortably on last …

You Can Do This! Today! Right Now! For Free!

Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?