Improve Your Money Skills with These Free ResourcesPosted: April 4, 2014
Looking to whip your money habits into shape, but don’t know where to start? In honor of Financial Literacy Month, here are some free resources that’ll help teach you to get a hold of your finances.
Online Financial Literacy Resources
Many financial institutions and organizations offer free courses online. Here are a handful of them:
Ally’s “Four Weeks to Get Wise”: Throughout the month of April, Ally will offer financial tips and videos via Twitter and YouTube. Topics will include credit, budgeting, banking and auto finance. You can also take their ongoing “Wallet Wise” online course that covers financial basics.
CNN’s Money 101: CNN Money offers free online lessons on 23 different financial topics. Each topic is detailed, thorough and offers a test at the end of the lesson. CNN covers the basics: making a budget and setting financial goals. But you’ll learn more advanced topics, too, like asset allocation and taxes.
MyMoney.Gov: My Money was launched by the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission. You’ll find basic tips that focus on five main categories: Spend, Earn, Save & Invest, Protect and Borrow. Each category includes a quiz. You can also use checklists and worksheets for managing finances.
GCF Learn Free: Launched by the Goodwill Community Foundation, this website includes 90 free online tutorials. Most of the lessons help you hone job skills, but they do have an entire section for money basics. Among other lessons, you’ll learn to manage checking and savings accounts and live within your means.
Credit Unions: Many credit unions offer free financial literacy materials, games, calculators and online lessons. Nerd Wallet rounded-up several of the best. “Best of the Basics,” for example, went to Boston’s Metro Credit Union:
“Their Financial Education section is easy to navigate and great if you’re looking for basic information. It includes short-but-thorough articles on budgeting, saving and borrowing, plus appropriate product recommendations for every life stage, from college to retirement. Metro’s site also has 6 different financial calculators, including one just for kids.”
To see the others that made the list, check out Nerd Wallet’s full post.
Dear Lifehacker, I know managing money comes naturally to some people, but for me it’s just overwhelming and frustrating. No matter how hard I… Read…
Lifehacker has also discussed other online financial resources here.
Free Financial Literacy Classes & Workshops
Maybe you prefer an in-person workshop to an online course. There are a few options for that, too.
“Libraries partner with community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations and other financial experts to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances. General topic areas range from ‘Credit and Debt Management’ to ‘Kids and Money’ to ‘Retirement Planning’ to ‘Savvy Shopping and Bargain Hunting.'”
If one of the 700 libraries aren’t near you, your local library probably offers a similar program. Los Angeles Public Library offers an ongoing “Money Matters” program, for example. They hold free courses in different libraries throughout the city. You can take the online courses, too.
National Financial Educators Council: The NFEC offers free workshops around the country that cover a range of financial topics. Sign up and they’ll email you when there’s a workshop near you.
Workshops in your city: Chances are, there’s a local community college, credit union, or other organization holding a free financial literacy class during the month. Do some research and find a class near you. Here are some upcoming workshops in a few major cities:
- Chicago: Illinois workNet Center, “Managing Your Money,” April 17, 2014
- Los Angeles: University Credit Union, ongoing.
- New York City: The NY Public Library participates in the Money Matters program. Ongoing.
- Baltimore: Maryland Cash Academy, “Money Matters,” April 5, 2104.
- Houston: San Jacinto College, “Money Matters & Pay Yourself First,” April 9, 2014
- Pittsburgh: Carnegie Library Woods Run Branch, “Money Smart Series,” April 22, 2013
Financial Literacy Resources for Kids
It’s important for children to learn about money, too. Here are some fun financial literacy resources for kids.
Money as You Grow: At this website, parents and educators learn how to teach kids about money. Select your child’s age, and a list of financial literacy milestones pop up. For example, at age eight, your child should learn:
“Putting your money in a savings account will PROTECT it and pay you interest.”
What’s more, the site gives you activity ideas for teaching each milestone.
Banking on Our Future: A program from Operation Hope, this initiative sends volunteers to schools and communities to teach kids and teens financial literacy:
“The program is led by HOPE Corps volunteers who have undergone comprehensive training in financial literacy and teaching techniques. Our BOOF students are given the tools they need to take control of their financial futures – by learning about empowerment, responsibility, and hope.”
We’ve discussed many of the financial basics at Lifehacker. Here are a few of our own money-related posts. They contain helpful information that will start you in the right direction.
- Adult Budgeting 101
- The Most Common Ways You Waste Money (and How to Save It)
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Out of Debt
- How To Check and Improve Your Credit Score
- Step-by-Step Guide to a Healthy Emergency Fund
- How to Start Saving for a Home Down Payment
You may have seen a few sub-blogs popping up around here at Lifehacker, where we delve deeper into specific topics or explore something new. Today,…Read…
Of course, Lifehacker recently launched Two Cents (the blog your’e currently reading) to address even more financial topics.
The topic of money can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of financial resources available to you. All you have to do is commit to your financial literacy. Yes, that can take a lot of time, research and discipline. But the payoff is financial security, and it’s worth it.
Two Cents is a new blog from Lifehacker all about personal finance.