For a long time, I’ve been wanting to put together sort of a Master List of really excellent personal finance website links and post it here. The problem is that every single personal finance writer on the internet has already done this, and I try to avoid doing The Same Old Thing as everyone else here.
So I figured I’d try something new and put together a small collection of the best single pages of the internet that are just so full of amazing financial information that you should print out every single one of them and carry them around in your pocket all of the time. Putting this collection together was no easy feat; it took at least ten solid minutes of using Google and digging through my bookmarks to come up with this list.
Again, the criteria for this list are as follows:
- Only single web pages. Sure, the entire site as a whole might be nice, but I’m looking for one page or document that’s just bursting with personal finance flavor in every bite.
- Must be awesome. Lack of awesomeness is an immediate disqualification.
- Must be useful. A web page with lots of pretty numbers that aren’t of any real use is not going to help anybody. Users of this page should leave it having accomplished or learned something.
I considered having some little award statuettes made for this, but I figured just the honor of being selected would be recognition enough.
Best Financial Calculator
It’s almost a given that DinkyTown.net has the best financial calculators for virtually every situation involving money, but selecting just one was no easy task. The Benefits of Spending Less Calculator struck me as the most awesome and useful of the roughly four billion calculators on that website because absolutely anybody can use it to see what would happen if you cut out, for instance, your weekly visit to the local brothel. (Now I can retire at 50!)
Best Cheat Sheet
When Paul English put together his list of phone numbers and dialing sequences that will get you a real human when calling a mega-corporation, it was all you heard about on the internet for about three weeks. The IVR (interactive voice response) cheat sheet has since been replaced by the gethuman website; but unless you carry an internet-talkie device in your pocket all of the time, you’ll have much better luck on the road and away from home with this printable version of the original cheat sheet that contains some of the more frequent companies you may find yourself calling. Now you can call a live person at the Department of Homeland Security from anywhere!
Best Beginner-Level Investing Guide
If you ever decide to ramp up your personal investment activities and you’re looking for companies to invest in, you’ll need to do your homework to make sure you don’t inadvertently throw your cash into a business with hidden financial troubles. This guide from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will teach you the basics of understanding a company’s financial statements—from footnotes to shareholder equity—so you can judge for yourself if that business is a smart investment or another Enron waiting to happen.
Best Resource for Maximizing Student Financial Aid
Once you’re filling out your FAFSA form to apply for Federal student financial aid, it’s probably too late to find any significant moves that will increase your aid allotment. The best time to do this is when you’re filling out your tax forms (well, really before you fill out the forms) because reducing your amount of taxable income will help to increase your financial aid eligibility. This guide from the folks at The Princeton Review highlights the parts of the 1040 you’ll want to pay particular attention to in order to help maximize your student aid prospects.
Best Guide to Saving Money on Energy Costs
I’ve seen parts of a list like this on more than a dozen different web pages, but this is the first time I’ve seen practically every energy-saving tip imaginable in one place. You’ll find a lot of great How-Tos on Mahalo.com, a community-driven knowledge repository not unlike Wikipedia, but this is definitely one of my favorite guides in their growing Finance section.
Best Resource for People Who Always Lose Stuff
You swear you just had your cell phone in your hand, but now you don’t. After digging around in your desk for a while and trying to call your cell phone from a different phone to locate it, you’re about to give up and spend $200 on a new one. But wait! Simply enter your phone number into this website and it will keep your cell phone ringing until you find it and hang up (or until the battery dies). What’s that? You left your cell phone in your mistress’s pants which your wife found under your bed because it kept ringing until she came home? Hooray! Another owner reunited with their cell phone thanks to Where’s My Cell Phone?.com.
Best Place to Find Top CD Rates
The CD Rates Thread over at FatWallet.com is the first place you should look if you’ve got a few K burning a hole in your pocket and you’re looking to stash it away in a safe place for some number of months. The rates in the Quick Summary area are constantly updated by real people to include the latest CD rate deals available both online and off. Rates are conveniently organized by rate term and include summaries of when the rate was spotted and the minimum amount of money that must be invested in the CD at opening, if any.
Best Money Resources for Kids
Visit this page to order your free copies of money-related comic books for your kids to enjoy. Topics covered include banking, saving, the economy, monetary policy, and more. You can preview one of the comics, Wishes and Rainbows (PDF), online. Unfortunately the rest of the comics only come in tree murderer-friendly format.
This is a work in progress, and new resources will be added to this page as they are found. If you have a suggestion for a one-page resource you’d like to see added to this page, please send it to Nick with the subject line “Another Absolute Best Financial Web Page.”