BANKING, BILL PAYING, & CREDIT CARDS
Shop around and compare rates for checking and savings accounts, credit cards, CDs, and more.
Find low-rate credit union credit cards and locate credit unions near you that are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.
If you’re considering switching to a credit union, find one in your area here.
FederalReserve.gov: Consumer’s Guide to Credit Cards
Everything explained: Your offer, your statement, your rights as a consumer, and tips on how to pay off your balance.
FTC.gov: Identity Theft
These tips on how to prevent identity theft and what to do if your identity is stolen are courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission.
If you get some or most of your bills electronically, use this free site to manage your bills, get automatic payment reminders, and organize all your paperless statements in one place.
BUDGETING & SHOPPING SMART
Find out if you’re getting the best deals on savings accounts, credit cards, cell phone and TV service, gas, and more.
Dealio.com * FatWallet.com * RetailMeNot.com
When shopping online, don’t hit the checkout button until you’ve looked for a discount code or coupon on one of these three sites.
This site rounds up the best travel deals from many sites, including Travelocity and Expedia, and shows you where to find the cheapest flights, hotels, and rental cars without having to hit each site separately.
This free budget website can help you see exactly where your cash goes in easy-to-use pie chart views, allowing you to determine where you can cut back.
This granddaddy of comparison-shopping sites searches millions of products—groceries, computer software, you name it—from hundreds of vendors to get you the best price.
Go here before buying any electronics! This site features authoritative reviews from the editors at tech bible cnet.com.
Smartphone Apps: Google Shopper, ShopSavvy, and Save Benjis
For comparison shopping apps on the go, check out apple.com/iPhone to download iPhone apps or handango.com for other smartphones.
BBB.org: Wise Giving Alliance
Check out charities you’re interested in and read complaints and reviews on this site from the Better Business Bureau.
See how charities rate versus similar organizations, find out how they allocate the funds they receive, and more.
Find volunteer opportunities of interest where you live.
Find volunteer opportunities or create your own in your community.
The Better Business Bureau is a clearinghouse that lets you find reputable businesses, look up companies to see if they’re accredited, or file complaints.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a consumer watchdog that keeps even the most predatory establishments honest, with a scrutinous eye on student loans, mortgages, and credit cards.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection protects the public against unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. Go here to learn your rights and avoid scams when renting a car, buying health insurance, and more.
FTC.gov: Money Matters
This helpful website from the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has tips on avoiding scams, managing your money, dealing with debt, mortgage payments, and job hunting.
ChicagoTribune.com: Gail MarksJarvis’s column
Personal finance columnist and blogger Gail MarksJarvis takes a smart, sharp, and sensible approach to money issues that affect folks nationwide.
Created by a self-described “average guy” who took control of his finances and worked his way out of debt, this site provides smart coverage on a variety of money topics.
Kiplinger’s * Money * Smart Money
My three favorite personal finance magazines/websites.
Money.MSN.com: Liz Weston’s column
Liz Weston keeps her finger on the pulse of today’s personal finance issues, providing simple and practical ways to address each one.
Making the Most of Your Money Now by Jane Bryant Quinn
Although its 1,000-plus pages may be a bit overwhelming, this encyclopedic guide is the best.
This government website is dedicated to teaching Americans the basics about financial education by providing tips, resources, and calculators for various life events, from the birth of a child to retirement.
Another motivational blog created by a young guy who dug himself out of debt and now wants to help other people do the same.
WashingtonPost.com: Michelle Singletary’s column
Sign up for personal finance columnist and blogger Michelle Singletary’s newsletter to get the latest scoop on everything from money to parenting to politics.
One of the biggest personal finance message boards out there, this forum gives you a chance to share tips and information with over 100,000 other people.
Go here for downloadable legal forms including wills, trusts, and even contracts for loans among family and friends.
Cheap Insurance for Your Home, Automobile, Health, & Life: How to Save Thousands While Getting Good Coverage by Carla and Lee Rowley
This book is probably the best comprehensive guide to all the major areas of insurance.
NAIC.org: A Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance
This free pamphlet from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners gives basic info on auto insurance.
NAIC.org: A Consumer’s Guide to Home Insurance
This free pamphlet from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners gives basic info on home insurance.
AHIP.org: Guide to Disability Income Insurance
Find the latest information on disability income insurance in this comprehensive guide from America’s Health Insurance Plans.
Insurance for Dummies by Jack Hungelmann
This book is a good one-stop beginner’s guide to all the major kinds of insurance, how to shop for them, and what to watch out for along the way.
J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax by the J.K. Lasser Institute
An excellent tax guide. Make sure to get the most current edition!
IRS.gov: Guide to Free Tax Services
Search for this free pamphlet on the IRS website to access the edition for the current tax year.
IRS.gov: Your Federal Income Tax
Search for Publication 17 on the IRS website to access the edition for the current tax year.