My 25 Favorite Personal Finance, Career, and Personal Development Blogs

Collin writes in:

What personal finance blogs do you read?

You can actually find the answer to this question on any page of The Simple Dollar. If you scroll down a bit, you’ll see a section in the lower right entitled “Blogs I Read.” Under that heading is a list of twenty five blogs that I keep pretty close tabs on – I visit all of them most days.

I update this list about once a year, and because of Collin’s prompting, I decided it was time to give that list a good refreshing. I removed about half of the sites that used to be there (a few are now defunct, the rest have simply become less compelling) and added quite a bit of new blood to the list.

So, which personal finance, career, and personal development blogs do I keep tabs on? Here they are, along with some notes on why I find them so compelling. If you want to visit any of these sites at any time, just visit any page on The Simple Dollar – the full list can always be found in the “Blogs I Read” section.

Ask MetaFilter
http://ask.metafilter.com
Ask MetaFilter is an interesting community blog of sorts. Here’s how it works: members pay a small fee to join, then they’re allowed to ask questions that are on their mind. The questions are all over the place, ranging from whether a person should move from Boston to Colorado to things like how budget reconciliation in the Senate works. The diversity of questions – and the wide range of responses, many of them well thought out – makes Ask MetaFilter a compelling read.

Bargaineering
http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/
Bargaineering (formerly Blueprint for Financial Prosperity) is probably my favorite personal finance blog for interesting ideas. Jim Wang, the author of the site, is quite good at generating compelling core ideas, which usually gets my mind moving. Quite often, I’ll see an intriguing idea on Jim’s site, stew on it for a while, try it out, look at how it works in my own life, and find myself eventually telling a story that goes off in some completely different direction. Two great examples of Jim’s interesting ideas are his post on the meaninglessness of net worth by age and his far-too-short introduction to the “100 boxes” budgeting technique.

ChristianPF
http://www.christianpf.com/
ChristianPF has a distinct take on personal finance: that the themes of Christianity and the themes of money management have quite a bit of overlap. Because the site focuses so heavily on that overlap – and because the author is a solid writer who occasionally throws out a few amazing gems – ChristianPF consistently offers insights that leave me thinking. Some of ChristianPF’s best stuff includes this amazing detailed description of how bloggers earn an income and five essential pieces of scripture that discuss money (although he missed the one that really impacted me, Ecclesiastes 2).

Clever Dude
http://www.cleverdude.com/
Clever Dude keeps me coming back because of the tone and the sense of humor underlying most of the posts. The site does a great job of putting just the right touch of humor on personal finance and frugality issues, often with the humor sneaking up on you and just brushing you when you least expect it. It’s just the right amount – enough to make the articles enjoyable to read, without going too far and making it all into a farce. Two great examples of this include the article about creating a frugal lunch for a lot of people and the post on saving money by reducing waste (with fifty examples).

Consumerism Commentary
http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/
Flexo, the writer at Consumerism Commentary, has the knack of a good essayist. He can turn a simple, seemingly unrelated event or idea into an interesting personal finance take. For example, his article on whether it makes sense to follow what makes you happy does a great job of riffing on Arrested Development, and this piece on money and unintended consequences turns a look at ethanol in fuel into a great discussion of looking at the ramifications of your choices.

Consumerist
http://consumerist.com/
Consumerist is a blog run by Consumers Union, the folks behind Consumer Reports. It focuses directly on consumer issues, which means that it often calls out poor customer service from companies, faulty products, and so forth, mixed in with some great advice on saving money and making good buying choices. This is what I call a “flood” blog, meaning there are a lot of posts each day – I usually find myself just leafing through the piles of posts for the handful that really apply to me. Some great examples of what Consumerist brings to the table include 112 ways to save money and a a great look at the dark underbelly of the housing crisis, where awful homes are built in middle-class neighborhoods.

Deal Seeking Mom
http://www.dealseekingmom.com/
Deal Seeking Mom mostly just provides a lot of great coupons and freebies – the site does a great job of filtering out many of the less-useful items and just provides some of the cream of the crop – and occasionally drops a great article on specific money-saving tactics in the middle there. Two great examples of this dual nature is a great article on the learning curve of saving money and the guide to getting free rentals at Redbox (which I’ve used several times, actually).

Dumb Little Man
http://www.dumblittleman.com/
I keep coming back to Dumb Little Man for the variety. The site posts articles on a wide variety of topics – productivity, personal development, money management, careers, and so on. The author usually gets right to the point, outlining a handful of good suggestions on the topic. For me, it usually serves as a great starting point for ways to improve myself, whether in terms of money or career or even my day-to-day life. Two great examples that I found particularly useful are 14 Simple Ways to Convert Your Sedentary Lifestyle (I’m a high-volume writer, so I’m more sedentary than I’d like to be) and 50 Very Simple Ways to Be Romantic (I’ve used many of these with my wife).

Freelance Switch
http://www.freelanceswitch.com/
Freelance Switch focuses very specifically on the money and career issues that face people who are freelancers – of which, to an extent, I would include myself as a member. Because of that tight focus, Freelance Switch can toss out many of the extraneous details and really hone in on factors that matter specifically to freelancers.

Free Money Finance
http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/
Free Money Finance succeeds for me because the author is very, very effective at combing through the mainstream media, finding the articles on personal money management that are really compelling, and commenting on them in a relatable fashion. The (slight) majority of the posts at FMF follow that general format and, for me, those are the ones that keep me coming back for more. Two good recent examples of this technique are The Little Things Matter to Interview Success and Ten STeps to Becoming a Millionaire.

Frugal Dad
http://frugaldad.com/
Frugal Dad. The name alone tells you exactly what you’re going to get: frugality tips and personal finance thoughts related to kids. Two topics that, unsurprisingly, appeal to me quite a bit. Another factor that works in Frugal Dad’s favor is that the site, over time, tells the story of his life – a meshing of good advice and memoir that I find appealing. Two of my favorite posts from Frugal Dad include The Language of the Perpetual Poor and Planning a Frugal Family Fun Night (from which I’ve used several ideas over the years, in some form or another).

Get Rich Slowly
http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/
Point blank, this is the best personal finance blog out there (besides TSD, of course). JD and I write with a fairly similar tone and have similar ideas so often that I’ll sometimes check Get Rich Slowly before I post a new article just to make sure that JD hasn’t randomly came up with a similar idea. Here are two examples of that, where JD has written articles I’d be proud to say were my own: The Road to Wealth is Paved with Goals and The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good – but I could list dozens and dozens of great articles from GRS.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich
http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/
I read I Will Teach You To Be Rich for two reasons. First, Ramit’s focus is largely on entrepreneurship – it’s fairly obvious that his audience is the Silicon Valley startup crowd. Second, his tone is pure entertainment – a pastiche of self-assurance and compelling advice that makes most of the articles there quite worth reading. Two great examples of his style and advice are The $28,000 question: Why are we all hypocrites about weddings? and Money Diaries: The 20-something cube-dweller with an addiction to phone accessories.

Lifehacker
http://lifehacker.com/
Lifehacker is a very frequently updated site (ten or more times a day) focusing on productivity technology issues, but occasionally brushing on personal finance, personal growth, and other areas. I almost always find a gem or two by browsing through Lifehacker – a useful piece of software, a good piece of advice, or something wholly unexpected. Two articles from Lifehacker that really influenced my thinking: Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret (“don’t break the chain” is utterly brilliant) and How Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Gets Things Done (some great advice from a person I admire a lot).

Money Saving Mom
http://www.moneysavingmom.com/
Money Saving Mom is something like a hybrid between Frugal Dad and Deal Seeking Mom – it’s a real medley of frugality tips, solid coupons (I’ve used more coupons from MSM than from pretty much any other site I’ve visited), and excellent anecdotes about parenting with frugality in mind. Walgreens 101, for example, is a great introduction to saving money at that particular store, and a great example of how the site can really save money is with this method for getting Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers for $0.16 at Target using coupon stacking and finding deals from flyers (my kids love these crackers – and the post is a good example of the type of thoughtful deal-finding that shows up on MSM).

Pick the Brain
http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog
Pick the Brain is an excellent wide-ranging self-improvement blog, offering up tons of interesting articles on motivation, productivity, money management, and other aspects of self-improvement. The variety of ideas is what keeps me coming back – it’s infrequently updated, but when I do see an update, it’s usually full of solid ideas. Two articles that really made me think were 7 Ways to Grow the Action Habit and George Orwell’s Five Rules for Effective Writing (all of which I strive to use).

Productivity501
http://www.productivity501.com/
Productivity501 focuses squarely on how to be more productive with your time – and time is money, after all. Mark does a consistently great job of digging through ordinary tasks and finding ways to reduce our time investment on those tasks, resulting in more time to spend on other things of greater personal value (like spending time with my kids, for example). Here are two excellent tastes: Components of a Paperless Office (this is something I strive towards, and the article is my guide for doing it) and Getting the Most Out of Magazines (which basically describes how I tackle personal finance magazines).

Queercents
http://www.queercents.com/
Queercents is actually a collective blog, including writings from a large number of writers that are all members of the LGBT community. As with many group blogs, the presence of many writers creates a great diversity of opinion and perspectives – and often you find a writer or two that you really click with (I like Nina, for example) while being exposed to a lot of ideas and angles that you would have never considered before. Two great articles: Answering The Question: Should I Go To Graduate School? and Build A Business While Keeping Your Day Job (something I had to do when The Simple Dollar was first getting started).

Red Tape Chronicles
http://redtape.msnbc.com/
Red Tape Chronicles (from MSNBC) focuses on consumer issues – mostly, how to deal with customer service headaches, identity theft, and other painful elements of modern financial life. Bob Sullivan provides great fact-based coverage of consumer fraud, writing really strong material that often leads me to investigating similar experiences in my own life.

Smart Spending
http://blogs.moneycentral.msn.com/SmartSpending/
Smart Spending is something of a “meta-blog” of personal finance blogs. Karen Datko and Donna Freedman do a great job of scouring a wide range of personal finance blogs, finding a wide variety of commentary on personal finance issues while adding their own unique views. Smart Spending is a great resource for seeing what lots of different voices are saying on personal finance topics. A couple of great examples: Is Bankruptcy Her Best Choice? and ‘Gifting Club’ Pyramid Schemes Flourish on Web.

The Digerati Life
http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/
I often look at The Digerati Life as something of an urban parallel to The Simple Dollar. The author lives in the Bay Area and often has a more urban perspective than I do, but we regularly come to the same conclusions. What keeps me coming back? A warm tone and a lot of excellent advice. Two samples: Force Yourself To Save! 15 Painless Ways To Pay Yourself First and Borrow, Barter, Buy Used: Espousing The Frugal Lifestyle.

The Wallet
http://blogs.wsj.com/wallet/
The Wallet is a personal finance blog from the Wall Street Journal. It can be dry at times, but if you want a flood of thought-provoking reading on personal finance, this is a great source. It’s a mix of link collections to interesting articles from all over and short pieces from WSJ staff writers, all adding together to create a compelling mix of money material. Standouts (to me) include Be Aware of Who’s Behind Advice on Cell-Phone Plans (this is part of the reason why I tend to trust bloggers whose material I’ve read over a long period of time) and Extreme Finance: Cutting Out 401(k) Contributions.

Unclutterer
http://unclutterer.com/
Unclutterer is a fascinating blog with a very specific topic: reducing clutter. In Erin’s eyes, clutter stands in the way of personal productivity, personal happiness, and good personal finance, too. Her soft, witty tone and her consistently thoughtful ideas on reducing the clutter in one’s life keep me constantly coming back for more. Two great examples: Retail tricks that get you to buy more and If you have a job you hate, prioritize what is important to you and align your career accordingly.

Wise Bread
http://www.wisebread.com/
Wise Bread is a group blog that looks at a huge array of personal finance issues, providing a wide range of voices and insights on money matters. The wide variety of voices (in particular, the always-excellent Philip Brewer) and wide variety of issues make this one a great blog for getting your juices flowing when it comes to money management. Two great examples include Baby Carrots – The Frugal Idea That Isn’t and Like DIY? Avoid These Ten Costly Mistakes.

Zen Habits
http://zenhabits.net/
Last but not least is Zen Habits, a site focused on simplicity in life, money, work, and love. Leo’s goal with Zen Habits is pretty clear – if you reduce the complexities in your life, you have much more life to enjoy, a philosophy I wholeheartedly agree with. Leo’s posts vary widely, but they all strike the common theme of finding a simpler way in life. Two great examples: Handbook for Life: 52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity and The Cheapskate Guide: 50 Tips for Frugal Living.

Got a favorite blog along these lines? What’s great about it? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Jimmy says:

    Pretty good list. Id also like to add some other good ones. Pfadvice.com and mymoneyblog.com. The former always has excellent pf advice every single day and the latter(Jonathan) updates his net worth regularly and always has excellent information.

  2. Thanks for providing a nice list of blogs. However there are many great blogs out there which you might not have even found out about for whatever reason.
    I do believe however that this list is great for starters!

  3. Flexo says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Trent!

  4. Frugal Dad says:

    Thanks for including Frugal Dad in this list, Trent! We have similar tastes, as I saw many of my favorites on there as well (and a few new ones – I’m off to update my reader).

  5. guinness416 says:

    Good list! Ask Mefi is the first (and usually the last) site I click over to every day. If I could only visit one website again for the rest of my life, that’d be it (and yes, I’m a member).

    I’m really curious about your comment that your and JD’s tones are similar. I certainly agree that GRS and TSD are two fantastic blogs and that you cover somewhat similar topics, but I find your tones and presentations to be completely different.

  6. Moneymonk says:

    Mine is better

  7. Esther says:

    Thanks for the great links!! Now I have several more blogs to subscribe to!

  8. FMF says:

    I thank you for the kind words as well.

    As you know, I feel the same about TSD since I refer to it so often. Maybe it’s the Iowa in me that makes me like it so much! ;-)

  9. the Dad says:

    Wow! For whatever reason I’ve just skimmed past that link list as though it were a banner ad most of the time.

    Look at all that good stuff I’ve been missing. Thanks for the update!

  10. marta says:

    @guinness416

    I was wondering the same thing… TSD and GRS are the two PF I read regularly, and I find Trent’s and JD’s styles to be quite different as well, from the “tone” of their posts to their interaction with readers and, also, their reaction to criticism, among other things.

  11. Clever Dude says:

    Thanks again for adding me to your list! Always glad to both make people laugh AND educate them. I especially like writing rants :)

  12. Jimbo says:

    Marta – agree 100% – JD is very responsive to criticism and seeking to improve, while Trent is neither of those things. JD is also more light-hearted and nearly every post of his does not have a connection to “family.”

  13. todo es bien says:

    Oh Jeez – this list is the productivity sink extraordinaire. Thanks for making me waste the rest of my work week. :{ My company thanks you too…

  14. Wow, I am so unbelievably honored to have made your top 25 list along with so many fantastic blogs. The Simple Dollar was one of the first blogs in my feed reader before I ever started Deal Seeking Mom, so I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Thank you so much for including me!

  15. ChristianPF says:

    Thanks trent!! I am pumped to be in the list!!

  16. Being new to frugal blogs (as a reader, and blogger), but having lived the frugal, debt free life for years, it’s wonderful to see such a broad spectrum of great blogs out there. Thanks for this list…I will be referring here often.

  17. MoneyEnergy says:

    thanks for the list – there’s a few on here I haven’t been to! Looking forward to Lifehacker and the Unclutterer:)

  18. Great list. Found a few new ones worth following in this mix. Thanks for including Queercents and especially my article on building a business while having a day job.

  19. Jimmy says:

    Trent,
    Please do not listen to Jimbo. You are writing from your own experiences, you have a family. JD does not. You each have your own styles of writing. It seems that your backgrounds are very similar but that does not affect the present.

    Although, I have found that JD handles constructive criticism vastly different than you do. This is not a knock on you specifically, just an observation.

  20. Thanks so much for including me in your list, Trent. You’ve introduced me to some sites I have yet to visit — Freelance Switch just caught my eye! Great variety. :)

  21. Trent Trent says:

    Jimbo writes: “JD is very responsive to criticism and seeking to improve, while Trent is neither of those things. JD is also more light-hearted and nearly every post of his does not have a connection to “family.””

    I don’t think I ignore criticism. Two examples from just the last two months (and one is your own criticism, Jimbo):
    http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/03/13/whos-right-whos-wrong/
    http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/03/16/reader-mailbag-54/

    I prefer to respond to criticisms in their own posts or in reader mailbags so I don’t derail conversations, as I’ve said many times. Blogs are a conversational medium, and I view my interference in the comments to be a very bad thing. I WANT people to criticize me and point out when I’m wrong – that’s why I don’t participate in the comments, so that they don’t turn into a love-fest that doesn’t actually help anyone to grow.

    I do talk about my family, because that’s what is important to me. My family is the center of my life, and I’m not going to change that to please the whims of an internet commenter.

    I speak the truth of what’s going on in my mind and my heart – to do otherwise would be to let every reader of this blog down. If you don’t like it, I strongly encourage you to choose one of the blogs above and read it instead of The Simple Dollar.

    Let me repeat that: if you’re not getting personal value from reading The Simple Dollar, please don’t bother to read it. There are a lot of other great blogs out there – that’s why I made this post, to highlight some of them.

  22. Chris @ BuildMyBudget says:

    Wow, I’ve been missing some good ones as well! Thanks for the great list, Trent!

  23. J.D. says:

    I know what Trent was trying to say. I don’t necessarily think we have a similar tone, but I do think that we have similar experiences, similar values, and a similar approach. Our writing styles are different, and our personal lives are different, but I think that we’re both trying to help people. Trent’s is my favorite non-GRS personal finance blog. (Though if Philip from Wise Bread had his own site, that would be my favorite!)

    Each of us is different. I’m glad that Trent has a different voice and different topics and different personality. But I’m also glad that he and I share a lot of similarities. When he writes about Magic: The Gathering or his homestead childhood or the books he’s reading, I can relate. I’m proud to have him as a colleague.

  24. Tyler says:

    Trent, you’re the man. Keep what you’re doing and make it happen. Let no one deter you. Most other bloggers are in it for money, pure and simple. It’s quite obvious in the posts they make and what kind of “site” they have. I will have to say that I find JD quite boring (sorry JD, you just don’t appeal to me). I like the personal touch and writing from the heart and I find that in you Trent. I’ve been here since you started (about 2 months after) and I’ve seen you grow a lot, almost as if you were my own brother. Keep it up man!

  25. Jimmy says:

    @JD
    That’s exactly my point.

    But to me, you(JD) seem more personable and ‘light-hearted’ in the comments. Trent has a different style of dealing with constructive criticism. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just that it is different and may feel defensive to certain people. I also feel that way sometimes. At least that is how it comes across.

  26. Ruth says:

    Great list, Trent! I read most of these, but found a few to add to my list. I would say my favorite is Dumb Little Man. The posts are clear, concise, helpful and varied. Thanks for the list!

  27. Chef says:

    Trent 1, Jimbo 0

  28. Jay White says:

    Hey thanks a lot Trent! If I ever do a list, you’re sure to be on it.

    Because I like your blog, not because you included me :)

    Jay

  29. Joey says:

    The comments above from Trent (don’t like it? don’t read it!) vs. J.D. (we’re different, and that’s cool) make about as succinct an explanation as any of what makes GRS a far more readable blog than TSD.

  30. J.D. says:

    @Tyler (#24)
    Sometimes I even bore myself! :)

  31. Mr.Choice says:

    You should have included us. Nonetheless, great list there.

  32. Joe L. says:

    Thanks Trent!
    One of the things I love about your site is I get to see links to other site.:) I learned a lot. Thanks again!

  33. Wow. Thanks Trent (and JD!) for the kind words.

  34. Nina says:

    Trent, thanks for including Queercents. (I like you too, for example!)

    I agree with J.D. about Philip Brewer. He *should* have his own blog. Actually, I’m one of the few that still rely on bookmarks vs. a feed reader so from my view he does have his own blog and so worth following along:

    http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer

    Another one that’s been around forever is My Open Wallet (http://www.myopenwallet.net/). She’s a smart New Yorker making good choices with her money… and her quick wit shows up often in her writings.

  35. Trent Trent says:

    “The comments above from Trent (don’t like it? don’t read it!) vs. J.D. (we’re different, and that’s cool) make about as succinct an explanation as any of what makes GRS a far more readable blog than TSD.”

    I’d far rather that you GROW via another site than stick around here and not grow. My sincere goal is making sure that as many people as possible get on the path to improving their lives. That’s why I posted this list – there are twenty five great sites up there for you to do just that if The Simple Dollar isn’t doing it for you. Why else would I post such a long article loaded with nothing but links to sites other than my own? Encouraging people to go elsewhere is not a route to personal glory or money – but it is a great way to help people find the answers they need.

    I’m not sure why you find that to be a negative, but to each his own, I suppose.

  36. Michele says:

    That is a great list. I read some of those sites and will be sure to check out the rest. I started a personal finance blog about 8 months ago and hope one day to be listed on someone’s favorites! :-)

  37. Money Beagle says:

    Great list. Bargaineering, The Digerati Life, The Simple Dollar, Free Money Finance, and Clever Dude were probably five of the first personal finance blogs that I started reading. Those five(plus some others) had great motivation for me to create my blog. I’m plugging away, and like Michele, hope that I can be on more and more favorite’s lists someday.

    Thanks for posting this.

  38. tightwadfan says:

    Thanks for updating the list! I check a lot of those blogs but had missed many of the articles you cited so spent a little time catching up on those. Philip Brewer is my favorite Wise Bread blogger too!

  39. Wren says:

    Ah, a new favorite word – love-fest. :D You may not want to start one, Trent, but sometimes we all need a little outside-the-circle loving, especially when we do something that deserves it. Not to say that sometimes you don’t earn the constructive criticism that people dish out, but really, some of the snarking that goes on (new top 25 list – fun words including snark and love-fest) just distracts from your message and any useful additions. I come here to learn. If I feel an urge to snark, I call a girlfriend. It goes well with chocolate…

    Keep up the excellent work, Trent. Love-fest all around!

  40. friend says:

    TSD, GRS… I don’t have to choose. I read ‘em all. Ramit, too, when I am in the mood for snark. Nice to find out about some new ones.

  41. Linda says:

    Thanks for the great list! Your site has been so helpful for my husband and I. We also follow David Ramsey’s and Crown Financials websites wrt our Christian beliefs and priorities.

    For those those who like to clip coupons, another great site is http://neverpayretailagain.blogspot.com/. This site’s received a lot of recognition.

  42. Kenny says:

    Thanks for sharing this list…..That is a very noble thing you are doing.

    The only downside to this is that I am signed up to 5-6 of them, and I am already in overload mode of information coming at me. I have to be careful what I get and read.

    Do others have this issue too?

    Kenny

  43. Mogran says:

    I don’t know how you have the time to read all of those. Wow.
    I also like GetOutofDebt.org.
    Steve personally answers people’s questions on personal finance. Many of these folks are financial train wrecks yet he provides solid information for them–free.
    I also read ZenHabits and ChristianPF.
    Thanks
    Morgan at TheDebtDance.com

  44. Ann says:

    Great list, anyone can find value information to take away from these sites. Thanks for sharing!

  45. Amy says:

    Great list and many of my favorites were listed here. Wonderful round-up, Trent!

  46. Todd says:

    I really like “I Todd you so. . .” It’s a blog about personal finance. Updated 2 to 3 times a week with practical and useful information.

    hppt://www.toddcolucy.com

  47. Juli Rastetter says:

    Yep, I am using that one aswell. It’s nice! Great list anyway.

  48. B Guest says:

    Great article and list to say the least! Just wanted to add one of my favorite Financial Blogs / Resource to the list – http://www.YourSmartMoneyMoves.com

    These guys are great! Two Radio shows, tons of information geared towards the X and Y generation…

    Your Smart Money Moves – The BEST Personal Financial Blog – Money Saving Advice, Investment Ideas, Tips, News, and Events for the X and Y generation.

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