Personal finance is a frustrating topic for millions of Americans. It’s difficult to understand, there are tons of pitfalls, and at the end of the day, there never seems to be enough money to cover the things that really matter. Personal Finance For Beginners In 30 Minutes, Vol. 1: How to cut expenses, reduce debt, and better align spending and priorities (ISBN: 9781939924162) is intended to clear away the confusion and help you develop a sensible approach toward controlling your spending. There are no broadcast celebrities, get-rich-quick schemes, or obscure financial jargon. Instead, this short personal finance book explains basic concepts in an easy-going manner, using lots of common-sense tips and simple examples. Topics include:

  • Aligning spending with priorities
  • Income, assets, and equity
  • Flexible expenses vs. fixed expenses
  • How to limit luxury spending and online shopping
  • Reducing cable TV, phone, and Internet bills
  • Cutting car costs
  • An easy approach to utilities-related expenses
  • Refinancing explained
  • Dealing with credit card debt
  • How credit agencies rate you
  • Tools to manage paper & digital records
  • Online banking pros and cons
  • Using software to track expenses and budgets

Personal Finance For Beginners In 30 Minutes, Vol. 1 is authored by Ian Lamont, an award-winning business and technology journalist and digital media entrepreneur. He has written for more than a dozen online and print publications, and served as the managing editor of The Industry Standard. His writing and editorial work has garnered industry awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Frank, Jordan & Stephanie

  • Small Spending Decisions Have Big Outcomes
  • How To Lose Thousands On Lunch
  • Free Money For Retirement?
  • The Core Concepts Of This Guide
  • Disclaimer

Chapter 1: Taking Stock Of Your Life & Finances

  • Evaluating Your Life Priorities
  • How Much Do You Make?
  • Adding Up Fixed Expenses
  • Growth Of Income And Expenses
  • What Are Assets?
  • Summary

Chapter 2: Reducing Flexible Expenses

  • Exhibit A: Frank’s Lunchtime Excursions
  • I Am Not Frank!
  • Cheaper Alternatives
  • Small Costs, Big Impact
  • A Psychological Trick To Cut Costs
  • Dealing With Other Types Of Flexible Expenses
  • Cable/Satellite/Pay-Per-View TV
  • Exhibit B: Jordan’s Cable Television Bill
  • Exhibit C: Frank’s Satellite Setup
  • Exhibit D: Stephanie Cuts The Cord
  • Luxury Spending: It’s All Relative!
  • “But It Was On Sale!”
  • Living On Credit To Support Luxury Spending
  • Exhibit E: Jordan’s Credit Card Problem
  • How To Limit Spending On Luxuries
  • How To Limit Online Shopping
  • Restaurant Spending Revisited
  • Summary

Chapter 3: Reducing Fixed Expenses

  • Cutting Car Costs
  • Recently Built Used Cars vs. Clunkers
  • Average Prices For Used Cars, By Category
  • Tips For Buying Used Cars
  • Tips For Buying Used Cars From Dealers
  • Controlling Phone And Internet Costs
  • How To Save Hundreds Every Year On Phone Bills
  • What’s A Family Plan?
  • Contract Vs. Pay-As-You-Go Plans
  • Prepaid Plans
  • Monthly Plans
  • Saving Money On New Phones
  • Saving Money On Internet Service
  • How To Haggle For Internet Service
  • Controlling Other Utility Costs: The 10% Solution
  • Reducing Debt-Related Expenses
  • Refinancing Your Mortgage
  • Mortgages Explained
  • Why Refinance?
  • Is It A Mistake To Take On Debt?
  • Jordan’s Credit Card Problem In One Easy Chart
  • Consolidating Credit Card Debt
  • How Credit Ratings Agencies “Score” You
  • How To Get A Free Credit Report
  • What Happens When You Don’t Pay Your Bills
  • Secured Debt vs. Unsecured Debt
  • Paying Off Debt: What To Watch Out For
  • Summary

Chapter 4: Managing Your Accounts & Data

  • Example A: Frank’s Paper Monster
  • Example B: Jordan’s Online-Centric System
  • Example C: Stephanie’s Smart Approach
  • Getting Smart About Paper Records
  • Tools To Manage Paper Records
  • Destroying Old Records
  • Tools To Manage Personal Data & Computer Files
  • How To Back Up Your Computer Data
  • Digital Tools For Managing & Tracking Your Finances
  • Jordan’s Dumb Password
  • Hidden Features Of Online Banking
  • Should I Use Quicken, Mint, Or Something Else?
  • PayPal, Dwolla, And Alternative Payment Systems

Purchase options

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