Best finance and budget books!

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I recommend that you dedicate an hour or two to this task. Personally I feel the “budgeting apps,” such as mint, or even your local bank website are really are not that helpful. One might think hey if I give mint all the access to my finance records it will give me a budget. That’s false, you need to take an ACTIVE effort in figuring out where you are at financially. You need to feel the pain where all your hard earned money goes. Is it important items such as food, emergency savings, retirement, and car insurance? Or is it stupid **** that will be wasted in the long run?You know what I’m talking about. No finance app is really going to help you. So sit down and pull out a piece of paper and pencil. And start going through your income and every single expense that you can think of. Realistically creating a budget isn’t a one day activity. It takes, IMHO, at least 3 months to be certain that you are going to be able to determine what your average income and expenses are every month. If you know how to use Microsoft excel this makes organization into categories you understand more useful. As well as manually inputting each item may sound cumbersome, but it helps you become more aware of each expense. Now an oversimplification, but whatever you have left over at the end of each month, on paper, is it agreeing what you have in your bank account? If so that’s good and you have to figure out what you are going to do with that excess. Pay down high interest debt, start saving for an emergency, retirement, or actually buy yourself something with cash as opposed to credit? If it doesn’t come close to what you have actually have left over, you need to figure out where you are overspending or missing a bill, etc. Budgeting must be an active process, not simply a set it and forget it approach, it takes self discipline as well as being honest with yourself. Good luck!

Since you are in the market for a book I think this is one worth mentioning that is a good outline of the major personal finance topics from budgeting to retirement planning and insurances. It's by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, called Kiplinger's Practical Guide to your money. It maybe out of date regarding some issues but the basics should still be there. I also recommend a subscription. It becomes fairly repetitive month to month but after 2 years or so you'll have a good idea wtf is going on. Not much changes for most wage earners.