Must-Follow Advice from 13 Brilliant Personal Finance Experts [List]

Must-follow advice from 13 brilliant personal finance experts

Even if you think you have your personal finances under control, there is always a finance expert who comes along with a piece of advice that you never considered, or with a new way to look at your finances that can better help you move towards your goals, or away from bad habits. Here is a roundup of advice from some of our favorite financial experts and personal finance blogs to help you get more out of your money and your life:

Life Insurance Can Help You Leave a Legacy

“In the end, as with anybody that buys it, we hope that life insurance is something that we don’t use.  (My old friend) Paul didn’t make it to see his kids grow up and to get to grow old with his spouse.  I hope to do these things, If that’s not part of the plan that I’m not aware of, I’m comfortable knowing that the people who depend on me will not have money as something that they need to worry about.” – Money Beagle, “Life Insurance – Because Dying Is Not So Abstract Anymore”

For Love and Money, Get Separate Bank Accounts

“It’s better for couples to have both separate accounts and a joint account. You should use the joint account to pay for shared household bills -like the rent or mortgage-as well as to purchase big-ticket items, like that Plasma TV you’ve both been eyeing. Additionally, separate accounts can be used to develop financial autonomy, learn how to budget money on your own, and reduce financial arguments.” – Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Essence.com

Bid Low to Save Money on Travel Costs

“Priceline hints that I’d better input $75 per night or more to have a prayer of getting my deal accepted. Phooey! I know better. $50 is my target (knowing they will add tax and other fees on top of whatever price I name) so that’s the amount I bid. Of course I got a pop-up message from William Shatner that I must be out of my mind with such a low offer and that I need to rethink and increase my bid. I laugh as I hit ‘Submit.’ Ten seconds later … ‘Congratulations, your offer has been accepted!’” – Mary Hunt, “I Just Booked Cheap Travel – Again!”

Save Money on Mundane Monthly Insurance Costs

“One place that a lot of people overpay is when it comes to insurance. Take a day off from work and shop your homeowners, auto, health, life and other insurance coverages to see if you can find a better rate. The last time I did this I ended up saving over $1000 a year on my rates!” – Smart On Money, “10 Ways to Save Money When You’re on a Tight Budget”

Track Your Spending – By Hand, if Necessary

“Whether you choose to use the ultimate throwback to a physical notepad and pencil or you prefer to jot things down in a digital notebook, the simple act of writing down your purchases can have a significant impact on your spending habits. You can’t ignore the fact that you’re spending $15 on lunch every day when you see it over and over again in your notes.” – Jon Dulin, “4 Old-School Ways to Stay On Budget”

Get Rid of Unwanted Services and Subscriptions

“When was the last time you did a clean sweep of all the services and expenses you no longer use? The last time I did this, I found out I was paying a fee to a credit card company practically for nothing. Granted it was small, it was a hassle to remember each month so I asked about getting rid of it. When you have less expenses, you often have less things to worry about paying. When it comes to receiving offers in the mail and emails, sometimes I just can’t stand it. One thing I found helpful was unsubscribing from email offers from financial companies I wasn’t interested in and banks who were trying to offer me credit cards I didn’t want. If you have a ton of email like me and don’t know where to start, you can sign up for a free service like Unroll.me. This app helps clean out your inbox and it unsubscribes you from junk email lists and organizes the emails you do want, which can be a good option if you’ve gone paperless with most of your financial accounts.” – Frugal Rules, “How to Stress Less About Money: 6 Simple Steps”

Pay Your Bills On Time – and Ask for Help if Needed

“It’s very easy to turn a blind eye towards a bill that you have no intentions of paying. That’s either because you don’t have the money or you have other things that you’d rather do with it. HOWEVER, you will end up paying for it anyway! You’ll either pay the amount asked or the amount plus fees. Either way you’re going to have to shell out the cash. Creditors will work with you if you keep an open line of communication. Find out about any payment arrangements that can be made. See if your interest rate can be reduced. Discuss a possible modification. You have options, but they become limited the longer you wait.” – My Fab Finance, “4 Money Lessons I learned from ‘#GirlBoss’ by Sophia Amoruso”

Be Willing to “Cleanse” Your Personal Finances

“I’ve attempted a juice cleanse a handful of times with varying degrees of success. Even though I don’t enjoy skipping meals (my #hanger force is way too strong), sometimes drinking healthy veggie juices is a good reset for my system after a decadent holiday season, big vacation, or a night of partying. So why am I telling you about my juicing habits? Well, I think you can ‘reset’ your money system in a similar way. Doing a money cleanse can help you get your finances back on track while setting yourself up for future success. By the end of the ‘cleanse’ you should have: a budget that works, clearly defined savings goals, a debt payoff plan and be on your way to making more money.” – Lauren Bowling, “The 7 Day Money Cleanse – A Free Money Course to Whip Your Finances Into Shape”

When Paying off Credit Card Debt, Be Careful With Balance Transfers

“Transfer all your balances to the credit card that offers you a lower interest rate and favorable payment plan. In fact, it is highly considered to be a good talking point while negotiating, to offer to transfer all your balances as it may entice the bank to lower your rate. Then be smart and commit to paying off all your credit card debt within the introductory low-interest-rate period. Otherwise, you will be worse off than when you started. The teaser rate usually lasts up to 12 to 18 months.” – Modest Money, “Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt Today”

Diversify Your Investments

“When it comes to managing your investments, managing diversification, is an important part of the process. Diversification means not having all your eggs in one basket. The best diversification result keeps risks as low as possible, while holding the best opportunities for income and growth.” – Bryan Kelly, White Top Investor, “Every Investor Needs Personal Diversification”

Beware of Buying “Too Much House”

“It should seem obvious, but for most home searchers setting a budget is the last thing they think about. Instead, they focus on what they want their first home to look and feel like, instead of how much it’s going to cost them. Here’s the thing, without a real budget that makes sense for your goals and the lifestyle you want to live, you’ll end up buying the wrong place for the wrong price. I’ve seen it too many times during bidding wars. People will have a budget in mind, then throw it out the window and spend an extra $80,000 just so they can ‘win’ their dream home. That sounds pretty close to a gambler who doesn’t know his limit, am I right? Instead, sit down and take some time to really craft your budget. Only you can truly know how much you can afford.” – Jessica Moorhouse, “Top 5 Things to Consider Before Buying Your First Home”

Use Digital Coupons to Save Money on Groceries

“Life is crazy busy for many of us. Who the heck has time to plan grocery trips when we’re struggling to keep it all together? If I have 5 minutes, instead of checking Facebook, I check my Safeway phone app and add digital coupons, free items, and personalized deals to my account. These items go onto a shopping list that my husband can see. If I don’t have time to shop, I’ll send him to get certain things. If you don’t have time to clip or print coupons, this is a smart option. CVS and Safeway both have digital coupons connected to their websites. Sign up for their rewards or membership program, download coupons and deals straight onto your club card, and then get the deals when at checkout when you scan your card.” – Fanny Seto, “10 Smart Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half”

Set Up Automatic Online Bill Pay

“Between household utilities such as electricity and water, entertainment packages such as Netflix, your phone and Internet service, your household’s credit cards, car and mortgage payments, and other recurring expenses, you probably send out 5 to 10 payments like clockwork each month. If you’re still mailing checks in stamped envelopes, you’re already spending too much. Cutting out 10 checks per month can reduce your monthly bill pay costs by $4 to $5, depending on the current cost of postage. And that doesn’t include the cost of checks themselves, which often exceeds $20 per order, nor the possibility of late fees should you accidentally miss a payment. Online bill pay can eliminate postage and check costs, but it’s not a foolproof solution to the missed payment problem. Automated online bill pay, whether set up directly with service providers or through your bank’s online banking system, dramatically reduces the risk of late fees. Most major banks allow you to automate online bill pay, so it may be worthwhile to switch if your current bank is behind the times.” – Money Crashers, “17 Money Hacks & Tips to Save More When Banking or Buying”

What do you think of the advice above? Is there any that you’d like to try? Any  you disagree with? Leave us a comment below.

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About the author
Ben Gran

Ben Gran


Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, finance and other areas of great personal interest.

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