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The Best Finance Resources of 2021

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Delivering personal finance solutions and advice since 2006, The Simple Dollar is back with our annual awards for 2021. Here are our top picks for the best finance resources for the new year.  

Best Personal Finance Blog: One Big Happy Family

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With over 130,000 subscribers in their Youtube channel, One Big Happy Family offers their followers a site with tips on building a meaningful life on a budget and really focus their time on showing you how to do it. The site creators, Tasha and Joseph Cochran, were inspired to share their knowledge after making bold career changes while tackling everything from mortgage payments to college funds for their children. You’ll also find personalized tools, including a Financial Freedom Blueprint and a Wealth Manifesto to help you reach financial independence.

Best Virtual Conference: EMERGE 

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As part of the Financial Health Network, the EMERGE conference connects leaders and innovators across industries, like banks and credit unions, to think differently about consumers’ finances and, ultimately, their clients. The work that the EMERGE forum has been doing for 15 years centers around building better financial systems so people can be financially resilient and thrive. December’s conference came at a crucial time for companies looking to understand consumer financial health amid Covid-19. Those who participate can learn about better approaches to product development, lending, savings and credit management. 

Best Personal Finance Course: Khan’s Academy’s Personal Finance Classes 

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We all know that education is a unique asset — especially if it benefits our finances. Khan Academy takes advantage of that by offering various lectures covering topics like taxes, paying for college and even managing car payments. If you’re not into the idea of a manual Google research when asking yourself questions regarding debt, savings or housing, Khan Academy’s personal finance classes can be your best option. Also, all lectures under their personal finance category are free. Should we say more? 

Best Finance Youtube Channel: Debt Free Millennials 

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When host Justine Nelson paid off $35,000 on student loans on a $37,000 income in two and a half years, she felt motivated to share her advice with people going through a similar situation. Her channel, Debt Free Millennials, has garnered over 25,000 subscribers and is filled with videos covering detailed practices for getting out of debt — as well as topics like self-employment, student loan refinancing and investing. One of Justine’s most recent videos answers an interesting, and often confusing question: Is cell phone leasing worth it?

Best Finance Tool for Beginners: Mvelopes

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If you like placing money in folders to keep better track of your budget, we’re happy to say there’s software for that — in case you realize the folder system is a bit outdated. For free, easy management of your budget and cash flow, Mvelopes lets you fund digital envelopes already separated by categories and offers a clear financial picture of how much money is spent on each folder. For those ready to invest more, the software provides a community forum and one-on-one coaching sessions starting at $6 a month. 

Best All-In-One Banking Tool: Empower 

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There’s a lot to appreciate about Empower, an online banking and budgeting app. We like that it lets you connect all your financial accounts on your phone and be eligible to get up to a $250 cash advance. Neither of these perks requires sneaky fees or a credit check. If you download this app, you can set weekly savings goals and let Empower create a strategy to make it happen. Another perk we really like is earning interest on your savings when you set up a direct deposit. The app charges an $8 fee per month, but it’s not every day you find an app that does pretty much everything for you. 

Best Personal Management Software: Buxfer 

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We love simple budgets — which is why we picked Buxfer as the best software for those who like time away from budgeting apps. For those needing a better look at household finances, this software allows you to use tags. Hello, categories! Suppose you want to track multiple expense accounts. In that case, Buxfer lets you set a spending limit on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis and adjust the budget using individual tags to reduce unwanted spending. The software starts at $3.99 a month and you can enjoy a free trial. 

Best Finance Management Software for Businesses: Quickbooks 

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You’ve probably heard of this pick before. Quickbooks is a popular name in accounting for one reason: its reporting software is user-friendly and comprehensive enough for small businesses seeking reliability. The Quickbooks latest version includes automatic payment reminders and a tool to consolidate multiple invoices in one email. Quickbook prices start at $399 per month, per user. If we sparked your curiosity, try a free trial version. 

Best Financial Literacy Site for Children: Practical Money Skills

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Practical Money Skills offers children of all ages the basics of money management. The site is filled with insightful tips and uses familiar mediums like video games, comics and apps to make sure the lessons stay fun and compelling. For instance, Peter Pig’s Money Counter is a game that helps kids ages 5-8 practice counting and saving money. For parents interested in free materials, the site offers a section with downloadable literacy tools, including classroom modules, games and brochures.  

Methodology

To determine the winners of the second annual The Simple Dollar Awards, our editorial team researched every major brand and option in every category and ranked them based on the following traits:

  1. Affordability – We looked for the most cost-effective solutions on the market. That doesn’t always translate into the absolute cheapest, but takes into consideration how much bang you’re getting for your buck.
  2. Trustworthiness – We compared customer satisfaction scores wherever we could find them, including Trustpilot.
  3. Innovation – We prioritized products and services with one-of-a-kind features that separated them from the field.

For more details on The Simple Dollar Awards, contact Ivey O’Neal at ivey@thesimpledollar.com.