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Financial Literacy Tools Can Sharpen Your Money Skills in 2015

Dec. 18, 2014
Managing Money, Personal Finance
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Building your financial literacy level probably isn’t the sexiest to-do on your list of self-improvement resolutions for 2015, but getting it done may be the best thing you can do for yourself all year.

Anyone can boost their financial literacy with cost-efficient resources, from free online courses to an educational website provided by banks and credit unions.

In addition to NerdWallet’s array of helpful tools (Ask an AdvisorCost of Living Calculator, among others), here are some free financial literacy tools you can use to get savvier about money in 2015.

This resource created by the federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission, offers links to five building blocks for managing and growing your money. These pages provide information on how to make the best financial choices about life events, spending, protecting your assets, earning, borrowing, saving and investing. The website also includes online calculators, quizzes, budget worksheets, planning checklists and other tools to help manage your money.

Set up by the U.S. central bank, this site provides curriculum plans for teachers as well as resources you can use, arranged by topics in personal finance, money, consumer protection, credit and banking.

This money guide, created by the National Endowment for Financial Education, aims to help college and university students, in particular. But it’s really useful for anyone who wants to learn how to take charge of their money. It offers informational articles on the basics of personal finance, calculators, a budget tool, videos, worksheets, quizzes and more. Users can also ask questions on the site’s “financial experts wall” and get feedback.

You can find hundreds of programs, documents and other resources in this free online library set up by the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. It provides materials to help educate kids and teens on personal finance. The Washington-based group has about 150 partners from business, nonprofits, academia, government and other segments of society.

Provided by the American Institute of CPAs (certified public accountants), this website gives you tools, information and more to aid your understanding of personal finances through every stage of life. It offers a range of calculators organized according to topic or life stage.

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a nonprofit agency, provides a free online learning portal with chapters covering credit, housing, budgeting, debt management and life events. Each chapter offers a pre-test followed by a presentation by a certified credit counselor and then a post-test to gauge how much you’ve learned.

This free financial app for computers and mobile devices that lets you input finances and create a budget for yourself. You can link your accounts to it, then set up your goals. You’ll get back tips and suggested plans to help you reach those goals. You can also receive a free credit score. With MintBills, you can organize your routine bills in one central place and get alerts when each comes due.

Drawing from crowd-sourced wisdom, this free app sends alerts to help you protect yourself from fraud and unwanted charges on your accounts. You can also track spending and stay on top of your budget goals too. BillGuard identifies unwanted “gray” charges — the kind that start sending monthly bills after a free trial period — that may arrive as well.

In addition, you can find financial literacy help through many banks, credit unions and other providers. Evansville, Indiana-based lender Springleaf Holdings rolled out MoneySKILL, a free online course, this year in conjunction with the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation. The program aims to help consumers learn more about credit and borrowing, managing expenses, budgeting and saving.

PNC Bank in Pittsburgh offers PNC Achievement Sessions, including videos hosted by independent experts who share their strategies for achieving financial goals. Topics range from spending, saving and borrowing to investing, business and more.

Hands on Banking, a website sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco, offers financial courses for people including military members, seniors, entrepreneurs, young adults, teens and kids. Each course includes money tools, skills and information that anyone can use to help manage their money wisely.

Check out NerdWallet’s Financial Literacy Orientation site for more articles, infographics, videos, glossaries and other tools you can use to burnish your money skills and literacy level.