Welcome! I am so glad to have you here! I hope that Mama Fish Saves can be the place where you find simple answers to all the money questions you didn’t get answered in school. The craziest thing about money is that most people believe achieving wealth is hard and complicated. The reality is, becoming wealthy is simple. Developing a few good habits could mean the difference between retiring a millionaire or living your life in debt.
My goal on this site is to demystify the world of money and help families improve their financial health, raise financially smart kids, and achieve their goals! Sound interesting? Here are a few places to start!
- If you want to know more about who I am and where I’m coming from, check out the About Me page!
- If money stresses you out and you’re really not sure what your goals should be and what you should tackle first, check out the Roadmap to Financial Health (summarized below) to get you on the right path!
- If you’re wondering what kind of things you can really learn here, check out some of the blog’s top posts!
- If you’re looking for the budgeting and financial tools I use in my own financial life, pop below to see my favorite resources! Spoiler alert: many of them are free!
Thanks again for being here! I truly hope you learn something new as you poke around and get to know the site! And know that if you ever have a specific money question you can’t find the answer too, or just want to chat, you can always email me. I respond to all reader emails!
Roadmap to Financial Health
- Step 0: Turn Off Autopilot – The first step in the journey is committing to taking control of your money and spending & saving with purpose by defining your family’s goals.
- Step 1: Budgeting – Achieving financial empowerment and health is about knowing where your money will go, not where it went. Learn how to start a strong budget in this two part step.
- Step 1.1: Choosing a Budget Tracker – Learn about our favorite budget tracking application, YNAB, and what to consider when choosing a good system to track your budget
- Step 1.2: Build that Budget! – A detailed walk through of how to define your spending priorities and allocate your income in a way that makes your money work for you.
- Step 2: Grow Your Emergency Fund – Emergencies happen whether we plan for them or not, so protect your family’s finances by building an emergency fund you can lean on in tough times instead of having to take on debt. Learn about how much you need and where to keep it.
- Step 3: Destroy Your Debt – At Mama Fish Saves, we don’t think you can achieve financial health without pursuing a debt free life. Learn about the two main methods of debt reduction and how to determine which is best for you.
- Step 4: Prepare for Retirement Early – Preparing for retirement is the top priority of almost all adults but the vast majority of Americans are not on track to retire on time. Learn how much you should be saving, how to use tax efficient retirement investments, and how to factor in social security and pensions.
- Step 5: Save for Your Dreams – This last step is the most open ended. You live within your means, have reduced your debt, and are saving for retirement. Get some tips on maintaining new goals and being responsible with your new found wealth.
Not all personal finance companies are created equal. There are plenty out there that charge exorbitant fees, try to sell you products you don’t need, or are tools that just aren’t particularly helpful. Here is a short list of companies I LOVE:
- You Need a Budget (YNAB) – Budgeting – This is my all time favorite budgeting app because not only is it beautifully designed and easy to use, it is built on excellent principles to help anyone achieve financial health. It also has a great user community for questions and support.
- YNAB is $50/year but offers a one month free trial if you sign up on your website. A #protip we got from a reader is that they offer two free months if you sign up from their mobile app!
- Personal Capital – Managing Net Worth – Over time you will have a number of accounts: checking, saving, 401(k), personal investments, mortgage, etc. Personal Capital has an excellent free, safe tool to tie all your financial accounts together and view your overall net worth and asset allocation.
- Credit Karma – Credit Scores – I love my Credit Karma account. It allows me to see my credit score for free over time, read explanations about why my score moved up and down, and tips on how to improve my score.
- They also recently added a completely free tool to file your federal and state taxes. I haven’t used it yet, but if it is anything else like the rest of Credit Karma’s offerings it will be simple to use and well developed.
- Vanguard – Investing – Vanguard is the lowest fee index and mutual fund provider in the market and offers a range of LifeStrategy and Target Retirement funds that manage your asset allocation for you based on your goals. Fidelity and Charles Schwab also offer low fee accounts, but Vanguard is typically lowest and every dollar counts.
*I do not receive any referral compensation from any of the companies listed above. These are just companies that I benefit from using in my own life and recommend to you.