As we struggle to make ends meet in tough economic times, there are many well-written blogs that focus on personal development and budgeting.
Recommended sites on living frugally and being successful include advice by Steve Pavlina, Erica Douglass, and Lynnae McCoy. Echoing my suggestions 12 months ago on lifestyle blogs to follow, I continue to point people to Frugal Dad and Trent Hamm's The Simple Dollar among my favorites.
New to the self-help scene is the blogging advice of BudgetPulse, a metro Washington, D.C. outfit that offers in simple terms, "a free online personal budgeting tool."
I turned to Craig Kessler, the company's marketing director. He's young, smart, and understands business. I've met him a few times. I appreciate his desire to learn, and I'm sure he can attest to my reciprocal questions back his way. In a guest blog post earlier this year, Craig traced his steps to learn online marketing.
Craig shared the following as an example of his company's latest product:
Meet John. He's 16 and is very happy after passing his driving test after weeks of practice. His birthday isn't for another six months, when he can get a driver's license; and already has the date crossed off on his calendar. He has been waiting for this moment for years and the thought of freedom and responsibility is finally approaching--a big moment in a teenager's life.
He has saved a percentage from his monthly allowance so he can buy a car. John knows which used car he wants, but will only be able to save $5000, which is $2000 short of the asking price. He has his heart set out on this car, but would need some financial help if he wants to buy it when he becomes a legal driver. John's tired of the school bus. His parents can only help out a bit. How can he get some help?
Buying your first car is a big moment; but not being able to afford it after working hard to save, and coming up a little short is a shame.
One way John could get some financial help is to create an online savings goal and to ask his family and friends for donations. These are the people who will most likely help John if he feels comfortable asking them for assistance.
John can create a "car fund" goal and email it to family and friends, where they can directly send donations for his car, check his progress, and see the amounts of other donations. For John, it's an easy way to get some financial help, track his success in meeting goals, and keep multiple donations organized in one place.
In time, John can buy that new car!
To help the fictional teen, BudgetPulse is releasing a saving goals function to integrate with its personal budgeting software. It runs on the internet, sparing you any software to download.
You can set up a savings goal, collect money via PayPal or Amazon, and track associated transactions--both income and expenses. You don't have to use multiple programs to do the same task. Now you can strive to get financial help for specific goals you desire.