He who will not economize will have to agonize. –Confucius

I’ve written a lot about what businesses, job seekers and home owners can do to stay afloat, but there is a lot more to keeping a roof above your head than just your take home pay. If you were able to make it out reasonably well during the past couple months, now is great time to start saving. If you lost your job or have had to downsize a lot of your life, there are still things you can do to get back on your feet. Personal budgeting is a small thing you can do that can make big difference in your life and control debt. Here are five books that can help you take control of your finances, save and live the life on your terms.

Budgeting 101: From Getting out of Debt and Tracking Expenses to Setting Financial Goals and Building Your Savings, Your Essential Guide to Budgeting by Michele Cagan

Sometimes, it can seem like saving money is impossible. With Budgeting 101, you can start saving now. This clear and simple guide provides tons of practical advice for keeping track of your finances. With useful tips on setting financial goals, reducing debt, finding ways to save money and creating and following a budget plan, you’ll have your dollars and cents under control in no time.

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Buy the Avocado Toast: How to Crush Student Debt, Make More Money, and Live Your Best Life by Stephanie Bousley

In Buy the Avocado Toast, millennial debtor-turned-success story Stephanie Bousley shares her journey to financial freedom and a treasure trove of unconventional ideas to help you do the same! With some out-of-the-box thinking, a few calculated risks, and a whole lot of faith in yourself, you can rid yourself of the burden of student debt and, more importantly, crush those feelings of failure that so often accompany it. You are not your debt! You deserve the life you want if you have the courage to create it.

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Debt 101: From Interest Rates and Credit Scores to Student Loans and Debt Payoff Strategies, an Essential Primer on Managing Debt by Michele Cagan

Debt 101 is the easy-to-follow guide to discovering how to pay off the debt you have plus learning how to use debt to your advantage. Debt 101 allows you to take control of your money with strategies best suited for your personal financial situation—whether you are buying a home or paying off student loans. You will learn the ins and outs of borrowing in a simple, straightforward manner, managing student loans and credit card debt, improving your credit score, understanding interest rates, good debt vs. bad debt, and so much more. Finally, you can get ahead of the incoming bills and never let your debt intimidate you again!

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The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be Complicated by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack

TV analysts and money managers would have you believe your finances are enormously complicated, and if you don’t follow their guidance, you’ll end up in the poorhouse. They’re wrong.

When University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack interviewed Helaine Olen, an award-winning financial journalist and the author of the bestselling Pound Foolish, he made an offhand suggestion: everything you need to know about managing your money could fit on an index card. To prove his point, he grabbed a 4″ x 6″ card, scribbled down a list of rules, and posted a picture of the card online. The post went viral.

Now, Pollack teams up with Olen to explain why the ten simple rules of the index card outperform more complicated financial strategies. Inside is an easy-to-follow action plan that works in good times and bad, giving you the tools, knowledge and confidence to seize control of your financial life.

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The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance : A Visual Reference for Everything You Need to Know by Michele Cagan

This illustrated beginner’s guide to personal finance distills essential information into small, easy-to-follow steps to help you get your finances in order. In You will learn all the skills you need to make good financial decisions and grow your personal wealth. Full of colorful descriptions organized in an easy-to-read format, this book contains infographics such as: choosing your bank; building an emergency fund; choosing a financial planner; where your money is going; what not to buy; health insurance; property insurance; what federal taxes pay for. With the help of this guide, you’ll learn how to make good investments, save for big things like a house or college tuition, budget and more!

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Helpful Financial Tools:

  • Commuter Cost Calculator: As someone with years of an hour long commute knows, travel can put a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle and your wallet. This tool will help you understand the real cost of driving to work beyond gas. Note the assumptions listed to see if they are applicable to your situation.
  • Rent Affordability Calculator: A lot of rental sites only use gross income, this one assumes net.
  • Mortgage Calculator