Personal finance can be a touchy subject. It’s something that most of us would like to master but is also a topic that is rarely spoken about freely. In school, students are not typically taught about the importance of effective budgeting and financial management, so it’s something that most of us are left to figure out on our own.
This is why so many people find themselves making common mistakes when it comes to their money, and why so many Americans are falling into seemingly insurmountable debts.
If you’re looking to gain control of your finances, you’ve probably accepted that budgeting is the key to doing so. Creating a budget enables you to reduce your debts, save more efficiently, and achieve greater financial security.
Listed below are ten of the best books on budgeting that teach you how to start budgeting and incorporate the practice into your daily life. Whether you’re completely new to budgeting, or you’re hoping to build on your existing knowledge, there’s bound to be a book to fit your needs in this list.
Best Budgeting Books
1. You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham
Jesse Mecham’s approach to budgeting and smart money management is based upon four simple rules.
- ‘Give Every Dollar a Job’ means being mindful and intentional with your spending and saving habits; the second.
- ‘Embrace Your True Expenses’ means being realistic about your outgoings and planning for substantial payments well in advance.
- ‘Roll With The Punches’ highlights the importance of flexibility within an effective budget, and finally.
- ‘Age Your Money’ states that by implementing the previous rules, you can extend the time between earning your money and spending it. Once your money reaches a month old, you have officially broken the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
Mecham is a well-respected, reputable financial expert and this method has been tried and tested by hundreds of thousands of people across the world. The focus of this book is on creating a life free of financial stress; enabling you to get more out of life without feeling overly restricted.
This is a straightforward guide that should be implemented into your long-term financial plans if you’re looking to reap the full rewards.
As a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, this is a great beginner’s guide to budgeting and definitely one of the best books on budgeting.
2. The One Week Budget by Tiffany Aliche
Tiffany ‘The Budgetnista’ Aliche is well known for her fun, empowering take on budgeting and financial management. Through her financial consulting company, Aliche has helped a huge range of clients to gain control of their finances and free themselves from financial strain.
In The One Week Budget, Aliche gives readers a clear-cut guide to managing their day-to-day finances efficiently and effectively. The system laid out in this book is the foundation upon which Aliche’s consulting company is built. She cites the steps detailed in this book as the reasons for her own financial success and gives real-world examples of how these steps can be put into practice to reap real financial rewards.
Tiffany Aliche’s writing style is personable and relatable. If you’re looking for a fun, friendly book that also gives some real, valuable advice on budgeting and personal finance, this could be a great option for you.
3. Budgeting 101 by Michele Cagan
In Budgeting 101, Michele Cagan covers a plethora of financial topics; eliminating debts, tracking expenses, setting financial goals, and tips for building savings are all covered within this book.
Budgeting 101 is a comprehensive guide to budgeting and gives pragmatic, realistic advice that will let you gain better control of your finances and increase your financial stability.
Cagan has written a number of excellent financial books and is a well-known financial mentor. With extensive experience in personal financial planning, she is well-equipped and incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to providing effective, thoughtful guidance in this area.
Lots of basic budgeting rules are touched upon in this book, from the 80/20 rule, to smart credit card use and expenditure tracking. It’s great for beginners and would make an excellent guide for young adults or those completely new to budgeting. Even adults with years of experience in managing their money are likely to learn a thing or two from Cagan’s guidance.
4. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Total Money Makeover is a New York Times Bestseller. Ramsey’s seminal guide to personal finance has sold over five million copies worldwide and is a huge global success, achieving widespread critical acclaim.
The book consists of Ramsey’s top advice and guidance on how to manage your finances effectively; reducing debts, increasing savings, and implementing successful budgeting into your financial planning. Ramsey’s advice is clear-cut and straight to the point. He quickly dispels what he refers to as ‘pie in the sky fantasies’ or common money misconceptions in his no-holds-barred approach to finances.
Alongside The Total Money Makeover, Ramsey has also released an accompanying workbook that allows readers to construct effective budgeting plans easily and efficiently.
5. How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any by Erik Wecks
How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any gives a unique look at the financial difficulties that many people across the United States face on a daily basis. Erin Wecks is realistic about the modern economy and recognizes that for many people, making money is a significant source of stress.
This no-nonsense approach to budgeting provides real-life examples of effective financial management based largely on Wecks’ own personal experiences with financial hardship and survival.
Instead of focusing on making more money and accruing more wealth, How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any focuses on how to work with the income you have and make the best possible choices that will enable you to achieve greater financial stability, regardless of your salary.
Erin Wecks gives a straightforward, often humorous look at budgeting and finances in this easily digestible, quick read. Great for those that would like to gain more control over their finances but don’t relate to books that are driven towards earning more and implementing overly strict budgeting techniques.
6. The Everything Budgeting Book by Tere Stouffer
If you’re looking for a straightforward, no-frills, essential guide to simple yet effective budgeting, The Everything Budgeting Book by Tere Stouffer could be an excellent option for you.
Stouffer provides readers with advice on how to improve regular spending patterns, save on everyday expenses, keep all general finances in order, prepare for unexpected events or outgoings, and plan effectively for the future.
The primary focus of this book is on saving money through budgeting. If you’re hoping to make a large purchase in the future, such as investing in property, paying college tuition, or buying a new car, The Everything Budgeting Book is a great comprehensive guide to budgeting and overall financial management.
Stouffer is an award-winning author and personal finance specialist. Her writing style is digestible and engaging. A great beginner’s guide to budgeting and saving.
7. The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan & Lauren Ver Hage
The Financial Diet is geared towards helping young adults or recent graduates to get to grips with personal finance and become good with money even with no prior experience or knowledge.
Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage draw on their own personal experiences as well as those of various other financial experts to provide readers with an engaging and direct guide to personal finance. Marketed as a ‘personal finance book for people who don’t care about personal finance’, the book gives all of the essential information without any complex financial jargon.
For those with extensive student debts, entry-level, minimum wage jobs, or anyone who simply wants to get control of their finances in a quick, simple, and effective way, The Financial Diet offers accessible and realistic advice in all aspects of personal finance and budgeting.
As well as financial advice, The Financial Diet also gives basic life advice that will allow readers to increase their confidence and competence when it comes to managing their money. For anyone who wants to manage their money effectively but with minimal effort and none of the confusing jargon or restrictive budgeting rules, this could be an excellent book for you.
8. Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? By Cary Siegel
Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? outlines Cary Siegel’s 99 key principles to improving your financial management skills and achieving greater financial stability. The principles are straightforward and practical, with a focus on the implementation of everyday habits that will allow you to adjust the way you view money and eliminate any unhealthy spending habits.
Budgeting is a key part of Siegel’s book and provides the foundations on which the 99 key principles are based.
Cary Siegel has extensive experience as a business executive and claims that the principles laid out in this book are the sole reason behind his ability to retire comfortably at the age of 45. Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? was originally written solely for Siegel’s children, to give them the advice he deemed essential to building a successful relationship with money upon graduating from college.
The book is engaging and funny in places, Siegel offers a relatable and accessible approach to personal financial management.
9. How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck by Avery Breyer
Avery Breyer’s How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck is a number one bestseller and is widely considered to be a seminal guide to finances and budgeting.
With countless tools, tips and advice on effective budgeting, this book claims to offer all of the knowledge and information you will need to transform your finances in just fifteen minutes per week. Breyer’s simple guide to budgeting also comes with lifetime access to a free digital money tracker, which enables readers to make budgeting plans quickly and easily.
As well as a plethora of practical advice and guidance, Breyer also gives motivational advice and incentives that will allow readers to move past what Breyer refers to as ‘money blocks’, which leave you stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and inhibit your financial growth.
This book is a beginner’s guide, so best suited to those with absolutely no prior knowledge of budgeting and personal finance.
The 21-Day Budgeting Challenge is an audiobook designed to teach listeners about the key strategies for setting up and maintaining an effective budget that will allow you to make the most of your money.
The audiobook starts out by unpacking common misconceptions around money and budgeting and goes on to cover topics such as removing debts, saving more efficiently, and managing your outgoings effectively with a view to allowing you to finally reach your financial goals, whatever they may be.
The 21-Day Budgeting Challenge lets you identify your ‘money personality’, which allows you to recognize your spending and saving habits and any weaknesses that need to be addressed throughout your journey. You will also learn about the value of minimalism and how this alternative to consumerism could be the key to your financial freedom.
The audiobook is one of many produced by 21-Day Challenges and is narrated by Francie Wyck, a well-known audiobook narrator who regularly works on inspiring self-help content as well as children’s stories. At just over one hour long, this audiobook is digestible and straight to the point.
Budgeting can seem like an overwhelming topic, particularly if you have no prior experience in managing your finances or have a history of ineffective, unhealthy habits when it comes to your money.
Each of the best books on budgeting listed above is written by highly knowledgeable authors and offers valuable, realistic advice that is relevant to people from all walks of life. Some of these books are best suited to complete money novices, while others will give more in-depth advice to those looking to build upon their existing knowledge and experience.
By investing in one of these books you could achieve greater levels of financial stability and a healthier relationship with your money.