Welcome to Day 24 of Where’s My Money Going? Month! This February 2009, I’m challenging readers (and myself) to track spending manually for 28 days. Don’t worry if you’re late to the party, you’re still welcome to join. Consider tracking your spending into March.
This month, I’ve tried to provide a place on my blog where I hold myself accountable to my financial resolutions and I give you space to talk about how yours are coming along to and join in a conversation. But come next month, I’ll be back to posting about a variety of personal finance topics (you’d get bored if I only ever posted about tracking my spending) and we’ll all need a way to make sure we stick with whatever we decide to do at the end of the month: daily tracking, weekly, budgeting, whatever.
Hands-down, the best way to keep up with something is to join a group of other people doing it. Working out with my husband keeps me working out. Dieters join weight-watchers. Writers join writing groups. One of the best ways to keep up with your financial goals is by joining a personal finance forum.
I’m not very active on any PF forum, but that’s because I run a blog and am part of a blogging community (blogging is another great way to keep yourself sticking to goals). I don’t have the time for that and a forum. (You can also become an active commenter on personal finance blogs, but forums give you space for more interaction and for your own posts.)
So here are 5 personal finance forums that I’m familiar with and would recommend. I’ll try to convey a bit about the character and pace of each one, but you can probably find the best fit by lurking in them for a few days and seeing which feels best.
With such a big blogging community, it’s no surprise that JD has his own forum. The forum is moderately active, some boards more so than others. This isn’t so fast-paced that you could just sit there refreshing, but it moves fast enough to be engaging and slowly enough that one could keep up with it.
There isn’t a single focus…besides personal finance, etc, the forum does have boards for personal development and general chat, so it’s a pretty well-rounded place. It’s not very focused on investing (which is good) and seems to be pretty supportive. As a bonus, you might get your post answered on the GRS blog. Might.
As you’ve probably figured out from the title, the Frugal Dad forums are focused around frugality, couponing, and getting out of debt. There’s also a nice (but slow) board about positive news. This forum moves much more slowly than the GRS forum, which means it might be more comfortable for someone without a lot of time to spend on forums who wants a place to touch base and keep in touch with like-minded people.
For a fast-paced forum, check out the one at Wise Bread. It’s similar in makeup to the GRS forums but with 10x as many registered users and 10x as many people browsing (when I visited them last night, anyway). For some, this may be too much to keep up with, but for people who need a very active support community it may be just right.
This forum moves at a slow-to-moderate pace (slightly faster than Frugal Dad from what I can tell) and is about as general as GRS and Wise Bread. So if you feel overwhelmed by the size of the GRS or Wise Bread communities and your focus isn’t specifically on frugal subjects, this place could make you feel at home. It also looks to develop into a smaller, tighter community where you might really get to know a few people and support each other.
This forum is just getting on its feet, I believe it started in mid-to-late January. Because it’s so fresh, I can’t tell you too much about it except that its topic is frugality. Good place to get in on the ground floor, and given Lynnae’s popularity it may become quite active.
So there you have it, 5 personal finance communities. All different in size, pace, and character. If you’re looking for a place to talk about finance, get to know people with similar goals, and feel encouraged about your own goals, I suggest getting involved with one.
This post was part of Where’s My Money Going? Month.