For some people, looking at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can spark jealousy and stoke fear of missing out. When we see others’ seemingly glamorous lives and purchases, it can make us want to “keep up with the Joneses.” But following certain accounts can influence you in a different way: they can make you smarter about money.
Roughly four in 10 adults with a social media account (39%) say that seeing other people’s purchases and vacations on social media makes them look into a similar purchase or vacation, according to a survey of more than 1,000 Americans released this summer by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
But what if you started to use social media for your own financial good?
If you’re focused specifically on investing, check out this great list of Twitter must-follows from my colleague Barbara Kollmeyer.
And for keeping yourself on track with your spending and saving habits, here are some of TWTR, -5.06% s finest. (If you don’t have Twitter, check out their websites, or find them on Facebook FB, +0.04% or Instagram, since many have feeds on there, too.)
For anyone who wants to be smarter about money:
If you’re a beginner in personal finance, you may want to follow some accounts that cover a wide range of topics.
We obviously think the best one is MarketWatch’s personal finance Twitter account, where you’ll find all kinds of stories about saving, investing, retirement, real estate, student loans and more.
You’ll also want to stay updated on the policies that affect your finances, so head over to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Twitter account for the latest updates on your rights as a consumer. You can also submit complaints about negative experiences you have with loans, debt collection and other challenges, and read other consumers’ stories who may have been through similar ordeals, on the CFPB’s website.
Prepare for any emergency. Channel your inner financial action hero! Read more in our disaster preparedness blog: https://t.co/a2zWOFh0LR
— consumerfinance.gov (@CFPB) November 10, 2016
To increase your knowledge, also check out NerdWallet and Bankrate, two personal-finance companies that publish easy-to-understand stories and have helpful tools, such as searchable rankings of the best credit cards and savings accounts. They also sometimes host or participate in Twitter chats, where they’ll answer your questions in real time.
— NerdWallet (@NerdWallet) November 11, 2016
— Bankrate (@Bankrate) November 11, 2016
Helaine Olen and Ron Lieber are both highly-regarded personal finance writers. Olen writes for Slate, and Lieber writes for the New York Times; both have written several books on personal finance as well.
Olen writes smart commentary on politics and other current events (check out her story on why president-elect Donald Trump appealed to so many voters’ feelings about their personal finances) as well as answering readers’ questions, such as whether a cash-strapped woman should continue to pay for her cat’s expensive medical bills.
Similarly, Lieber writes timely stories about new policies that affect personal finances, including his recent story on investing after Trump’s election as well as vivid storytelling, such as this story about a $49,900 per year school that strives to teach students the difference between needs and wants.
The Financial Diet, which used to be a personal blog by the writer Chelsea Fagan, is another great site for the basics. Their Twitter account shares stories including “4 Things I Learned From Quitting My Job With No Plan,” and you may want to check out their Instagram account, where you’ll find beautiful images and motivational sayings for when staying on track with earning and saving seems tough.
I especially appreciate their creation of the hashtag #TotalHonestyTuesday, where they encourage readers to post about their lives and financial mistakes — a refreshing counterpoint to the polished, curated posts of fancy vacations and other life highlights your friends are probably posting.
And check out The Billfold for personal stories about saving and spending money. Some recent posts include “The Costs of Buying My First Home, Or: Going From Spender to Saver and Back Again” and “If Someone Owes You Money, It’s Okay to Just Ask.”
Can Wall Street close this gender gap?
Women have only half the retirement savings of men, even though they control $5 trillion in investable assets. Can Wall Street get women to invest more?
If an irreverent and humorous take on personal finance is more your speed, check out writer J Money of Budgets Are Sexy.
Life > Money > Stuff
— J. Money (@BudgetsAreSexy) November 3, 2016
For young savers:
If you’re looking for a site to read about personal finance for young people, it’s tough to do better than Money Under 30. (Full disclosure: I used to work there.) Turn to this site and its Twitter account for helpful articles specifically directed at young professionals. They also have a newsletter, if you prefer getting your personal finance reads by email.
Financially Fit & Fab is another great site for those starting out, with an active Twitter and Instagram account to keep you motivated, especially since the site’s founder Tia talks about personal finance in terms of “fitness,” which might be good for anyone who doesn’t usually like to think about his or her bank account.
— Tia (@finfitandfab) November 11, 2016
And for a more personal take, Erin Lowry, the writer behind the “Broke Millennial” blog, is active on Twitter and Instagram and shares a variety of her own stories, such as the difficulty of paying for the dog she adopted, in addition to general financial advice.
If you’re trying to take some amazing vacations on a budget, start following The Points Guy, Brian Kelly, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (If you missed our Facebook Live interview with him, watch it here.)
His tips and tricks will help you take advantage of credit card and other loyalty points, in order to travel strategically. Seeing his vacation photos will definitely inspire you to start getting your loyalty points in order.
— The Points Guy (@thepointsguy) November 11, 2016
Another great account to follow is writer George Hobica’s site AirFareWatchdog, which tweets out great flight deals. You can also sign up for fare alerts that will let you know when airfare prices drop by email.
— airfarewatchdog (@airfarewatchdog) November 11, 2016
“His and Her Money” is a site about “how two high school sweethearts fell in love, got married, but were total opposites when it came to handling their finances,” according to its founders, Tai and Talaat. Check out their Twitter account for great stories and short videos on how to improve your finances and other aspects of your health and life.
If you don’t raise the level of your financial discipline, a raise in your level of income will be insignificant to your financial goals. pic.twitter.com/zEhYyLxs6O
— His and Her Money (@HisandHerMoney) November 11, 2016
You may also like “Debt Free Guys,” by David Auten and John Schneider, who previously worked in financial services and are married. They don’t always write about money in terms of being a couple, but they do cover some important couples’ topics, with specific attention paid to LGBT couples, such as one of their latest stories, “Why ALL Queer People Need Life Insurance.” Find them on Twitter.
— Debt Free Guys (@DebtFreeGuys) November 11, 2016
For those itching for financial freedom at any age:
We can’t write about retirement without mentioning the popular writer Mr. Money Mustache, a former engineer and computer scientist, who, along with his wife who worked in the same industry, retired at age 30. Follow his blog and social media accounts for inspiration and ways to be frugal. Mr. Money Mustache has said his blog is “a neverending sermon on the joy of strength.”
He isn’t super active on Twitter, but following him will remind you to check out his site.
At last! A handy covered home for the bikes. Not bad for a day’s work and under $100 of (mostly leftover) materials. pic.twitter.com/mqNEhFXuUj
— Mr. Money Mustache (@mrmoneymustache) October 18, 2016
Another couple who retired in their 30’s, in Canada, Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung of “Millennial Revolution” also blog about their experiences, especially their belief that it may not make financial sense to own a home.
— FIREcracker (@FIRECracker_Rev) November 4, 2016
And if your reason for wanting to be “financially free” is a desire to travel, check out the blog “Go Curry Cracker!” (named after a favorite vegan snack of the 30-something couple that runs it).
Uber is great in Taipei (and everywhere.) Get 6.3% back with Chase Sapphire Reserve. Another 2.7% back with SPG points. 9% ROI!
— Go Curry Cracker! (@GoCurryCracker) November 8, 2016