5 Free Virtual Classes to Grow Your Financial Literacy

Photo: Getty Images/ Luis Alvarez
When I was but a young and carefree person in her early and mid-twenties, my financial strategy was basically along the lines of: Make money, buy things, avoid looking at bank account/credit statements/credit score for as long as possible. This "strategy" led to a lot of stress, and I managed to rack up some credit card debt—apparently, your problems don't just magically go away if you ignore them. Who knew?

Financial wellness is the ability to live free from financial stress, something only 30 percent of people in the United States currently experience, according to a national survey Well+Good recently reported on. Which means 70 percent of Americans feel uneasy about the current state of their finances, and that has an impact on all areas of life, including health. (Raise your hand if you also haven't been to the dentist or doctor in...quite a while, because of the cost.)

As the somewhat wiser 30-year-old that I am now, taking steps to become more financially literate is now a priority so that I can work toward financial freedom. An Instagram account that my sister showed me called @HerFirst100k, created by Tori Dunlap, who saved $100,000 by age 25, jump-started this journey. She made getting in control of my money seem like something that was attainable, and there was none of that "just stop buying lattes every morning" nonsense. This is all to say that sharpening your financial literacy doesn't have to be intimidating, or boring, or overwhelming—it also doesn't even have to cost money. Dunlop’s Instagram led me to her website, which led me to her free virtual finance classes, and in addition to hers, I found four other free virtual finance classes and resources to help on your journey to financial wellness.

Her First 100K

After trying a multitude of ways to curb emotional spending—and failing—I just assumed that I would forever be an impulse shopper. Then I took Tori Dunlop's free course on curbing emotional spending, and it’s helped me dramatically curb this behavior by helping me better understand my spending patterns and the thoughts and emotions behind them. In addition to that course, her site contains other free resources, including a Money Personality quiz to help you figure out the resources most beneficial to you.

Ladies Get Paid

Ladies Get Paid is a professional development site for women that was founded by Claire Wasserman. There are free courses and events on a variety of topics, like how to build generational wealth, how to grow your business, and how to create sustainable success.

Clever Girl Finance

Bola Sokunbi, a certified financial education instructor (CFEI), founded this site to empower women to achieve financial success. There are a ton of free resources, whether you want to increase your credit score or grow your business. There are foundational finance classes, investing and business classes, and financial wellness classes, plus additional free resources like worksheets, a finance roadmap, and access to budgeting, banking, and investing tools.

Money Under 30

Covering a wide range of topics particularly pertinent to young adults, from applying for a credit card to buying a house, this brands free seven-day email course contains lessons with actionable takeaways that you can do right away.

edX Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision Making

If you prefer a more college-lecture type setting, here you go. Over the six weeks, this intro course from University of Michigan will help you better understand the financial world and how it actually applies to real life. Expect to spend between five and six hours per week.

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