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Home / Finances / A 7-Piece Tool Kit For Personal Finance


Personal Finance ToolkitI was recently reading a story about the eleven tools that everyone should have around the house. That started me thinking about money, as so many things do. Is there a correlation between actual tools and the tools that everyone should have available for their personal finances. Here is my shot at it. If it doesn’t end up so well, kick me in the comments.

Tool Bag

Sensible place to start. After all, nothing slows a project like having to search for your tools. So, what would be a tool bag for personal finances? Education. You can not hope to manage your money if you do not have some sort of education. If you are lucky, you have a parent or other relative that blogs about PF, or at least someone who took the time to show you how they go about things.

Safety Glasses

Personal protective gear is essential when working around the house. So, what would be the equivalent in personal finance? Education again? No, no doubling up here. A thick skin would fit nicely. You need to understand that you will quite possible make a mess of things from time to time. Maybe your first budgets will not work, or you get a little heavy handed with the plastic one month. Having a thick enough skin to understand that you are human and, then getting back on track is essential to PF success.


I combined these three because my metaphors were too similar for separate paragraphs, well sensible ones, anyway. The hammer represents the tenaciousness you will need to keep pounding away on your goals and the screwdrivers and pliers are your ability to tweak your budget to meet your needs.

Duct Tape

You are going to have an unexpected leak somewhere. Maybe a tire blows a week or two before you have a new set full funded by your budget or you come home to find someone ran over the mailbox and drove away (happens in the country a lot more than you may think). That is when you grab the duct tape, in this case, you dip into your emergency fund instead of using a credit card.

Tape Measure

Everyone needs a good tape measure. In PF, a good tape measure would be the goals that you have set for yourself. If they follow the SMART pattern (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely), you will be able to see the end and benchmarks along the way, just as you do when measuring off a cut.


The good ole shovel. Gets you out of snow or it can dig a deep hole. In PF, a shovel represents a credit card to me. You need it to help you establish creditworthiness, but it can dig a hole that plants you in uncontrolled debt. The key is using your shovel correctly and responsibly.


Everyone needs a ladder to reach gutters, etc. With your money, your ladder is your budget. It can be used to help you climb out of debt, meet financial goals, and build your emergency fund. I can’t imagine building anything without a ladder and I know I never could have gotten out of debt without my budget.


About the author: Jerry Coffey


Jerry Coffey spent many years in a debt-riddled gray area somewhere between broke and desperately broke. His seemingly endless need for more and more cash led him to payday loans, repossessions, bankruptcy, and depression. After years of the same financial style, he heard a piece of advice that inspired him to find a way to change. The advice: ''The very definition of a fool is someone who continues to do the same things, but expects different results.'' This led him to a much more frugal lifestyle that sees all of his bills paid on time and a growing savings account. Even the seed of a retirement account has begun to sprout.


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