Personal Finance

Librarians' Index to the Internet
Choice Reviews - librarians use to evaluate sources

General Consumer Financial Education

Consumer/Financial Magazines/Product Evaluation Web Sites

  • Consumer Reports Magazine online Wellesley also has a subscription to the print edition Clapp qTX335.A1 C6. Latest issues will be in the reading room. You must use the print issues for complete tables, charts, and graphs. Also consult the annual buying guide at Clapp Ref TX335.A1 C6.
  • Kiplinger's Personal Finance online - articles in Academic Search Premier in pdf, choose search within this publication
  • Money - good finance tips, easy to read and understand
  • - aggregates user reviews of consumer products
Budgeting Tips

  • Feed the Pig [American Institute of Certified Public Accountants] - encourages and helps Americans aged 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances and live within their means. Interactive.
As you look at the statistics in the following tables, make sure you understand what the numbers represent. What is included in income? Are utilities included in housing costs? Also, know the time period the statistics cover.





Retirement Contributions



  • Easi Market Planner in LexisNexis Statistical Datasets. Expenditures and demographics by state, county, census tract, and zip code.
    • Consumer Expenditures will give you expenses per household for a wide variety of consumer products and services at various geographic levels.
    • Consumer Spending Analytics will give you the same data as above and broken down by market categories; e.g. age, income, race, etc.
  • Consumer Price Index - reports data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey
  • Consumer Expenditures Survey [Bureau of Labor Statistics] - information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.
  • Cost of Living Index [U.S. Census Bureau] NOTE: There is a cost of living index which allows you to compare the cost of living across smaller cities and towns. It is called the ACCRA Cost of Living Index and is produced by C2ER (Council for Community and Economic Research). It is a table in the Statistical Abstract of the United States, but not the online version on the Census Bureau's web site due to copyright restrictions. You must go to the print edition at Clapp Docs HA 202 A2 for the latest data. You want Table 706 in the 2009 volume. Note also that the statistics in the 2009 volume are actually from 2007.
  • Cost of Food at Home [USDA] - Look for the most recent data. Look here for descriptions of the amounts of food purchased for the various food plans.



Education Expenses

  • Average cost of college, break down the college bill, and find a college [College Board]
  • Tuition and fees from previous years. You can use the Wayback Machine on the Internet Archive to find past web pages of educational institutions. Type the url of the educational institution you are looking for in the search box. Choose the date you want from the results list. Look for a link to Admissions, then tuition and fees. You cacan also use this table from the Bureau of Education Statistics for a national average.
  • Tuition inflation calculator []
  • Federal student aid programs [U.S. Dept. of Education]
  • Student Loans (for parents and students) [Sallie Mae]
  • Trends in College Pricing [College Board] - use this to get an idea of average state and regional college expenses for public and private universities. For costs for a specific institution, go to that institution's Web site and find the current list of expenses.
  • Textbook Expenses - use this General Accounting Office report to find textbook increases from 1987/88 to 2004/05. Look at Appendix II on page 39. After 2005, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also tracks college textbooks as part of their Consumer Price Index. You can look at the news releases by month, or look at Dec. to get the average for the year.
  • Find a Private School and Handbook of Private Schools (2007) Clapp Ref L 901 H3 85

More pages