Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

A photo of a calculator, a utility bill, a calendar, a notepad, and a pen. The notepad says BUDGET across the top with a numbered list: Housing, Transportation, and Utilities.
Figure 6.1 Financial health helps you realize your goals. (credit: modification of work "Budget and Bills" by Alabama Extension/Flickr, Public Domain)

The topic of money management is a broad and sometimes complex one. Ultimately, personal money management involves managing both our debt and also our savings and investments.

In 2021, the average American had consumer debt balance of $96,371. Nearly $100,000 per person. And less than 25% of Americans are debt free. Consumer debt can include mortgages, credit cards, as well as student loans. A key question all consumers should consider is how to manage debt and not become overburdened by it. The first step is to create a budget, which puts earnings into perspective, indicating what we can, and cannot, afford. A budget also entails setting aside certain funds for savings and investment, which help us achieve our short- and long-term goals.

Creating a budget requires an understanding of how money—debt and savings—works. Initially, percentages and interest need to be understood. They drive most of what happens with debt and savings. With that understanding, discussions of buying a house, a car, or incurring credit card debt can be addressed from a financial perspective. All the while, retirement is waiting. Preparing for retirement involves saving and saving earlier rather than later. The power of compound interest is on full display when saving early.

This chapter covers some of the basics of money management: percentages, interest, budgeting, debt (student loans, mortgage, car, credit cards), savings, investments, and taxes.

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Dec 21, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.