Below you will find a number of websites, products, apps and services that we personally use or recommend. I put this page together so you can easily find some great products and services to help save you time and money all in one place! And the best part is most of these are FREE!
Some (not all) of the links below are affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer page for more info.
Financial Related Stuff
First, are my favorite financial resources. Many people see money, budgets and finance as a chore. I enjoy it. I prefer to automate it as much as possible though.
We use Charles Schwab for banking, some investments and some retirement accounts. I like to have as much as possible centrally located, however there are some other cool websites (down below on this list) that I like that Schwab doesn’t offer. I find their customer service to be top notch, US based and always very helpful. Their website is well designed and very intuitive. The one thing I don’t like is that it takes 4 business days for an electronic deposit from one of my other banks to clear, but only 1-2 days for a paper check to clear. Go figure!
CreditKarma is a great site that gives you a free credit score based on your TransUnion and Equifax. The scores are not FICO scores that are used by banks to qualify you for a mortgage, but based on our experience the scores provided are in the ballpark of what your real FICO score is. There is a ton of useful information in your credit report and they’ll pull it for you once every 7 days. It is helpful to review to make sure nothing fishy is happening with your credit. You can even setup the app to notify you when there has been a change to your credit report like a new account or hard inquiry.
Turbo Tax is one of the top tax software tools available. If your return is a simple one you can e-file you taxes for free! TurboTax also has great resources and forums on their website. I’ve found the answers to many of my tax related questions on the Turbo Tax forums. They also have a handy tools called Its Deductible that lets you easily track donations to charity which is very helpful in making sure you don’t forget any donations during the year.
Mint allows you to track your money, pay your bills and even track your credit score. They can automatically pull transactions from your bank account and credit cards. If you want a (free) service that helps you start to budget and track your money, then Mint is a great choice!
Xero is an entirely cloud based accounting software platform. We’ve used it for accounting for an LLC previously and loved using it. The website is very easy to use. They usually run promotions with promotional pricing for the first 6 months. Currently, you can get the starter plan for about $6 per month! They also make it easy at tax time to export reports that you need to do taxes for your business.
Blog Related Stuff
All of these are products I’ve personally tried and recommend.
If you’re looking to start your own blog then I highly recommend Bluehost. You can be up and running quickly and for pretty cheap. Signing up for a 12 month plan or longer also gets you a free domain for a year. How great is that? Their customer support is great and can help with any issues you may have in setting up your blog. Check out my post on how to start a blog with Bluehost for more details.
CSS Hero is a downright kick ass WordPress plugin. I’m the furthest thing from a developer, but this plugin makes changing the layout, look and feel of your site very easy. Lets say you want to change the spacing (I think the official word for it is “padding”) between a header/title and the content on a blog post. Without this you’d have to go into your editor and edit the css in the stylesheet. What a pain! With this nifty little tool you just click on the page and options pop up on what you can change. I’ll probably write an entire post about this app soon enough!
I use the Genesis Framework by StudioPress on this site. Its one of the most widely used out there and its very good. The price is reasonable at only $59.95 and then you buy what is called a “child theme” that layers on top of the Genesis theme. It may sound like a lot, but believe me its well worth it. The child theme I used for this site is called Market from Restored 316 Designs.
I’m still learning how to use all the cool features on PicMonkey. The best analogy I can give is that its like an easier and cooler way to edit photos than Photoshop. Its perfect for adding cool text to photos to catch readers attention on your blog and on social media. I continue edit stock photos I find on various websites using PicMonkey. They have a free version with limited features, but you can pay for the premium version for $3.99 per month which is really cheap!
Amazon and more specifically Amazon Prime. How did we ever live without free two day shipping? I love Amazon Prime. I’ve ordered everything from kids clothes and dog food to a shed and a grill on Amazon. Yes, we ordered a shed on Amazon. Just an FYI sheds don’t come in two days. It was more like 3 or 4 days , but still way easier than trying to get one from Home Depot myself. For those who are curious we ordered this shed.
I’ve had a cell phone plan with Verizon Wireless for well over 15 years. I’ve never had any issues or reasons to make me even think about leaving to another carrier. Verizon consistently ranks as the best performing wireless carrier by RootMetrics. If you’re having problems with Sprint or AT&T, I’d recommend moving to Verizon Wireless.
I use Uber regularly as a rider and Chris also drives for Uber sometimes. Its cheaper than a taxi to get from point A to point B as a rider. If you sign up through my link to be a rider, your first ride is free! If you’ve ever considered driving for Uber, I’d highly recommend it! Its the easiest most convenient side hustle in my opinion. Uber almost always offers promotions for new drivers and they vary by city so I don’t have room to list them here, but you will automatically get the current promotion in your city through my link.
I use Instacart just about every week. Taking two toddlers to a grocery store to navigate the crowds? No thanks, I’ll take delivery. Instacart lets you schedule delivery from multiple local grocery stores and warehouse clubs (varies by city). They text you when they’re shopping for your order in case they can’t find something. If you don’t live in one of the cities Instacart covers, there may be other services in your area like Shipt or PeaPod by Stop & Shop.