As a personal finance blogger, I have used or tested quite a few tools and resources in order to help me get to my main financial goals. There are so many websites out there that it can be hard to choose. I wanted to personally hand select some of the helpful money tools for you, so that it can make your life a little easier. If you are searching for a great tool to help you get on track with your debt or investments, then this is the place. I work hard to try all of the tools and sites I recommend. Everything listed on here I have an active account with or I have used/tested in the past.
This recommended resources page will be updated regularly with new additions whenever I come across them. I would recommend checking out the tools and websites that pertain to your situation and see if they can make your life easier. I know they have made mine more efficient.
Disclosure – Some of the links in this list are affiliate links, which means that Wealth Bytes receives compensation when you make a purchase or sign up for a service. You don’t notice any change or different pricing and they don’t affect you in any way. These recommendations are in no way influenced by any compensation. I currently use or have used all of these services and think they are useful.
My Personal Favorites
Here are a few tools which I currently use and love. No matter what I’m doing with my money, I have these tools bookmarked in my web browser and my logins are setup in my LastPass! I couldn’t do what I do without these awesome tools, so I want to share them with you. As I come across new ones, I will be happy to share them and make sure you can get good use out of them.
This has become my favorite tool as of late. It’s similar to Mint.com, but gives you more detailed information about your investments. It’s also free, but it doesn’t have a ton of ads or products to suggest. In fact, it has none of those. I love this company and Personal Capital has actually changed my financial life for the better. Check out my epic breakdown of how they stack up against each other. It’s Personal Capital vs. Mint.com! Also read my Personal Capital review.
Betterment was my first investing experience. I opened my Roth at Betterment and I’ve been happy with it so far. It’s a great site that allows any one with little experience to get up to speed and start the investing process. They have an awesome interface, great customer service, and it makes everything so smooth. I would recommend Betterment to anyone who wants to jump on the investment train. Read my Betterment review for more information.
I test out a lot of Wireless services to see which ones are good and bad. I was impressed by Republic Wireless. They offer plans starting at $5 per month. Their model is very different from other carriers, but their service is great and they have a 30-day money back guarantee! Check out my Republic Wireless review for more information.
Earning cash back when I shop is something I always thought was just fantasy until I came across Ebates. I use this site anytime I shop online. Seriously, every time I shop online, I go through Ebates. This free cash back site allows you to find coupons and earn as much as 40% cash back when you shop through their partners. Since they are the biggest, they have nearly 3,000 partners. I’ve not found a time when they didn’t have the store I needed. You just sign up, find the store on Ebates, then click a link and you’re earning cash back. They even have a free browser add-in that makes the process even easier. Here’s my Ebates review.
Ar you struggling with debt like I was? I remember those days and I can certainly relate. There is nothing worse than sitting there trying to figure out how you’re going to pay all our bills. The feeling is something I don’t wish on anyone. Ever since I paid off my last credit card, I have found some awesome tools to help you stay ahead of your debt and make sure you keep your bills paid on time, every time. Here are my favorite debt/bills related tools.
This site started as an information hub and encouragement site for those in debt. They wanted to help everyone get out of debt and I found that admirable. Now, Payoff provides a new service. Along with their awesome tools, they also provide credit card refinance loans for those who have high interest credit card debt. If you have a good credit score, then they could provide you with a low-interest loan to help your consolidate or refinance that debt into one easy payment.
I used to use Manilla to manage all of my bills, but it was shut down a year ago. After that, I needed a way to keep up on all of my bills and I like to see everything in one place. I found Finovera as a free way to keep track of all my bills and set reminders of when they were due. I like the site and find it a great resource for those who need to see all of their bills due on one screen.
I’m not someone who puts their head in the sand and doesn’t believe people get personal loans. I know they do. Unsecured loans are a big business. When I educate consumers, my goal is to give them information, then guide them to the best places to get what they need. If you need an unsecured personal loan, then you need to check out PersonalLoans.com. This is not an actual lender, but a loan search engine tool. You can find the best loan available for your situation.
Right after I paid off my credit card debt, I started investing in a Roth IRA. Ever since, I have opened a few more investment accounts in order to grow my wealth and watch it grow each and every day (or fall, depending on the stock market 🙂 ). Investing should be a part of everyone’s plans, no matter if you are in debt or not. The power of compounding interest is wonderful and it can really change your life if you let it. Here are my favorite investment sites that I current use and know. Make sure to also check out our list for the best online brokerages and start investing!
Much like Betterment, Wealthfront is a robo-advisor. They have low fees, but if you sign up through Wealth Bytes, they will manage your first $15,000 for free! No fee! Their system is easy to use and if you’re looking to start investing or would rather just keep your stress level down, then Wealthfront should be on your list. Their fee is 0.25% of investable assets over $10,000 ($15,000 if you use this link).
Scottrade is a great site and a very large one at that. They have offices around the country to help people us their services and get the most out of the experience. I have an individual investment account with Scottrade where I play around with different stocks. They do have a large portfolio of products, so you can get an investment account that will fit your needs. You can just call them up and they can help. Read more in my Scottrade review.
Ever since I paid off my credit card debt, I’ve been on an investing kick. Now, I have a Roth IRA in a different account, but Motif Investing caught my eye because of how they work. Instead of just looking at specific stocks, you actually invest in ideas and themes. A Motif consists of 30 stocks from a specific industry, like high dividend earners. It’s a cool idea and I’m happy with my results. Read over my Motif Investing review.
I’ve been a fan of TradeKing for some time. They have really good tools and their trades only cost $4.95. Compared to many of the other services out there, that’s a great deal. Their accounts are easy to setup and they have customizable dashboards that make investing work for you. If you’d like more information, check out my TradeKing review to read more about them.
Vanguard is the tried and true brokerage out there. They offer low cost funds that are for holding and earning money. You don’t go to Vanguard for individual investing, you go there for funds to hold for retirement. This is where I opened my SEP IRA and I couldn’t be happier. It only took a couple of minutes and finding the right fund for me was easy. Vanguard is consistently ranked top for low cost funds.
Some of my most popular posts here on Wealth Bytes deal with wireless service providers. Why? I show people how to save money on their wireless bill and review the good carriers that can help. I even have a page dedicated to showing you different carriers away from the big ones. I’ve switched carriers more than I care to admit, but that’s the luxury of not having a contract and owning your unlocked phone! Here are some of my personal favorites.
This was the first carrier I moved to after leaving Verizon. I purchased an unlocked phone from eBay and decided to give it a try. I was running on the AT&T network and it worked great. It was $45 a month and much cheaper than my huge Verizon bill. I only moved away from them to try a different service. Check out my Straight Talk review.
Walmart Family Mobile
I was on Walmart Family Mobile for nearly a year before I switched to Cricket (my current provider). The reason I switched was because T-Mobile didn’t get coverage in our new house. I had no problems with Family Mobile or T-Mobile, which runs the actual network. Some people have issues and some don’t, but it’s cheap. Read over my detailed Walmart Family Mobile review.
Cricket is my current cell phone service provider and I have really enjoyed having them. I’ve had them since June 2014 and have had no issues. Their pricing is straight forward and the setup was super easy. They were bought out by AT&T, so you get their 4G LTE service at a cheap price. My wife and I pay $70 a month for both phones. Read up on my original thoughts.
It’s no surprise that I love blogging. Wealth Bytes is a blog and I even run a blog management business. For those of you who want to learn how to start a blog or run a business, here are some tools that I have used or worked with with other clients. Remember, you can earn money blogging, but it takes work. Earning extra money is the quickest way to get out of debt and start growing our wealth!
My one and only go-to source for registering domains. There are a number of coupons you can find to reduce the price of domain registration! They provide the easiest solution for grabbing domain names and you can do it cheap. They do offer a number of other services, like web hosting, but I only use and recommend them for domain registration.
Since I run a WordPress maintenance and support business, I come across of a lot of hosts. I started using SiteGround because they offer great prices, really fast servers, and around-the-clock tech support. They have really done well for themselves. In fact, I have moved a number of my clients over to them because it’s been so good. If you’re a beginner blogger, then you can start with their StartUp plan. If you need more than one site, go with the GrowBig plan. If you click on the image, you can get 60% off and a free domain!
This is where I grab most of my WordPress themes. You do have to pay for them, but they are typically better designed and have more features than the free themes you can find online. Since there are a ton of themes here, make sure you look for ones from top designers and that are highly rated by customers. These tend to be consistently updated and free of security flaws.
This is the email marketing software I use and recommend. They have a great price with awesome features. This is a paid option, but it’s worth every penny. It’s easy to setup and it works with almost every opt-in plugin for Wordpress. I couldn’t live without it and you get a nice discount when you prepay for the entire year. What’s better than good software and a good discount?
This is a paid-for WordPress framework that many other bloggers use. It was built by StudioPress, which part of Copyblogger, one of the biggest sites around. Wealth Bytes used to be designed on the platform, but I moved to something else. It’s good and secure and will work well for many bloggers. Since I have done work inside the platform, I can say that it’s good to use if you know what you’re doing. If you’re new, stick with something with a lot of built in features.
I started using Freshbooks just a few months ago and I’m hooked. They offer software to keep track of your business income and expenses. Their best tools are their time tracking and invoicing. It’s what I use to keep my business going and save on Paypal processing fees. You can get paid by Paypal with Freshbooks for only $.50 per transaction. That’s much better than Paypal’s 3-5%, plus $0.30.
Wordpress.org is the free, self-hosted version for Wordpress. It powers over 60 million sites worldwide including Wealth Bytes. It’s powerful and gives you a lot of options. If you want to start a blog, then you need to start with the Wordpress.org version on your own hosting account. Don’t go with Wordpress.com, you might regret it later down the road!
I’m going to toot my own horn here a bit. iMark Interactive is my blog management company that I’m extremely proud of. I’ve been blogging for almost 11 years, so I’ve seen a lot. I created this company to help other bloggers get started and help them maintain their online presence. I have a lot of good customers and a 100% satisfaction rate. I plan on keeping it that way!