As a founder of a personal finance website I typically get asked what financial products I use, trust, and would recommend. In order to be a trusted and credible resource to my readers, I have done countless hours of research.  I have compiled a list of the best money tools and resources for 2017.

Here I am sharing a list of my top favorite and best money saving products & services, companies, and services, by category, that will be updated regularly. 

Some links below may result in a commission to support this site, but never at an extra cost to you (actually almost all of the links offer promotional discounts). The only products here are beneficial and actually help others and I don’t accept payment to be included here. I strictly recommend products or services I have used personally or have come highly regarded from those I trust.

Discount Brokers:

  • Ally Invest: One of the lowest commissions of any broker. Stock and ETF trades are just $4.95. Even better, this commission is per transaction for any amount of shares. Ally Invest’s $4.95 charge is much lower than many of its rivals, including E*Trade ($9.99), Schwab ($8.95), Fidelity ($7.95), and Merrill Edge ($6.95). I now use Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade. If you want to use one of the cheapest brokers on the internet, Ally Invest is for you. They also offer professionally managed portfolios starting at $1/mo for balances below $5,000 if you use this link and also No-Fee IRA’s.

Budgeting and Wealth Software:

  • Personal Capital: think of “mint.com for investments”. Personal Capital is free, allows you to consolidate and analyze your net worth and investment portfolio, and plan your retirement.
  • Mint: Mint.com is a 100% free budget tracking and planning software that consolidates all of your financial activity into one graphic-enhanced web browser interface.

Automated Investing – Good For Beginners:

  • Acorns: Using your spare change to invest. Acorns is a smartphone app that “rounds-up” your spending charges to the nearest dollar and invests that difference. You just connect your credit card and checking account, then Acorns does that rest. You can also choose to invest more, and you can withdraw your funds at any time. I opened an account last year and I am already up 4.5%. This app is a great starting point for anyone who hasn’t invested yet or needs a bit of guidance in the beginning. Sign up through my link and you’ll get $5.00 for free. Acorns charges $1.00 a month unless you sign up with your .edu email address and say that you are a student when signing up then it’s completely free!
  • WiseBanyan: WiseBanyan is more or less the exact same thing as Acorns except its completely free!  When you use WiseBanyan, It asks you a few questions to gauge your risk tolerance and suggests a portfolio based on your tolerance level. However, it is just a suggestion and you can still change the portfolio as you wish. You can start a retirement account (Roth, IRA, etc) or a personal investment account. The basic service is completely free and there is no age restriction.The minimum deposit to open the account is $1, and plus you can get free $20 from WiseBanyan if you use my link. That is free money!

Cash Back Websites:

  • Ebates: Ebates offers cash back if you purchase from their network of shopping sites. You already know you can shop for pretty much everything imaginable online. Ebates isn’t exactly a shopping portal on its own. All you have to do is sign up for Ebates with an email address. Right off the bat, you’ll be given a choice to pick a gift card that’s worth $10. Your gift card will be sent to you once you complete a purchase of $25 or more. After you complete your shopping, your points will be automatically added to your account, typically within a day.

Make Money Online:

  • SwagBucks: Earn Swag Bucks for your online activity. Join with Facebook or enter your email, new password, and re-enter password to get started. Free to sign up for and start using. Earn rewards (Swagbucks) for things you are already doing. More than ten ways to earn Swagbucks including games, surveys, and the search feature. Several ways to spend your Swagbucks including gift cards at popular retailers. There is also a newly launched mobile site for use on smartphones (Apple and Android markets). Signing up using this link and you will receive an automatic 30 Swagbucks.
  • InstaGC: Get free gift cards by completing tasks, surveys, videos, plus more. Over 861,500+ gift cards redeemed. Free to join. Many claim this to be one of the easiest money making app sites. It definitely has one of the lowest payout minimums. Get some easy points by doing the “visit websites” area everyday. Payout: (100 points = $1) Gift cards as low as $1 including amazon, also checks. Sign up for free through my link and get 10 free points.
  • BlueHost: Make money while working from home. Looking for cheap hosting? Bluehost is the hosting company that I recommend. It’s affordable and if you sign up through my exclusive link you will receive a free domain name when you purchase a 12-month plan. Read my “How to Start a Blog on Bluehost” post for more info. I started blogging in the beginning of 2016 and I can tell you first hand it is possible to make money online through blogging.

Credit Card:

  • Discover IT: The only credit card that I use and recommend. Earn 2% cash-back on every dollar you spend, plus an amazing 5% bonus cash-back in certain spending categories. NO ANNUAL FEE and receive $50 when you sign up using this link.

Top Personal Finance Books of All Time:

Best Entrepreneur Books To Read:

  • The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by: Timothy Ferriss
    Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.
  • The Lean Startup by: Eric Ries
    Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable.  The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People by: Dale Carnegie
    For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. Learn: Three fundamental techniques in handling people, The six ways to make people like you, The twelve ways to win people to you way of thinking & The nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
  • The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by: MJ DeMarco
    Is the financial plan of mediocrity — a dream-stealing, soul-sucking dogma known as “The Slowlane” your plan for creating wealth? Demand the Fastlane, an alternative road-to-wealth; one that actually ignites dreams and creates millionaires young, not old. Change lanes and find your explosive wealth accelerator. Hit the Fastlane, crack the code to wealth, and find out how to live rich for a lifetime.
  • The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by: Chris Guillebeau
    In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning, and purpose – and earn a good living
  • The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs by: Kevin D. Johnson
    To achieve unimaginable business success and financial wealth—to reach the upper echelons of entrepreneurs, where you’ll find Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sara Blakely of Spanx, Mark Pincus of Zynga, Kevin Plank of Under Armour, and many others—you have to change the way you think. In other words, you must develop the Entrepreneur Mind, a way of thinking that comes from learning the vital lessons of the best entrepreneurs
  • Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by: Gary Vaynerchuk
    Do you have a hobby you wish you could indulge in all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take that passion and make a living doing what you love. In Crush It! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed here, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, readers will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, Crush It! is the ultimate driver’s manual for modern business. 
  • Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by: Peter Thiel, Blake Masters 
    Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places. 
  • Think And Grow Rich by: Napoleon Hill
    Think and Grow Rich is a 1937 personal development and self-help book by Napoleon Hill. The book was inspired by a suggestion from Scottish-American business magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. While its title implies that the book deals with how to attain monetary wealth, the author explains that the philosophy taught in the book can be used to help people succeed in all lines of work and to do or be almost anything they want. The book was first published during the Great Depression. At the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies and by 2011 over 70 million copies had been sold worldwide. It remains the biggest seller of Napoleon Hill’s books. Business Week magazine’s Best-Seller List ranked it the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was published. Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell’s A Lifetime “Must Read” Books List. 
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by: Stephen R. Covey
    One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.

Most Everything Else:

  • Odds are you already use it – but Amazon is the most convenient for finding uncommon items and when you use Amazon Prime you can items shipped in just two days.

* Disclaimer – The content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are mine alone. 

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