In my line of work, I get asked more times than I can count to recommend products and services to help others. Whether that means keeping their money or records organized and secure, or ways to simplify life in general, I have researched and tried a number of different products and services over the past few years.
What I hope to accomplish with this page is to give you a point of reference for reaching your own goals. The products and services you will find described here are either ones that I have personal experience with at one point or another, or they have been recommended to me by others for whom I have the utmost respect and trust. As always, I encourage you to do your own research to see how good a fit for you (never simply take someone’s endorsement as all you need) any of these are.
And, just so you know, there is a good chance that if you purchase any of the products or services from this page I will get a commission. Those particular offers will be marked with a (*) just to be up front with all of you. But if you do click through from this page, it could possibly be a win-win!
Banking & Investments:
E*TRADE Financal - I absolutely love this company! This is actually where I keep my own Roth IRA. Transfers in are available for instant investing which I probably don’t have to tell you is a good thing, there are no annual fees for IRA’s, and the one thing that got me interested in the first place–the dividends on my stock investments are reinvested absolutely free. Even though the trades cost a little more than other brokers, if you have a lot of dividend paying stocks, the savings on reinvestments will more than make up for it.
Ally Bank – No minimum deposit. No fees. Easy to set up an account. Easy to transfer funds in either direction. Higher yielding accounts than most others institutions that do have minimums & fees. My Ally Bank Online Savings Account is where I keep the money that isn’t earmarked for regular expenses, and I also use it for collecting interest until I’m ready to transfer it over to my Roth IRA. There hasn’t been one single thing for me to complain about.
ING Direct - Another bank with no minimums or fees. I was with them for a few years early on when online banks weren’t as popular or as numerous as they are today. I didn’t have any problem whatsoever with this bank, except for a period of time it became a laggard in terms of increasing interest rates and at one point its rates weren’t very competitive at all. Their service and quality was always outstanding. hat makes them stand out is the different accounts specifically aimed at kids and teens.
LetsTalk.com and Wirefly - have used both of these services in the past to purchase new cell phones. Sure you can get them direct form the provider, but chances are you will pay quite a bit more. I’ve purchased phones for free, with no shipping, and rebated activation from both companies on a couple different carrier networks and was pretty much pleased with the product and the costs every time. You can even trade your old phone for cash with each vendor.
Phone.com – If you’re tired of ridiculous landline charges (assuming you still have one) take a look at Phone.com. It’s VoIp but without the bs pricing of Vonage. Plus, you get all of the same features, no contract, and can save an extra 10% for 6 months on basic monthly plan – Code: Tenoff
Quicken - Now that there are apps for the iPad, iPhone and Android devices, I can really give it my stamp of approval! It’s not free like some other options, but it is certainly the best and most powerful tool for keeping track of personal finances I have used. And, being able to have access to all of your information no matter where you are makes it that much more beneficial. And, they even have a Canadian version of Quicken
Make Extra Cash:
Plastic Jungle - This is a great source of both saving and making a little extra cash. Are you looking to make a purchase but want to save as much as possible? You can buy gift cards at discounted rates to reduce your costs for dining out, home improvements, clothing, electronics, or almost anything else you need. What did you get for the holidays or your birthday? If it was a gift card for a store you don’t really care for, you can always go to PlasticJungle.com and sell it for cash. And, to make it even better, you can get paid instantly via PayPal or even exchange your unwanted gift card for an Amazon card which they give you even more for!
Security & Safety:
Identity Protection Guide – A complete resource for educating and informing the public on the dangers and consequences of identity theft. Links to resources and government agencies as well as articles on a variety of fraud-related topics round out this completely free resource.