For those of you who don’t use an online personal finance tracking tool, you are missing out big. These tools are the cornerstone of my budgeting and tracking. They save me boatloads of time and are all 100% free. Here are the ones I am using today.
General Personal Finance Management
In the volatile world of free online money management tools, we have seen many great options come and go. For more options, check out my list of Mint Alternatives.
My new favorite money site is Personal Capital. The site is focused primarily on investments, but it has great cash flow and transaction tracking tools as well. Like the two sites below, Personal Capital is 100% free for their main service.
I signed up for Personal Capital to give it a whirl, and found that I was overpaying on my mutual fund fees by quite a bit compared to some other options. I moved some investments around and will be saving hundreds of dollars every year going forward.
Thanks Personal Capital! Give it a try for free today.
The oldest popular option in the account aggregation space is Mint.com. It is a great site, but customer service has gone down significantly since it was acquired by Intuit. If your accounts are all working, the site has great features and a smooth interface. If not, you are on your own and they may not be fixed correctly.
Credit Report and Credit Score
Get a free credit score once a month along with advice on how to improve your score from Credit Sesame.
Get a full credit report with your credit score twice a year from Quizzle, along with credit and personal finance tips tailored to you based on your credit report and information you provide.
Best Bank Accounts
Capital One 360 Checking
This is my current favorite checking account based on user reviews and my research. I opened my 360 Checking account in 2007.
- No fees for typical banking activity
- 100% online banking
- Deposit checks from your phone
- Transfer in and out of accounts at other banks for free
- Free online bill pay
- Option to get a physical checkbook
- Free ATMs from Allpoint (in most 7 Eleven and Safeway stores, and many other locations)
- Free debt card
- FDIC insured
360 Checking from Capital One
Charles Schwab Bank Investor Checking
I have my primary checking at Charles Schwab Bank, as I was already a customer of their investment service.
- No fees for typical banking activity
- Free ATM use worldwide – automatic reimbursement
- Instant transfer to/from Schwab investment accounts
- Free transfers to accounts at other banks
- Free checks, if you still even use those
- Free online bill pay
Capital One 360 Savings
This is my favorite online savings account. I have this account myself, just like 360 Checking above. It has all of the features of the checking account, other than the physical checks) but at a higher interest rate.
- Safe, FDIC insured savings account
- Instant transfers to and from Capital One 360 Checking accounts
- Free electronic transfers to and from accounts at other banks
- Automated savings plans available
- Have as many sub-savings accounts as you want
- No fees for regular banking use
360 Savings from Capital One
Easy Investing: Betterment: Free Sign up + $25 Bonus! Start now!
I took up a fellow blogger on the offer to try Betterment with a $25 bonus. I am glad I did. It is an easy site to use and can help you automate your investing to match your cash flow and investment goals. It is the single easiest investment tool I have ever used.
Peer to Peer Lending: Lending Club
P2P lending lets you make money like a bank. You put in a portion of someone’s loan in $25 increments. You keep the interest payments. With no bank in the middle to take out the profits, they go to your pocket. Just make sure to get a basket of diverse loans to spread the risk.
Running a Website
Domain Registration: GoDaddy.com
I have used GoDaddy since I started running websites in 2006. I keep all of my domains there due to the reasonable prices and easy interface.
Basic Hosting: HostGator
For my smaller sites, I keep every site on HostGator. The prices are great for new blogs, starting under $4 per month. They offer unlimited bandwidth and domains on the plan I use. I have all of my non-money sites on Hostgator because the prices are so great.
Premium Hosting: LiquidWeb
I have trusted LiquidWeb as a host for my money-making sites. For serious sites, discount hosting doesn’t always cut it. I moved to LiquidWeb for the “heroic support,” which has saved my butt on more than one occasion, and their nearly 100% up time. I can rest easy knowing my money-making business sites are hosted at LiquidWeb. My plan on LiquidWeb costs $15 per month and includes all of the bandwidth and storage I need for my sites with room to grow.
Premium WordPress Hosting: Media Temple
When you need the best, most reliable hosting, look no further than Media Temple. This site is hosted with Media Temple’s managed WordPress hosting, which leaves the difficult parts of server management to Media Temple so I can focus on what’s important: my website. The basic managed WordPress plan is $30 per month and includes three sites.
WordPress Theme: Genesis Framework
For all of my sites, I use the Genesis Framework. Genesis, coupled with a premium child theme, is the easiest way to build professional, highly customization friendly websites. With built-in SEO tools and add-ons to build beautiful sliders, custom image areas, and styles, I highly suggest Genesis for almost any WordPress based site.
Logos: 99 Designs
I had my logo designed with a contest at 99 Designs. More than 20 designers submitted over 100 logo designs. I worked with the designers to pick the one I liked best and used the useful tools to provide feedback and poll my friends. I highly recommend 99 Designs for any logo or graphic project for your blog, website, or print needs.
Business Cards: Moo.com
Moo Cards offers an easy-to-use platform to build your own high quality, custom business cards exactly the way you want. Whether you are looking for the stand-out Moo Mini cards or something more traditional, Moo can handle whatever you need.
Affiliate Link Management: Pretty Link Pro
Anytime I write about a company I believe in, I want a link to that site that will earn me money. Pretty Link Pro handles the hard part. If I use a specific company name or keyword, Pretty Link Pro automatically inserts an affiliate link to make me money on the referral. I can also easily update links site-wide with a simple form.