I often share cool ideas to save you time and money, but they are usually very topic oriented. Here is a list of my top four free tools to bring everything to one place to save you time, money, and headache.
Empower is my go to service for getting my financial account balances and investment analysis in one place. The site automatically updates with my most recent transactions for my bank, credit, and investment accounts. It also ads more value by analyzing investment fees and investment categories.
I always used Mint.com for this type of analysis, but have used Empower more and more since I signed up in October, 2012. I quickly found that I was overpaying on my mutual fund fees and was able to use the tools from Empower to save over $300 per year by moving into similar, but lower fee, funds for my retirement accounts.
Mint – I still have not deleted my account at Mint and log in there regularly. For budgeting, Mint still has the best offering. However, it can’t compete on investment analysis.
Credit Karma – Credit Karma added a similar account aggregation tool recently, and it works great for matching your credit card accounts to your credit report. It falls short of Empower’s investment tools and Mint’s budgeting tools, but is the top choice if you are trying to figure out what is going on with your credit.
When I need to check in on my frequent flyer miles or hotel point balances, I only click once to go to Award Wallet. The site takes care of the hard part. Just like Empower, Award Wallet is designed to take a lot of stuff and put it on one screen with the most useful info in one place.
Award Wallet brings in my balances and expiration dates to one screen for every miles and points account I have (including Chase Ultimate Rewards).
If you are one of the first 10 people to sign up using the code free-hunlgo, you get six months of the premium service for free.
Check (formerly PageOnce) – Check gives you account balances for both financial and travel rewards accounts, but doesn’t offer the same level of analysis and insight on financial accounts and doesn’t give some of the other info, like expiration date, for rewards accounts.
Manilla is a tool that brings all of your account statements to one place, along with high level account balances.
If you use electronic statements, which is the most secure, convenient, and environment friendly option, Manilla is a free, must use tool. The site automatically downloads all of your statements into one secure digital file cabinet so you don’t have to take the time to download and save each file every month.
The site also supports bills and a handful of non-financial accounts as an added value.
I have never found another site that does this. As far as I know, it is one of a kind.
I never travel without TripIt. I wouldn’t even consider dropping a service so valuable to me.
TripIt automatically imports my travel plans from confirmation emails sent to my Gmail account. If you have email from a non-mainstream providers, you can also forward the emails to [email protected] for processing.
TripIt turns your confirmation emails into vacation itineraries. Gone are the days of printing files from airlines, hotels, and activities. Now, you just add them to TripIt and you can get everything on your phone or the web in a few moments. If you are traveling internationally and won’t have access to your phone, you can also print your entire itinerary quickly from one place.
TripIt also offers travel alerts, schedule monitoring, and some features from Award Wallet if you pay for the premium version.
The Kayak Trip Planner offers a similar service to TripIt, but it is not quite as robust as what I have seen with TripIt.
Bonus – Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame isn’t an aggregator like the other sites on this list, but it is free and gives me a huge value. I use Credit Sesame to get my credit score for free. The site also offers tips and ideas to improve your credit score. If you are looking at improving or learning more about your score, check out Credit Sesame.
Image by spablab / flickr
8 thoughts on “Four Free Tools I Use to Make Life Simpler”
I am a big fan of personal capital. I have been using it for a few weeks and it has made me jump ship from Mint. I think it is just well worth it. I have seen or used some of these other tools and I like them just as well.
I still use Mint regularly (I have been daily since 2007, so it’s hard to break the habit), but I always use Personal Capital when I have questions about my investments. And it is growing on me for everything else.
I love how technology can make life easier and it is free!
It makes me wonder how I used to survive before this stuff!
TripIt sounds very interesting! I wish I’d known about it before our trip to Europe in May. We plan to travel more now that it is just the two of us at home. Will have to give it a try. Both of my parents could use it as well. They travel a lot.
I love TripIt! I have four trips on the calendar and every detail in one place for quick access.
I really like tripit too, used to spend hours gathering all the trip details and having them all in one place saves a lot of time.
I find the more I can automate and aggregate, the better!
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