We in the Distilled Dollar household love to leverage the internet and financial tools to make our lives as easy as possible. We are extremely lucky to live in a day and age with so many free online resources available to us, but it can be overwhelming with so many search results!
Below are the tools and products we recommend that have helped us save, manage, or invest our money.
Of course, as you sign up for these products and services below, you’ll be contributing to Distilled Dollar and helping us to spread our message. These are affiliate links, which translates into blog revenue being converted into new expenses to grow the site.
Even if you sign up for just one service, let me know what you think of it. If you hate it, then let me know what else you’re using that works better for you.
Personal Capital: If you’re looking for an excellent net worth tracker, plus new ways to improve your investing, then sign up for Personal Capital. They offer a host of free financial tools and services in addition to analyzing your current assets and liabilities, all for, you guessed it, free!
Similar to Mint (below), Personal Capital will track your spend and create year over year analysis for you to review.
At the very least, let Personal Capital review all your accounts and analyze your current fees. This one exercise might shock you since financial institutions can be alarmingly clever at hiding fees.
Mint: If you’re like me, you hate budgets. With that being said, the biggest benefit to having a great budget is keeping track of expenses (and where you overspend). Mint helps me do that by automatically keeping track of and categorizing my expenses.
Mint is free to use, and the full value of it can be felt after you’re able to let Mint track your expenses for a few months. You’ll be shocked by some of the trends and patterns they pick up on.
Related article: My Unconventional Approach to Budgeting
CreditKarma: This site helped me discover a fraudulent usage of my credit card in near real time. Thanks to Credit Karma, I was able to detect the charge, report it, fix the issue, and increase my credit score by 77 points. All of that in less than a month!
Overall, this service helped me gain a better understanding of what impacts credit scores and I’m happy to use it (especially since it is free!).
LendEDU: When we went through the process of student loan refinancing, we used LendEDU to figure out our options. LendEDU showed us our refinancing rates after we spent only 3 minutes answering their short questionnaire.
We couldn’t be happier with the help they provided in showing us what our best refinancing rate was. They’re fast, they’re free, and there is no negative impact on your credit score. I don’t see what you have to lose by checking your rate today.
Related article: Distill Your Loans
SoFi: After doing our research, we settled on using SoFi to refinance our student loans. They offered the lowest rate so it was a no brainer for us.
I’ve negotiated my referral sign up so you now receive $300 instead of me. One caveat, SoFi requires a full two years of employment and are relatively strict on who they accept, so be aware that not all applications are approved.
One added bonus, SoFi offers events throughout the years (such as cocktail hours and dinners). The free food, free booze, and social element of it all makes for a great added perk.
Related article: Pros and Cons to Refinancing Student Loans
Best Personal Finance Books
Book Reviews: After reading over a hundred books on personal finance, investing, taxes, and everything in between, I’ve put together my top 5 recommendations.
BlueHost: Unlike many other blogs, I don’t recommend people start up a blog to make money on the side. Blogs take a lot of work and the revenue generated might be too small for too many people, so I don’t advocate BlueHost for that reason.
Where I have seen a massive benefit, is in the power of making goals public. I wrote a piece on how our savings rate skyrocketed as soon as we had to hold ourselves accountable to the public. It can be scary, but we felt the transformation was long overdue.
Related Article: Earning an Extra $13,879 in 6 Months of Blogging
NameCheap: Registering your own domain is critical for owning the entire rights to your content. NameCheap is the service I’ve used and they offer a few security features for only dollars throughout the year. I haven’t found another place that offers a better value for a lower price.
Meal Delivery Services
Blue Apron: I give credit to Blue Apron for rapidly reducing our total spend on food during 2016. With Blue Apron, we had so much fun learning new methods of cooking and trying new dishes, all while saving money. Our old habit of eating nice meals at restaurants was quickly replaced with eating nice meals at home.
If you are not a great cook, then give Blue Apron a try since they provide you with all the necessary ingredients along with step by step instructions to make your meal picture perfect.
If you sign up via my exclusive referral, you’ll receive $40 off your first order. At the very least, sign up for the entirely free 1st box of meals and cancel if you don’t like it. I’m confident you’ll enjoy the experience!
Related Article: How We Chopped our Restaurant Expenses in Half by Using Blue Apron
Amazon Subscribe & Save: We swear by Amazon’s free service, Subscribe & Save. We gain a 15% discount PLUS we have everything from toilet paper to cosmetics to pet food delivered to our door. It is the ultimate mix of frugality and efficiency.
Sign up for 5 recurring deliveries and receive the 15% discount. Any sign ups after 5 receive the same 15% discount.
Related article: Saving with Subscribe & Save
$$ Quotes: I put together my favorite quotes about personal finance, investing, and the overall ethos of pursuing financial independence at an early age. In some regards, I find this less traveled path requires a bit of courage and luck, but overall, it takes persistence.