I’ve had so many of you ask me about checking and accounts, credit cards, cell phone plans, and budget tools that I’ve decided to keep all this information on one handy page.
Go ahead and take a look and see which would work best for you and your family.
I’ve listed the products and services that we’ve used or are currently using to manage our finances. They have made things easier with handling our money.
Banking and Budgeting
Most of our bill payments and savings are automated and with Mint, we receive updates on our progress on a weekly basis.
That means more savings for us and less hassle with tracking the small stuff.
Capital One 360
Having the right checking account is essential for our family’s finances.
We currently use Capital One 360 for most of our banking needs – paying bills, short term savings, and financial buffer.
While it is an online only bank it is FDIC insured (up to $250,000) so your money is safe just as it would be with a brick and mortar bank.
Capital One 360 doesn’t have a minimum balance or monthly maintenance fee which means we get to keep more of our money.
With Capital 360 using the Allpoint’s network access to over 50,000 free ATMs, it’s easy for us to grab our money whenever we need to without having to worry about fees.
We’ve been using Ally to house our Freedom Fund and so far we have been quite pleased with their service.
Besides having a competitive interest rate, they also offer the essentials that we need and they also have no minimum monthly balance or maintenance fee to worry about.
Simple takes personal checking from being about just paying expenses and instead makes it a personal spending account with built in features that make it incredibly easy to save for short term and long term goals.
With Simple’s interface and automatic savings, you can being gently nudged towards reaching your goals.
While it’s easy to pause on your automated deposits, you generally wouldn’t feel like doing that because you get to see your progress daily.
Right now you can get 0.95% on savings. Set up your contributions and start growing your emergency fund!
I’ve used to it get a second opinion about my retirement accounts’ asset allocation and to get a check-up. I found the advice very timely and handy.
If you are fairly comfortable with your finances and you’re looking at optimizing your investments, you should definitely check out Personal Capital.
One of my current favorites is Mint. I’m going to be honest – I think being free and easy are the biggest reasons we use it to keep tabs on our finances.
It took about 10, maybe 15 minutes to get all of our accounts imported and organized. Now I can log on and get a financial snapshot without any hassle.
With a few clicks we can check our month to month spending habits, getting an idea of where we need to tweak.
If you want to use Mint to manage your budget, I’d say it’s a handy tool to use.
If you’re looking for someone to manage and your investments, here are a few that we use.
I use Vanguard and find them to be a wonderful and low cost option for my IRA.
Vanguard is known for having great customer service and being a valuable resource when it comes to investing. They offer investing advice in an understandable language.
Vanguard gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to picking out your individual funds (provided you meet the minimum investment) and ETFs.
Your asset allocation remains on your plan because re-balancing is automated.
That’s one less thing to stress about and a helpful way to help you maintain your personal investing goals.
There are no transaction fees which mean more of your money is being directed towards building your portfolio. T
he fees are incredibly low because your portfolio is invested in low cost index funds and bonds.
Credit Sesame is free to consumers. Signing up takes around 5 minutes of your time.
You simply need to give your contact information and answer questions to verify your identity.
You don’t need to provide a credit card to get started. Credit Sesame pulls data from your Experian credit report and give you charts and stats on where your finances stand along with with suggestions on ways you can possibly save money.
For the last several years we have been using TurboTax to file our federal and state returns and we’ve been very happy with them.
If you’re looking for an answer to your specific situation, AnswerXchange is fantastic resource.
You have access to both tax experts and to experienced users who can point you in the right direction. If you prefer the phone, you can call and speak to a Certified Public Accountant.
Looking for a way to have a smartphone plan without draining your wallet? Republic Wireless may be the solution.
They are offer fantastic smartphone plans from $5-$40/month, depending on your use.
They can offer cheap prices because they use hybrid calling. Hybrid calling means your phone uses Wi-Fi for calls, web, text, and all things mobile.
If there isn’t Wi-Fi available then your phone uses the cellular network (in this case Sprint’s). The icing on the cake? No contracts or termination fees.
I hope this information helps you and your family a ton of money this year!