These are the websites & apps that we use. Everyone’s personal situation is different, so please do your own thorough research and due diligence before and if you decide to take any actions.
Organization and Tracking
Personal Capital: I don’t know how we stayed on top of our finances without this before (well, actually: Mint.com – another useful tool). Personal Capital aggregates all your bank, retirement, and various other accounts into a single place to provide you a visual, read-only overview of your entire financial landscape. From tracking your net worth and cash flow to a number of useful tools, Personal Capital is extremely helpful – and FREE! They do offer wealth management or advisory services, but we just currently utilize the free tools. While I’ve found Mint.com to be helpful, I think Personal Capital is more robust and a better product (we switched from using Mint to Personal Capital about 2 years ago).
Banking & Savings
Ally Bank: We’ve been using Ally Bank since 2010, and we love it. Their online checking & savings accounts and other products have very competitive rates, you get reimbursed for ATM fees, and you can speak to a live person 24 hours a day. Ally Bank has zero (0) physical locations though – it’s an online bank only. If you’re in need of banking services, visit their website for the latest and full details.
Qapital: An app we discovered in late 2016, Qapital helps automate your savings. You can link the app to your funding account (like your regular checking account) and create different savings goals. Money is debited from your funding account based on various rules you create, including round-ups, fixed transfers, and the guilty pleasures. Saving is easy and kind of fun! Qapital recently started offering optional banking features and is FDIC insured – visit the Qapital website for the latest and full details.
Investing & Retirement
Acorns: An app that helps you automatically invest your spare change into a portfolio that you chose, Acorns has a beautiful interface and very helpful features. I’ve been using Acorns since late 2016, and I love watching the account balance slowly increase each week with money I barely noticed coming out of our checking account. There are also a a number of ways to increase the balance in your account when you make purchases with certain vendors. Visit the Acorns website for the latest and full details.
Robinhood: A free equity or stock trading app, Robinhood enables you to open a brokerage account with no trade commissions or fees. Robinhood also came out with a monthly paid version called Robinhood Gold, which gives your account margin capabilities. I’ve been using the free version of Robinhood since early 2016 (and personally won’t go near the margin account version). The app is very simple and basic (and FREE!) – that’s why I like it. If you’re looking for wider brokerage services and research tools, you might need to look elsewhere. Visit the Robinhood website for the latest and full details.
Vanguard: Vanguard is one of the largest investment management companies and offers some of the lowest cost mutual funds and other investment products in the financial services industry. We’ve been using Vanguard since 2009 for Roth IRAs and have opened other accounts since then. The vast majority of our net worth (tax-sheltered retirement accounts, as well as taxable accounts) is invested with Vanguard (mainly in their index funds, but a couple actively-managed funds, too). We’ll likely stay with them for life. We don’t currently utilize any of their advisory services, but they offer a number of different products and services. Visit their website for the latest and full details.
Credit / Credit Cards
Note: we pay off all our card balances in full each month.
Credit Karma: Before Credit Karma, I paid about 8 bucks a month for credit score reporting and monitoring through one of three big credit bureaus. With Credit Karma, I now get it for FREE! Check out their website for the latest and full details, as well as other useful tools and information.
Citi Costco: We’ve had the Costco Credit Card (previously offered by American Express (Amex)) for several years now. The card is one of our go-to cards because of the eligible cash back rewards: 4% on gas, 3% on restaurants and travel, 2% on purchases from Costco, and 1% back on everything else. The card has some other nice features as well. Check out the Citi website for the latest and full details.
Capital One Quicksilver: In addition to having a really cool spokesperson, the Quicksilver offers a simple 1.5% back on all purchases. I use this card for a lot of reoccurring monthly charges or anytime we can’t get a better cash back percentage from utilizing one of our other cards. Check out the Capital One website for the latest and full details.
Amex EveryDay: This is my oldest card. Originally an Amex Blue before I converted to the current Amex EveryDay, the card has a point / reward system. We use this card less frequently vs. the others, but we do sometimes come across a restaurant or store that only takes Amex. Visit the American Express website for the latest and full details.
Liberty Mutual: I’ve been using Liberty Mutual for over 10 years (Mrs. BD as well for all but 2 of those years). We haven’t owned any vehicles for nearly 10 years, so we just utilize renters insurance and related coverage items. If and when we obtain a vehicle (trying to prolong as long as practically possible), we’ll likely also leverage Liberty Mutual to combine our existing renters insurance (or potentially homeowners in the future). Rates obviously depend on numerous factors, and I have found sometimes better deals elsewhere; however, we continue to stay with Liberty Mutual due to client service and overall competitive rates for decent coverage that meets our unique circumstances.
Trupanion: Our dog has her own health coverage; her humans just happen to pay for it. Trupanion offers extensive coverage for what I personally call “doggie doomsday” scenarios – surgeries, advanced testing and treatments, etc. Basic preventative services and other certain activities are not covered. Check out the Trupanion site for other details. There are other reputable pet insurance providers available, but we’ve found Trupanion to be a lifesaver more than once – literally.