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Products That Kick A$$

What up, what up, fellow finance nerds! I figured it was about time I created a page with all the products & services I love and use on a daily basis in hopes that it helps y’all out.  I always get asked what kind of books I recommend, or services I use for banking or insurance, or even blogging, so now all your burning questions shall be answered in one awesomely updated spot :) Hope it’s useful!

Favorite Financial Stuff:

We’ll start out with my favorite bank and books, and then work our way down to other sexy products like blogging and making money from blogging… If there’s an area I missed, lemme know!

USAA USAA Bank — By far the best bank out there, in my opinion. I love their products, I love their customer service (always highly rated!), and I love how they provide anything financial I need. With over 15 accounts signed up to them myself, it’s a safe bet I’m never leaving! :) And you don’t need a military connection anymore for all their services either, just some of them (like their insurance). Many can now get their free checking and credit cards!
I will teach you to be rich
I Will Teach You To Be Rich — Hands down the BEST book out there for the younger generation. It’s funny, educational, and just downright FUN to read. And a super easy one at that – which anyone with A.D.D. can appreciate (like me!). If I were to write a book, I’d want it to come out like this. Plus, bonus points with Ramit being a fellow PF blogger :)
millionaire next door The Millionaire Next Door — One of my all-time favorite financial books. A bit dry & statistical at times, but the first book that really opened up my eyes and got the “lifestyle” part to sink in for me. The average millionaire isn’t what you typically expect (in fact, they’re quite the opposite), so if you like that kinda stuff, I def. recommend paging through it. Ya gotta have the mindset if you want the millions!
automatic millionaire The Automatic Millionaire — This is my 3rd favorite financial book, and one I refused to read for quite some time. Just seemed too fluffy and so “look how easy it is to do!” kinda thing. But after being bored one day and sucking it up, I was VERY glad I did :) It’s kinda basic and on the lighter side, but if you’re one who needs someone to tell you in detail what to do – and you listen! – you’d be on the fast track to wealth in no time. Great book for any beginner.
The Richest Man in Babylon The Richest Man in Babylon — Oh baby, a classic! This thing was written in like the 1920′s or so, and have sold in the MILLIONS so far – pretty crazy. Well, not crazy cuz it’s a GREAT book, but you know what I’m saying… This is another quick read and really differentiates itself by teaching financial principals through story telling (like fable stuff). Takes place thousands of years ago way before the World Wide Web and/or Mr. Dave Ramsey ;)
Kiplinger & Money magazines Kiplinger and Money — My two favorite financial magazines! If you’re one to learn a lot better in shorter spurts of information like I am, any of these guys will do the trick. I’m honestly subscribed to both of them PLUS 8 others (I’m a magazine addict) and they’re great reminders to stay on track and get motivated!
Mint Mint.com — Next to my awesome budgeting spreadsheets, Mint is the next best for tracking your money and staying motivated ;) And the beauty about ‘em is that everything’s automated so you can get instant snapshots of where your money is every time you log on! (And it’s FREE) If I still wasn’t using my spreadsheet, I’d be all up on them.
personal capital
Personal Capital — This one’s the Mint.com of investments and NET WORTH. Which is also free, and pumps out a great snapshot of where all your money is automatically. I finally signed up after all my friends started raving about them and I’m glad I did – it’s dope!
Outright
Outright — If you’re looking for a Mint-like service, but for *business* accounting, Outright is the one you want! Really simple recording of all income and expenses to keep you on track, and they’re totally free too. I can’t tell you how much time (and stress!) I’ve already saved since using them – I’m even on their testimonial page! :)
credit sesame
Credit Sesame — The best place to check and monitor your credit score – for FREE :) They’ll even email you when it goes up or down, pretty cool. Check ‘em out and see if you can beat my 788!
eHealth Insurance
eHealth Insurance — Many of you probably get health insurance through your employer, but if you’re ridin’ solo like yours truly, I’d recommend giving eHealth a shot first when looking to pick some up on your own. When I blogged about needing to get some (and not knowing *where* the heck to start), a handful of people raved about them and said it’s where they got their insurance too. So I gave them a try and 30 mins later I was all set! They’re like an insurance aggregator, and I ended up choosing BCBS through them – cool stuff.

Blogging Products I Swear By:

I use all of these guys for BudgetsAreSexy, as well as other online projects I work on. Big fan of them and have never had a problem yet…

Wordpress WordPress — The ultimate (and free!) blogging platform. It’s the best in usability, the best for tweaking and updating designs and templates, and the best in SEO and other related back-end stuff that you’ll come to learn and like as your blog gets bigger :) I left Blogger.com for WordPress and have never looked back! (PS: There’s also a WordPress.com, instead of .org, which is perfect for beginners too)
Thesis Theme Thesis Theme — This is the template I use for the look and feel of BudgetsAreSexy.  It’s a bit more costlier ($200ish?) than other templates out there – esp the free ones WordPress offers! Haha… – but it’s CRAZY tweakable and you’d be amazed at the sites you visit that also use Thesis in the back end :) Another thing I love about it is how well it’s set up for SEO – very important when your blog becomes your business.
Go Daddy
Go Daddy — I’ve been using these guys for over 12 years now, and have yet to experience a problem with them. I know some people hate their CEO, but it’s hard to deny how reliable and awesome their services are – esp. when it comes to domain names (I have all 50+ of my urls with them!).  I’ve also used their hosting for most of my sites too, though Budgets is currently on a friend’s server (if it wasn’t, it would be w/ them).

Great eBooks out there:

build blog ebook 31 Days to Build a Better Blog — An eBook by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. It’s designed to help you revitalize your blog by giving you 31 daily tasks to turn your site into the page view powerhouse you’ve always dreamed of :) Costs around $20.
1st week blog ebook ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging — Another book by Darren Rowse – he’s good, what can I say :) This one’s packed with practical activities and exercises to do in your first week to make sure your blog is heading in the right direction. It’s broken down into 7 days and give you a total of 32 achievable tasks to take on. Also $20ish.

The 2nd Best Money Blog Out There ;)


Being in the blogging game for over 6+ years, I come across a LOT of articles about money. Most of them are alright, but “alright” is pretty boring at the end of the day – you want to have fun while reading about finance! That’s what’ll keep you motivated!

So the goal of this site is simple: I only feature the AWESOME stuff on it :) Every week I add up my favorite articles, blogs, videos, pictures, quotes, and any other piece of personal finance that sucks you in and spits you out a more enlightened – and entertained – individual. In other words, I pass along the “rockstar” content.

You can check out the site here: RockstarFinance.com. Think of it as a collection of visual bookmarks for money articles. We share the best, and filter the rest!

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*Some of the products above I get paid for if you sign up, and others I don’t. But know I only promote those I truly believe in, so I have no problem pimping ‘em out! ;)

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Irving Rivera March 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Excellent Directory.
I will dare to add a securities broker, I guess you use USAA for that?

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2 Christina Owen March 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I’m also a fan of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and YNAB budget software.

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3 J. Money March 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

@Irving – Ooooh, good call! Yes, I do use USAA cuz I love having everything in one spot like that, BUT if I weren’t with them then I’d totally be with E*Trade. I have a soft spot for them having worked there many many years ago, and even then their stuff was top of the line. I can’t even imagine how awesome it is now! So thanks for the tip – I’ll go and add them up now :)

@Christina Owen – Yes, both very awesome products too! I’ve never peaked into either of them, but I know they both have some pretty hardcore fans :) Maybe I’ll add a “Products other people recommend” section at the end? Thanks for the tips.

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4 Carrie - Careful Cents March 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Awesome set of resources here, J$. I recently found Outright and I agree, it’s excellent software for business accounting.

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5 Frugal Fries March 14, 2012 at 12:12 am

I love Mint, my only vice is that I can’t integrate my Ontario student loan with it–the work around is super lame!

Since conquering my student debt is like the magnum opus of my financial life, this is a deal breaker!

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6 Ryan March 14, 2012 at 8:34 am

I’ll second YNAB. We’ve only been using it a month, but it’s totally changed the way we budget.

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7 J. Money March 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

@Carrie – Careful Cents – Glad you like it too! It’s my new best friend right now, I can’t even say how much happiness it’s brought in my life so far, haha…
@Frugal Fries – Ahhh, good to know! I wonder if it’s just a matter of time until that one’s approved like the rest too? Or if it’s a lost cause? Either way sorry to hear :(
@Ryan – Yeah? I think they have some hardcore fans… maybe I’ll poke around it more and consider adding it up if I fall for them. Thx for the info :)

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8 Rick March 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

Surprised you didn’t add Rich Dad/Poor Dad — that and the Millionaire Next Door seem to be the only two poles that all personal finance orbit around (the world boils down to either “save a lot and amass decent wealth by the time you die” or “develop other income streams that don’t require your time and effort”).
More practically, I just did a 401k rollover through a site I read about on another blog — FiPath.com. I thought that their comparison tool was awesome, and I ended up moving my 401k to Zecco and saving a ton–a firm I didn’t even know about until using the FiPath tool. Worth taking a look at if you haven’t done so already.

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9 Christina Owen March 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I think YNAB has a 30 or more day free trial if you want to check it out.

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10 Ryan March 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm

@J – Yeah, indeed! Before, we didn’t have a budget (fo’ shame), unless you consider flying by the seat of your pants and hopefully the timing of paychecks works out well “a budget”.

So after researching, (I actually found the YNAB link here on B.A.$.) the one month buffer idea is what really sold me. How cool is it to have all the money you need to pay your bills the month before they are due?

You truly don’t need the software to do this method (it does make it much easier to track), but the YNAB folks have a free pdf book on their site that explains how the process works. So if you’re good at excel you could probably whip out your own template.

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11 J. Money March 15, 2012 at 11:43 am

@Rick – HAH! Rich Dad Poor Dad was actually the very first book I read on business/money yearrrrrrs ago before I even knew what blogging was :) I actually did enjoy it, but I remember not knowing exactly what to do next? And then of course it was all on real estate and we know what happened there, so it would be interesting to go back and read it again with a fresh perspective… but prob. still won’t add it up here ;)

RE: FiPath — Yeah! Great team over there too – I actually talked w/ one of their biz guys a couple of weeks ago, very friendly and seem to really have a good product there. They’re pretty unique in what they’re doing, and they’ve spent a TON of time researching and making sure they have a quality product. I bet they’re very successful and help a lot of people – glad you got something out of it!

@Christina Owen – For sure, I’ll have to do that :) Probably got a lot better since I first heard of them 3+ years ago too.

@Ryan – Hah! Isn’t that funny – I do remember linking to them a while back (maybe in my budget spreadsheets page?) so that’s awesome you found them and even better you like ‘em! Glad you’re up and rollin’ now bro!

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12 Captain Mike March 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Great list…thanks! I agree with the list completely but with extra emphasis on how amazing USAA is. The customer service is stupid awesome and I try to find excuses to call them to talk about my finances. Its like a financial therapy session and its hard not to feel great afterward. The only thing they don’t absolutely kick butt at is there stock trading setup. It’s gotten better over the last couple years but I bet they could really rock like etrade if they wanted to.

Thanks again for the list and keep the great posts comin’!

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13 Hank March 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

These are great recommendations and a great idea to show us a glimpse behind the BudgetsAreSexy curtain how you make the empire run. Thanks to you….I tried out Outright. Awesome service! I’m definitely digging it! Thanks!

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14 J. Money March 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm

@Captain Mike – Glad you enjoy them! Loving your use of adjectives too, haha… USAA *is* pretty stupid awesome ;) Damn glad they’re around for us.
@Hank – AWESOME!! I’m so glad, bro! I check Outright like twice a week now and it’s soooo easy to stay on top of and just SEE where all your money is coming and going. Which is great when you have all kinds of expenses and revenues streaming in from online projects – it was getting hard as hell for me to track, haha… let me know what you think about their weekly reports they email too – I love ‘em. They’ll tell tell you how much you’ve earned (or gone down!) on a weekly basis – pretty motivating either way ;)

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15 Tyler S. March 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Hmmm I’ve been thinking about some kind of PF book to get started with.. I Will Teach You to Be Rich #1 eh? Might have to get it a shot.

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16 Kathryn C March 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm

hey quick question on wordpress, what offline software do you use that’s compatible with wordpress, if any? You know, if the internet is down for 2 seconds, I melt if I can’t work on my blog.
Thx JM

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17 J. Money March 20, 2012 at 11:07 am

@Tyler S. – Go for it! It’s pretty entertaining too :)
@Kathryn C – Haha… I actually don’t use any offline software w/ Wordpress that I know of anyways. If my internet is down, I just write everything up in Word or do my 1001 emails/etc until it’s back up again. Or I hit up my iPhone ;) If you wanna shoot over specific stuff you think would be helpful, I can ask around and see if I can find and answer for you? And you hitting up FINCON 2 in Denver by chance? Hope so! :)

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18 Fifi June 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm

50+ URLs!? What do you use all of those for?

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19 J. Money June 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Some of them are other sites I own and manage, others are 50% completed and waiting for me to do something on, and then the rest are ideas I have brewing 24/7 ;) It’s an expensive hobby to stay on top of, but ya never know which will take off an more than make up for it all, eh?

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20 Otis Allen July 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I read the millionaire next door and I will teach you to be rich. Thank you for the recommendations!

I loved the millionaire next door it is truly an eye opener. I loved that it was a 20 year study.

I was not greatly impressed with I will teach you to be rich. The author does not practice what he preaches (he is an entrepreneur but he recommends others having salary jobs).

Thanks again! Another great one is The Truth About Money 4th Edition by Ric Edelman.

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21 J. Money July 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Glad you liked (most) of them! :) Not gonna put words in Ramit’s mouth, but I’d imagine it’s because most people can’t succeed being entrepreneurs nor do they want to be which is why he’s talking to the general masses in my opinion… I could be wrong though. Either way the book really stood out to me. I’ll have to check out The Truth About Money – haven’t heard of it yet, so thanks!

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22 Aaron December 31, 2012 at 11:59 am

He who has the highest credit bureau score does not win. 788 in your case may be awesome look at the FICO chart on how a score is tabulated. It is kinda NOT something to be proud of. I am in foreclosure area of banking and I can tell you that the score differnce between someone who is fine on their mortgage and another who is about to loose their home can be less than 20 points, like in the 700s and still loosing their home. Also consider that once you are debt free, pay cash for everything and have $1 million in the bank in liquidity….who cares what your credit bureau score is?

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23 J. Money December 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm

True indeed, my friend. It’s only important when you want to borrow a crap ton of money ;) You should check out this post we recently did if you like the whole credit score debate – I bet you’ll fit right in there: Does Your Credit Score Matter If You Don’t Do Debt?

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24 @freepursue May 9, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Thanks for feeding this year’s reading list with some good picks. Read ‘em. Loved ‘em.

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25 J. Money May 9, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Thanks for the kind words – glad you’re enjoying them!

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