My Favorite Financial Apps, Services, Books & More

by J. Money -

cash money

What’s up, money 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 investing, or even blogging, so now all your burning questions shall be answered in one awesomely updated spot :) Hope it’s useful!

My Favorite Financial Stuff:

We’ll start out with my favorite bank and apps, then work our way down to some budgeting and blogging services, and of course my favorite financial books too. And as you’ll notice – a lot of these services implement *automation* which is the key to banking that $$$!

Here we go!

USAA USAA Bank — My favorite financial institution ever. I love their products, I love their customer service (always highly rated), and I love how they provide anything financial I need. With over 10 accounts signed up to them myself, it’s a safe bet I’m never leaving :)
Mint (FREE) — If you’re new to tracking your money, Mint is a great place to start. They automate all your accounts so you can see where your money is at all times, and they help you to budget and track your net worth as well.
personal capital Personal Capital (FREE) — If you’re looking for a more robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go. They’re like Mint but on steroids, and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. Most personal finance bloggers love and use them since they automatically give you a snapshot of where all your money is along with super helpful graphs. Check out our review here. Digit (FREE) — This service has exploded on the scene and automatically helps you save money without lifting a finger. I was hooked from the second I tried them and have since saved over $4,000 so far, averaging about $200/mo. Highly recommend if you suck at saving! My full review on Digit here.
acorns Acorns — Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. You sign up and connect your accounts once and it’ll do the rest! They’ve invested over $400 for me so far, and my full review of them can be found here.
honey savings Honey (FREE) — This is by far my favorite coupon service. Any time I’m about to check out and buy something online, I click the Honey button and it scours the ‘net for all coupons and applies the *best* one to save me the most money. It literally takes seconds and I never have to Google search anymore :) You can see my write up of them here.
paribus Paribus (FREE) — You know how sometimes you buy stuff, and then 3 seconds later you find it cheaper elsewhere? Or you forgot a coupon or companies play the “price drop” game on you since they know your profile? Well Paribus fixes that :) You sign up to them once, and they’ll go out and get your money back for you. See our full review here.
credit karma Credit Karma (FREE) — The best place to check and monitor both your credit score AND credit report. Super easy to stay on top of it all, and plenty of calculators and simulators to help you get your score higher over time. You can see my full review here.
*** For more apps, check out our Directory of the Best (and most overrated!) financial apps, as recommended by over 140 other financial bloggers. As part of our sister site’s mission over at Rockstar Finance to harness the brains of our community for the benefit of all of us :) ***
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. like me can appreciate ;) If I were to write a book, I’d imagine it would look a lot like this. (Ramit’s also a PF blogger)
millionaire next door The Millionaire Next Door — One of my all-time favorite books. A bit dry & statistical at times, but the first book that really opened my eyes and got the “lifestyle” part to sink in. 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 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 ;)
*** For more books, check out our Directory of the Best (and most overrated!) financial books, as recommended by over 200 other financial bloggers. Another initiative of my other site, Rockstar Finance :) ***
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!
Outright Outright ($9.99/mo)– This is the service I use to track all my *business* money. Similar to Mint and Personal Capital, they make accounting for income and expenses super easy and simple. I really can’t tell you how much time (and stress) they’ve saved me over the years – I’m even on their testimonial page! :)
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 for WordPress and have never looked back! (PS: There’s also a, 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 15 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 20+ of my urls with them).  I’ve also used their hosting for most of my sites too – a super easy company to get your blog or site up and running.

The 2nd Best Money Blog (and Resource!) Out There ;)

Being in the blogging game for over 8 years, I come across a LOT of articles about money. Most of them are alright, but “alright” isn’t really that exciting or motivational. So the goal of this site is simple: I only feature the AWESOME articles on it :) Every week we scan hundreds of articles and then feature our favorite ones on it to inspire you to learn and take action. The “rockstar” content, if you will. It’s also a great place to find other kick-ass blogs to read after you’re done with mine!

You can check out the site here:
Or our thriving $$$ forums here:

Our Directory of Financial Blogs, Books, and More!

Check out our fully searchable directory of all 1,300+ financial blogs we’re tracking (being updated daily!), as well as the best finance books, freelancers, financial coaches, advisors, and more from our financial community. All in an effort to better pull together the tools and resources from our world here all in one spot! Check it out!

You can see the list of all current *blogs* here: Directory of money blogs
As well as a list of the most popular finance *podcasts* here: Directory of money podcasts
And then the most popular finance *books*: Directory of money books
And finally the most popular/best rated finance *apps*: Directory of money apps

Hope it all helps! :)

*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!

{ 47 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?


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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 :)


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 — 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.


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.


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.


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!


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’!


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!


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 ;)


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.


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


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! :)


18 Fifi June 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm

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


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?


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.


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!


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?


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?


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.


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

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


26 Phil January 27, 2015 at 10:35 pm

I like the Outright (now GoDaddy) interface, but without the ability to reconcile, I can’t rely on it for my bookkeeping. Unfortunately, I’ll have to continue using Quickbooks. Any thoughts?


27 J. Money January 31, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Sorry, I just use outright mainly :(


28 Randy Klug February 7, 2015 at 3:36 pm

A comment on Outright.. I don’t know how you get it for free but the site states that it costs $9.99 per month. I’ve had it in the past and Yes, that is what they charged me. I feel their service went down hill since they sold out to Go Daddy. that’s been a couple of years ago and that’s when they started charging for the service.


29 J. Money February 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Good catch! I hadn’t updated this page in a while so I made the adjustment… I still love and use them personally, but I agree I haven’t seen any new improvements or anything these past cple of years… Though I just use the bare bones of what they offer anyways – my business stuff is pretty clear cut :)


30 Linda February 26, 2015 at 5:24 pm

USAA is for veterans and eligible family members. Anyone else you’d recommend for checking/savings, etc.?


31 J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:22 pm

I’ve heard great things about and also – check them out :)


32 Megan May 16, 2015 at 3:50 am

My husband and I have been on a personal venture to find creative ways, sometimes uncomfortable ways to pay off debt. We have a lot of student loans but recently paid off every credit card, started an emergency fund, 3-6 month fund, and then crap, January 1 he lost his job. So thankful for that emergency fund but truly want to get on with things to begin massively paying on that student loan debt. Ugh. Faithful we’ll be able to take off once a job offer has occurred as previous to applying it we would have received an F for effort and knowledge. We too love Dave Ramsey (though many of his following have proven to be crazy nuts, he no as I’ve met him and agree with his values) and your blog. We love your honest transparency and on fire approach. I’m certain many have been blessed by this venture you’ve created.


33 J. Money May 20, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Awww, well thanks for stopping by and letting me know – it helps me keep going with it :) And sorry to hear about your husband, but what a great out look! And bad ass you paid off all those debts and have a solid foundation now! Hard to argue that Dave is helping a lot more people in this world than most. Would be cool to meet him in person one day :)


34 still pedaling September 30, 2015 at 5:15 pm

I sent the following to my children and then thought – I should send it to you also! Right up your alley!

Another goody by a favorite author! Why didn’t I know this stuff 20 or 30 years ago??? But you have a chance to learn it while you’re still young enough to benefit so take some time to read and digest. The reading isn’t hard; the learning to do it maybe something else.

BTW, David Van Knapp has laid out some free lessons also.

Your oldest fan,
Still pedaling


35 J. Money October 4, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Hey friend! Will check it out – thanks :) I’m more of an index fan than a dividend one, but something tells me the lessons apply no matter your strategy. Thx for thinking of me!


36 Mario April 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm

What do you think about Sharebuilder (now called Capital One Investing, but, you know, it will always be Sharebuilder to me)? Everyone always mentions E*Trade or Scott Trade or something like that but never Sharebuilder. I seem to be the only person using it. What do you guys know that I don’t?


37 J. Money April 18, 2016 at 11:38 am

Hah! I don’t know much about them to be honest with you, but a ton of new places are coming onto the scene that are super cheap, or even free: and come to mind first. I’ve long stopped buying up individual stocks myself now that I’m an index guy… Shout out to Vanguard! ;)


38 Gregory L. Tipton April 30, 2016 at 4:11 am

What is the best checking account site that you recommend that does not require you to be a member of the military like USAA?


39 J. Money May 4, 2016 at 7:44 am

I like what Simple is doing a lot – that’s where I’d be if i weren’t with USAA.

Here’s our review of them:

People also say great things about Ally bank too ( as well as Capital One 360 because of their “sub accounts” you can open up to help save/organize better:

Really depends on how comfortable you are going the online route vs traditional banking :)


40 Richard May 20, 2016 at 10:11 am

I’m a bit of an alternative money maker myself. I left school at the age of 14 but have traveled in over 20 countries and lived in about 5. I used to get paid to help guys overcome their fear of approaching and meeting women. The most I was paid per hour was 150 pounds or about about $218 an hour. The average I earned for one to one coaching was about 70 pounds an hour or $100 an hour. There are many good guys out there who have made great fortunes who lack the knowledge/experience to be able to approach and build attraction with attractive strangers. I’m so glad I found this blog. It is the best and most genuine and informative one about making money. As a natural charismatic, enthusiastic people liking person I’ve realized that sales is my best bet. Have you any info on selling financial services as that is what I would really like to get into. Thanks for any pointers. R


41 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Hah – nice! It’s true that us men need some help in that department, haha…

As for selling financial services, I mean, if you’re super passionate and genuinely *care* about helping people with it, sure – that’s a great avenue to go down and you can make some BANK at it! Unfortunately many people just follow the $$ though and then start doing sketchy stuff because it usually pays the most :( Particularly in the insurance/investment side of things.. I don’t have any articles that go into it all if that’s what you’re looking for, but you can def. find stuff online. Plenty of ways to make decent money in the financial world.


42 Dave Man August 6, 2016 at 1:45 am

Robinhood is a great new investment app that it’s completely free to trade. No transaction fees = more money to invest!


43 J. Money August 8, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Yup! Def. a good one…

And you can’t go wrong when Snoop Dogg is a backer of it either ;)


44 Warren Franklin September 19, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Great recommendations, I have used and personal capital for a while, but some other great resources here. A few good book recommendations as well. Thanks for all the advice. WF


45 J. Money September 11, 2017 at 10:52 am

Glad you find it helpful, Warren :)


46 bob September 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Hi–like to add a book read -finance related—–MARGIN OF SAFETY—-BY; SETH KLARMAN.


47 J. Money September 11, 2017 at 10:53 am

Thanks for the addition :) Never heard of before, but sounds like an investing one, eh? I tend to stick to my “boring” index funds and don’t even dare try timing or hacking the market, haha…


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