**Last Updated: May, 2024** by G.E. Miller

As founder of a personal finance site that is 16+ years old, I often get questions like, “what credit cards do you use?“, “what data plan is the cheapest?“, “what’s the best tax software?“, etc. To be a credible resource – I’ve done my 10,000+ hours of research on this stuff.

Spending money is investing if it saves you future money. So, I’ve compiled a “best of” list of my favorite money-saving products & services below & update it frequently. Consider it a cheat-sheet of quick actions you can take to save money. Some links below may result in a commission to support this site, but never at extra cost to you (many links offer discounts not available publicly). I only recommend products that I think can help readers. I don’t accept payment to be on this list.

Cash Back Portals:

If you’re going to buy stuff online, stacking discounts is the way to go. Start with getting cash back from these sites (and a welcome bonus for getting referred):

  • Rakuten (formerly “Ebates”): if you buy anything online, create a Rakuten account. It’s free. Simply choose the retailer you were going to purchase from, click a link to go to the retailer’s site, and you get additional cash back deposited into your account that you can withdraw/transfer, and it’s stacked on any other promotions you find through the site. Use this link and get $30 referral bonus on your first purchase of $30+ at your favorite stores (check out my Rakuten welcome bonus promo article for more info).
  • Upromise: link will result in $30 bonus cash back for new users. Also, check out my Upromise Mastercard review, which highlights all of the excellent cash back rewards opportunities that come with the no annual fee credit card.
  • Swagbucks: lots of cash bonuses for taking actions and making purchases. Get a referral bonus when using this link.
  • Topcashback: typically offers some of the best cash back rates for any portal. Free to use. Get a referral bonus when using this link.

Amazon.com:

If you buy anything from Amazon, check out my article on how to save money on Amazon, which has dozens of promo, discount, credit card bonus, and price hack tips to help you stacking savings on every single Amazon purchase you make.

Grocery Savings:

Bank Accounts: Certificate of Deposit (CDs), Checking, Money Market Accounts, & Online Savings Accounts:

  • CIT Bank: my favorite for all of these types of bank accounts due to their online focus, reputation, and high interest rate yields. CIT is a legit FDIC-insured bank (a division of First-Citizens Bank & Trust, which runs hundreds of branches in 19 states. The CIT division is geared towards online). They have some of the best CD rates I have seen per CD category (including their 18-month CD as well as a “11-month no penalty CD” if you need to withdraw funds). They also offer attractive online savings, e-checking (with $30/month ATM fee reimbursements), and money market accounts – with no overdraft or maintenance fees.

Investment Accounts (Standard, IRAs, Solo 401Ks):

Based on how you’d like to invest, I have 2 different recommendations:

  • Managed Advisor: Check out Empower: (Personal Capital was acquired by Empower) Recommended for investment advisory services, Empower is the “Mint.com for investments”. You can start for free by linking all of your investment accounts to one reporting interface to analyze your net worth and investment portfolio (including fee analysis), and plan your retirement. Empower is the 2nd largest retirement services company in the U.S., with over 18 million users, administrates over $1.4 trillion in wealth, and is recommended by 90% of its users. You can start by linking your investment accounts, geek out with all the free tools, and if you want a managed advisor, you can opt in for that.
  • DIY Investing: if you’re looking for a more DIY investing approach, check out my article on how to start an online investment account for more details. Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab all have free stock/ETF trading and lots of low-fee funds to choose from. You can’t go wrong with any of those 3.

Health Savings Account (HSA):

You can transfer funds from your current and old (and usually high-fee) employer HSAs to a new HSA at any time and own multiple HSAs at the same time. I highly recommend HSAs for their huge tax-saving benefits. And they even can even be used like an IRA for non-medical expenses when you reach retirement age.

  • Lively: Lively tops my list of the best HSA accounts. If you choose the self-directed investment account option and maintain at least a $3,000 cash balance in the base Lively account, then there are zero maintenance or added investment account fees (a rarity in the HSA space) for individuals and families. Lively is integrated with Schwab for those self-directed investments, so you can invest in whatever stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or CDs you would like – and Schwab has no trading fees on stocks, bonds, or ETFs and no buying/selling fees on thousands of mutual funds.

Mobile Phone Plans:

  • For domestic (U.S.) use:
    • Xfinity Mobile: if you’re within an Xfinity service area, it is a great deal for both low and high data plans (see my full Xfinity Mobile review for more details). The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ranked Xfinity Mobile #1 in customer satisfaction among full service wireless providers. For $15/month for unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 1 GB of 5G data per month (+access to 20 million Xfinity wifi hotspots). If you want more data than this, your options are:
      • “By the Gig” data: 3GB for $30, or 10GB for $60.
      • Unlimited data (3 different options): $20 – $65/line/month, cost per line decreases with # of lines
    • AT&T Prepaid: plans starting at $25/month for heavy data.
    • Mint Mobileprices vary by length of term you commit to: 5 GB for $15-25/mo, 15GB for $20-35/mo, 20GB for $25-45/mo, “Unlimited” (40GB 4G/5G high-speed cap) for $30-40/mo
    • Tello: 5G with T-Mobile. Build your own plan with ample data options under $25. $25/month for unlimited data, including 25GB of high-speed data.
  • For international use:
    • Airalo: Airalo sells discounted eSIM cards for just about every country.

Mobile Phones:

I think these 2 phones currently provide the best value for iOS and Android, respectively:

  • Apple: iPhone SE (Gen 3) – check out my iPhone SE review for more why I like the value of this phone (now on Gen 3 with 5G)
  • Android: Google Pixel 8

Budgeting & Wealth Software:

  • Empower: (Personal Capital was acquired by Empower) Recommended for investment advisory services, Empower is the “Mint.com for investments”. You can start for free by linking all of your investment accounts to one reporting interface to analyze your net worth and investment portfolio (including fee analysis), and plan your retirement. Empower is the 2nd largest retirement services company in the U.S., with over 18 million users, administrates over $1.4 trillion in wealth, and is recommended by 90% of its users. You can start by linking your investment accounts, geek out with all the free tools, and if you want a managed advisor, you can opt in for that.

Student Loan Refinancing, Mortgages, & Other Personal Loans:

SoFi: has quickly grown a loyal following with great rates and no lending/no origination fees required. Great for student loan refinancing & personal loans.

Credit Scores, Credit Reports, & Credit Monitoring:

  • Credit Karma: free TransUnion and Equifax credit scores and reports and free credit monitoring. Read my Credit Karma review for more info.
  • LifeLock (37% off link): LifeLock – now owned by Norton – provides credit scores, reporting, and monitoring in some of its plans. Here’s my full LifeLock review.

Identity Theft Protection:

  • LifeLock (37% off link): LifeLock – now owned by Norton – has built up the most comprehensive identity theft protection offering. Here’s my full LifeLock review.

VPN to Protect your Identity Online:

Protect your identity online and information and access whatever streaming sites you’d like, regardless of location. It’s hard to go wrong with the following VPNs, and here’s some nice discounts for them:

Credit Cards:

Use responsibly (pay in full every month), & you can get exceptional rewards value, build credit history, get travel protection, purchase protection, & some very lucrative sign-up bonuses. My favorite cards, by category, are linked to below (where you will find the best sign-up bonuses available):

Travel credit cards: travel rewards credit cards can provide outstanding value for their massive sign-up bonuses and hefty co-branded rewards, particularly if you travel a lot for business or pleasure. A few of my favorites include:

Cash back rewards cards: these cards provide excellent all-around cash back rewards on common every day purchases:

Business rewards cards: note that as long as you have any 1099 or other self-employment income (including EBay sales), you are eligible to apply for business credit cards.

Tax Software:

My top picks (w/ best available discounts at link).

Check out my list of the cheapest and best tax software for more info, including feature comparisons.

Health Insurance:

  • Healthcare.gov: the official ACA health insurance marketplace. If you are buying your own health insurance, it’s the only place to shop, because it is the only place you will get credits/subsidies.

Insurance (Home, Auto, Term Life, Pet, Renter’s):

  • Lemonade: Lemonade takes a modernized, digital-first approach to provide quick and easy insurance quotes, claims, and payments (they have a 4.9 star rating in the App store). While Lemonade is fairly new, they are already an A-rated insurer that is publicly traded on the NYSE. I appreciate their unique focus on making a positive social impact as a Public Benefit Corporation and certified B-Corp with a charitable Giveback program. It only takes about 2 minutes to get a free quote – so check out Lemonade’s prices on home, auto, life, renter’s and even pet insurance.

VOIP (to replace landlines or ISP Voice services):

  • Ooma: a device that offers free VOIP home phone service forever (you pay only local taxes). Every bit as good or better than a digital voice service through your ISP, but much much cheaper. Audio quality is excellent & the features are awesome. Simply any phone into the unit, which plugs into your router. It pays for itself within a few months. Check out my Ooma review for more.

Modem/Router (to Get Rid of your ISP Modem Rental Fee!):

Most ISPs are charging a $10-15/month modem rental fees. You can avoid those fees. Replacing your ISP’s modem or gateway (a fancy name for a modem + router) with your own modem and router will pay for itself within just the 1st year. Here’s my article on how to replace your Xfinity modem (& here for other ISPs). I combed through every single Xfinity-compatible modem available, so you don’t have to. Just select from any of the following modem and router combinations below (all are Xfinity-approved and compatible and will work with most other ISPs):

Best Modems (to pair with a router below):

The following modems have the latest tech and will be able to meet top ISP speeds for many years. All are Xfinity supported, top sellers on Amazon with 4+ star customer ratings, offer the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology, over 1 Gbps (=1,000 Mbps) speed capabilities, and have been chosen for great value for their price. If you’re paying for top speeds with Xfinity, go with one of these modems:

  1. Arris S33: up to 2330Mbps, DOCSIS 3.1
  2. Netgear CM2000: up to 2330Mbps, DOCSIS 3.1
  3. Netgear CM1000: up to 1000Mbps, DOCSIS 3.1
  4. Arris SB8200: up to 957Mbps, DOCSIS 3.1, Xfinity Voice capable
  5. Netgear CM2050v: up to 2330Mbps, DOCSIS 3.1, Xfinity Voice capable
  6. Arris T25: up to 949Mbps, DOCSIS 3.1, Xfinity Voice capable

Routers (to pair with a modem above):

These routers all handle 1Gbps+ speeds, offer great value, and are highly rated Amazon best sellers with 4+ star customer ratings. The first 3 offer newer Wi-Fi 6 technology.

All offer great value and blazing fast speeds – and will work with any ISP-compatible modem.

  1. TP-Link AX3000 – Wi-Fi 6: up to 3000Mbps (2402Mbps on the 5GHz band + 575Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
  2. Netgear Nighthawk AX1800 – Wi-Fi 6: up to 1800Mbps (1200Mbps on the 5 GHz band + 574Mbps on 2.4 GHz band)
  3. TP-Link AX1800 – Wi-Fi 6: up to 1800Mbps (1200Mbps on the 5 GHz band + 574Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band

Want to future-proof your router? I recently took a look at the new Wi-Fi 7 versus Wi-Fi 5, 6, & 6E technology to determine if Wi-Fi 7 is worth the cost. Here are some of the most popular Wi-Fi 7 and Wi-Fi 6E routers on the market at the moment:

  1. TP-Link BE9300 – Wi-Fi 7: up to 9300Mbps (5760Mbps on the 6GHz, 2880Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
  2. TP-Link BE10000 Mesh – Wi-Fi 7: mesh system with up to 10000Mbps (5188Mbps on the 6GHz, 4324Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
  3. TP-Link BE19000 – Wi-Fi 7: up to 19000Mbps (11520Mbps on the 6GHz, 5760Mbps on the 5GHz band, 1376Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
  4. Asus AXE7800 – Wi-Fi 6E: up to 7800Mbps (2402 Mbps on the 6GHz, 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
  5. Netgear Nighthawk AXE 7800 – Wi-Fi 6E: up to 7800Mbps (2402 Mbps on the 6GHz, 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
  6. TP-Link AXE5400 – Wi-Fi 6E: up to 5400Mbps (2402 Mbps on the 6GHz, 2402Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
  7. TP Link Deco AXE5400 Mesh – Wi-Fi 6E: a mesh system up to 5400Mbps (2402 Mbps on the 6GHz, 2402Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)

Gateway Modems (with router built-in, do not pair with a separate router): 

As explained earlier, you don’t need a modem and router in a combo unit (aka “gateway”). They work the same as any modem and router combo. They are a bit on the more expensive side and if you want to upgrade either modem or router functionality, you need to buy an entirely new device (vs just one-half). But, if you want one, check out the following devices:

  1. Arris G36: up to 2330Mbps, Wi-Fi 6
  2. Netgear CAX30: up to 949Mbps, Wi-Fi 6

Cord Cutting (Cable TV Replacements):

I calculated the lifetime cost of cable TV, and at a 6% return it’s over $3.1M (far more than most will ever save for retirement, sadly)! Be smart, and replace it with a combination of the following to get more great entertainment than you’ll ever be able to consume in your waking hours at under $20 per month:

  • A Streaming Device: all kinds of free content is available through apps and a streaming device can replace a TV Box/DVR from your ISP (Xfinity is charging $10/month per device and you can cut that to $0). I prefer the Roku Ultra and personally use this as my streaming device as it has everything, including USB digital file compatibility, compatibility with just about every app, 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, & more. No monthly fees. Amazon Fire TV stick, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast are also now compatible as well.
  • Digital antenna: Pick up 4K & 1080p HD digital TV with a good ole fashion antenna to get CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC, PBS, and other channels that broadcast in your area. No monthly fees.
  • Tablo OTA DVR: record OTA TV (when paired with digital antenna above) with no subscription cost.

Video Streaming:

I’ve written about how to cut your video streaming costs to close to $0 per month. These links include free/discounted service to various streaming services:

  • Amazon Prime Video (comes free with Amazon Prime, $8.99/month if you don’t have a Prime subscription) – 30-day free trial
  • Hulu (30-day free trial, then $7.99/month w/ads)
  • YouTube TV (usually runs 1 week free trial. Get $50 off YouTube TV with this referral link plus $22 off each of your first 3 months)
  • Paramount+ (1 week free trial, then $5.99 for “Essential” or $11.99 with Showtime per month)
  • PBS Passport ($5/month donation)

Laptop/Tablet Devices:

  • Macbook Pro M3 Laptop: the latest gen of Macbook laptops with Apple’s M3 chips have all of the Apple benefits (reliability, compatibility with iPhones, quality long lifespan), but are cheaper than Macbooks have been previously with the switch from Intel to Apple chips. Is it better to have 1 reliable, high-performing Macbook for a lot of years or multiple lower performing Chromebooks for 2 years each?
  • Apple iPad Air Tablet: you can buy more tablet than this – price wise – but I don’t see the need to do so. Pair it with an Apple Magic Keyboard and you have a very capable laptop.

Other Technology:

Boost your HDTV HDMI inputs (to avoid the need for a new HDTV with more inputs):

  • HDMI switch: (like this one) has multiple inputs to the switch device (e.g. cable box, Blu-Ray player, streaming device, gaming system) to 1 output (e.g. an HDMI port on a TV or computer monitor) – allowing you to switch between devices easily and create more HDMI inputs.
  • HDMI splitter: (like this one) has 1 input to the splitter device (e.g. a cable box) with multiple outputs (e.g. multiple TV screens or computer monitors).

Travel:

Travel credit cards: use responsibly (pay in full every month), & you can get exceptional rewards value, build credit history, get travel protection, purchase protection, & some very lucrative sign-up bonuses. Travel rewards credit cards can provide outstanding value for their massive sign-up bonuses and hefty co-branded rewards, particularly if you travel a lot for business or pleasure. A few of my favorites include:

Lyft: if you haven’t used Lyft yet, here is up to $10 off your first 2 rides.

International Electric Travel Adapter: if you do any sort of international travel, you’ll want one of these so that you can plug in your devices without frying them.

Grooming Devices that Save Money:

Eco-Friendly Products that Save Money:

From my environmentally friendly products that save you money article:

Home Energy Use Savings:

  • Nest smart thermostat: the top selling, highest rated, smart programmable thermostat. Versus a non-programmable thermostat, it could save you $180+ per year. They also provide a huge convenience factor in that you don’t have to mess with the thermostat every time you go to bed, wake up, go to work, or get back from work. And you can monitor and change temperature in your home if you are traveling.
  • P3 Kill A Watt Energy Monitor: this nifty little device tells you how much energy each of your electrical devices is using. You plug it into the wall and then your device into the monitor to get the readout. The goal in using it is to figure out how much each electrical item is costing you if you keep it plugged in (on or off). Standby powered appliances ratchet up your energy use. This device will actually tell you exactly how much money and CO2 you are wasting with each device.
  • Kasa Smart Plug: smart plug with wifi that you can control from anywhere.
  • Belkin Control Surge Protector: allows you to control if your TV peripherals are getting electricity. You simply plug your TV into the control outlet and if your TV is off, it shuts down standby power to the other outlets so they aren’t draining energy while your TV isn’t even on. a surge protector that allows you to monitor energy.
  • Moen Low-Flow Showerhead: choice of a 1.75 gallon-per-minute (gpm) and 2.5 gpm flow, without feeling like you’re not getting enough water. The 2.5 gpm option can save a family of four $260 per year in heating costs alone vs. an older 5.5 gpm unit. That’s a 640% ROI in one year! Not to mention the huge amount of water savings.
  • LED Bulbs: at prices that are now below incandescents and CFL’s, and with 10% of the energy use of incandescents and less than 50% of the energy use of CFL’s, we’re at the point where every bulb purchased should be LED. The cost and energy savings will be immediate.
    • Sylvania A19 LED bulb – 24 pack: a great bulb that I personally use that has similar light qualities and appearance to an incandescent, but one-tenth of the energy use and a cost of just $1/each.
    • Dimmable LED Bulbs: use only 7W of energy each, but just 3 of them light up my entire kitchen. Their prices have come down significantly – and they are long lasting.
  • Clothesline: cheaper and less wasteful than the dryer.

Water Savings:

  • Moen Low-Flow Showerhead: plenty of water savings – see notes in section above.
  • Drinking Water: the cost of bottled water can be $1,000+ per year more than tap water. That’s ridiculous! The following items will save you big money almost immediately.
    • Water Bottle: cutting down on the waste and cost of individually bought bottled beverages should be considered mission critical.
    • Water Pitcher: I drink a lot more tap water (vs pricier alternatives) if it comes nearly ice cold from the refrigerator versus from the tap. A simple pitcher does the trick.
    • Refrigerator Water Filter Pitcher: I personally use this Brita and recommend it.
    • Water Filtration System: if your water smells or tastes not so great, and that is preventing you from drinking it, get a system like this.
  • Woodbridge Dual Flush, Water-Saving Toilet: this toilet has an option of 1.0 gallon or 1.6 gallon flush – depending on… you know. This toilet could save you tens of thousands of gallons of water over its lifetime.

Food & Other Consumer Goods Savings:

  • Reusable Grocery Bags: plastic bags are a scourge on this planet – many states are starting to ban them altogether. And paper bags are resource intensive. Reusable bags are stronger, bigger, and can last a lifetime. Many grocery stores are now giving discounts per bag used if you bring your own. You’ll quickly make your money back, have a better experience, and reduce your impact.
  • Composting: food waste may be the biggest environmental disaster that nobody talks about. Food waste in landfills produces massive amounts of methane gas, which is 34 times stronger a heat-trapping gas than CO2 over a 100-year time scale.
    • Compost Bin (indoors): having in indoor bin, in between trips to the outdoor bin encourages more composting.
    • Compost Bin (outdoors): if you have a garden and want healthy soil, you need an outdoor compost bin for your food scraps. This will save you money on soil additives and with many municipalities charging for disposal pickup by the bag, a bin will save you from those fees.
  • Coffee & Tea: almost needs its own category, doesn’t it? The average worker spends over $1K annually on store-bought coffee. And there is so much waste in coffee and tea production and drinking these days, and a conscious effort here can make a huge impact.
    • Cold Brew Pitcher: I only drink cold brew these days. I like the taste of cold coffee better, the cold brew process is less acidic (easier on the gut), and it saves money. Pitchers like this have a mesh filter, so you can cut down on the cost of filters. This can also be used for fruit/water infusion, loose leaf tea, and other concoctions. Be sure to throw your grinds in the compost bin!
    • French Press: as a reader suggested, better coffee, no filter costs or waste. This one has a 5-star rating.
    • Reusable K-Cups: people love their Keurigs. Once you realize you can create even better results with fresh ground coffee and your own reusable filters, without all the waste, and at a fraction of the cost, you’ll love them even more.
    • Coffee grinder: Grinding your own coffee is the way to go. Here is an electric one I like, if you don’t want to manually grind.
    • Loose Leaf Tea Infuser/Strainer: tea, if made from individually packaged tea bags, is also a huge waste. Buying loose leaf tea in bulk and making your own is a much cheaper/less wasteful/more satisfying process.
  • Vegetarian Diet: Food production is the #1 contributor to atmospheric CO2 and man-made global warming. It takes 16 lbs of grain/soy and 5,214 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of edible beef (the same amount of water one American uses on showers in a year, on average). It takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of protein from beef, while only 2 calories of fuel to produce a calorie from soybeans. By switching a few meals a week (and eventually most meals) to a plant-based diet, you will significantly reduce your personal impact on the environment. Even better, the cost of a vegetarian diet is typically $2-3K cheaper than a meat-based diet per year.
  • Toilet bidet: Get one. I know this sounds like an unnecessary luxury. Once you get one of these, you will view it as a necessity in your life. Bonus: a bidet significantly cuts down on toilet paper, which is very resource intensive and pricey these days. You will thank me.
  • Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products: with a little water, lemon, baking soda, white distilled vinegar, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and witch hazel, you can make home-made cleaner combos that will clean just about anything, are 100% safe, cheaper, and probably more effective than the store-bought toxic garbage. Here’s an article on how to make non-toxic cleaners.
  • Wool Dryer Balls: I bought a set of these, and have not needed fabric softener since! Get a set of whites for white laundry and grey for darks.

Lawn & Garden:

The amount of pollution that gas-powered lawn mowers and other yard tools puts out is off the charts. It’s been said that one hour of gas-powered lawn mower use can produce as much pollution as a 100 mile car trip. I’ve covered why you should make the switch to a push reel before. I also endorse a switch to an electric.

For other battery-powered lawn tools – Greenworks and E-Go both have great lineups.

Also – DON’T WATER YOUR LAWN. The cost of watering your lawn is outrageous, and it’s a huge waste. Tear out your grass, if you need to and plant some things.

Commuting/Transportation:

If you do need a car, try to get a cheap, efficient car, go easy on the accelerator, keep your tires inflated with free air, and change the air filter occasionally. The cheapest electric cars are becoming more affordable every year.

Biking to work, using mass transit, and going from 2 cars to 1 are all ways to heavily reduce your impact from transportation.

Power Tools for DIY Savings:

The following tools helped me rebuild my deck recently and it saved me thousands. These will help you complete most DIY jobs.

Commuting/Transportation:

If you do need a car, try to get a cheap, efficient car, go easy on the accelerator, keep your tires inflated with free air, and change the air filter occasionally. The cheapest electric cars are becoming more affordable every year.

Biking to work, using mass transit, and going from 2 cars to 1 are all ways to heavily reduce your impact from transportation.

To help with the biking part, I wrote a post on bike maintenance 101. Every serious biker should own the following gear to be able to repair and maintain their bike:

  • Bike pump: rubber is porous and air molecules will escape at high pressure over time. You need to refill them periodically, even if there are no visible leaks. Make sure you get a pump that can work with both presta and schrader valves.
  • 1-2 extra tubes: matched to your tire size (which is listed on the side of your tire). If you have tubeless-ready rims and can set your tire up tubeless with some valves and sealant – even better. Just make sure you have the right rims and tires for that (tubeless ready).
  • Chain lubricant: make sure you use an actual lubricant and not a de-greaser solvent like WD-40. This is the lube I use on all bikes.
  • Bike wheel rim tape: inside your bike wheel, you will find little screws for the spokes. You must cover these in tape or with a plastic strip to prevent tube puncturing. Measure the inside rim width to match up to the tape width.
  • Wedge pack: fits comfortably under your saddle, and can hold all of the following.
  • Multi-tool: that includes that includes screwdrivers, wrenches, etc., and allows you to make any adjustments on the fly.
  • A tire lever tool: to help you get the tire off the of the wheel and back on, in the event of a flat.
  • Tube patch kit: these are cheap, but you can make your own. They consist of a piece of sandpaper, rubber cement, and patches – and when used properly, can seal tube leaks and holes.
  • CO2 inflator: to re-fill your tube with cartridge air when you get a flat on the road.
  • C02 cartridges: keep 2 in your pack.
  • A tiny spool of duct tape: because it’s duct tape – why wouldn’t you?

If you’re a bike commuter, you’ll benefit from:

Financial Books:

  • Your Money or Your Life: a classic that is just as relevant for the modern financial independence seeker as when first written. Here is my review on the book.
  • The Intelligent Investor: The greatest investor of all time, Warren Buffett, said The Intelligent Investor is “the best book on investing ever written”. Enough said.
  • Early Retirement Extreme: a self-published book by a former personal finance blogger and engineer.
  • Personal Finance for Dummies: this is the first personal finance book I ever read, and it provided a great overview of retirement vehicles, mutual funds, stocks, index funds, and more – this is a great summary book. Of course, 20somethingfinance isn’t too shabby on all of these topics either!

Health & Exercise Products:

I’m not a doctor, but here are two cheap products that keep me away from expensive chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapist bills:

I’m also a fan of getting rid of your gym membership. The following products will pay for themselves in 6 months of gym membership dues:

  • Chin/Pull-up Bar: there’s nothing that gives you quite the upper body workout of chin and pull-ups.
  • Weighted Vest: a good rule of thumb for those in good shape is 20-40 lbs. for females and 40-60 lbs. for males (if you get a vest that allows you to add/subtract weight, even better). Wearing a weighted vest makes every exercise instantly incredibly more challenging.
  • Dumbells: always a must-have.
  • Yoga Mat: I use a yoga mat for ab crunches, stretches, and planks to prevent myself from getting bruised from my concrete floor. A good yoga mat can last you a decade or longer. Some form of padded mat is essential to any home gym setup.
  • Ab Wheels: Ab crunches tend to work out the middle and upper abs. Planking tends to work out the lower and middle abs. But it’s also nice to have something to work out lower, middle, and upper all-together in one motion.
  • Dip Stand: This clever device allows you to do tricep dips, bodyweight rows (kind of like a horizontal pull-up), chest dips, and more.

Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses:

Buying glasses online is much cheaper than buying from an optometrist. Check out my post on how to buy glasses online, and keep in mind that prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses are qualified medical expenses that you can use HSA or FSA contributions to pay for, even if you don’t use insurance. Here’s a few recommendations on where to buy:

If you’re looking to buy contacts online as well, most of the retailers listed above sell them. Additionally, check out:

Web Hosting & Domains:

I use Hostgator for web hosting and namecheap for buying domain names and recommend each:

  • InMotion Hosting: InMotion shared hosting plans start at only $2.29 per month – which provides a service that is more than sufficient for anyone just starting out. If you have a website with a decent amount of traffic, check out InMotion VPS hosting, which is what I use now.
  • Namecheap: you can get a cheap domain name with WhoIs guard protection. It’s always a good idea to buy your domain names separate from your web host.

* Disclaimer – The content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.