**Last Updated: August, 2022**
As founder of a personal finance site that is 14+ years old, I often get questions like, “what credit cards do you use?”, “what mobile plan is the cheapest?”, “what’s the best tax software?”, etc. To be a credible resource to readers, family, and friends, I’ve researched this stuff for countless hours.
Spending money is investing if it comes with payoffs. So, I’ve compiled a “best of” list of my favorite money-saving products & services, by category, & update it monthly. Consider it a 20SF cliff notes on how to save money. Some links below may result in a commission to support this site, but never at extra cost to you (many of the links offer exclusive discounts). I only recommend products that I think can help others & I don’t accept payment to make this list.
Investment Accounts (Standard, IRAs, Solo 401Ks):
Based on how you’d like to invest, I have 3 different recommendations:
- Betterment: recommended for low-cost passive investing, managed by a “robo advisor”. Betterment is the largest independent “robo-advisor” with just 0.25% management fees for those looking for a low-cost automated passive investing strategy (a great strategy to have). There are no minimums to start investing. IRAs, 401Ks, socially responsible investing, and crypto are all available options (as is FDIC-insured free checking with ATM fees reimbursed worldwide).
- Personal Capital: recommended for investment advisory services, Personal Capital 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. Personal Capital now has nearly 2 million users, managing over $600 billion in wealth. Link your investment accounts, geek out, and if you want a managed advisor, you can opt in for that.
- DIY options: 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, TD Ameritrade, and Schwab all have free stock/ETF trading and lots of low-fee funds to choose from.
Health Savings Account (HSA):
You can transfer your old (expensive) employer HSA to a new one at any 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. No maintenance or investment account fees (a rarity in the HSA space) for individuals and families. Lively is integrated with TD Ameritrade for investments, so you can invest in whatever stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or CDs you would like – and TD Ameritrade recently eliminated trading fees.
Identity Theft Protection:
Cash Back Portals:
- 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 bonus cash back on your first purchase of $30+ at your favorite stores! (check out my Rakuten welcome bonus promo article for more info).
- 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, and is free to use. Get a referral bonus when using this link.
Shopping on Amazon:
If you buy anything from Amazon, check out my article on how to save money on Amazon, which has dozens of promo, discount, and price hack tips to help you save on every single Amazon purchase you make.
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 19 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: $24 – $45/line/month, cost per line decreases with # of lines
- For international use: Google Fi (referral link for $20 credit). For a recent trip to Canada I was looking for a plan that I could use my phone without spending a ton. My carrier didn’t allow for any international roaming – but Google Fi includes it at no added charge. All plans include data, calls, and texts within the US, Canada, and Mexico (among 200 countries) at no additional cost beyond the standard $20/month “flexible” plan where each gig of data costs $10.
I think these 2 phones currently provide the best value for iOS and Android, respectively:
- Apple: iPhone SE (Gen 2) – check out my iPhone SE review for more info and the best deal
- Android: Google Pixel 6
Budgeting & Wealth Software:
- Personal Capital: highly recommend, as it is the “Mint.com for investments”. Personal Capital is free, allows you to consolidate and analyze your net worth and investment portfolio (including fee analysis), and plan your retirement. Personal Capital now has nearly 2 million users, managing over $600 billion in wealth. Link your investment accounts & geek out.
Student Loan Refinancing, Mortgages, & Other Personal Loans:
Now is the time to lock in the lowest rates on any loan or refi, before the Fed raises rates. Shop any loans w/ these 3, and you’ll definitely get the best rates possible:
- SoFi: has quickly grown a loyal following with great rates and no lending/origination fees. Good for student loan refinancing & personal loans.
- Lending Tree: for all home related financing (mortgage, refi, home equity), Lending Tree compares rates with all of the top banks and lets you choose the best loan for you.
Credit Scores & Credit Monitoring:
- Credit Karma: a 100% free way to get a credit score at any time, & check as often as you like. You get continuous free TransUnion and Equifax credit scores, VantageScore, auto insurance credit score, home insurance credit score, and tips on how to improve your credit. Read my Credit Karma review for more info. Credit Karma also now offers free credit monitoring, while competitors are charging $15/month+. They’ve added free monitoring of TransUnion and Equifax credit reports too. Credit Karma was recently purchased by Intuit (owners of TurboTax and Mint.com), and with 110 million members, it should only improve moving forward.
- Credit Karma: Credit Karma provides free TransUnion credit report & free Equifax credit report access. This allows you to continuously monitor 2 of the 3 credit bureau’s reports, for free.
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:
- Airline rewards cards: Gold Delta SkyMiles AmEx, United Explorer, Capital One Venture Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Hotel rewards cards: IHG Premier, Marriott Bonvoy Boundlesss, Hilton Honors AmEx, Capital One Venture Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred
- General travel rewards cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Capital One Venture Rewards, Wells Fargo Propel
Cash back rewards cards: these cards provide excellent all-around cash back rewards on common every day purchases:
- Grocery: Blue Cash Preferred AmEx, Blue Cash Everyday AmEx, Citi Double Cash
- Gas: Blue Cash Preferred AmEx, Blue Cash Everyday AmEx
- General/Other: Citi Double Cash, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards, Chase Freedom
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.
Online Savings Accounts:
- CIT Bank: an online savings account with no maintenance fees and they pay a very competitive interest yield to you, the highest I’ve seen recently.
- Credit Karma Money: Credit Karma (yes, that Credit Karma) now offers a free (no fee) high-yield savings account. There is no minimum deposit to open.
- healthcare.gov: the official ACA health insurance marketplace. Check out my article on ACA open enrollment.
Home, Auto, Renter’s Insurance:
- Liberty Mutual: I’ve often found Liberty Mutual to be the lowest priced of the big insurers. Definitely worth getting a quote from them.
My top 5 picks (w/ top discounts at link).
Check out my list of the cheapest and best tax software for more info, including feature comparisons.
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 $10-14/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 (Pair with a Router Below):
These modems have the latest/greatest technology and will be able to meet top ISP speeds for a long time. All are 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.
- Motorola MB8611: up to 2.33 Gbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
- Netgear CM2000: up to 2.33 Gbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
- Arris S33: up to 2.33 Gbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
Good Modems (Pair with a Router Below):
These modems are all good as well, use DOCSIS 3.0 technology, have high (close to 1 Gbps) but slightly lower top speed capabilities, in exchange for lower prices. These are also all top sellers on Amazon with 4+ star customer ratings.
- Arris SB8200: up to 957 Mbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
- Netgear CM700: up to 935 Mbps (DOCSIS 3.0)
- Arris Surfboard SB6190: up to 859 Mbps (DOCSIS 3.0)
Modems with Xfinity Voice Capability (Pair with a Router Below):
In my view, Xfinity Voice is overpriced, with much cheaper VOIP landline options out there that you can connect to any router (see Ooma). But, if you are sure you want it, the following modems are Xfinity Voice compatible:
Routers (Pair with a Modem Above):
The following routers all handle 1 Gbps+ speeds, offer great value, and are highly rated Amazon best sellers with 4+ star customer ratings and pair nicely with the modems above. The first 3 offer newer WiFi 6 technology.
- TP-Link AX3000 – WiFi 6: up to 3 Gbps (2.402 Gbps on 5GHz band + 575 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
- TP-Link AX1800 – WiFi 6: up to 1.8 Gbps (1.2 Gbps on 5 GHz band + 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band)
- Netgear Nighthawk AX1800 – WiFi 6: up to 1.8 Gbps (1.2 Gbps on 5 GHz band + 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band)
- TP-Link AC1750 – WiFi 5: up to 1.75 Gbps (1.2 Gbps on 5GHz band + 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
Gateway Modems (with Router Built-in, Don’t Pair with Separate Router):
You don’t need a modem and router in a combo unit (aka “gateway”), as 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 the half you want to upgrade). But, if you want a combined unit, check out the following devices:
Cord Cutting (Cable TV Replacements):
I calculated the lifetime cost of cable TV, and at a 6% return it’s over $1.1M (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:
- Roku Ultra: I 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. And you can use a Roku as a replacement for Xfinity’s DVR or TV box.
- 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.
- Amazon Fire TV Recast OTA DVR: record up to 150 hours of OTA TV (when paired with digital antenna above) with no subscription cost.
Additionally, 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)
- Hulu (30-day free trial, then $6.99/month w/ads or $12.99/month ad-free)
- YouTube TV (usually runs 1 week free trial. Get $30 off first bill with this referral link)
- Paramount+ (1 week free trial, then $4.99 for “Essential” or $9.99 for “Premium” per month)
- PBS Passport ($5/month donation)
- Chromebook: this Asus Chromebook has everything you’d want in a Chromebook. At less than $450, it will suit the needs of 90% of the population as a primary laptop device, & 100% as a secondary. It boots almost instantly. It surfs the web quickly, & can handle multiple tabs with video, with no slowdown. Touchscreen, with a keyboard that flips. 8GB RAM, fast wifi, Bluetooth, USB 3.0 and USB-C, 10 hour battery life, and 100 GB of Google Drive storage. And it’s well built (quality solid keyboard and shell).
- Microsoft: if you need a Windows computer, the Microsoft Surface Pro is extremely light, powerful, and affordable.
- Apple: the latest Macbook Pro with Apple’s M1 chip is cheaper than prior Intel models, and is incredibly well built, light, and powerful. Not cheap, but it will last many years.
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 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:
- Airline rewards cards: Gold Delta SkyMiles AmEx, United Explorer, Capital One Venture Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Hotel rewards cards: IHG Premier, Marriott Bonvoy Boundlesss, Hilton Honors AmEx, Capital One Venture Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred
- General travel rewards cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred (100K point welcome bonus recently!), Capital One Venture Rewards, Wells Fargo Propel
- Lyft: if you haven’t used Lyft yet, here is $5 off your first ride.
Grooming Devices that Save Money
- Wahl Self-Cut Clipper: I give myself an almost free hair cut every other week with this device. It is just as good as any professional clipper set and cuts through my hair like butter. The best part? Cutting my own hair will save me hundreds of thousands over my lifetime.
- Merkur Double-Edged Safety Razor: I recently switched from a 5 (or was it 6) blade Gillette Fusion 5 Power to this. Paired with the following blades (next on this list), I have cut my cost of shaving by 90% and now get a better shave.
- Astra double-edged razor blades: 100 blades for less than $0.10 each. Paired with the aforementioned safety razor handle, I have been able to cut my cost of shaving by 90%! The Astra 100-pack can get you 200+ shaves for just $9.
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.
- BN Link Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring: this device can also monitor energy use, but through an app, and it also dubs as a 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.
- Delta Low Flow Showerhead: gives you a choice between a 1.85 gallon-per-minute (gpm) and 2.5 gpm flow, without feeling like you’re not getting enough water. The 2.5 gpm setting 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.
- Philips A19 LED bulb – 16 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 5W 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 impactful than the dryer.
- Delta Low Flow Showerhead: see notes 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. If you prefer a filtered pitcher, this is a good option.
- 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: I know this sounds like an unnecessary luxury. Once you get one of these, you will view it as a necessity. A bidet significantly cuts down on toilet paper, which is very resource intensive and pricey these days. And your bum will thank you.
- 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!
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.
- Fiskars push-reel mower: I own this. So much more satisfying than a gas mower.
- Greenworks cordless electric mower: a great choice, if you want a cleaner cut.
For other battery-powered lawn tools – Greenworks has a great lineup.
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.
Auto Transportation & Bike Commuting
If you do need a car, try to get a cheap, fuel-efficient car, go easy on the accelerator, and use the following tools to help save money.
- Tire pressure gauge: everyone should have one. Keeping your tires properly inflated can bring significant fuel savings.
- VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor: get free air for your tires for a lifetime after buying this handy tool.
- OBD-II scanner: (or this bluetooth-enabled OBD-II scanner) will allow you to see what is causing your check engine light to turn on, without expensive mechanic diagnostic fees.
- Change the air filter: occasionally. I do this once a year, as it helps with fuel savings.
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).
- Chain lubricant: make sure you use an actual lubricant and not a de-greaser solvent like WD-40.
- 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:
- A good helmet: this one can’t be beat for its $25 price.
- flashing bike lights (I recommend this combo pack for the front and rear)
- reflective leg bands: one-size-fits-all. Cheap. They can keep your pants out of your chain (and prevent annoying grease stains). And they improve your visibility through color and reflection.
- a pannier, basket, or a rear bike rack and rear pannier, to haul your clothing/laptop/accessories.
- bike fenders: because nothing is worse than biking to work in the rain. Make sure they fit your tire size.
Financial Books & Magazines:
- 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!
- Kiplinger Magazine: I’ve subscribed to this personal finance magazine for about 13 years now. These guys simply get it – and the advice within the pages makes Kiplinger worth its weight in gold – and for a ridiculously low price.
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:
- high density foam roller: This $20 piece of foam works miracles. Check out my own personal story on how I came across this.
- Body Back Buddy: An awesome little investment that is essential for anyone who puts stress on their back or sits at a desk all day.
- Lacrosse Ball: A simple lacrosse ball is super cheap and works like gold when used as a muscle tension release tool. Just roll over trouble spots.
- Tennis Balls: when lacrosse balls are a bit too harsh.
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: probably best to buy locally, due to shipping costs.
- 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 you can use your HSA or FSA on eyeglasses. 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, you can check out:
Web Hosting & Domains:
I use Hostgator for web hosting and namecheap for buying domain names and recommend each:
- Hostgator: Web hosting at Hostgator starts at only $2.75 per month – which provides a service that is more than sufficient for anyone just starting out. It is what 20somethingfinance launched with. Hostgator has great customer service – they are always quick to respond and live chat is always available, with short wait times. If you have a website with a lot of traffic, check out their VPS service, 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.