There are hundreds of ways to manage your money and plenty of services out there to help you. I’ve tried and tested hundreds of them and settled on these as my favorites that I use and am happy to recommend (plenty of companies have asked to be on this list and I’ve had to say no).
This page contains some affiliate links which means I will earn a commission if you sign up. This helps support Pennies Not Perfection but all opinions are my own and not every one has a referral links. I either use each tool listed myself or have a close friend/family member that does.
Budgeting Tools & Apps
Budgeting Printables: After using stickers items created by other people I eventually created my own budgeting printables that fit my own style. I offer them for sale on my Etsy shop for anyone else that prefers a clean design where you can stay organized and keep it simple. Get the budgeting printables here.
Personal Capital: I previously used Mint to see all my money in one place via a visual online dashboard but recently switched to using Personal Capital because I felt it was more net worth focused and that was more motivational. I love the visual layout of seeing all my accounts in one place with an overview of my budgeting, cash flow, net worth, and more. It’s a free tool but if you have a lot of money they do offer wealth management services (totally optional and we don’t use that part) which is how they make money. Try out Personal Capital’s financial dashboard here.
Credit Score Improvement
Credit Karma: This useful tool offers your credit score free, tips to improve it, and free monitoring for fraud. We signed up for expensive credit monitoring elsewhere at first, but now use this free version. Our scores have gone from the low 600s to now 823 for me and 750 for my husband so I highly recommend checking your score from 2-3 places regularly and taking action on improving it for the best rates when you do need it. Check your credit at Credit Karma.
Investing Platforms & Apps
Robinhood: Robinhood is an app where you can buy and sell stocks and build a portfolio. Many people use Robinhood to build up a dividend stocks portfolio that is an extra source of income which is what we are doing with our “Penny Portfolio”. You also get 1 free stock just for joining! My husband used Robinhood for years before me but finally got me involved to pick a few favorite stocks. Sign up for Robinhood here.
M1 Finance: I recently started with M1 Finance after falling in love with seeing other people’s portfolios on their app. They have the prettiest and most user friendly app of any investing platform. They also let you buy fractional shares which means you can start buying things like Apple and Tesla for small amounts of money (I personally have these in my pie)! Start investing with M1 Finance.
Vanguard: Vanguard has been the place where I’ve invested since college and even within other investment accounts below, I choose Vanguard funds. They focus on index funds and very low cost investing with few fees. Vanguard is well known for low cost funds that investors love. I’ve used Vanguard for my Roth IRA investing for over a decade. Start investing with Vanguard.
Micro Investing Apps
Acorns: Fantastic app for beginners who have not been able to save for investing. It connects to your bank and rounds up money to put in your account to invest. $1 per month and you’ll be investing without even noticing. My mom uses this app and loves it! Start rounding up with Acorns.
Ellevest: I started investing with Ellevest with less than $10. This goal based platform created by women for women allows you to save for goals (like a house downpayment which is what we are doing). Start investing with Ellevest.
Money Saving Apps & Sites
Fetch Rewards – Referral code, MV7RR: I scan all our receipts with this app and earn gift cards for “fun money” with it! You can use Fetch Rewards to scan your receipts from grocery stores and other places in order to earn points which you can redeem for cash or gift cards. Start saving with Fetch Rewards.
Honey: I resisted Honey for a while because I hated the ads but I regret that choice because it makes savings easy and automatic. You can automate your savings with Honey which automatically checks for the lowest prices and finds coupons for you. You earn points and with 1,000 Honey Gold points you can get gift cards to retailers. Get started saving with Honey.
Ibotta: The Ibotta app lets you earn cash back by selecting cash back offers before you go shopping and then redeeming the offers by uploading a receipt. You can earn cash or gift cards with this app. Start saving with Ibotta.
Rakuten: With Rakuten you earn free cash back for shopping online like you normally would at hundreds of stores from Kohl’s to Amazon and more. Rakuten splits affiliate commissions with you as a thank you for going through their links. You also get $10 just for signing up! Sign up for Rakuten here.
Swagbucks: I’ve used Swagbucks for yes to earn free gift cards and cash. You can play games, take surveys, surf the web or shop to earn points you can exchange for gift cards or cash. Sign up for Swagbucks here.