I read MANY personal finance blogs each day. Throughout my blog reading journey, I have discovered a number of amazing personal finance resources that have been very helpful. Here are a few of my favourites:
Mint was the first budgeting tool I ever used. This is a great tool for those just starting out on their personal finance journey since it is free!
Mint connects to your accounts and pulls of your financial information into one place. This allows you to easily see your entire financial picture. All of your data is updated automatically each time you visit their website or app.
Using the budgeting tool you can keep track of all your expenses easily. Mint will automatically label each transaction for you. (For example, if you purchase groceries at Sobeys, Mint will automatically categorizes the transaction in the groceries category.) Using this feature you can easily see if you are over or under your budget for each category.
Another great feature is their savings tool. You can tell Mint what you would like to save for and how much it will cost. Mint will then calculate how much you need to save in order to reach your savings goal. With their colourful and visual graphs, this can be a highly motivating way to save.
One downfall of Mint is that it is a very passive way of budgeting. All of your transactions are automatically pulled into the software, which takes accountability off of the user and may result in overspending.
I discovered You Need a Budget through Our Freaking Budget in 2015.
YNAB allows you to create a monthly budget throughout the year. It offers bank syncing, which allows you to import your transactions (I would recommend NOT using this feature – or at the very least monitoring it carefully; it is important to not be passive in your budgeting or things can get out of control quickly). YNAB also offers extensive reporting, which can show you the changes in your net worth and the categories you are spending the most in. Using the goal tracking feature you can set goals for various spending and savings categories.
- Give every dollar a job.
- Embrace your true expenses.
- Roll with the punches.
- Age your money.
Even if you do not plan on using YNAB, I highly recommend you read through their 4 rules and use them in your day-to-day budgeting.
YNAB offers a free 34 day trial for those who would like to try out their software. After the 34 days, you can purchase YNAB for $50/year (trust me, it is worth it!). Sign up here to receive $6.00!
In 2016, I switched all of my banking over to Conexus Credit Union. The #1 reason I switched over was to take advantage of their no-fee account. Yes, this account is REALLY free. However, the reason it is free is because your account does not generate any interest. For someone like me, with minimal cash sitting in my bank account, I really don’t mind giving up the very small amount of interest I was making on my previous accounts.
Do you have student loans? LendEDU has got you covered!
LendEDU is a marketplace for private student loans, as well as student loan refinancing. After submitting a free application, users can compare up to 12 different lenders in order to find the best option! LendEDU also offers some amazing financial resources, such as student loan calculators, a financial aid hotline, and courses on personal finance and student loans.
Ebates is a great way to earn cash back on online purchases. Signing up for an account is FREE!
Once you have signed up, shop at any of their stores to earn cash back. You cash back is accrued in your account until you meet the $5.01 minimum required for a payout. Once you’ve reached the minimum payout, Ebates will send you a cheque or make a deposit in your PayPal account.
Ebates stores have offers starting at 1% up to 10%. To keep online simple, I have added the Ebates Express Chrome extension to my browser so I am notified every time I have an opportunity to earn cash back.
Honey is another Chrome extension that gets a lot of use in my household.
When checking out online, click on the Honey button and Honey will automatically scour the web for the best coupon code and apply it to your shopping cart. While Honey isn’t always able to find a coupon code to apply, I do think it has great potential and so far I am happy with the money it has saved me.
I have been doing my own taxes for the past 3 years and every year I have used TurboTax to file them. TTurboTax is a super easy piece of software to use. They offer a large range of products, which vary in price from free to $109.99. You most likely have a very simply return and can safely use the Free or Basic ($14.00) plans. The best part about TurboTax? They will import your tax slips directly from CRA! This really simplifies the process and prevents any errors that may occur by handling your tax slips manually.
Making Money Online
SwagBucks is an online rewards program that gives you free gift cards for things you do online. You can earn points by shopping online, answering surveys, watching videos, and searching the web! Points are accrued in your account and can then be used to purchase gift cards from a number of retailers.
I typically only focus on answering surveys. Surveys can take anywhere from 5-30 minutes and the points per survey well vary based on the survey. Points can take a while to earn; however, filling out surveys is a quick task that can be done during a lunch break or while riding the bus.
This is for my fellow Saskatchewan folks!
SaskWatch is another online survey website for Saskatchewan-based residents and businesses. The website provides an opportunity for residents and business people to voice their opinions on a number of issues that face the province and local communities.
SaskWatch notifies you by email or text every time a new survey becomes available to you. Each survey completed will reward you with points. Reward Points are valued at $0.10 and the minimum payout for each survey is 10 Reward Points ($1.00). Surveys typically payout 10-50 Reward Points (or $1.00-$5.00).
When you are ready to be paid out SaskWatch will send you a cheque in the mail or you can choose to have your rewards donated to charity!
I hope you enjoyed learning about my favourite personal finance resources! Please feel free to share any of your favourites.
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