Resources

Below is a list of my favorite resources that I personally use, or have used in the past, and trust. While I love to share what works for me, it is important to do your own research and due diligence. For specific financial, tax, or legal advice, please be sure to consult the appropriate professional. Some of the links have a small affiliate benefit, at no cost to you, which allows me to cover the expenses of the blog. I would never list a company that I haven’t used myself or that I’ve had a bad experience with using. See my full disclosure here. The bold texts are links that will take you directly to their page. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at crystal@faithandfunds.com.

Saving Time & Money

Energy Ogre. This company only benefits those of us who live in Texas but since its a deregulated state for electricity, we can choose our own energy providers. Instead of locking yourself into a contract, Energy Ogre goes out and searches the best rates based on your personal energy usage and will automatically switch you between providers when it makes sense. You don’t have to do anything but become a member with them. They charge $10/mo for this service but you’re able to cancel at anytime. Use the code faithandfunds to receive your 13th month for free. Total money saver!!

BillCutterzIf you’re not the kind to negotiate, send your recurring bills such as gym memberships, cell phones, alarm systems, and cable to BillCutterz. They call billers on your behalf and negotiate your bills down for you. If they are not successful in their negotiating efforts then you owe them nothing. If they end up negotiating your bills down, they take 50% of the savings which you can either pay in full for a discount or make monthly installments.

Investing

Vanguard. Vanguard pretty much pioneered the concept of low-cost investing and I have been investing with them since 2007. I hold some of our investment accounts here because with their many great proprietary, low-cost investments, I can invest on my own as they give me the control to buy exchanged traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, and individual stocks all the while keeping my fees low.

Betterment. If you’re not the DIY-type when it comes to investing, Betterment is great if you’re looking for professional management and low fees. Here you have a group of experts whose only job is tracking the markets and investing smartly on your behalf. I have always been a big believer in using low cost investments and trust a bulk of our investments to Betterment.

Financial Tools

Personal CapitalBy linking all of your accounts to Personal Capital, you log in once and can see EVERYTHING! It tracks everything to your cashflow, net worth, and your investments. It tells you whether you’re diversified or paying too much in fees. Between their retirement planner (which uses monte carlo analysis) and cash flow analyzer, it really is an all-in-one package for tracking your finances.

Annual Credit ReportDid you know that you are entitled to receive your credit report once a year for free from each of the three reporting agencies? That means you can pull your credit report from each TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian for free! This is a great way to keep tabs on your credit, reduce errors, and ensure there is nothing out there that you weren’t aware existed. I always recommend that you alternate the companies every four months so you can keep tabs all year long.

Turbo Tax. If you’re a DIY kind of person, TurboTax is simple and gives you step-by-step instructions to complete your income tax return. It walks you through every tax form with easy to answer questions. If you do get stuck on a question there is a helpful list of common questions and even someone to help you 24/7. If you have a simple return it will cost you $0 to file and ranges to $115 when filing a business return if self-employed. (You can even get this for less if you go to RetailMeNot and grab one of the coupon codes.)