Although I’m not a fan of unnecessary consumption (or over consumption in general, #partypooper), there will always be items that need to purchased. To make that process easier, I’ve compiled a list of products, services and readings that I whole-heartedly recommend and adore.
All of them have helped me on my financial journey, and I hope that they can assist you as well. (If you know of something that you think is worthy of the list, shoot me an email. Chances are that I would love to check it out!)*
As a huge book nerd (and college English major) books are big part of my existence. The following books have drastically changed the way I think about finances and life.
Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominquez and Vicki Robin: In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan of this book. It may cause you to have some uncomfortable realizations about your spending patterns, but it’s worth the results.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron: Whether you’re a wannabe artist or simply want a more fulfilling life, this book is for you. Trust me, read it. If you want the version that is specifically about money, check out: The Prosperous Heart.
Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker: As the title states, it’s extreme. But it’s also the perfect book to build a basis of frugality and escape the mindset of overconsumption.
Man’s Search for Meaning for Viktor Frankl: Guaranteed to change your perspective about life, suffering and what truly matters.
P.S. Most of these are available at your local library!
Blogs That Will Change Your Life:
If you like blogs, the following are must-reads:
Mr. Money Mustache: Financial and lifestyle from the perspective of an early retiree (He retired at 30!) with no sugarcoating. This was the first financial blog I found and it helped shape my financial philosophy.
Budgets Are Sexy: J. Money provides advice about all things financial. His articles are informative, fun and never judge-y. The perfect place to learn how to build an amazing financial future.
Raptitude: David provides a “street-level view of the human experience.” He tackles topics that affect our day-to-day existence and provides phenomenal food for thought. My all-time favorite article is “Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed.”
16personalities: I’m a HUGE fan of Myers-Briggs personality types and this website is the ultimate resource. Take the quiz to learn your personality type and then read through the extensive material that explains your weaknesses, strengths, best careers and relationships. It will change your life and your relationship with money.
I’m not a huge shopper, but when I do shop, it’s at these places:
Costco: If you don’t already have a membership, GET IT NOW. The amount of money you’ll save on toilet paper alone will be worth the membership fee. I shop for food almost exclusively at Costco. Their selection of low-price, organic food cannot be beat.
Amazon Prime: Once again, SO WORTH IT. Anything that you need (or want) is delivered to your door within two days. There are especially good deals on makeup, beauty and bath products.
Craigslist: Craigslist is my one-stop shop for all things furniture or home. Most recently, I snagged a 50″ flat screen TV and Roku device for a grand total of $120.
I treat all my credit cards like debit cards and never spend more than I have available in my checking account. With a family that lives on the other side of the country and in-laws that live in England, travel is a big part of my life. Because of that, I’m a big fan of rewards credit cards. I don’t “hack” them or do any crazy schemes, but I do use them for big purchases to earn points.
There are hundreds of things we have to buy each month…might as well get rewarded for money we would have spent anyways. (Please note: If you are in credit card debt or struggle with paying your bills on time, do not use rewards credit cards. It’s not worth it.)
Southwest Rapid Rewards: Hands-down the best rewards card for travel within America. Their points system is easy to use and even easier to redeem. Be sure to wait for their 50,000 bonus that they offer every 3-4 months. (Normally they offer a 25,000 sign-up bonus if you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months. Waiting for 50,000 is worth it!)
American Airlines Advantage: Best rewards card for national travel.
Chase Freedom (Cash back): If you don’t travel often enough to benefit from a travel rewards card, then cash back is your best bet. What’s better than getting cash back for purchases you have to buy (i.e. food, cleaning supplies, etc)? Not a damn thing.
Although I’m not a huge fan of tracking expenses down to the penny, these will help you gain control of your big financial picture (especially Excel Spreadsheets 😉 )
Mint: Mint is an app that automatically tracks all of your expenses. It’s the best money-tracking app I’ve seen. My only gripe is that it will automatically categorize things according to the store and you have to manually change them. For example, I bought furniture at Ross and it categorized it as “clothes.” Not a huge deal, but it can be annoying.
Excel Spreadsheets: When I got serious about tracking my money, this was my number one tool. Make a column for “Item title” and one for “Cost.” Sometimes simple is best.
Interested in starting a blog? If you’re anything like me, it probably feels super overwhelming. These are the services that made the process easier:
Bluehost: Great blog hosting with awesome customer service. It connects to WordPress with the click of a button and is also super reasonably priced. (I think I paid $60 for the entire year)
Solo Pine Designs: My current theme is Solo Pine (Florence) and I LOVE it. The themes are easy to use and even easier to install. I know no coding or HTML and got my site set up in about 30 minutes. They also offer customer support through forums and are awesome about responding to questions. (Even the stupid ones I ask, haha)
Canva: Ever wonder how everyone has gorgeous graphics? Yeah, me too. Then I found Canva and everything became clear. Canva makes graphic design ridiculously simple. No Photoshop or prior knowledge is necessary.
*None of these links are affiliate links or sponsorships. They’re just things I genuinely love.