This page is a work in progress. I’m re-evaluating what I recommend to make sure I am bringing you the absolute best options in every category and facet of life!
People always ask me:
What would you recommend for [insert need here]?
So, I thought it would be nice to have an area of the site where I can tell you the products I use (and have used), as well as those that I have experience with through my dealings with clients. That way, you have a starting point when
Disclaimer: I do get a commission on the sale of most products/services listed on this page. I can assure you that it has absolutely 0% impact on my opinion. If I was swayed by kickbacks, I’d have a lot more listed (and the highest-paying ones that I can find to boot)!
Online Tax Programs
This is one of the longest-running products on the market, and for good reason. TurboTax is always at the forefront of online tax programs in terms of making it easy to use and the support you get. Plus it doesn’t hurt that you now can opt to get a tax professional to answer questions!
One of the new kids on the online tax preparation block, TaxSlayer has made a huge splash. Aside from its reasonably-priced paid tiers and easy-to-use interface, the video support makes figuring out how to do certain tasks much better than simply reading about it. And it’s got a cool name to boot!
Make sure to read about my views on online tax programs and when you should & shouldn’t use them!
Cell Phone Service
I recently left a big carrier for Cricket and I couldn’t be happier! There is no difference in the call quality or signal strength, and if anything I actually get consistent LTE coverage whereas the previous provider had several issues with coverage.
If you are the type that doesn’t need the most modern phone, preferring instead to save money on your communication, Republic Wireless is the company for you! How? By taking advantage of WiFi calling, you use less data which means lower bills!
Credit Scores & Identity Protection
We all know that credit scores can be a huge deal. Sometimes you need more than just your “number”. Sometimes you need guidance. Or options. That’s what Credit Sesame is here for. Not only do you get your credit score, you get recommendations for products and services as well as educational articles. And you don’t have to pay a penny to access the Credit Sesame resources!
To this day, many people still use the same passwords across multiple sites or easy-to-remember passwords–which by the way is also easy to guess for thieves. Do yourself a favor and get LastPass. I can’t stress enough how important online security is and how easy it makes it to create secure passwords. LastPass also securely stores important documents as well as lets you share access to your sites without divulging the actual credentials.
For many your credit score is a big deal. While there are many sources for obtaining the score (and your credit reports) why not go to the company that actually created the score that is used by the majority–Fair Isaac Corporation–where you know you will get the actual number and not a “reasonable estimation”.
Self-Care, Health & Wellness
You need to be healthy physically and mentally in addition to financially. After all, health costs are one of the biggest reasons for bankruptcy and debt. I love Bodybuilding.com because it offers a superior site containing a collection of advice, recipes, tracking and store. It’s hard not to want to get in better shape after just one visit! And despite the name, it’s for people of all fitness levels to improve themselves, not just “bodybuilders”.
You need health insurance. Sometimes, it’s just affordable. Other times you have to accept tremendous out-of-pocket limits to make it affordable. Next time you shop, try eHealth Insurance. You’ll find individual and family health coverage, Medicare plans, dental and vision plans and more–all at affordable rates!
Travel & Entertainment
Searching for flights is an absolute nightmare, especially when not all airlines are listed in the aggregation sites. With airfarewatchdog, real people search out flight info, so every carrier is listed. Not only can you price flights, but you can actually sign up to be notified of price changes to the one you’re eyeing so you know when the best time to book is.
Amazon Prime is more than just free 2-day shipping. It’s also entertainment. It’s popular television series and blockbuster movies. It’s family programming. It’s also award-winning Amazon Originals–movies and tv series only found on Amazon Video and streaming to any device you want.
If you have a relationship with a particular hotel chain–great! But for the rest of us who don’t always stay at the same hotel when we travel, it’s awesome to have a way to make the selection process easier. Hotels.com lets us find a room at any brand without having to go from site to site. Whether it’s a family vacation or an overnight business trip, Hotels.com is your go-to booking solution.
Broadcast television. Cable television. Movie channels. Exclusive custom content. Sports. Whatever you want to watch, Hulu practically has it all. Soon it will have even more as it becomes the home of FX Networks. And it all starts at only $5.99/mo!
Cable television service keeps getting more expensive. Some providers even drop some of the more popular channels leaving customers without their favorite programs. Enter Sling TV. You get streaming access to only the most popular networks without all of the frivolous crap you don’t want. Plus, Sling gives you options, not just a single plan for everyone!
You may want to try to go without a full-cost cable or streaming subscription. If that sounds like you, check out how I’m able to get free HD TV stations and see if t it works for you too!
Cheaper prices on everyday items. Free shipping. Free video streaming. Free music. Amazon Prime provides those benefits and so much more! With one subscription you can shop for practically anything while streaming to any device at the same time! And you even get 30 days to try it out first!
You most likely already know about Groupon, the site that gets you deals on everything from restaurants & spas to events and even experiences like trips and museums. Now there’s Groupon Select! A service that gets you even more savings and special offers than the original. Savings on top of savings? Yes, please!
What’s better than being able to shop without dealing with traffic, lines, or nasty salespeople? Getting money back on what you spend of course! Sign up with Rakuten and you can get rebates just by going through its virtual mall and doing your regular shopping. And, if you’re the type who needs to have the stuff right away, try out the in-store savings experience by linking your credit card to your account.
Make Extra Money
Can you use extra money? Do you desire a passive income stream? Are you an expert in an area of high demand? Can you teach people to do a trade, craft, job, etc that will improve or benefit their life? Teachable will allow you to show your expertise and enrich the lives of others all while getting paid!
Website Hosting & Domain Registration
I’ve used several hosting companies throughout my life. Needless to say, SiteGround has been my favorite by far! Not only have I experienced the lowest amount of downtime for any of my sites, when I do need help, the response time is lightning-quick. If you’re looking for a quality, affordable shared hosting provider, this should be at the top of your search list.
My friend Andrea at Nuts and Bolts Media recommended namecheap. The pricing is pretty good, and the management is really easy. namecheap also has monthly discounts which some services don’t do any more, and you know saving is great!
Website Tools & Plugins
Genesis by StudioPress
Genesis Theme is easy to use, flexible & powerful. Plus, the support and community are second to none. Get the Genesis Pro Plus All-Theme Package you have access to all of the themes for one price so you don’t have to use the same style for all your properties. I use it for all of my sites, including this one. (WordPress only)
If your small business depends on a website such as a blog or online-only business, you have to make sure it’s fast. Your visitors won’t want to wait around for it to take 3 minutes to load like in the dial-up days! You want to get WP Rocket! It’ll make sure your site loads super-quick so your visitors see what you want them to right away, not a blank screen!
Branding & Marketing
We may live in a digital world, but business cards are still the predominant way of exchanging information about our businesses. If you’re looking to go beyond the drab & boring, MOO.com has a great array of modern, unique designs to make your business stand out from the pack!
Sometimes you need more from an email service than simply delivering messages to your subscribers. That’s when you go call on ConvertKit. You pay for the subscriber, not the list so one person on 4 lists still only counts as one person toward your bill. And the automations make scheduling messages super-simple and efficient!
Bookkeeping, Invoicing & Payroll
Be aware, this really isn’t an “accounting” company. What it excels at, however, is offering industry-leading time and billing services. If you need customized invoice options, invoice tracking, and automated billing at a low cost, FreshBooks is the company to choose for small businesses.
I use QuickBooks Online for my own accounting clients. It’s an accounting program, not just for invoicing or aggregation of accounts. It offers full accountant access, and also allows for tracking different business segments with ease. Pair it with Gusto for a powerhouse combo!
For anyone who has payroll, this is the absolute total answer to your problems! For one low monthly fee, the folks at Gusto will automatically handle everything from processing payroll to transferring the money to making tax deposits to filing the quarterly payroll tax returns. It’s the true definition of set it and forget it!
If you aren’t sure about it, read up on the reasons why my clients all love using gusto for the small business payroll! For transparency’s sake, I use it for my own payroll too!
Small Business Insurance & Legal
As a small business owner, you need insurance for yourself and your family. Maybe you want to offer your employees health coverage. eHealth Insurance make shopping for plans easy and less stressful. You’ll also find better rates than most other “marketplaces”.
Hiscox Business Insurance
When it comes to insurance for small businesses, there is one name to remember: Hiscox. It’s the leader in providing small business insurance of all types and across many industries. If you run a small business, you need to be covered and Hiscox should be the place you start.
For most small businesses, setting up an LLC is a snap. Sometimes, however, it’s a little more complex. Or you may simply have the money and would rather pay someone to do it for you. If that’s the case, you should check out MyCorporation. From simple formations to more complex legal issues and additional services such as EIN filing, they have you covered!
For years, maybe even decades, Nolo has been the leader in Do-It-Yourself legal documents. From contracts to wills to rental agreements and more, Nolo has partnered with industry leader Quicken (Inuit) as well as attorneys nationwide to provide solutions as well as educational articles and books.
Be sure to read up on my article articles about how to set up your own LLC, the Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction and the dangers of DIY. They will help you understand these topics and ensure that you make the most informed decisions!
Google G Suite
Free is good, and Google offers plenty of free tools, but that can only take you so far. When you outgrow the free stuff, Google G Suite is a great value due to the low cost you pay for all of the advanced features you receive. It’s easily scalable to accommodate your business as it grows without putting too much cost pressure on you.