Tools To Save Money & Make Money

I created a list of resources for things that have to do with working smarter, not harder, with your money. This page includes tools for saving money, making money from home, earning cash back, great side hustles, getting out of debt, being productive, as well as a few random favorites of mine.

I’ve used everything on this list, or I’ve researched it and it’s been recommended by other money-savvy people I trust.

Personal finance is so personal that it takes trial and error to see what works for you. I’ll keep this list updated as I find new awesome money tools, so check back often. If there’s something you love that fits on this list, send me an email so I can check it out and share the wealth with others.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I get a bonus if you use my link. It does not cost you anything extra… in many cases, it actually saves you money to use my link.

Tools to Save Money

Ebates

This one is first because it is THE EASIEST tool to use. I’m not a fan of jumping through a bunch of hoops to save 25¢, so believe me when I say this one is super simple. You earn cash back for your purchases at nearly every story online. All you do is click the Ebates store button before making a purchase and you can earn 1-40% back in cold hard cash! With the extension, you don’t even have to remember. A box flashes on your screen telling you how much you can save and you click. That’s it! I’ve used Ebates for years. If you sign up with my link, you’ll get a special $10 bonus in addition to cash back on your purchases. Watch the video below to see just how EASY using EBATES is.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

I swear the E in EBATES should stand for EASY! See for yourself how easy it is to get cash back every time you shop!

Ibotta

Ibotta is another cash back app where you find rebates, snap a picture of your receipts, then earn cash back. This is an app I recently started using since friends swear it’s a simple way of saving money. So far I’ve earned $25 in the first two weeks. It requires more work than Ebates but is still an easy way to save money by getting free cash back on things you’re going to buy anyway.

 

Swagbucks

If getting free samples, shopping, taking surveys, watching videos, and playing games sounds fun to you, why not earn free gift cards while you’re at it? That’s what Swagbucks is all about. You can even earn Swagbucks just by doing your regular internet searches if you make them your default search engine (instead of Google. Then redeem your Swagbuck points for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Walmart, and iTunes.

Budgeting Apps

Every Dollar – The budgeting app created by the Dave Ramsey team. The free version looks like it has everything you’d need, but the premium version has even easier tracking by connecting to your bank account (which you can try for free for 15 days).

Mint.com – With a free account you can track + pay bills, budget, see your credit scores, and track your investments. You connect all of your financial accounts to track progress and get tips on improvement.

Mvelopes – A paid budget app based on the envelope system for Androids, iPhones, or the web. You can try the plans for free for 30 days to see if it works for you.

Good Budget – Another budget app based on the envelope system. It works on Androids, iPhones, or the web. There’s a free and an affordable paid version

Squeeze – Squeeze is a personal finance app that not only tracks spending, but also compares the prices of your recurring bills. You have the option of connecting your bank account or not.

You Need A Budget – Helps you meet goals and track expenses by syncing your bank accounts and helping you pay down debt. Students can use You Need A Budget FREE for a year, then get a 10% discount. Non-students can try it free for 34 days then there is an annual fee.

Budgeting Course

How to Create Your Personal Budget on Udemy – This one-hour course is for budgeting beginners and those considering starting a business. This class has had 3,870 students enrolled and has a 4.6 star rating.

I tried a couple of these budgeting tools, and it’s cool how they can help track your spending and keep you on target. For me, a Google Sheets spreadsheet + paper-and-pencil calendar work best. You can sign up to get my personal budget spreadsheet below, or try one of the tools above. Either way, creating a budget and sticking to it is key to achieving your financial goals, so find the one that works best for you!

Tools for Getting Out of Debt

Unbury Me – Insert your debt principal, interest rate, and minimum payment and unbury.me gives you a great visual of when your debt will be paid off, how much interest will be paid, and how much you will pay total. You can play with debt avalanche versus debt snowball methods and extra monthly payment amounts.

Undebt.it – You can play around with the tools to find a debt repayment plan that works for you. You can choose debt snowball, debt avalanche, or even a hybrid approach and see exactly how long the debt will take to pay off.

FinAid Prepayment Calculator – Another repayment calculator tool that clearly compares how much money you will save by making extra payments and how many months or years of payments you will save. This is the calculator I used most while figuring out how to get out of debt as fast as possible.

Pay Your Student Loans Fast by Val Breit This is my book about how I eliminated my student loans fast and the steps you can follow to pay off all of your debt too. My story is different from others because I am your average Jane, paid off all my debt on a modest public educator’s salary, and didn’t do anything drastic like move out of the country or live in a tent for a year. It’s a quick read full of information and inspiration. I may be biased, but for these reasons, I think this is one of the best get out of debt books.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Here is Dave Ramsey’s book about getting financially fit. He went from bankrupt to millionaire and helps people dig out of debt and plan for the future every day.

Financial Peace University This is Dave Ramsey’s nine-lesson course about taking control of your money. There is a home study kit or you can search on his website to find a local in-person class near you.

The War on Debt by Dani Johnson This is another course for taking control of your money by Dani Johnson, which includes a video and workbook.

Random Things I Love

Printables from Sarah Titus – I use her printable calendars every month, and I have my eye on her Blogging Binder. Sarah regularly sends freebies to her email list (like snazzy printables), and she’s inspiring, so check out her site.

Canva – I use the free version to create logos, pictures for my blog posts, and Pinterest images. It helps make design and tech stuff easier for people like me…

Unsplash, Pixabay – For free stock images to use on my site and social media.

Pinterest – Does this really need explaining?

Amazon Prime . – Super convenient with FREE 2-day shipping, and I can easily compare prices to make sure I’m getting the best deal, Plus, it keeps me out of the stores where I swear things jump into my cart! If you haven’t yet, try Amazon Prime Free for 30-Days. I absolutely heart Prime.

Audible – You can try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks! I love listening to books because it seems I’m always on the go! I listen to podcasts or books while going for walks, washing dishes, or feeding the baby because these days I rarely have a moment to sit and hold a book in my hands.

Boss Mom  + Confessions of a Boss Mom – Dana Malstaff is THE Boss Mom. She is a genius and has helped me tremendously on my journey of nurturing my family and my business at the same time. Her books, podcast, and Facebook group can all be found at boss-mom.com

Neon Running Shoes + Running Shorts + Workout Tanks – This is my usual wardrobe. Just in case I get the urge to workout, I’m always ready! 😉 And now that I work from home, I get to wear outfits like this every day. Hallelujah!

Coffee + Donuts – Yum. Enough said. I have a love-hate relationship with this habit.

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My Favorite Blogs + Podcasts

Making Sense of Cents – Personal finance blog. Michelle and her husband travel in an RV and live off her blogging money. Her income reports are ridiculous!

The Busy Budgeter – I’m a big fan of Rosemarie and I think we have a lot in common. She is also a great saver, a budget guru, and quit her career to stay home with her kids.

Horkey Handbook – A fellow blogger from the midwest, Gina is the bomb at two of my favorite ways to make money: Virtual Assistance and Freelance Writing. Plus, now she created the course for becoming a Pinterest VA and even connects people looking ot hire virtual assistants with virtual assistants who are looking for work. Genius!he is a hustler and making money online.

Money Saving Mom – Crystal scrounges the web nearly every day to find the best deals available. Her site is one of the best for finding Hot and Limited time deals, as well as coupons and cheap recipes.

The Dave Ramsey Show – The first podcast I regularly listened to back when I had student loans. Now I own a few of his books, and I hope to go to his live show next time I’m in Tennessee because I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan. He is wise and no-nonsense.

Smart Passive Income – I listened to Pat Flynn’s show way before I even dreamed of working from home. The whole idea of passive income was intriguing. Now I listen regularly to learn more ways to work smarter while serving others as an online entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur on Fire – I listen to EO Fire when I need a burst of inspiration from those who are doing the unthinkable because the lifestyle I am living is one I once thought was unthinkable.

Believe in a Budget – Personal finance blog. Kristin likes Pinterest, money, and cool printables.My kind of girl! Kristin is Gina’s (from Horkey Handbook) partner in crime for their Pinterest VA course.

Kindlepreneur – Blog ran by the Sci Fi Nerd + Book Marketing Genius that I couldn’t stop following even if I wanted to. He’s another example and inspiration of someone who quit their day job to become a successful online entrepreneur. I searched his blog a lot as I was writing and launching my book.

The Creative Penn – One of my favorite podcasts and blogs about self-publishing by Joanna Penn. She’s smart, genuine, and has a great perspective to share from abroad. This is one of the podcasts and blogs that helped as I was writing my book.

Boss Mom – Dana made the list again. She’s that good. Now that I’m a Boss Mom, I relate to her content and like her smart yet quirky personality. Plus, my story is featured in her latest book. How awesome is that?!

The Business Boutique – Part of the Dave Ramsey team, Christy Wright can also relate to being a mom and starting your own business. This is another podcast I regularly listen to.

About Val

Welcome to The Common Cents Club, where you'll learn about my three specialties: starting side hustles, destroying debt, and simple frugal living. Oh, and since I'm a stay-at-home mom of two littles, you'll get a taste of what it's like working from home...with kids!

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