There are a number of free resources available online that can help your finances in many different ways.
This article highlights 17 different resources that cost no money but can have big rewards.
Take a look at the resources featured here and see which ones might be a good fit for your own situation.
There are a number of websites that offer to provide you with your credit score for free, but in many cases, you’ll only get a score without the details of the full credit report. In other cases, you may be signed up for some subscription service that will keep recurring unless you cancel it.
AnnualCreditReport.com is authorized by the government and you can get a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. You won’t get your score through AnnualCreditReport.com, but you will see all of the details on your credit report from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Get a free copy of your report and make sure that everything is accurate. Any inaccuracies that may be hurting your score can be reported to the credit bureaus that contain the inaccurate data.
Your credit score and the details on your credit report can impact things like your mortgage rate, credit card and loan applications, rental applications, and even job opportunities. You need to check your credit report periodically to make sure that the information in the report is accurate. It’s not only the score that you want to pay attention to.
2. MissingMoney.com and Unclaimed.org
Both of these websites can help you track down money that is owed to you. It takes just a few minutes to do a search and you never know what you’ll find.
I spent five minutes checking both sites and found more than $150 that was rightfully mine from an old PayPal account that I had forgotten about. I had moved and PayPal had no way to track me down, so it was sitting there waiting for me to claim it, which I did!
If you’ve moved or lived in a few different states, be sure to search for your past locations as well. You can also check with your home state’s treasury department. Most have websites with similar searching capabilities.
Personal Capital is a free financial app/software that can help you in several different ways. It acts as a dashboard and you can connect all of your bank accounts, investment accounts, and credit cards. It takes just a few minutes to set up, and then you’ll have a nice bird’s eye view of your finances.
My favorite part of Personal Capital is the net worth tracker. Since it’s synced to all of your financial accounts, the software will automatically calculate and track your net worth. There are a lot of reasons why you should be tracking your net worth, and using Personal Capital is the easiest way to do it.
Aside from the net worth tracking, Personal Capital also has some very useful reporting capabilities. You can get reports on your investments, use the retirement planner to forecast your retirement, and use the fee analyzer to see how much you’re paying in investment fees.
Get a $20 Amazon Gift Card Just for Trying Personal Capital
If you sign up for Personal Capital through this link (it’s free), you’ll get a $20 Amazon gift card after you’ve linked your first financial account to the app. You’ll receive an email with the code for the digital Amazon gift card.
You may be wondering how and why Personal Capital would be willing to give away gift cards in order to get people to try free software. Although the software is free, the company also offers wealth management services and after you sign up they will give you the option to have a free consultation with one of their advisors. They use the gift card as a way to get leads for their business.
For disclosure, I am a happy user of the free Personal Capital app/software. I am not a customer of their wealth management services.
Mint is a free budgeting and money management app. You can use it to create your own budget and easily track your expenses. You can link your bills and due dates so Mint can help you to stay on top of things. You can set alerts for upcoming due dates, low balance warnings, and unusual spending.
Mint can also be used to track your investments and analyze the results. You can compare your returns to the market or benchmarks, and you can easily view your asset allocation.
An easy way to make some extra money is to sign up for a credit that offers a bonus. Most of these offers will pay you anywhere from $100 – $500 if you make purchases totaling a certain dollar amount during a specified period of time. For example, you may get a $150 bonus if you make at least $500 in purchases using the credit card within 90 days of opening the account.
With the help of signup bonuses, you can easily earn a few hundred dollars per year.
When I’m evaluating a signup bonus offer I check for a few things:
- A bonus that is worth the effort (I usually won’t go for the $100 bonus offers)
- Requirements that I can easily hit to qualify for the bonus
- No annual fee
Some cards will have an annual fee, but that fee may be waived for the first year. If that’s the case, you’ll have one year to decide if the card is worth keeping, or if you should cancel it.
Please don’t signup for a new credit card if you have outstanding debt on other credit cards. Don’t use credit cards unless you will be able to pay the balance in full each month.
Aside from one-time signup bonuses, you can also make easy money with cashback and rewards credit cards. If you use credit cards for necessary purchases and you’re earning cash back or rewards for each purchase, it really adds up over the course of a year.
I use cash for almost nothing and I pay for as many expenses and bills as possible using a credit card. Of course, the key is to use credit cards only for the things that you need to buy anyway. Earning at least 2% cash back for every purchase means that I get a nice chunk of free money every year this way.
My recommendation is to have a good everyday card that allows you to earn 2% cash back for every purchase (I use the Citi Double Cash card to get 2% cash back on anything). Then, have a few cards that pay a higher percentage of cash back for specific purchases. Use the card that will give you the most cash back for each specific purchase.
My credit cards include:
- Citi Double Cash (2% cash back on every purchase)
- Chase Freedom (5% cash back on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter)
- Discover It (5% cash back on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter)
- Amazon Prime (5% cash back on purchases at Amazon.com)
I also have a few other cards, but those are the ones that I use the most. You can see more about my approach in these two articles:
Where do you keep your cash savings? If it’s in a savings account with a local bank, you’re probably earning very little interest.
There are several online banks that offer much higher interest rates, and moving to one of these banks can be a great way to easily make some easy money each year.
My wife and I have savings and money market accounts at CIT Bank. Their interest rates are among the highest that you’ll find anywhere (more than 20x the national average), and the online user interface is very simple and intuitive. We’ve been very happy with CIT.
Trim is a free app that can easily save you money every month, and there are a few different ways that it goes about doing this.
The most attractive option, in my opinion, is the bill negotiator service. Trim will work on your behalf to get some of your monthly bills lowered. They are able to negotiate bills for cable TV, internet access, and even mobile or cell phone service. I had Trim negotiate my Comcast bill for internet access and they were able to get me a lower price.
There is no cost to try Trim. If they are able to negotiate a lower bill, Trim will keep 33% of the savings as a fee for their service.
Aside from the bill negotiation, Trim can also help to save you money find identifying subscription payments that you can cancel.
Paribus is a free app that helps by automatically getting refunds that are owed to you. After you sign up for Paribus, it will track confirmation emails from your purchases (automatically) and watch for price changes. When you make a purchase from a store/website that offers a price guarantee and then a lower price becomes available, Paribus will automatically request a refund for the difference on your behalf.
Another cool feature of Paribus (especially if you are an Amazon Prime member) is that it will automatically track shipments of your orders from retailers like Amazon that offer a delivery promise or guarantee. If the delivery is late, Paribus will automatically attempt to get compensation for you.
The nice thing about Paribus is that it’s very simple and quick. Just sign up, give it access, and let it work in the background. It takes no extra effort on time on your part after you sign up.
I created a Paribus account about a year ago and I’ve received several refunds as a result.
You probably pay premiums for several different types of insurance every month. When was the last time you checked to see if you could be getting a better rate?
Policygenius is a comparison website that allows you to easily and quickly find the best prices on car and auto insurance, life insurance, homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, and more.
It takes just a few minutes to use Policygenius and you may be able to save a big chunk of money each and every month.
11. 401(k) Employer Match
If your employer offers a 401(k) plan and will match all or a part of your contributions to the plan, this is free money that you don’t want to miss out on.
Make sure that you are contributing enough to take full advantage of the company match. If you’re not sure, check your paperwork or ask an HR rep for assistance. Over the course of your career, that extra 2-5% from your employer can make a huge difference for your retirement savings, plus it forces you to be contributing money of your own, which is a good thing.
Passing up on an employer’s 401(k) matching contribution is like turning down a raise.
Blooom is a robo advisor that specializes in managing 401(k) accounts. They offer a free review or analysis of your 401(k) account, with no strings attached. All you need to do is sign up for the review and login to your 401(k) account. Blooom will analyze your investments and provide you with a detailed report.
Of course, Blooom uses the free review as a way to attract new clients, but getting the free review puts you under no obligation to use their service.
I’ve used the free review for my own 401(k) as well as for my wife’s. In both cases, I found the review to be helpful and informative and worth the very small effort. I have not used Blooom’s services as a robo advisor.
If you have student loans, it may be worth a few minutes of your time to look into refinancing those loans to get a lower interest rate and save money.
LendKey is a great resource that you can use to quickly find the best rate for a refinance or a new student loan. LendKey allows you to get great rates through credit unions and community banks, which may save you a lot of money. Additionally, you won’t be charged any origination fees for loans through LendKey.
14. Cashback Apps
Making use of free cashback apps and websites is an easy way to save money. There are many different ones available (you can see the best cashback apps and websites here) and with only a small effort you can easily save money on many of your purchases.
Ebates is my personal favorite for online shopping, mostly because their browser extension makes it effortless. With the browser extension installed, you’ll be notified whenever you’re on a website that participates in their cashback program and you just need to click a button to activate it. The browser extension will also automatically find and apply coupon codes that save you even more money.
You can also get a nice bonus for signing up for each of these cashback apps:
- Ebates offers a $10 signup bonus
- Drop offers a $5 signup bonus (after you link a credit card)
- Dosh offers a $5 signup bonus (after you link a credit card)
There are a number of websites that offer free calculators for different purposes. I’m a fan of the financial calculators at Financial Toolbelt. They offer a financial independence calculator, net worth calculator, savings goal calculator, mortgage payment calculator, credit card debt calculator, compound interest calculator, side hustle calculator and more.
Not only are calculators fun, but they can be very insightful and help to put you on the right path to achieve your goals.
→ Try the Financial Toolbelt calculators here.
16. Blogs and Podcasts
Financial blogs and podcasts can be excellent resources to help you learn about a wide range of topics. There are literally thousands of finance blogs and hundreds of finance podcasts, and they cover just about any financial-related topic that you can imagine.
17. Vital Dollar Resource Library
If you love free resources you should check out the Resource Library here at VitalDollar.com. The resource library includes a variety of printable resources (PDFs) and spreadsheet templates that you can use to manage your own finances. It includes budget templates, a bill pay checklist, a no spend challenge printable, savings printables, and more. We’re also working to add more resources.
All of our email subscribers get access to the Resource Library for free. Enter your email below if you’d like to subscribe and get access to these freebies.