People frequently ask me what products and services I use. Below are various products and services that I use and recommend. Some of these links do provide me a small commission if you choose to use their services. No pressure, I’m just big on transparency so I thought I’d let you know. I only actively promote products that I use myself, and find extremely helpful, many of which I don’t get any commission for.
Airbnb is a generally cheaper alternative to hotels. Airbnb connects people who want to rent out their homes with people looking for accommodations. It has over 800,000 listings in 33,000 cities and 192 countries. I have had great success with Airbnb including my most recent booking to Cuba. It’s a great way to save money and experience a little different accommodations than your traditional hotel. Link for $40 credit towards your first stay.
Uber is the ultimate alternative to expensive taxi services. Through the app based service you can hail a cab within minutes and save significant coin. It depends on the city but I would say the rides are generally 25-50% cheaper than a traditional cab. The best part is no cash is involved as your card is charged automatically through the app. Also, no tipping is allowed. Once you sign up the service Uber works anywhere in the world. In addition, SPG has cross over rewards with Uber so you get SPG points whenever you take an Uber. Link for $20 credit towards your first ride.
VRBO or Vacation Rentals by Owner is another hotel alternative. VRBO has over 1 million listings all over the world. I have had the best luck using VRBO for booking group ski trips as they include larger properties. In the four years of utilizing this service I have been very impressed.
Car2go is a car sharing service available in 31 cities around the world. After signing up you use the Car2go app to locate a nearby car and swipe your card and it’s unlocked and ready to use. The service charges 41 cents per minute and you drive the vehicle yourself. This is another great alternative to Uber.
Music & TV (Read our article on cutting the cable cord!)
Spotify is a music streaming service and is the future of music. You can stream almost any song and with the premium service and you can listen to your playlists offline. I’ve been using this for about a year and at $10 a month it’s definitely worth it compared to paying $1 per song through iTunes. I use this whenever I’m traveling as you can listen offline as well, and it works on almost any device. Spotify also offers a family plan for $15 a month so you and your significant other can enjoy for one small fee. Spotify is currently offering one free month through my link and you cancel the service online if you’re not satisfied. Link for one free month of Spotify Premium
Hulu Plus is a TV streaming service which I have used for the past four years. Mrs. TT was not a fan of a large cable bill so when we got married I had to cut the cord. Going from a $125 cable bill to $7.99 a month is huge savings and now I waste much less time watching TV. A great feature of all these streaming services is that you can watch from anywhere, not just from home, and on any device. Hulu Plus is currently offering two free weeks through my link and you can cancel the service online if you’re not satisfied. Link for two free weeks of Hulu Plus
Netflix is a TV and Movie streaming service very similar to Hulu Plus at $7.99 a month. Along with Hulu Plus and streaming with Amazon Prime this is how we round out our streaming services. We watch what we want, when we want to, and it’s worked out great.
Amazon Prime is a $99-per-year shipping discount service available for items sold on Amazon. Prime offers you unlimited 2-day shipping, and also offers a fantastic TV and Movie streaming service, which we use in addition to Hulu Plus and Netflix. Amazon recently launched Prime Stations, which is a music streaming service similar to Spotify. All of this is included in the $99 per year. We purchase so much on Amazon that the 2 day shipping service is worth $99 alone; all the other great services are just a bonus.
Republic Wireless offers plans starting at $5/month. You can get unlimited talk and text, with WiFi data for a flat $10/month. Or unlimited talk, text, and data at $25/month. The service is based on the Sprint network and also utilizes WiFi calling when you’re connected to WiFi. Republic Wireless now offers 4 great Android phones starting at $99 without any contract required. Similar to Harbor Mobile anytime you are on a WiFi connection, anywhere in the world, you will have cellular service at no extra cost!!
Vanguard is the best brokerage firm hands down. Their low cost, low fee, index fund strategy is hard to beat, even Warren Buffett recommends the service. They offer a huge selection of low fee ETFs and mutual funds that can be traded commission free. The company is actually owned by individual investors, like you and I. They offer almost every type of retirement account imaginable, and investors can get access to a financial advisor if you have a reasonable amount of assets. Never heard of Vanguard? Probably because they don’t advertise in order to keep fees as low as possible. The best forum about Vanguard investing I read everyday is called Bogleheads. The forum has a great starter wiki for index investing here.
Mint.com is the easiest way to monitor all your bank accounts as well as your credit cards and loans. I have used it everyday for the last seven years and it is one of the best FREE services out there. It is also great for budgeting and monitoring your net worth. The phone app is also pretty slick. Don’t pass this one up.
Bluehost is the gold standard for web hosting services. Blogging can lead to new clients, new income streams, and new opportunities. If that peaks your interest, consider starting a blog. It’s easy and extremely cheap. Bluehost is the cheapest way to get started and it is one of the largest and most trusted hosting companies. Bluehost makes finding a domain name and starting a wordpress blog such as this one simple and easy. Read more here on how to start your own travel blog.
Cardpool (review) is one of the thriftiest ways to save money. They sell discounted gift cards to many places you shop at daily. I’ve primarily used Cardpool to purchase Home Depot gift cards as I’ve been doing home renovations recently. Home Depot gift cards are normally 8% off but they have sales of up to 13%. You can also choose the bulk purchase option at the top of the screen and you can enter in exactly how much you want your gift card to be. Many times Cardpool can create a gift card for you for the exact amount. I usually use the bulk purchase option if I am ordering something from Home Depot online as I know exactly how much the order is. The coupon codes work online or in-store. You usually get an electronic coupon code emailed to you within the hour. This is a little publicized way to save at big box stores, restaurants, or even airfare!!
Travel Sites Mr. TT reads:
Other sites Mr. TT reads: