Fluffster Recommends

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If we ever do make a money from this blogging, 50% of all profit will be donated to charity — either to GiveWell or charities chosen through readership polls. The other 50% will most likely somehow be spent on Fluffster.

Software for Organizing Finances

Personal Capital – Join for Free

Personal Capital is the best tool we’ve seen for tracking asset allocation, including great visualizations. We log in every few months to do a portfolio checkup and boom – crystal clear understanding of our investments without having to log in to multiple sites or manually correct errors. They make money with their advisors, but we haven’t personally used that service.

Mint

Mint is really hands down the OG of budgeting, and for good reason. It has its own idiosyncrasies and requires a little bit of babysitting when categorizing charges, but it’s still the best for budgeting and tracking expenses. They make money on affiliate links to credit cards and the like.

Books

( Remember your local library exists 😉 )

Happy Money by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton

Science & Money are two of my favorite topics. This book is a collection of simple lessons, backed up by tons of studies, on how to make better choices with money that increase happiness. Very easy and interesting read. In my mind, you could also extend this into how to lower expenses while maintaining or increases happiness…

A Random Walk Down Wallstreet by Burton G. Malkiel

This is the classic book for index investors, explaining all the basics and history of the stock market.

Renaissance Soul by  Margaret Lobenstine

This book is great. You know how people go on and on about finding your passion? That one thing you were put on this earth to do? Fuck that. You can be a Ben Franklin instead of a Mozart. This book gives practical advice on how to structure your time and rotate through interests.

Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Okay, this book is a little insane, but still very useful. While we have not fully completed tidying up (yet), we’ve already seen huge benefits in terms of saying no to spending on things that don’t matter.

Podcasts

Bad With Money with Gaby Dunn

This is easily my favorite podcast right now. Gaby has declared herself to be “bad with money,” and this podcast explores a variety of money-related topics, focused on helping her and others become slightly less bad with money. She often delves into larger issues of income inequality and the psychology of money.

Planet Money by NPR

Man, am I a nerd. Each Planet Money episode is just perfect. They take these random, complicated economic stories and explain them in twenty minutes flat, all while highlighting the real, human conflicts behind all the intimidating numbers.

Tech

Link a Google Voice account to an OBI-200 for free home phone service.

Misc

TransferWise

TransferWise is simply the easiest and most frugal way to send money abroad. We have international family, and while we normally have a fairly high stamina for deal-hunting, the combination of fees plus conversion rates (both of which were almost always hidden to some extent) was just exhausting. TransferWise is transparent about fees, has a guaranteed low cost, and is super easy to navigate. If you or your family ever find yourself in a position where you are frequently between two countries, definitely give TransferWise a try.

TaxAct

I hate TurboTax. There, I’ve said it. Four years ago we were doing our taxes as normal, and due to literally $5 of dividend income, TurboTax demanded $80 because our taxes were so complicated. AFTER we entered in all our information. I’ve held a grudge ever since. TaxAct is cheaper and basically the same product. It’s not quite as good, to be completely honest, but for us it’s $50 cheaper for maybe 15-30 minutes more effort.