Personal Finance Tools, Services & Apps Recommendations
The following includes a collection of personal finance tools, services and apps that help thousands (if not millions) of people better manage their money, navigate their financial journey and generate some cash back or rewards along the way.
I personally use or have used all of these tools, services and apps (that are available in Canada) or know respected bloggers and members of the personal finance community who have and stand behind them. I will be writing more detailed reviews on some of these tools and updating this page with links to those posts. I will also update this page as new personal finance tools come to market and share any new, unique and valuable offerings as well.
If you’re looking for book recommendations check this page Personal Finance & Self Development Book Recommendations. Plus download the Free Personal Finance Resources Starter Kit that includes these tools and many more valuable resources to support your personal finance journey.
These are just recommendations and it’s always important to remember, personal finance is indeed personal. You need to find what works for you and build a system around that.
Note: this page includes affiliate links and I might receive a small commission if you choose to sign up for some of these tools. Check my disclosure page for more information.
MINT – FREE MONEY MANAGEMENT & TRACKING
Tracking your money is an essential step to taking better control of your financial journey. I’ve used Mint for almost 3 years and sync all of my financial accounts so that I have optics on everything in one place. Mint also helps with budgeting, bill payments, overspending, credit score tracking, goal setting and more.
Free, easy to use and accessible by web and mobile app, Mint is a great tool for those looking to track, budget and manage their finances.
PERSONAL CAPITAL – FREE TRACKING WITH A BIT MORE
Personal Capital is a must use platform for Americans looking to track their finances, monitor their net worth and manage their investments. It’s a shame Personal Capital isn’t available in Canada. However, I have used the platform and almost all respected members of the financial community recommend it as a amazing money management tool.
Personal Capital is a similar service to Mint but with a more robust and fully integrated investment management component. Personal Capital features all of the budgeting and tracking features of Mint but with more robust investment analysis tools. Sign up today and start to take control of your finances.
YOU NEED A BUDGET – MORE CONTROL OF YOUR MONEY
You Need A Budget is another great tool to help you manage your money and better plan your cash flow. With robust features that maximize reporting and goal setting you can ensure that every dollar you’re spending is being tracked.
A great app, intuitive web platform and tons of supporting resource, this PAID service is highly regarded in the community.
CREDIT KARMA – MONITOR YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Credit Karma gives you free access to your credit score and credit reports – there’s no catch or hard pull on your credit. It’s a great tool to stay on top of your credit score, which in turn will affect your overall financial health and credit opportunities available to you as you move forward.
Credit Karma also lets you monitor your accounts to ensure no fraud or unusual activity is happening in your name.
RATE SUPERMARKET – COMPARE FINANCIAL SERVICES
Rate Supermarket offers similar services to Ratehub (below) as it allows you to get a broad view of the various offerings currently available on credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, insurance and other financial services.
They often have the best special offers on travel rewards cards that can give you a FREE $75 gift card or even upwards of $100 e-gift cards when you sign up and activate a new credit card. I received a $75 Amazon gift card from Rate Supermarket when I got the Scotiabank Gold American Express card.
RATEHUB – COMPARE & SAVE
Ratehub is a platform that allows you to compare and explore various financial services and products. Including the latest rewards credit cards, high interest savings accounts, mortgages and more.
Ratehub also has financial calculators embedded to help you best understand the nuances between the various offerings. It’s a great tool and allows you to gather supporting data before you make a financial decision.
CREDIT SESAME – MONITOR YOUR CREDIT SCORE
No catch or hard pulls on your credit just a great tool to stay on top of your financial health and monitor your credit as you progress through your financial journey. Plus Credit Sesame members get free identity theft protection (up to $50,000 insured).
NERDWALLET – RESEARCH & COMPARE
Nerdwallet is essentially the American counterpart to Ratehub and Rate Supermarket – a platform for researching and comparing various financial services and products. Credit cards, investment accounts, savings and chequing accounts, mortgages and more.
Nerdwallet a holistic tool that also features a great blog and tons of supporting resources to help you better understand the current marketplace in the financial space.
VALUEPENGUIN – COMPARE & SAVE
ValuePenguin is a comparable service to Nerdwallet which is beneficial to have as the two can often differ on their special promotions or offers available on the same product. It’s always a good idea to check multiple resources before making any decision, knowledge = power!
EQ BANK – HIGH INTEREST SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Long gone are the days of parking your saving account(s) and emergency fund in an account with a 0.01% interest rate from your standard bank. EQ Bank is the solution I use for saving and storing my emergency fund No monthly fees, no minimum balance, unlimited transactions, bill payments, goal tracking and much more.
EQ Bank high interest savings accounts are currently paying a 2.30% interest rate.
TANGERINE – NO FEE CHEQUING ACCOUNT
For day-to-day banking needs I use the Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing account. As noted in the name, there are no-fees, you get free access to the 3,500+ Scotiabank ABMs around Canada and 50,000 ABMs globally, plus a ton of other services and protections you expect from a bank account in the present day.
Tangerine is currently offering a free $100 bonus when you open a chequing account by July 2nd. Free money? Yes please.
QUESTRADE – LOW COST INDEX FUND INVESTING
Questrade is the online discount brokerage of choice for many Canadians, including myself, and is often voted or regarded by industry as the “best”. I use Questrade for all my investing needs as it fits my long-term index fund holding investment Canadian Couch Potato strategy.
From the fully digitized sign-up process, intuitive user-experience, and ease of use, Questrade is a great platform for DIY investors. In terms of the costs, there are no opening or closing fees on a TFSA or RRSP, no account holding fees, no withdrawal fees and best of all ETF purchasing is free, while ETF selling is $0.01 per share ($4.95 minimum – $9.95 max).
If you want to open a free Questrade account, use my QPass key 606106362419068 to unlock a free $25 – $250 cash bonus depending how much you deposit.
WEALTHSIMPLE – ROBO-ADVISOR INVESTING
I used Wealthsimple for a year and had nothing but positive experiences. Wealthsimple remains and continues to grow as one of the largest and most preferred robo-advisors for Canadian investors looking to take a more hands-off approach. An amazing user-experience and intuitive platform, quick set-up process, $0 account minimums, unlimited transactions and strong customer service make Wealthsimple a great choice.
Wealthsimple offers 3 portfolios based on your risk tolerance (conservative, balanced and growth) and an extensive account mix (TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, LIRA, Personal, Joint and Corporate) plus takes care of rebalancing your portfolio and dividend reinvestments.
SWAGBUCKS – MAKE MONEY ONLINE IN VARIOUS WAYS
Swagbucks is a great way to make money online. You earn rewards, or SBs, by: taking surveys, doing your normal online shopping, using the Swagbucks search engine, watching videos, playing games, discovering deals and buying gift cards.
Is Swagbucks legit? Yes, they have an A rating on Better Business Bureau and have paid out over $270 million their users. You earn your SBs and then convert them to PayPal cash or gift cards to your favourite retailers.
Sign up for Swagbucks using my special link to earn a FREE bonus $5!
EBATES – FREE CASH BACK ON EVERYDAY PURCHASES
Earn FREE cash back with Ebates for the normal spending you would traditionally do online. All you do is register an account and click through the links on the Ebates website (or install the Browser Extension). Ebates earns a referral fee for driving you to these different stores sites and at no extra charge to you, you get a percentage of that cash back for free.
Ebates has affiliations with almost every major retailer (750 stores and counting) including Amazon, eBay, Indigo, GroupOn, Expedia, etc. So the cash back opportunities on your normal shopping habits are endless. Sign up today and start earning!
GREAT CANADIAN REBATES – GREAT OFFERS & CASH BACK
Great Canadian Rebates is another cashback site for those of us North of the border. They have relationships with over 500 merchants including all the big names you’d expect like Amazon, eBay, Expedia and so on. Great Canadian Rebates has daily cash back boosters and special offers to give you the opportunity to earn even more cash back on your everyday online purchases.
One area that they really shine is with the bonuses they offer on credit cards. They have cash back rebates of $50 – $100 when you go through their page to register for a new credit card. I just signed up for the American Express Cobalt (amazing card for millennials) and got $50 free…no tricks or extra charge to me just $50 back to my own bank account.
HONEY – COUPONS & CASH BACK
Honey is another great cash back rewards program that searches the internet for the best deals and coupons from their list of over 3,700 partner stores! Again, literally every online store that you might normally be shopping at can now earn you FREE cash back.
The great thing about Ebates, Great Canadian Rebates and Honey is you have multiple options to compare to ensure you always get the best deal. Sign up today and start saving on your purchases.
DROP – REWARDS POINTS AT YOUR FAVOURITE RETAILERS
Drop is an app that allows you to earn cash rewards from your favourite brands through your everyday purchases with your debit or credit card. You just shop as you normally would at Starbucks, Best Buy, Uber, Lyft, CostCo or one of the hundreds of other Partnered stores and your points balances continues to climb.
You can then redeem your Drop points for gift cards at the store(s) of your choice. Use my link and referral code (tlpao) and we’ll both get 1,000 free Drop points after you sign up!
CHECKOUT 51 – GROCERY & PHARMACY CASH BACK
Checkout 51 is another app to help you earn cash back rewards for grocery and household item purchases. They include a wide-range of product offerings all with a set cash back value and also release ongoing weekly promotions and one-off deals to help you push your earnings further.
Open the Checkout 51 the app before you go to the store(s) to make note of any offers, purchase your items, upload a photo of the receipt into the app once you’re back home and let your cash back dollars build up.
CARROT REWARDS – PASSIVE MICRO REWARDS EARNING
Carrot Rewards is another rewards app that I use (well not really even actively use…it provides me “passive rewards earning”) to collect points towards other loyalty programs. You can sync the Carrot Rewards app with Drop, SCENE, Aeroplan Miles, Save On More or Petro Points. I use mine to collect SCENE points and have earned enough for 4 movie tickets at $0 cost over the last year, that’s approximately $60 in value for FREE. It won’t change your life or get you onto financial freedom but I’ve literally spent no time or active effort in earning those points.
So how do you earn points? Connect the Carrot Rewards app with your iPhone (or Android) Health App and you can earn points by meeting Steps Challenges. If you hit your daily steps goal you get points. Yes, you can earn rewards points just for walking! They also have surveys (un-intrusive, basic questions that take 1 minute to complete) on of Health, Wellness, Personal Finance and other Lifestyle topics to collect much larger point totals.
If you use my referral code “scottp7401” when you sign up for Carrot Rewards and you’ll earn 50% more points.
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