Friends and family have been asking us about what products we use to invest efficiently, lower our utilities, and travel on the cheap. To keep things simple, I created this page as a reference of products we like to use.
Some of the companies offer referral bonuses to this blog, and some do not. So using links on this page can be a great way to save money and support this blog at the same time. We only refer products and services that we use and trust ourselves.
Cheap cell phone plans
Mrs CK and I both used to be with major carriers and paid more than $60/month each. Now we pay about $25/month each for unlimited talk, unlimited text, and international data plans.
These companies can offer such cheap plans by sending all calls and texts over WiFi when you are at home. This actually works out better for us because we get much better reception on WiFi than a tower signal in our home. The carriers we use are:
Republic Wireless – We used Republic Wireless for years, and both of our moms are still on Republic plans. The unlimited talk and text plan is only $15, and for $5 more you can get a gig of data. They also have phones starting at only $99. I’ve even used my Republic phone while abroad to make calls and texts over WiFi seamlessly.
Google FI – Mrs CK and I both use Google FI. The plans are a few bucks more than Republic, but they work internationally. The first line is $20 and you can add a line for $15 with unlimited talk and text. The awesome part is data is $10/gig anywhere in the world, and you only pay for what you use. We’ve used international data seamlessly on our trips to Costa Rica, Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Catalonia. Get a $20 credit when you sign up using our referral link.
Overall Republic Wireless is cheaper, but the Google FI is nice if you travel a lot. A lot of my family still use Republic Wireless, and if we weren’t traveling as much I would probably go back to the Republic as well.
Personal Capital – Personal Capital is a free service that aggregates data from your investment, bank, and credit card accounts. This allows you to track things like total income, total spending, net worth, and investment allocations. It does a really good job of breaking down spending into simple categories, and I love having all the data in one place. While I don’t keep a budget, I do track our spending using Personal Capital.
The advent of the sharing economy has brought some awesome new resources for traveling both within the US and abroad. I’ve found much better quality at lower prices using the following resources:
Airbnb – These days we use Airbnb almost exclusively for accommodations. We’ve had awesome hosts who shared local tips and even hung out with us sharing meals and even taking us on activities like fishing for squid in Nova Scotia, and rafting down the Colorado River. It’s also a great way to find accommodations in remote places where there are no hotels. In Catalonia we stayed in a tiny grape and olive farming town where we paid $23/night for an entire apartment. Get a $40 credit when you sign up using our referral link.
Uber – Cleaner, cheaper, and more responsive than using taxis. You don’t have to worry about when they are coming or getting ripped off in unfamiliar areas because everything is tracked through the app. Get a $20 credit when you sign up using our referral link.
Ebates – This website gives you rebates on your purchases when you buy through the links on their site. They have deals with hundreds of stores and let you know how much you will get back on your purchases. We’ve used Ebates to compound our savings when booking things like travel. You can start out with a $10 bonus when you sign up with our referral link.
Amazon – We don’t buy much, but for items like my Kill-a-watt meter, pizza stone, and pizza peel, I used Amazon. We are prime members because the 2 day shipping is sweet, and Amazon Prime streaming service is nice to have on rainy days, even though we don’t watch much TV. This blog will get a small commission if you use our link when buying.
Bluehost – I love blogging – it’s a great way to meet people and share ideas. I’ve used free platforms before, but if you want to get serious, I recommend using WordPress and paying for hosting. I pay less than $4 a month to host with Bluehost and use a free WordPress theme. Bluehost pretty much sets up WordPress for you, and I haven’t had any issues with my cheap plan even when getting thousands of page-views in a day.
Vanguard – If you don’t already have a brokerage account for your IRAs or after-tax investments, I recommend Vanguard. Most financial institutions now carry low cost index funds, but the movement was all started by Vanguard. I like this company better because it’s structured to be owned by anyone who invests with them. All of its profits go toward lowering fees for investors.