This is a collection of FREEBIES, low-cost and money-saving tools of particular interest to missionaries and limited-income workers. Whenever available, I’ve used referral links (which help the site without costing you).
FREE all-in-one financial tool: Personal Capital is an amazing site for viewing all (or part) of your US accounts in one place. Want to find out how much your 403b is really costing you? Want to see your net worth and be motivated to increase it? Personal Capital is my absolute favorite tool. Contact me for a $20 rebate.
LOW-COST money transfers: Transferwise is a superior cross-border and cross-currency money transfer service. No hidden fees, real-time public exchange rate, fast, and inexpensive (easily beating PayPal and banks in my experience). Contact me for a FREE first transfer.
FREE Financial Information Websites:
Andrew Hallan offers invaluable expat investing advice through his FREE website. (He also has low-cost books and eBooks including Millionaire Expat). Andrew’s expat experience as a teacher is very similar to most of ours. Highly recommended!
Paul Merriman had a remarkable investing career and now has a nonprofit foundation to help people lower risk and invest wisely. His site currently offers three FREE eBooks, videos, articles, and a podcast.
The Bogleheads have the strangest name on the net because they follow in the footsteps of Vanguard Funds’ founder, John Bogle (get it?). Awesome, informative, FREE forums.
Thun Financial Advisors offers some invaluable FREE articles and downloads that are relevant to US nonprofit workers abroad. (Note: I have no experience with their advisory services.)
FREE Financial Podcasts:
Dough Rollers’ FREE podcast isn’t expat-oriented, but it is practical and not dogmatic. You might consider doing Rob Berger’s 31-day money challenge by listening to the earliest podcasts.
Talking Real Money is a practical, FREE podcast primarily talking about investing in low-cost, well-diversified funds, knowing yourself, and – if in need of an advisor – getting one who will look after your wallet and not their own. What’s more is Tom and Don are pretty funny!
Dave Ramsey is at his best when helping people crush their debt. He can be harsh, his investing advice isn’t optimal, and most of us don’t need his kind of financial advisors. However, if you can’t live on a budget, aren’t paying off your credit cards, and can’t seem to make financial progress, Dave’s FREE podcast is the ideal, first step.
FREE Cashback Sites: If you’re buying online, why not get some cash back?
TopCashback is often true to its name by offering the top cashback offers. Note that you need to manually request the payment.
Ebates wrote the book on cashback and is still going strong. Always worth comparing with TopCashback.
AmazonSmile isn’t cashback for you but for a charity of your choosing. It is FREE to use and adds no cost to your purchases.
FREE and LOW-COST travel sites:
Booking.com is a great hotel-finding tool. Use a cashback site like those above, and a good thing gets even better!
Golden Rule Travel can often get nonprofit workers a better price, multi-airline connections, or FREE extra baggage. Their service is excellent. They’ve helped me out of a few jams.
Kayak seems to find every flight I could ever want and does it for FREE. I’ll often search on Kayak and then purchase through Golden Rule.
College Search and Savings: College Assistance Plus (CAPlus) helped our family save thousands. In this high-stakes game, you want someone on your side! CAPlus will help you search for a college, explain the expat’s financial situation to the colleges, present your student in the best light, and negotiate a better price. This is what I would call a concierge service. If you want to talk to me about why I would trust CAPlus and no one else, feel free to contact me.
LOW-COST Christian Investing Website: Sound Mind Investing has several strategies that I’ve used. I love their Christian perspective and emphasis on generosity. The price of “premium” admission (currently $169/year) is easily paid for by their great forums and their Sector Rotation fund recommendation.