Merilee's Recommendations!

Below are some of my favorite things that I use for life, saving money, and business. I only recommend products and services I use and love personally or have fully researched and stand behind. I do not recommend junky stuff just to make a buck! I hope you find these recommendations as useful as I do.

Budgeting/Financial Apps

EVERY DOLLAR PLUS (PAID) I love this app as a spending tracker to use alongside my Master Budget Spreadsheet. It’s very intuitive, connects to your bank, and lets you hand sort all your transactions so they go in the right categories! The only downside to it is that it costs about $10/mo. 

MINT APP (FREE) This is the best free budgeting app. It connects to your bank accounts and sorts all your transactions into the best categories for you, which can sometimes be good or a bad thing depending on your preferences. This is also great as a spending tracker to use alongside your Master Budget.

PERSONAL CAPITAL (FREE) This is the app I use to keep track of my net worth and make cool graphs to track my upward progress. It’s also a favorite in many of the financial Facebook groups I’m a part of because it’s so functional, and free! Quickly link all your financial accounts to it (mortgage, 401k, IRA) and it will keep an updated running balance of your net worth. Try Personal Capital out right here.

Life Essentials

WALMART GROCERY PICKUP I absolutely love Walmart Grocery Pickup for saving money on groceries. Not only is it free, but I can see my total before checkout and put things back if they are out of the budget, so this service saves me a lot of money. It also saves my sanity as a mom of 3. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is a MUST. Use this link to get $10 off your first order!

Cash Back Apps for Saving Money

RAKUTEN I had a hard time using Rakuten at first because I don’t want to login to the app every time I make a purchase in order to get cash back, but I figured out the trick. I installed the Rakuten extension on my internet browser, and now every time I go to a website that has a partnership with Rakuten, a popup comes up in the corner that I quickly can just click to redeem my cash back if I decide to make a purchase. It makes it completely effortless. Use this referral link and you’ll get $10 when you sign up! 

FETCH REWARDS My favorite cash back app for groceries is by far Fetch Rewards because it’s stupid easy to use! I don’t have to look at it before I shop. I just shop as normal (even through my beloved Walmart Grocery Pickup), scan my paper or e-receipts, and reap the points which I redeem for gift cards. Use my referral code 3DKNH for a $2-4 bonus when you scan your first receipt.

IBOTTA An excellent app for earning cash back on online and grocery shopping is Ibotta. It acts more like coupon clipping so it is slightly more time intensive than Rakuten and Fetch rewards, but I actually think it gives the most cash back. The best way to use it is to browse it before you shop, clip coupons for the things you want to plan to get, and scan your receipt after. 

Making Money

SURVEY JUNKIE This is a super easy way to make money on your phone. You won’t get rich, but you can earn a few bucks here and there just for giving your opinions! Click here to join Survey Junkie and start making a little extra cash. Another good survey company is They have bigger, better paying surveys but you won’t qualify for all of them.

SIDE HUSTLE GUIDE Read my most popular blog post for 60+ money making ideas that are realistic to get started on today. This guide has work-from-home ideas, companies that you can start earning cash with today without starting your own business, and even some entrepreneur type ideas that you could grow over time. It’s got everything! Read the Side Hustle Guide.

Instagram Tools

LINK IN BIO I use from Tailwind for my link in bio on Instagram. It allows me to direct people to multiple different links all in one place. Also, it’s free! I love it.

INSTAGRAM LAYOUT PREVIEW To test out how all my future Instagram posts are going to look together on my Instagram feed, I use a free app called Preview! I make sure everything looks cohesive and on brand before I publish it. It shows all the tiny squares all together! You can also schedule posts from it but I prefer to do it manually and just use this app to preview my content visually.

CONTENT CREATION APPS I make all my Instagram images (with the text) with the free Canva app and the paid Adobe Spark app. Honestly, use the free Canva app! I only use Adobe Spark for one thing, and it costs me $10/mo.

Blogging Tools

WEBSITE PLATFORM My website is built on Please note this is not the same thing as You want the .org to build a robust website!

WEBSITE HOST My website is hosted on WPEngine. A website host is basically what makes your website available to the worldwide web! They house and protect all your website’s data on their servers. I went with WPEngine because it is more reliable and reputable than some other hosting companies. Though it is more expensive, I wanted a solid host that could grow with me. I have been very happy with WPEngine!

WEBSITE HOST A much less expensive website host that is great for beginners is Bluehost. They have plans starting from $3.95/mo so there is very little risk when getting your new blog or website going! Many top bloggers use and recommend Bluehost.

EMAIL PROVIDER I use Convertkit for my email provider. This is the service that I make most of my website opt-ins (enter your email, get this freebie type things!) through. They also house my email list and I send all my emails to my list through them. I love that they are super user friendly and the monthly costs grow as your business grows, so they give you time to get established. Convertkit is a game-changer!

PINTEREST PLANNING To manage and grow your Pinterest account, you won’t want to pin everything manually one at a time. Tailwind is the platform that lets you pin a bunch of things all at once,  schedule pins out in advance, and have them pin automatically! I love Tailwind. It costs about $15/mo.

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