One of the main tenants of Simple Economist is simply being efficient with our spending decisions. This often means buying fewer things and being mindful of the items we do purchase. We frequently get asked about different products or services we actually use and have truly enjoyed over the years. Here is a collection of different things we can personally recommend to our readers. This page will constantly be updated as we experiment and try new things but many of our recommend companies, services, and books have been consistent over the years.
We do a lot of research before we make any recommendation but many individuals have unique situations that make specific selections a personal decision. We are always looking for improvement so let us know if you feel like there is a better option or we are missing a clearly excellent product or service. If we like your recommendation better, we will update our page to reflect the changes.
Bloggers are often supported by referral links in their articles. A few of the companies listed happen to offer commissions for online referrals. Several others do not. We do not make our recommendations based on revenue, but where available, we use special links so that this blog will get a credit if you end up becoming a customer. It is an optional way to support this blog so we can continue to write and provide great content!
Banking: ING Direct/Capital One 360
I’ve been a long time ING user and evangelist. And since the buyout with capital one I have waited to see if there will be any major changes. I can say that so far the acquisition has gone better than expected and all the old features of ING are still present. The thing I like most about this banking is the ability to do sub accounts. This may sound trivial but it makes it so much easier when automating savings and having “virtual” envelopes. I like having my paycheck direct deposited then having it send money to each sub account automatically.
Web Hosting: Bluehost
I started with Bluehost several years ago when I set up my first webpage. I was looking for an inexpensive option that could handle a small blog for a reasonable price. They advertised unlimited hosting for a few bucks a month. I though it would be a good place to start. The blog has grown and I’ve had days of 25k+ pageviews and their basic hosting package has held up. The 99.9% up-time has been pretty accurate over the years. At some point I will outgrow their basic package but they are the best place to start a blog!
Retail/Music/VOD: Amazon Prime
I’m impressed with the amount of service you can get for the price paid with Amazon Prime. There are probably many users who sign up the rarely use it but we tend to order at least one or two things a week. In addition, we use the music and video services often. We still use Craigslist and Ebay for used goods when we don’t need something immediately. Also, if you are student you are still editable for a discounted rate.
Auto Insurance: Geico
I have had insurance through several different companies over the years but I keep going back to Geico. I like their web interface and easy to adjust service options. While the advertising is incessant, I certainly understand because so many people are overpaying on their coverage because they are too lazy to get a new quote or change. I recommend Geico for quotes even if you don’t plan on changing coverage because it is easy and it does give you information and leverage with your current provider even if you don’t switch.
Life Insurance: Zander
After my wife and I bought our first house and had our first baby we decided it was time to finally get our life insurance set up. We initially went through a whole life agent and bought our first term policy. It was reasonably priced at one of the oldest insurance companies. What we didn’t realize was exactly how much we were getting overcharged for the type of coverage we needed. We went through Zander insurance and purchased our 20 year level term. We plan on being financially independent before the twenty years are up but it is nice to have in place at the moment. Lastly, when comparing cost, calculate the entire 20 year cost of the plan vs. its monthly cost.
Investing: Vanguard Investments
I invest in index funds. I enjoy the simplicity and conceptual basis of broad based risk mitigation they provide to average investors. Vanguard is known as the company who brought index fund investing to the masses. They have great products and low fees. On the positive side, their influence has actually carried over throughout the industries and even other large investment companies such as Fidelity or TIAA have adopted similar types of low fee funds.
Cell Phones: Airvoice Wireless
My family has been using airvoice for several years running. The $10 monthly iPhone plans are almost impossible to beat for those looking for low data usage plans. We are planning to test out Republic Wireless but Sprint towers are still pretty weak in our area. We’ll stick to the AT&T towers with Airvoice for now.