Resources

Listed below are links to trusted tools and services which I use all the time (or at least found helpful at some point).  I recommend bookmarking this page as it will be updated periodically.

Personal Banking

  • PNC – All the standard online banking features you could ask for plus the new Virtual Wallet feature which is great for budgeting. There are 2,400 PNC locations in Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and D.C.
  • Scwab – Everything you would expect from a bank, including unlimited ATM fee refunds. It the “Best checking account two years in a row” according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (12/09).
  • eTrade – Bill pay, direct deposit, online check images, move money between accounts, and unlimited ATM fee refunds.
  • NCUA – Credit union interest rates are generally much more favorable than big banks. Find a credit union near you using the website of National Credit Union Association (NCUA).

Personal Credit Cards

  • American Express Blue Cash – After you reach a certain annual spending threshold, you will receive 5% cash back on gas, groceries and drug store purchases. I use this card as much as possible.
  • Marriott Rewards® Premier Visa Signature® Card – earn 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott locations (all 2,900 of them), 2 points per dollar spent on travel purchases (airline, dining and rental car) and 1 point for every other dollar spent.

Office

  • ASAP UtilitiesA powerful, free Excel add-in that fills the gaps in Excel and automates frequently used tasks.

Blogging

  • WordPress – The best blogging platform, period. Highly customizable and best of all free!
  • WordPress Plugins – Extend the functionality of WordPress with a wide variety of plugins.

Domain / Web Hosting

  • GoDaddy – Register your domain quickly and privately.
  • Bluehost – Host your site for only $6.95 per month with the best professional web hosting company.

Web Browsing

  • Firefox – Highly customizable web browser with great performance and security.
  • Chrome – Insanely fast performance and efficient Google searches directly in the address bar.

Desktop Security

  • AVG Free – Although AVG provides commercial versions of their software,  AVG Free is the freeware (with limitations) anti-virus application and most users find AVG Free is all they need.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials – Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-virus suite from Microsoft which is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology.

Passwords

  • KeePass – free, open source, light-weight and easy-to-use password manager.

Personal Data Backup

  • CrashplanAutomatically backup your data to multiple locations for free.

Screen Shot Utility

  • FastStone Capture – The current version of Capture is not free. However, there is a free version of the software from 2007 or so, which is readily available on many websites if you just do a search for “faststone capture version 5.3 download”.

Remote File Synchronization

  • DropBox – Keep your files automatically synchronized across multiple computers.