Best Money Software and Web Sites

Here's how to save more the next time you shop for household goods, buy auto insurance, purchase prescription drugs plus more.

Pills on US dollars.
(Image credit: malerapaso)

If you're looking for ways to cut costs on everyday spending, you can do so all from the comfort of your home. Several online sites and software programs allow you to save big on everything from preparing your next tax return to household items to prescription drugs. Here are a few of our top picks.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Free Tax Software

Only about 13% of taxpayers are expected to itemize on their federal tax returns under the new tax law, so you may no longer need to buy a premium tax software package. Credit Karma Tax (opens in new tab) is a free program that allows you to prepare and file one federal and one state tax return. You can import information from prior years’ tax returns from TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxAct, as well as W-2 forms from major payroll providers. If your payroll provider isn’t supported, you can take a photo of your W-2 with your smartphone to import your data. Credit Karma Tax also offers an app that allows you to prepare and file your taxes on your smartphone. If you determine, after launching the program, that you need to itemize after all, no worries: Credit Karma’s free program supports all tax forms, not just those for taxpayers with simple returns.

Shopping Sites on the Web

Finding a good deal on items can be time-consuming when every retailer bombards you with sales pitches, but these sites can cut through the hype. For your everyday wants and needs, leave the search to Honey (opens in new tab), a browser extension available for Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Honey searches for coupons while you’re on a store’s website and applies them automatically at checkout. The extension also searches Amazon.com for the lowest price. For gift givers with a hard-to-shop-for someone on their list, GiftCardGranny.com (opens in new tab) offers discounted gift cards. And before you book your next vacation, go to AutoSlash.com (opens in new tab) and Booking.com (opens in new tab) for your rental car and hotel reservations. AutoSlash finds the best rental-car rates based on discounts you qualify for and tracks prices to alert you when they drop. Frommer’s (opens in new tab), the travel guide publisher, ranked Booking.com as the top hotel search and booking site in 2017 because of its high number of properties and transparent pricing.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/xrd7fjmf8g1657008683.png

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

Discounts on Rx

Keep your prescription costs down by searching for and printing coupons for brand-name and generic drugs at GoodRx.com (opens in new tab). The coupons are accepted at more than 70,000 pharmacies, including CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart. You can’t use the coupons with your insurance because that would be considered an out-of-network purchase, GoodRx says. But your insurer may let you apply what you paid out-of-pocket when using the coupons toward your deductible, so save your receipts.

Health Savings Account

Your best option is usually the HSA offered by your employer because contributions made through payroll deduction avoid Social Security and federal income taxes, plus you may get an employer contribution. If you need to sign up for an HSA outside of an employer, contributions are tax-deductible. Look for an HSA with low fees and saving options that match how you’ll use the account. If you plan to tap the HSA to pay current medical expenses, the HSA Authority is a good choice. It offers an insured account that pays a small rate of interest, charges no monthly service fee and comes with a debit card. If you’ll keep the money growing for the long term, consider HealthEquity, which offers a self-directed account with a choice of 23 low-cost Vanguard mutual funds. The monthly fee is 0.03% of the invested balance.

Auto Insurance Site

To shop for better rates, start at www.insurance.com (opens in new tab). Fill out a form with your address, claims history and driving record and get instant rate quotes (in all states but Massachusetts, Michigan and Rhode Island) from insurers serving your area. Companies may include Allstate, Erie, Esurance, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Mercury, Nationwide, The General, The Hartford and Travelers.

Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.