I just wanted to share all the things I use and love to manage my money, blog, travels, and photography. I find all these resources so valuable, and I am sure they will help you as much as they helped me.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, so we may get a commission if you choose to use these companies. They are all companies we use and love. Thanks for supporting Gathering Dreams!
High Yield Savings Account
On your journey to financial freedom, you need to get your money working for you! It’s always good to have a good amount of cash as your emergency fund. Online savers account like CIT Bank Savings Builder help you earn more interest than your average bank without any risk. It’s easy to make the switch, and the first step to take control of your finances.
Earning money for stuff I already buy is one of my favorite things to do! Why leave free money on the table when you can make some by just clicking on a link before purchasing something? I made over $500 last year using a combination of these apps.
Rakuten: This free cashback app has over 2,000 stores to choose from for all of your online and in-store purchases. You will be able to make some extra money every month! Depending on what you buy, you might be able to get anything between 2% to 7% of your money back, without much effort. And you can get a $10 bonus by signing up here.
Swagbucks: With Swagbucks, you can get cashback on your online shopping, but also earn money by taking quick surveys, surfing the internet, or watching videos! Last year, I made over $200 with Swagbucks alone. Plus, you get a $5 bonus when you sign up here.
These are all the technical bits and best plugins and software I use on Gathering Dreams.
Bluehost: If you’re looking to start a blog for cheap, I recommend using Bluehost for your hosting (that’s what I used on Gathering Dreams for the first 2 years). Launching your blog with their 1-click WordPress installation is extremely easy. If you sign up using my link, you will get your domain for free if you purchase a 12-month or longer blog hosting plan. You can also use my free guide on how to start a successful blog to help you with the setup.
Bigscoots: Once I reached 500k page views a month, I had to increase my bandwidth and server speed. That’s when I decided to switch to Bigscoots. Their customer service is top-notch, and I couldn’t be happier! I am currently on their $34.95/month plan. It’s pricer than Bluehost, but for good reasons. I still think Bluehost is great for beginners, but if you want a high-end, fast server with excellent customer service, Bigsccots is your hosting. Plus, their name alone is magic!
Genesis Framework: Gathering Dreams runs on the Genesis Framework. Genesis has built-in SEO and lots of great plugins to help you change your blog’s look and feel. If you are using Genesis, you will need to buy a theme built on the Genesis Framework. I use Simply Pro by Bloom. You can browse one of the many beautiful themes here.
Mailerlite: I am still working on my email marketing skills. And that’s why you seldomly receive emails from me, lol. I love the simplicity of Mailerlite. It’s free for up to 1,000 subscribers, and after that, it’s quite cheap compared to other providers like MailChimp or Convertkit.
Adobe Creative Suite: Dan and I love using Adobe Creative Suite for graphic design and photography. I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for pin design and infographics, and Dan uses Adobe Lightroom for travel and food photography. It can be quite expensive, but it’s the best tool out there!
Depositphotos: As much as I would love to take all our photos, sometimes it’s easier and more convenient to use stock images. And if you want the peace of mind of making sure you own the right to use an image, you should use one of the many stock agencies out there. One of my favorite (and the one I use the most on Gathering Dreams) is Depositphotos. They have some stunning images, but also music, vectors, and videos.
These are all the blogging course I took and loved! I took many more, but I believe these are the only ones that helped me build a successful blog, and I recommend them to any friend who wants to start.
Blog Simple Framework: With 13 active courses, this is the only investment you need to make money blogging. There isn’t one single course in the Blog Simple Framework that helped me above others, but it’s the combination of all the strategies that laid the perfect foundations to create my own successful six-figure business. If you are ready to make money doing what you love and are willing to put in the work, this is the place to be! Note: this course isn’t cheap, but if you are serious about your blogging journey and apply what Scrivs teaches, you will make your money back in no time.
Pinteresting Strategies: Carly’s course on Pinterest is very helpful when you are starting out. It really makes you understand what Pinterest is about and how to set it up the right way. Her strategy will set you apart from other bloggers and help you gain thousands of page views from the start. Plus, at the current price, this is really an amazing deal! It’s the first course I ever bought, and I can’t recommend it enough. I managed to get over 10,000 page views to my blog after a month, thanks to what I learned from this book! Carly has just updated her amazing course to reflect all the latest Pinterest changes and has given all my readers a lifetime $5 discount. Make sure you use the code PINNING5 at checkout! And if you are after some free pin templates, check these out here.
Stupid Simple SEO: I am so happy I decided to invest in Mike’s course! It was a game-changer for my blog. It’s full of helpful step-by-step videos, and Mike teaches something as complicated as SEO in a very straightforward way! He clearly knows what he is talking about. SSS is perfect for anyone serious about improving their organic traffic, and I especially love the way Mike approaches keyword research. This course is technical but extremely easy to follow, even for non-technical people. I can’t recommend Mike’s course enough. You can take Mike’s free training here to get a taste of what you are going to get.
I love traveling so much! My dream is to travel for at least six months every year. These are the website I use every time I need to plan our next adventure!
Airbnb: We love booking places with Airbnb for our trips, especially when we manage to travel for a few weeks at a time. Airbnb helped us save a lot of money, and it always gives us a home away from home. It’s perfect when you want to meet local people and get their special recommendations on the best places to eat and explore. Click here to get a free $35 credit!
Booking.com: You can find amazing hotel deals on booking.com. I always compare Airbnb, Booking.com, and Agoda prices before booking anything!
These are all the things Dan loves, and we use for our food photography and while we travel!
If you have a question about any of the things I mentioned here, please contact me by sending me a message here. I’d love to hear from you!