Welcome to The Simple Nickle!

Clueless about your money? Do you want financial security, but don't know where to start?

The Simple Nickle is a free web-based program to help you easily understand and control your finances in less than 15 minutes a day! We'll guide you step-by-step; it's as easy as checking your email! We'll also give you easy-to-understand financial education starting with the most basic aspects.

The Simple Nickle: Phase 1

Phase 1: Set up online banking

  1. Set up online banking through the bank you already use

    So you have a bank or credit union where you keep your money. Now we want to take advantage of one of the greatest benefits of the Internet: online banking! With online banking, we can securely monitor our money with ease and less mistakes (hello? balancing checkbooks? what a pain!:) This is the best way to keep track of your money.

    1. Get on the Internet (see how easy this is?).
    2. Find your bank's homepage, either by typing in the name of the bank in the address field, or searching on Google or another search engine.
    3. Find the spot on the site where you create a new online account. This is usually called 'online banking,' 'new user,' or something similar.
    4. Follow the steps on the website, such as entering your name, personal info, and account info.
    5. You're done!
  2. Make checking your account a habit

    How can you control your money if you don't know where it's going or where it's been? We check our accounts three days a week, or more often if you prefer, to know what we're spending, where we're spending it, and what payments are still out there. This also lets us catch money mistakes before they turn ugly!

    1. Get on the Internet and check your account. Look to be sure there's enough money to cover checks you've written, that there aren't any mysterious transactions, that all recent checks have cleared, and the overall picture of where your money is off to.
    2. Repeat #1 three days a week, for 2-3 weeks until it's a habit. Stick a post-it note on your computer screen to remind you, or write it on the calendar.
    3. You're done!
  3. Set up direct deposit for your income

    Direct deposit simply means that your paycheck is automatically deposited in your account electronically. Perhaps you have direct deposit in place already(hooray!), or maybe it was offered to you but you didn't want to take the time to set it up. Scratch that idea! Direct deposit will save you time, hassle, and potential worry over misplaced paychecks.

    1. Call your employer (or your spouse's employer) and ask for whoever sets up direct deposit of paychecks, or take some time to set it up while you are at work.
    2. Request a direct deposit form (or if possible, fill it out online.)
    3. When you get the form, fill it out, attach a voided check, and send it back.
    4. You're done!
  4. Figure out your monthly income

    It's amazing how many people don't really know how much money they make in a month, but still spend with reckless abandon! Well, we are not these people! We know what we make and where it comes from. This helps us to know where it can go.

    1. Go to your account online, or if your account is too new and doesn't have a month's worth of transactions, do it the old fashioned way by collecting a month's worth of paycheck stubs(luckily, you have online banking now and you won't have to do that again!).
    2. Add up all regular income from paychecks, plus any other steady income for the past month.
    3. You're done!
  5. Gather all your bills and statements into one place

    Alright, this step is easy and fun...but it does require a little 'oomph!' We are going to go around the house and gather up all the bills and statements scattered about. This way, we know what we need to pay and when, and nothing will sneak up on us. It takes just a few minutes!

    1. Get up from the computer.
    2. Check your purse, that spot on the counter or table where you mail collects(or for the semi-organized, your mail basket), your car...where ever they may be hiding!
    3. Get them all together and put them by the computer.
    4. You're done!
  6. Count up and email us the number of bills you have to pay

    Okay! Todays step can be hard, but you can do it. We are going to count the number of bills we have to pay so that we can begin to make them easier to pay with tomorrow's step...get excited!

    1. Find the pile of bills and statements you gathered yesterday. They are right by your computer...how handy!
    2. Count them.
    3. Be sure to count any credit card, utility, phone, or other bills you weren't able to find, but still pay.
    4. Hit "Reply" to this email, put the total number of bills you pay in the Subject line, and hit "Send."
    5. You're done!
  7. Set up automatic bill pay

    Another perk of online banking: they'll pay your bills for you! Well, they pay for them with your money, but isn't that nice of them to offer to save you so much time and hassle(as well as money on checks and stamps!), and prevent you from forgetting to pay those pesky bills altogether? We think so! Today you are going to set up JUST ONE bill to be automatically paid online. You'll never have to wonder if or when it's due again...you'll just check online and see that it's already been done! We'll set up one bill each day until all your bills are being paid online.

    1. Choose one bill from the pile of bills you have stashed right by your computer.
    2. Read the statement, looking for an option to pay online, by automatic deposit, or something similar. If nothing jumps out at you, try looking on the company's website or calling their customer service to ask.
    3. Follow the directions to set up auto bill pay with the company.
    4. You're done!

    1. Choose the bill from the pile of bills you have stashed right by your computer.
    2. Log into your online bank account.
    3. Select 'Bill Pay,' 'Pay Bills,' 'Auto Bill Pay' or where ever on the site you can set up automatic bill payment.
    4. Follow online instructions, including choosing account to draw from, company to pay, when, etc. NOTE: Depending on your bank, you may have to pay this bill online by hand each month. If this is the case, note on your calendar each month when to pay it...do it for the whole year right now so you don't forget!

    5. You're done!
  8. Optional Step: Set up online only statements

    Many of the companys that bill you will offer to decrease your mail load by putting your bills online or emailing them to you. Today's step is optional because we know that many of you like to have the hard copy of your bills for record keeping...no problem! However, if you choose to get your statements online only, you will save yourself clutter around the house, time spent filing, and-of course-trees!

    1. Choose one bill from the pile of bills you have stashed right by your computer.
    2. Read the statement, looking for the option to receive your statement online or by email. If nothing jumps out at you, try looking on the company's website or calling their customer service to ask.
    3. Follow the directions to receive your statements online.
    4. Repeat with the rest of your bills/statements. IF THIS TAKES YOU LONGER THAN 15 MINUTES (watch that clock!), STOP AT 15 MINUTES AND FINISH UP TOMORROW! We don't believe in getting overwhelmed by our finances!
    5. You're done!

Next-> Phase 2: Get Out of Debt

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