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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.

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving

Simple Beef Stroganoff

Another hearty meal, this dish comes together in a snap for those hectic nights. If you get any of the ingredients on sale, this meals is even more inexpensive.

Prep time: 20 Min
Cook time: 10 Min
Ready in: 30 Min

Servings: 4
Price per servings: $1.16


1 (8 ounce) package egg noodles
1 pound ground beef
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup (fat free works, too!)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the egg noodles according to package directions and set aside.

In a separate large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned. Drain the fat and add the soup and garlic powder. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and combine the meat mixture with the egg noodles. Add the sour cream, stirring well, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Check back each Friday for more inexpensive recipes for around $1 per serving!

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What Does it Mean to be Financially Secure?

This post was featured as a guest post at Polliwog's Pond, and was featured at I've Paid for This Twice Already, Millionaire Mommy Next Door, Girl's Just Wanna Have Funds, The Dividend Guy, FIRE Finance, and Change Therapy.

Financial security has as many definitions as there are candidates for the upcoming presidential election. For some, it's vaguely 'being a millionaire.' For others, it's having an income that's greater than what they have now. And for seemingly millions of people, it's winning the lottery.

Rather than a specific quantity of money, I believe that financial security is living by certain principles. Imagine financial security as a great tent. It keeps you warm, dry, and protected as long as the ropes and stakes holding it up stay in place. If a rope comes free, the tent can't do it's job as well. Financial security is knowing that if a rope or stake comes loose, you'll be able to repair it, and restore stability to your tent.
For me, and I dare say for many, these ropes and stakes are as follows:

1. Financial security is knowing that you can earn money if you need to. Can you get and keep a job? Are you able to create a stream of income that comes when you aren't working? Do you have the skills or training to work if the need arises? Whatever your method, being able to generate your own income is an important part of being financially secure. Many people depend on a spouse as the main income earner, which is great when you both work together. But should you encounter one of the three Ds--death, divorce, disability--are you in a position to make money on your own?

If you answered 'no,' take some time to think about how you can learn to earn an income; through formal education, certification, self-taught investing, starting a small business...there are a myriad of ways; which one works for you? It's easier to learn to do these things while you can plan for them and share the financial load, rather than if you are suddenly on your own.

2. Financial security is knowing that you are debt-free. This one seems like a no brainer. If you don't owe money to anyone, you are unrestrained and secure...and free to use your money the way you want to. Paying off debt can be a long, hard process, but have you ever met anyone who is out of debt that says, "I wish I still owed that money!"? Of course not! Make a promise to yourself today that you are going to fix that part of your tent--quit racking up debt, and instead, start paying it off.

3. Financial security is knowing that you can control your spending. This is a vital skill in life. Controlling your spending doesn't mean that you have to live a draconian life and not spend a dime. On the contrary, it means spending when it counts, and not spending when it doesn't. Even people with millions of dollars have ended up broke, because they didn't know how to spend less than they earn. Happiness is living beneath your means.

4. Financial security is knowing how to save for things you want. Because you don't take on needless debt, and you control your spending to be within your means, does that mean you can't have any fun? No! Saving your money to get something you enjoy is an enjoyable process in itself. There is a great feeling of accomplishment when you are able to purchase something special, free and clear. Delayed gratification also has it's own reward; would Christmas or a birthday be half as fun without all that anticipation?
If there is something you want, but can't afford right now, make a plan to save for it. Putting money aside for it in a methodical manner will get you to your goal before you know it, and give you financial self-confidence as well.

5. Financial security is knowing the people you love and things that are important to you are protected against big uncertainties. We can't predict what will happen in the future, we can only be prepared for it. Insurance is the name of the game here. Insurance is a necessity for protecting your loved ones, and for protecting your money. A major catastrophe can leave you in financial ruins. Learn about your insurance needs, or talk to someone you trust, and take care of them. That's how you take care of your loved ones, and your money.

6. Financial security is knowing that when you retire, you'll have money to live on. Retirement is far away for many(or it seems far away), so it's easy to put off thinking about it. This is a mistake! Time is your greatest ally when it comes to getting ready for retirement: more time means more money socked away, and more compounding on interest you are earning. There are endless resources out there for preparing for retirement. Choose one and get going so your golden years can be truly golden.

When you consider these six principles, you see that financial security is not having loads of money. It's living in a way that gives you control over your money and allows you to use it to make your life enjoyable.

Read this great poem, Nobody writes poetry about financial security, for another perspective. What does financial security mean to you?

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Today's Two Cents:

More than seven-in-ten Americans say they worry about money.

--Pew Research Center

Ways to Save Money: Entertainment

This post was featured at The Loco Mono Website and A Child Chosen.

We all like to have fun, but some of our favorite forms of entertainment are also the most costly. You can have fun and save money. Here are a few ideas:

  • Borrow movies rather than renting them. Watching movies at home is a great way to spend time with your loved ones. If you rent one movie a week, it can really start to add up, not to mention late fees. A cheaper alternative is to borrow movies from friends, or the local library. If you absolutely can't give up the latest releases, find a RedBox in your area. You can rent the newest DVDs for just $1 per evening. Potential savings: $125-$175 per year.
  • Give up your satellite or cable TV. The average price for expanded cable is $42.76 per month, and even more for digital cable. Satellite television can run from $20-$90 per month, and that's not including installation fees, or the cost of the equipment. If you aren't locked into a contract with your provider, consider giving up the cable or satellite TV. If you are locked into a contract, weigh the difference between cancelling, and just letting your contact expire. Let's be honest, with all those channels, is there every really anything worth watching on? Try the basic channels, and you'll find that you get used to it very quickly and are satisfied. Potential savings: $240-$1080 per year.
  • Go out to eat one less time each month. Eating out is an American pastime these days, and our shrinking savings and growing waistlines can attest to that. When you eat in, you eat an average of 50% less than at a restaurant, and you save dollars per serving. If you eat out just one less time each month, you'll save money and calories. If you absolutely can't give up eating out, think about going out to lunch, rather than dinner. Many restaurants serve lunch until 4pm, with savings of around $2-$3 per dish. Potential savings: $48-$360 per year.
  • Go to the movies one less time each month. It's no secret that movies are a money-making business, but with ticket prices topping $10 in some parts of the country, the industry is taking a lot of your money. By cutting out just one theater visit per month, you'll be able to keep your wallet a little fatter. If you absolutely can't give up your movie theater experience, consider going to the matinees for about 2/3 the price. Potential savings: $80-$240 per year.
  • Borrow magazines from the library. Did you know that your local library has a subscription to dozens of popular magazines. You can read the latest issue right there at the library, or check out past issues to take home with you. Depending on how many magazines you buy, and which ones, your library could help you realize big savings. Potential savings: $20-$200 per year.

Entertainment doesn't have to cost you a bundle. You can save a lot of money and still have a great time. How do you save money on entertainment?