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.

Today's Two Cents:

A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.

--Jonathan Swift

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving

This post was featured at Stop The Ride, Being Frugal, Lightening, Pancake Recipes, Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, Harvest of Daily Life, and Alabama Frugal Mom.

Baked French Toast

The perfect dish for breakfast or brunch, this decadent french toast is made the night before. It easily feeds the masses and will have them asking for more.

Prep time: 15 Min
Cook time: 40 Min
Ready in: 10 Hrs

Servings: 9
Price per serving: $0.55


1 (1 pound) loaf French bread(day old is best), cut diagonally in 1 inch slices
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup


Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Dip bread into mixture and arrange the slices of bread in the bottom of the dish. Pour the remainder of the mixture over bread slices, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

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

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Long Distance Running and Personal Finance

This post was featured at The Skilled Investor.

We've all seen them: those early morning, up before the dawn, running in freezing cold or scorching hot conditions, dressed in funny clothing, die-hard runners. Incredulously, they seem to be enjoying it. Many people feel this same unbelief towards their money; they can't believe that they could enjoy running their finances the way those joggers enjoy running their daily route.

As a runner, and one who runs the family finances, I can tell you that it is possible! The more you know about your finances, the more fun it is to manage them. There is much to be learned about personal finance from long distance running:

It has to be done one step at a time. It's not possible to run any other way. The same is true of running your finances. If you think about all there is to do, it's easy to be overwhelmed. Instead, start with one small step--perhaps saving money in one new way, or learning a bit about investing--and build from there. Before you know it, you'll have covered miles.

It helps to find a mantra. A mantra is a commonly repeated word or phrase, literally an "instrument of thought," and is thought in Hinduism to contain "mystical potentialities." Mantras are very important during long runs; they are repeated over and over to get you through difficult stretches and help you find inner strength. Why not have a mantra for getting through difficult financial stretches? Our mantra is 'happiness is living beneath your means.' Choose your financial mantra and unlock the "mystical potentialities" of your money. Here are a few other ideas:
  • I will not be a slave to debt.
  • Make it automatic!
  • I want it, I don't need it.
  • I am responsible for how my money is used.
  • I control my money, it doesn't control me.
It takes time...sometimes a long time. I have run long distance races of varying lengths, but they all took time to complete. No matter how fast you run, you can't finish a race at the drop of a hat, and you can't fix your finances in a day. Deep in debt? It will take time to get out. Saving for retirement? That takes time, too. It once took me almost 4 hours to finish a race, but I did...and that's what matters.

Small investments up front make a big difference later. When you are new to running, the first advice you usually get is 'Get good shoes.' The small investment of new running shoes will result in big rewards: incentive to get out there and run, less and more minor injuries, faster recovery from lesser injuries, sticking to your routine longer, and finally fitness, weight-loss, etc. Likewise, investing now will allow your money to grow more than if you invested it later, with amazing results.

The more you do it, the easier it is. As much as I love to run, when I haven't done it in awhile, it hurts like mad! The same is true for learning about your finances. If you just read about it now and then, it can be confusing and overwhelming. If you find a way to learn regularly, you'll find that things make sense, stick with you, and become applicable to your financial life.

These running principles will lead you to financial fitness. And when you see how fun it can be to manage your money, perhaps you'll think about donning spandex for regular 5am runs in the middle of January. Then again...maybe not.
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An Overview of Tax Software

This post was featured at Don't Mess With Taxes.

"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes," said Benjamin Franklin. However, filing your taxes doesn't have to feel like death, or make you wish for it. Instead, the frugal and motivated filer can use tax software to do the hard work for them.

Tax software is specially designed to take the confusion and guess work out of filing your taxes. You still need to collect all those pesky forms and records, but the software helps you with the rest. They have a user friendly system of asking you a question, and then prompting you where to find the answer. You put in the information, and the software does the figuring and decision making about what to do next. Before you know it, your taxes are done! You then have the very doable task of either printing up the tax forms or even submitting them online for a faster return.

Many tax preparation programs have great features such as remembering your past tax returns, error checks, and more. Some even offer tax assistance on investments, retirement planning, and small businesses. There are several versions of tax software out there, and many of them are also available online. Here are some of the best:
  • Intuit TurboTax: This is one of the original and most popular programs. There are several versions available, depending on your tax needs. Cost is $20-$75. TurboTax can also be used online, with extra cost to e-file.

  • H&R Block TaxCut: A comprehensive program offered by the tax specialists. Cost is $20-$80. TaxCut can also be used online, with extra cost to e-file.

  • Free File through the IRS: While not technically a software program, Free File is a government program allowing individual taxpayers making less than $52,000 to file their federal taxes online for free. This is done through participating companies' online software programs. See their site for more information.

Want more information about different tax software? Check out the Online Tax Software Review at Top Ten Reviews, or Tax Preparation Software Reviews at ConsumerSearch.

Tax software is an easy method for filing your taxes, saving you time and money. For those with complicated taxes, a tax professional should always be consulted. However, the average filer will be greatly rewarded by using tax software.

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