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.

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Dark Molten Chocolate Cakes

This post was featured at Health Plans Plus and It's all for the best.

Dark Molten Chocolate Cakes

These individual chocolates cakes are perfect for Valentine's Day or another special occasion: simple, delicious, and always impressive. They can be made ahead, too. Watch a helpful How-To Video over at kraftfoods.com.

Prep time: 15 min

Ready in: 30 min

Servings: 6
Price per serving: $1.20


1 pkg. (6 squares) Baker's Bittersweet Baking Chocolate
10 Tbsp. butter
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks


PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Grease six 6-oz. custard cups or souffle dishes. Place on baking sheet.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on MEDIUM (50%) 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar and flour; mix well. Add whole eggs and egg yolks; beat until well blended. Divide batter evenly into prepared custard cups. At this point, you can cover the cups and keep them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Remove and let stand one hour before baking.)

BAKE 14 to 15 min. or until cakes are firm around the edges but still soft in the centers. Do not overbake! Let stand 1 min. Run small knife around cakes to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Sprinkle lightly with additional powdered sugar and garnish with raspberries, or top with whipped topping, if desired. Serve warm.

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

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What is an Investment Vehicle?

Investing uses all kinds of strange and complicated words and phrases to describe perfectly simple things. One of these often used phrases is 'investment vehicle.' When I first heard this phrase, visions of Ferraris danced in my head. While it's true that some cars will increase in value after you buy them, that isn't quite what that phrase means in the investing world.

It's a strange phrase, but has a simple meaning...and we like when things are simple!

According to Investopedia, an investment vehicle is "in general, any method by which to invest." So why don't they call it an 'investment method?' The world may never know.

Basically, an investment vehicle is a place to put money. Examples are stocks, mutual funds, bonds, money markets, real estate, etc. An investment vehicle could even be a business of your own or a collectible such as jewelry or art. Remember it like this: an investment vehicle is a way to drive your money on to bigger and better things.

Investment vehicles are as diverse as motor vehicles. Some are flashy, risky, exciting, and even dangerous. Others are steady, safe, and will be sure to get you where you want to go. As in life, a Porsche (or a single hot stock) can really get your heart racing, but when you need to get the kids to soccer practice (or pay for their college), a minivan is more practical.

How you choose your investment vehicles is up to you. It depends on your situation, risk tolerance, amount of money, goals, and other factors. You can ask a professional advisor, or better yet, you can choose them yourself by learning about this fascinating and exciting subject. Of course, knowing what an investment vehicle is is a great place to start.

If you want to learn more about investing, but don't know where to start, join our SYSTEM. Phase 5 is all about investing, and will get your started with daily simple steps.

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Finally! An EASY Way to Track Money and Spending

This post was featured at The Financial Blogger and A Pot of Gold.

The first financial advice usually given when you want to better control your money is 'track everything you spend.' There are tips for writing it down, spreadsheets, organizing receipts, software programs, etc.

What do these methods all have in common? They are a major pain! They are tedious! They can be confusing and unappealing! Are these attributes conducive to forming a habit? No.

For those reasons, I have never been a fan of personally tracking every single thing you spend...until now. Some people with my same feelings and observations, and a lot of tech know-how, came up with a better way. It's called Mint, at mint.com. (I would like to point out here that I am not getting paid to write about this site. I genuinely think it's great and want to review it so others can get their mitts on this amazing service.) Now, where were we?

Mint is truly 'refreshing,' as they say on the site, making money management easy, fast, and--dare I say it?--fun. It's a web-based application for keeping up with your finances, making it easy to access from anywhere you have the Internet, and automatically up-to-date on all transactions (you don't have to update it yourself, hooray!). It has oodles of great features:

Free: I wouldn't have even considered it if it were otherwise.

Fast: I signed up and had a full breakdown of my expenses, my balances, where I spent where, and more in less than 3 minutes. This alone is a marvel. Beyond that, you merely log in with your email address, and in less than 30 seconds you can check your financial health. When it's that quick, you can easily check it every day...a great habit that will improve your finances immensely.

Easy: All I had to know was my email address, my zip code, and my account numbers and passwords for my bank(s) and credit cards. I didn't have to search around the site to figure things out either; it's easier than email.

Safe: The site is big on security and privacy, using the latest technology available, and not asking for any personal information. Their site interfaces directly with the service provider your bank or credit card company use, so those at Mint don't even see your information. You can read more about their security here.

All-knowing: Well, not really, but it puts your information together in such a way that you learn more about your finances than you thought possible in such a short amount of time. It tells you:

  • how much you have in each account.
  • how much debt you have and where it is.
  • where you spent everything you spent by check, debit or credit card (obviously, it can't track where you spend cash, but it can tell you when and where you received cash).
  • when big transactions have gone through, and when checks have cleared.
  • if something out of the ordinary has happened in any of your accounts.
  • how much you spent in different categories (for example: how much you spent last month on groceries, or how much your utilities cost for the past three months).
  • how your spending compares to others in your area, state, and the nation.
  • what your budget might look like (yes! It creates a budget for you!).
  • and oh so much more!

Truly, Mint is a brilliant site. It has a couple of drawbacks, but really only a couple. Currently, it cannot link to investment or loan accounts, but I believe that service is forthcoming. Also, the site comes up with customized ways to save money, but these usually resemble sales pitches from financial institutions. In its defense, Mint's suggestions probably would really save you money, and the site has to make a living somehow.

For the first time, I am easily and quickly tracking my spending. It has already positively impacted our family finances. Now that you know about this site, you have no more excuses for not knowing where your money has gone. But rather than feeling like a chore, it feels great!

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