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 End of This Blog

Well, I've become a statistic. I've become one of those bloggers who starts their site and then gives it up after a few months. Yes, the simple nickle will be no more, at least not in it's current, active form.

"Why?" you ask. Well, the short answer is 'time.'

The long answer is that I don't have the time to devote to this blog that I want to. I barely had the time to post regularly, but I made it work. However, to have a successful blog you must do more than just post. You must create a network and community, promote your blog in a variety of venues, learn to ins and outs of blog web design, learn about online marketing, respond to and engage your readers, etc, etc, etc.

As a mother of two young children, the wife of a busy MBA student, and someone with many other interests outside of blogging, I just can't give this blog everything it needs without feeling like I'm neglecting other important things. Which is sort of a let-down, because I really liked doing it!

The other consideration is that my target audience--people who don't know much about finances, are overwhelmed by it's sometimes complex presentation, or those who don't know where to start--seem to be in those situations by choice. If that weren't so, this blog would have been wildly popular with all those who claim the above reasons for not having finanial security. I just didn't feel like I was really helping the people I wanted to. Or I'm just not that engaging of a blogger, which I can also admit.

The long answer finished, I'm sad to see it end...so I've decided to become a pseudo-blogger, for lack of a better word. I will probably write and post articles occasionally, and I would like to help other financial bloggers out by offering them as guest posts, for FREE, if there is interest. We all need a day off now and then, right? I will leave the blog up for anyone who has found it useful to come back to, but there won't be much new content.

To my RSS subscribers, let me also recommend some other great financial blogs to check out:

(There are many other great blogs out there, but I've found theses to be helpful, fun, and welcoming. Enjoy!)

To my SYSTEM subscribers, the whole program is posted, so feel free to continue the simple steps...you will just need a bit more self-discipline to do them without the email reminders!

Overall, it was a great experience. I learned that I really enjoy this kind of writing and want to continue doing it. I learned that there are many talented financial bloggers out there who I will continue to read and learn from. I can cross off one more thing from my 'Things To Do Before I Die List.' I can say 'Thanks!' to everyone who supported and benefitted from the site, and wish you well on your financial journeys, where ever they may take you.

Tips for Mixing Finances and Family

Growing up, my family didn't talk about money very much. It's not that is was taboo, it was just not a common topic of conversation. We had occasional discussions about saving, credit cards, spending, allowance, and things of that nature.

Most of what I have learned about money came later, on my own, when I realized there were better ways to manage my money. What a waste of my youth! The formative years with the family are a prime time to learn about finance. And with the family being the central unit in our society, who better to learn about and work out your finances with?

That being said, talking about money and such isn't always easy. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Talk about money with everyone in the family...meaning spouse and kids. Don't think that anyone is too young, not interested, not smart enough, etc. Give them a chance to understand, and they'll surprise you. Money can be extremely interesting(you're reading this post, aren't you?).

Have common financial goals. You and your spouse should be on the same page when it comes to retirement, but have you ever discussed it? Your retirement might not be interesting to the kids, but what about a family vacation? Make a date with the family to talk about what kinds of goals you have for your money, or if you don't have any goals yet, make some.
Give the kids/spouse a reason to be on board. This ties in with the goal setting. How does managing the money in the house affect them? They need reasons to want to save their money, work hard, learn about finances, etc. It's helpful to outline how good finances affect them personally, as well as as a part of the family. For example, your 16 year old will want to know that consistently saving will eventually get him or her that car. Your college student should know that their credit history will follow them for years, and can hurt Mom and Dad if they're on a joint account.

Teach money skills and thinking. We deal with money everyday, so there are a plethora of opportunities to teach financial managment skills. Do you teach your children what you're doing when you pay the bills? How about when you use your credit card to make a purchase? Does you spouse know anything about your investment plan, or you path to getting out of debt? Take these daily moments and use them! You'll be amazed at how much easier it is to teach in the moment than out of the blue.

Here are some more ideas from a neat series by other financial bloggers, and one of my own:

Family and finances should go hand-in-hand. I think that following these simple tips would result in less failed marriages, more debt-free young adults , and more financial confidence in kids, all things in short supply right now. How do you talk about money with your family?
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Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

This healthy soup is delicious and exciting...and did I mention how easy it is? Just dump everything and go, and by dinner time you have an amazing meal waiting for you.

Prep time: 10 min.
Ready in: 6-8 hours

Servings: 8
Price per serving: $.65


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (frozen or thawed)
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes(lime and cilantro or mexican style preferred)
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours. Serve hot with sour cream and tortilla chips.

Investing: Where Do I Start?

Investing is something that anyone-yes, even you-can learn to do. But where do you start? The beginning is always a very good place. Answer the following questions and you'll be on your way down the exciting investment path:

How much high-interest debt do you have?

The answer should be 'none.' The reason for this is that you are not ready to invest if you can't afford to spend the money you are shelling out. Compound interest, or interest paid on money already earned as well as on the original money, will work against you when you have high-interest debt. Instead, you want it to work for you.

How much money do you have to invest?

Knowing this will help you to figure out your options. Some investments require a certain amount of money to start investing. Others have no minimum requirement. When you know how much you have, you can choose accordingly. If you aren't lucky enough to have a large chunk of money just laying around, you can accumulate one over time. Begin by automatically paying yourself a set amount each month through direct deposit or transfer. Pay yourself as much as you can, and in no time, you will have a sizable sum to invest with.

How much risk can you take?

Investing means risking. However, the amount of risk is up to you. Generally, the greater the risk, the greater the possibility of return, and vice versa. It's also generally true that the more time you have to hold the investment, the more risk you can handle because you can weather the ups and downs. It is so important to be honest with yourself on this question. Investing is a life long process, and you don't want to make yourself sick over it.

Are you investing for the short or long term?

Unfortunately, we don't all begin investing when we are in junior high. You may be 5 years from retirement, or 50. You may need your money at any moment, or not for another 20 years. Knowing what and when you are investing for will help you determine the best investment options for you, and those decisions ought to change over time with your needs.

Are you ready to learn a little?

All good investing requires a little research. It is never wise to blindly follow advice about what to do with your money. Luckily, it's easy to learn about investing. A great place to start is at Yahoo! Finance online. They have more information about finances than you can shake a stick at, much of it aimed at those new to investing. Another good place is The Motley Fool, at fool.com, where they give you the basics with a sense of humor.

For those less inclined to the Internet, there are endless books about the subject. Personal Finance for Dummies is an excellent first source. If your employer offers retirement plans, that can be a great place to get your investing feet wet. You can quickly gain a good understanding of investment from these sources.

If you've decided that you're ready to start investing, you're already well on your way. Add action to that determination, and you're ready to get your money growing.

What kinds of things have kept you from investing?

Articles you might also enjoy:

What is an Investment Vehicle?

How To Build a Financial Safety Net

What is Interest? A Story of Grasshopper and Wise Master

Mom's Blogging Carnival!

Welcome to the February 18, 2008 edition of Mom's Blogging Carnival. Thank you to all the talented writers who submitted articles for this edition. We received 46 submissions and 30 of these have been accepted for publication in this edition of the carnival. A big thank you to Deborah for allowing me to host this edition. Happy reading and happy blogging!

Dawn Adams presents Homeschooler. Homemaker. Feminist? posted at Day by Day Homeschooling.

Micellaneous Mum presents Premenstrual Syndrome for (ex)beginners posted at Miscellaneous Adventures of an Aussie Mum, saying, "PMS is a nasty time in the month for any woman!"


Lightening presents The Birth of a Mother posted at Lightening Online, saying, "Some reflections on the birth of my firstborn, 10 years to the day after he came into the world."


Louise Manning presents Maternal skills posted at The Human Imprint.

Pat B. Doyle presents How I Increased My Feedburner Subscriber Number By 47% In One Day posted at Pat B. Doyle.

Carole Fogarty presents Your Wealth Location for 2008: posted at THE HEALTHY LIVING LOUNGE, saying, "The East location of your home carries an auspicious energy this year which can attract abundance and prosperity into your life and we all need a little bit of that."

Andrea J. Stenberg, The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur presents De-cluttering Your Mental Spaces posted at The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur by Andrea J. Stenberg, saying, "Worry and unfinished tasks create mental clutter that kill our productivity."


Joanne presents 10 Adoption Profile Tips posted at Forever Parents.

Angela presents Applying a Firmer Hand With Greater Love: Supporting the Strong-Willed Child posted at Reality Testing, saying, "My first child? She helped me develop some confidence as a parent. My second one? She keeps my ego in check. Parenting a strong-willed child, I've learned, can be a nightmare or a blessing of sorts. The choice is really mine."


Peta Fletcher presents 15 Tips For Losing Weight After A Twin Pregnancy posted at Twin Blog.


The Simple Nickle presents Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Dark Molten Chocolate Cakes posted at the simple nickle, saying, "These individual chocolates cakes are perfect for Valentine's Day or another special occasion: simple, delicious, and always impressive."

Tea Party Girl presents Would You Help Me Answer a Question? posted at Tea Party Girl, saying, "I talk about my struggle running a home and ask for feedback from your readers on the number one problem they face running a home."


What Works For Us presents Purge-atory posted at What Works For Us.

VH presents Friday Frugal Crafts: Kiddie Pottery...or Parents' Deco Tiles posted at Funny about Money.

Holly Ord presents Do You Know What’s in Your Cosmetics? posted at Woman Tribune.

Tali presents The Veil Fetish Pinup posted at The Pinup Shop Blog, saying, "A lot of noise has been raised in the feminist and Muslim communities over the art of Makan Emadi and the appearance of a new “misogynistic male fantasy”: Veil Fetish"

Customized Girl presents Best Spring Break for your Buck! posted at CustomizedGirl Blog, saying, "This article has some great ideas on how to save money for spring break."


Cellobella presents How to know if you’re a good mother posted at SultanaBlog, saying, "Reflections on the importance of giving young mothers positive feedback and how lonely it is as a new mom."

Renae presents Preserving Sanity posted at Life Nurturing Education.

Joanne presents Adoption Life Books posted at Forever Parents, saying, "Your childs lifebook is their story. It's their past, present and future. It's a record of their life though words, photographs, memorbilia, artwork and more. There is no wrong way to do a lifebook. It's really more of a concept."

Our Blogs presents Raising Boys and Protecting Their Feelings posted at A Guide to Raising Great Kids.

Carole G. McKay presents A Blind Eye posted at McKay Today, saying, "A lifesaving message."

Tracy presents Dear Paige posted at Mommy Weirdest.


Karen Alonge presents thoughts on breaking up posted at postcards from nowhere.

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips - A Day With No Valentine posted at Tip Diva, saying, "Hey, you. Are you going to be single and alone for Valentine’s Day? Yes? Well, you don’t have to mope around. Whether you usually like the day or think it’s some Hallmark conspiracy, a single night doesn’t have to go to waste. Here’s how to make a no-date Valentine’s Day great."


Christine presents Our Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) Travel Plans posted at Me, My Kid and Life: An American Single Mom Living in France.

Debbie Dubrow presents DeliciousBaby Journal Watching Myself on the News posted at Delicious Baby, saying, "How an article on my blog about old, damaged child safety seats at an international rental car agency spawned two undercover news investigations and lead to a sweeping change in that company's corporate policy."

Marsha_tm presents Romance without Reservations, LA Style posted at Kango Blog, saying, "Romantic getaways aren't just for Valentine's Day. And sometimes they don't take a lot of planning, either..."


Rebecca Suzanne Dean presents How To Research 5 Times Faster posted at Rebecca Dean.

Sophia Levis presents How I made $45,624.08 Last Year Writing on the Internet posted at Sophia's Blog, saying, "Sophia Levis talks about her life as a work-at-home mom, how she has experienced success in her career, and how others can experience the same."

That concludes this edition. The next edition of the carnival is scheduled for March 3, 2008 and will be hosted at Go Girlfriend - Travel With Confidence. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Mom's Blogging Carnival using our Carnival Submission Form.Past posts and future hosts can be found on our Blog Carnival Index Page.

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Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Creamy Cilantro Dressing on Salad

This post was featured at This Wasn't in The Plan, A Pot of Gold, and World Famous Recipes.

Creamy Cilantro Dressing on Salad

BEWARE! This is the best salad dressing you've ever had. It can be highly addictive, and goes well on more than just salad: fajitas, as a dip for veggies or bread, etc. Did I mention that it's fast and easy, too? This recipe is much cheaper in the summer when you make the salad from scratch, or if you get any of the special ingredients on sale.

Prep time: 10 min.
Ready in: 10 min.

Servings: 8
Price per serving: $1.14


For salad:
2 bags of pre-made salad

For dressing:
1 package Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch dressing mix
2 medium tomatillos

1/2 cup mayonaise
juice of 2 limes, or to taste
1/4 bunch of cilantro, or to taste
1/2 jalapeno pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Pour salad into bowl. Throw all the dressing ingedients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Dressing will thicken a bit as it sits. To adjust thickness, either add milk(thinner) or sour cream(thicker). This recipe is very flexible according to your taste; for example: we like ours loaded with cilantro, but others may not.

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

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

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Baked French Toast

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Simple Beef Stroganoff

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Butternut Squash Soup

Spending POP QUIZ: Food

This post was featured at The Skilled Investor and Frugal Law Student.

The last thing you thought your were going to get on this site is a pop quiz. If you're having a flashback to high school, don't be dismayed. This one isn't graded. In fact, no one will know your score except you.

Even though your grade on this quiz isn't public, it does give you useful information that can help improve your financial life, and by corollary, your life in general. Come closer, take a deep breath, relax, and take our little quiz:

Open up your Mint online account(read more about Mint), or online checking and credit card accounts, or grab your statements from last month. Use a rough estimate to answer the following questions:

  1. How much money did you spend on eating out last month?

  2. How much did you spend on groceries?
  3. How much did you spend on lunch for the kids?

  4. How much did you and/or your spouse spend on lunch while at work?

And you're done! That wasn't so bad, was it?

Now, let's use our knowledge for good. Were you surprised at what you spent? Where did you do well? Where can you spend less? What are you going to do with that extra money? Important questions, powerful answers.

For example, last month I see that we spent $48 on fast food. That averages out to be about once a week for our family. That's more than I realized! If I ate fast food half as often, I would save about $25 a month. Using this handy calculator, I found that in two years, that $25 a month could turn into $653. Over ten years it could become $4,604, and over thirty years it could become $37,507! That is one habit that really pays off, and we'd be healthier, too.

I'm not the only one who has discovered how much we can save by making adjustments to our food bill:

Have you found other great ways to save on your food bill? How did you do it? What was the result?

Our little quiz is now done, and unlike high school, the outcome was really quite helpful. How did you do?

Articles you might also enjoy:

Top Ten Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

How To Curb Impulse Buying

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Dar...

Does Your Costco Card Really Save You Money?

Does Your Costco Card Really Save You Money?

This post was featured at Broke Grad Student, Frugal Law Student, Modern Sage, All For Women, Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest Of The Time I Know You?, WESH2 Orlando, The Money Blogs, and Pinching Copper.

I was at Costco recently and was told it was time to renew my yearly membership. I obliged, having a cart of things I needed to purchase, but that $50 membership fee really shocks a frugal person like me.

The renewal got me thinking: is my Costco membership worth $50 dollars? Are most people's memberships? I decided to do the math.

First, the rules:

  • I only considered the kinds of things I regularly buy from Costco. Although it's probably true that you can get a load of laminate flooring at a better price than a flooring store, this is not something I can count on buying anytime soon. I didn't count the kinds of things I rarely buy there either, like ketchup and toilet paper, since Costco makes you buy enough to last for years.

  • I compared the prices at Costco to the cheapest prices I could find elsewhere. If I can buy something for less outside of Costco, I will.

  • I also did just rough estimates of how often I buy the things I do. For this exercise, I'm too lazy to go back through my purchases from a whole year.

  • Finally, we are a family of 4, including a toddler and a baby.

Regular purchases made at Costco versus somewhere else:

Milk: 2 gallons at $5.16 vs 1 gallon at $2.98 at grocery store. Savings of $.40 per gallon, about $60 per year.

Formula: 2 cans at $17 vs 1 can at $11 at Wal-Mart. Savings of $2.50 per can, about $180 per year.

Diapers: 200 diapers for $35 vs $19 for 92 diapers at Wal-Mart. Savings of $.03 per diaper, about $72 per year.

Gas: $2.88 per gallon vs $2.95 per gallon at Sinclair or Maverik. Savings of $.07 per gallon, about $60 per year. (I want to note here that we can easily get gas from Costco without going out of our way. If that weren't the case, I'm not sure it would make a real difference.)

Baby Wipes: 8 packages(88 count) at $15.49 vs 1 package at $2 at Wal-Mart. Savings of $.07 per package, about $1 per year. (This one sort of made me laugh, but a dollar's a dollar, right?)

Total Annual Savings: $373
Less membership fee: -$50
Net Savings: $323

Wow! What a difference one store can make! I knew there was a reason I loved Costco other than their $1.50 hot dog/soda combo.

Obviously, we get the majority of our savings from the fact that we have a baby. But even if we bought just milk and gas alone, we would still save much more than the cost of the membership. As our family grows, I anticipate buying more of our groceries from there as well, taking advantage of the bulk quantities. And although I didn't count big ticket items, over time, the savings would really add up. I guess we are destined to be long-time (satisfied) Costco customers.

Articles you might also enjoy:

Finally! An EASY Way to Track Money and Spending

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5 Smart Financial Moves for Teens

Retirement Savings: What If You Get Divorced?

Ways to Save Money: Beauty and Fashion

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!

Articles you might also enjoy:

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Baked French Toast

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Simple Beef Stroganoff

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Cheap Eats: Recipes for Around $1 Per Serving: Butternut Squash Soup

Top Ten Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

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.

Articles you might also enjoy:

How To Build a Financial Safety Net

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Fix Your Finances in 15 Minutes a Day

What is Interest? A Story of Grasshopper and Wise Master

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!

Articles you might also enjoy:

An Overview of Tax Software

How To Curb Impulse Buying

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Today's Two Cents:

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

--Jonathan Swift