Angry Birds FHE

As I was playing on Pinterest a few months ago I came across an idea for a Family Home Evening lesson using Angry Birds as a way to teach children to control their emotions.  Since I have little children and a smartphone, Angry Birds is obviously something that gets played A LOT in our household and I knew this would be a hit.  I found the lesson on The Home Teacher and her original lesson plan is here.  She has also taken the time to put together some awesome resources, including a follow up post with more birds and lots of printables including posters and workbook pages.  The whole thing is awesome and I was excited to do it for my boys for FHE.

For Christmas this last year my sister-in-law gave us a flannel board and a bunch of flannel board stories for FHE.  Sam now thinks of FHE as a flannel board story time so I knew the lesson would go best if I were to make the Angry Birds into something that would go on our flannel board.  So I took all of the bird images and put them in a single page format so I could print them onto an iron on transfer.  The lesson that night was a little scattered because I was working off of my memory of what I had read in the blog posts.  As part of a project I’m working on right now I decided to write out a concise, easy-to-use FHE outline that had all the main ideas from The Home Teacher’s blog posts as well as an assigned opening and closing song, a shortened link for an idea to make your own version of an Angry Birds game using paint, cans and a dodgeball, and a treat suggestion.  Basically I wanted to make it so you could print out the outline and have an almost zero-prep FHE lesson.

Anyways, I finished that off and decided to share the fruits of my labors here.  I’ve included the outline, the single page formatted visuals and the visuals reversed (for iron-on transfer).  If you aren’t using the lesson on a flannel board or some other small format I really suggest The Home Teacher’s posters as they have a lot more detail and are just plain prettier.  I also highly recommend reading through her blog posts on the lesson as they explain her ideas in a lot more detail (my main goal was to make the lesson plan fit on one page front and back so I had to pare it down a lot).

This has become Sam’s favorite FHE lesson, whenever we pull out the binder he asks us to do the Angry Birds lesson again.  Not just because it’s a fun topic though, he really knows what we have each of the birds representing and names the birds by their lesson names when he’s playing the game too!  I hope you enjoy this as much as we have!

I just want to say thanks again to Keri at The Home Teacher for all the effort she put into putting this lesson together in the first place, and for the permission to share it again here!

2012 Primary Theme Printables

For those of you who might not know, I’m currently in the primary presidency of our ward.  I’ve been emailing out printables to the parents of our primary children each month that have the theme and scripture for the month that they can print out and hang in their homes.  Our biggest goal as a presidency is to find ways to help the parents in our ward to teach and discuss gospel principles with their children in their homes.  We realized that often the parents don’t even know what we’re talking about each month!  So we made these posters so the monthly theme and scripture can become a focal point of their study and interactions with their children.

The printables aren’t anything really fancy, just a themed seasonal border and the theme and scripture nicely formatted inside.  I went through the other day and finished making printables for the rest of the year so I thought I would post them here in case someone else finds them useful.  I didn’t start making these until April so I’m sorry if you were hoping for posters for the whole year.  If people really want ones for January, February and March I could probably put some together, I just didn’t think it would be worth the effort to do it.  I’m hoping to make new ones for 2013 as soon as the Sharing Time manual gets posted and I’ll put those up as soon as I make them.  Please feel free to share these with anyone who might find these helpful, I always appreciate a link back if you do 🙂

Mint.com

My dad is a CPA, as such he taught me early on the importance of tracking your spending and reconciling all of your credit card statements etc.  He and my mom always used Quicken to track all of their spending.  I remember every month when my mom would get have to go through and make sure they had entered all of their transactions and reconcile their credit card bills.  So, when I got old enough to have my own computer it also came with a copy of Quicken and I started to track my own finances as well.  I think i did pretty well through at least the first few years of college, and then when Eric and I got married I kept meaning to get us all set up with Quicken and never did.

Finally, after we’d been married for about a year I went online to see if I could get an updated version of Quicken.  It seemed like in the 5 years since I’d first installed Quicken there was probably a version that at least ran faster.  I was in for a surprise!  Not only did they have newer versions of Quicken, but they had an online version that could be used for free!  Since I’m a big fan of things that are online and free, and Quicken is a brand that I trust I decided to check it out.  I fell in love.  All I had to do was enter in credentials for our various bank accounts, 401ks, credit cards etc. and all of my transactions were imported instantly.  No more reconciling statements, my statements were imported, and categorized automatically!  I was thrilled.

Within a few months Quicken bought out a company called Mint.com and started having them take over their online financial tracking solution.  What was already awesome got even better, better budget tracking, setting up goals, better algorithms for automatically categorizing transactions etc.  I immediately started telling my family that they needed to get set up with Mint.com.  My brother and sister did so and also loved what they found.  I actually thought that my mom had switched over to Mint from their desktop Quicken solution until a few weeks ago.  I had spouted off to her many many times about how much I loved Mint and how wonderful it was, but apparently she hadn’t entirely believed me.  A couple weeks ago my mom called me up and said “Why didn’t you tell me how easy and useful Mint is?!?”  The answer was… I had 🙂  She had fallen behind on their Quicken tracking and it was time to either start over with Quicken or switch to Mint.  She decided to give Mint a try and was instantly hooked.  She had it all set up in less than an hour and was able to look at their budget in a whole new way!

So why do I love Mint so much?  Here’s a basic overview of what Mint can do:

Spending Trends – Have you ever looked at your bank balances and wondered where all of your money went?  Mint provides easy to read graphs that break down how your money is being spent.  When I first got this set up I was shocked to see that we had spent over $400 one month on eating out.  Granted I was working full time and pregnant and sick with Sam at the time, but I was appalled to see how the nights that I hadn’t felt up to cooking added up.

Budgeting – So, now you know how much you spend, how to fix places where you’re spending too much?  Mint makes it really easy to set up a budget and stick to it.  They even suggest amounts based on your current spending so you don’t have to guess what a reasonable amount is.  You can set up budgets that occur every month, or on any sort of schedule during the year.  You can set up your budgets to roll over each month or not.  They also keep track of whether your budget amounts exceed your monthly income.  Plus you can set up your account to email or text you if you go over budget in any category.

Goals – We all have financial goals.  Whether it’s paying off credit cards, saving for a house or building up your emergency fund there’s something that you want to do with your money.  Mint makes it super easy to track these goals and help you make a plan to achieve them.  Just decide what kind of goal you have, pick an account to associate it with and then make the plan.  Mint will help you decide how much you need to budget each month to achieve your goal and tell you if you fall off track.

Another reason I use Mint is it helps me detect any fraudulent charges on my accounts.  Back in February I was going through our accounts and noticed a charge from Match.com – which obviously if either Eric or I were signing up for was a bit of a problem.  Someone had gotten a hold of our credit card numbers and was making charges to fake companies.  They weren’t huge charges though so if I hadn’t been paying attention I probably wouldn’t have noticed $30 here and $15 there.  But because I was watching we were able to put a stop to those charges before they escalated.

One of the major questions I had when I first found Mint is how are they making money off of this?  Nothing on the internet is truly free, someone is paying for it somewhere, and before handing my financial information over to someone I wanted to know what the “catch” was.  Mint makes it’s money through targeted advertising.  They’ll notice if you have an old 401k account that’s charging you maintenance fees an make a suggestion for another company that won’t charge you fees.  Or if you’re spending a lot in a particular category they might recommend a credit card that gives you higher rewards for purchases in that category.  And of course, they’ll suggest using TurboTax when tax season comes around.

I could go on and on, I love reading their financial blog, their customer service is pretty darn good and they email me a summary of my accounts every week! But really, for you to understand how awesome it is, you’re just going to have to try it for yourself 🙂

Leftover Awareness Month

So I got this idea when I used to follow the $5 dinner blog.  Every so often I have what I call “Leftover Awareness Month” (she calls it “Pantry Challenge”).  Basically the idea is for a month (although sometimes just a week) I try to eat only what we have in the house and go to the grocery store as little as possible.  I decided to do it again this month for a few reasons:

  1. Next month here in Utah we have lots of case lot sales and I want to have some extra space in my budget and my kitchen to take advantage of those sales to  build up our food storage.
  2. Our freezer and pantry were getting seriously overloaded with random stuff. I sometimes end up buying random things at the grocery store that never get used so this is a good chance to force myself to use them.
  3. I’ve been analyzing our budget and noticing that we were spending more money each month on food than I had expected.  I was trying to figure out where the extra money was going and we noticed that we were throwing away too much food because our leftovers would go bad before getting eaten. So we wanted to focus on making sure we go through all of our leftovers.

So, this month my personal challenge is to make our meals as much as possible from food already in my home.  I’m going to the store for things like milk, bread and produce but the basis of our meals must come from things that we had in our pantry or freezer.  Since I’m finding things in our pantry and freezer that have gone through 6 moves with us I think it was probably time…

Anyone care to join us in cleaning out the pantry?

Amazon Mom

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Last night we had a little baby shower for my niece (yes, somehow I’m old enough to have a niece old enough to be a mom, weird huh?).  While we were there I let her in on the secret of Amazon Mom.  One of my sisters-in-law was so sad that I hadn’t told her about this sooner that I decided it ought to be my first “Smarter not Harder” post.  Here’s the secret – if you go to Amazon.com and go to their Amazon Mom page (or just click on the banner at the top of this post) you can sign up to have diapers auto delivered to your house, at a price cheaper than I’ve seen in any store.  Plus you get Amazon Prime benefits (i.e. Free 2 day shipping) for one year after you start your membership.  It doesn’t cost anything to join, they won’t auto-enroll you in an Amazon Prime membership at the end of your year or anything like that.  You just order the kind of diapers that you want and they deliver them to your home.  For me I’m signed up to get two boxes of Daniel’s diapers (Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Big Pack Size 1 92 Count – $17.14/19 cents per diaper) every month, and 1 box of Sam’s diapers (Pampers Baby Dry Size 4 Diapers Economy Pack Plus 192 Count – $30.73/$0.16 per diaper) every other month.  You get a 15% discount for enrolling in Amazon Mom, and another 15% discount for signing up for their auto-ship program.  If you don’t like it you can even cancel the auto-ship immediately after ordering.  It’s awesome, not only for the savings, but also because I never run out of diapers and I never have to sit at the store wondering if we have enough diapers to make it until our next Costco run 🙂

Anyways, that’s my cool trick of the day. If you have a child in diapers you really ought to be signed up for Amazon Mom. It’s way less hassle than couponing, and from what I’ve seen couponing doesn’t give you nearly the savings that this does.  Oh, and did I mention they deliver the diapers to your house?!  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Smarter, not harder

So I’ve been meaning for a long time to write posts about things that I use in my life to make it easier/cheaper/healthier or in any way better.  I finally have come up with a list of things to write about that’s so long that I could have a weekly post for 3 months before I even had to think again about what I was going to post.  And all of the ideas/products/services on the list are things that I’m so passionate about that if you live with me you know that I live by these things.  So I’ve decided it’s time to get these posts written up and posted.  I’ll try to post one a week until I run out of things to post about.

I’m calling these posts “Smarter not harder” because it’s one of the mottos that I live my life by – work smarter, not harder!  I feel like there are so many awesome resources out there and we tend to make our lives too complicated.  You’ll probably find that I post about lots of technology-type resources – websites, machines etc – but that’s probably about what you’d expect from me 🙂  I think it’s good to use the resources that are available to us to make all of our mundane daily tasks easier so that we can spend more time focusing on the things that are important.

I heard a story once that was attributed to Brigham Young.  I hate posting things that I don’t have sources for, but I so liked the principle that I’ve decided to post it anyways with the disclaimer that it’s likely false doctrine  🙂  The story goes that Brigham Young was talking to one of his daughters one night and she asked how the temple work would ever get completed for all of the spirits who had previously passed on.  There were just SO many people to do the work for and she couldn’t conceive of how the Saints would ever find the time to do the work for ALL of them.  Brigham Young allegedly told her that he foresaw a day when there would be many conveniences that would make people’s lives easier so they would have the time to do the work.

While I don’t always use all of my free time to do temple work, I still feel like by making my tasks in the home easier I open myself up to being able to do service for others, serve in the temple or spend time with my kids.  I almost feel like it’s my responsibility to use these resources so that I’m using my time wisely so that I’m available to do other good things.  It doesn’t benefit anyone for me to do things the hard way and I can benefit many others by doing things in an easier manner 🙂

Anyways, be on the lookout for future posts on this topic.  I have a few past posts that would go into this category as well if you’d like to whet your appetite:

P.S. – No, these posts aren’t all going to be gospel centered, so even if you aren’t a member of my church there are going to be posts that you’ll find interesting as well.  In fact, looking at my list I don’t see a single other church related thing on my list.  I won’t ever apologize for bringing things to a gospel tone, but the topics aren’t intended to necessarily be churchy 🙂

Technology and Gospel Study

I’m giving a presentation tonight in Relief Society about how we can use technology to enhance our studies of the scriptures.  While preparing for this I came across a TON of awesome resources that I think could benefit anyone trying to get more out of their scripture study, or even just finding time to do it!  So I decided rather than printing off a pretty handout that most people would lose or forget or just throw away I’d post the things I’d found on my blog where not only the sisters in our ward could see them but also anyone else who could use this information.

Many people say that technology shouldn’t change the way we study the scriptures and that these new things will never replace a good old pen and paper and a hard copy of the scriptures.  They may be right, but in my personal opinion, the way we use the scriptures will be, and ought to be, changed because of the technology we’ve been blessed with.  The church has provided us with countless incredible resources that allow us to make better use of the scriptures than ever before.  Even if you don’t ever intend to abandon your hard copies of the scriptures, you should be aware of the ways you can be using the electronic resources to help you in your scripture study.

What things can I use to help me with my study of the scriptures?

The technology that can help us with our scripture study is everywhere and on so many different platforms.  Your computer, cell phone, mp3 players, iPad, Kindle and many many other devices can all help make your scripture study more convenient and meaningful.

But all of this technology is too expensive!

It’s true that there are many technologies that are still cost prohibitive.  Kindles, iPads and other eBook readers are still emerging technologies and it will be a few years before they are at a price point that most people can afford.  Similarly while smart phones are becoming more affordable it will still be awhile before they are everywhere.  However, mp3 players can now be found for less than $20!  Most people already have a computer in their homes anyways.  If you have a computer you can make use of most of the resources out there.  Plus, with the exception of one program on this list every single one of the services I list below is absolutely free.  So don’t let perceived price restrictions keep you from making the best use of the resources available!

What’s a podcast and how do I use it?

Podcasts are like a radio programs that you can download and listen at any time.  They are updated on a regular basis with new content.  The advantage of a podcast is that you can set up a program like iTunes or Juice to automatically download new episodes when they become available.  You can then listen to the programs on your computer or load them onto an mp3 player so you can listen to them on the go.

What’s an RSS feed and how do I use it?

RSS feeds are similar to magazine articles, except in electronic format.  Instead of receiving a physical paper magazine however you will have to use what’s called a “feed reader” to receive the new articles.  My favorite feed reader is Google Reader because it seamlessly integrates with a lot of other services that I use.  To use Google Reader simply create an account with Google and then go to the Google Reader page.  You can then subscribe to feeds you wish to follow by clicking the “Subscribe” button and entering in the URL of the feed you wish to follow.  If you use Firefox you can also click the “add to google reader” button when you are at a feed you wish to follow.  Once you’ve done that you can read any updates to the sites you wish to follow by visiting Google Reader and all of the new articles will be there ready for you to read!

How do I create my own blog?

Depending on your level of comfort with computers I would recommend either Blogger or WordPress.  Blogger is extremely simple to use but has limited functionality, whereas WordPress is what this site is built on.  It is extraordinarily powerful and still very simple to use.  All you need to do is go to either one of those sites, create an account, and start writing!  You can then share the link to your new blog with friends, family or whoever you would like.  You can also mark your blog as private so that only you can view the things you write.  It’s totally up to you!

Study Resources

These are resources that will help you to study the gospel.  They range from the simple to the complex and everywhere in between.

  • Scriptures online: All of the standard works are available online.  From here you can search the scriptures, read specific chapters, even use it to listen to chapters online!  – http://scriptures.lds.org/ (if you want to see the newer version of the online scriptures you can also see that here – https://beta.lds.org/scriptures?lang=eng)
  • Scripture study helps – http://scriptures.lds.org/en/helps/contents
  • General Conference: All of the general conference talks are available online, now within 4 hours of being broadcast!  You can get the text, audio or video from this website – https://beta.lds.org/general-conference?lang=eng
  • Institute manuals: The Church has provided the manuals for the Institute classes online for you to read.  These are very helpful if you want to gain a deeper understanding of different gospel topics – http://institute.lds.org/courses/
  • BYU Free Independent Study courses: BYU has provided a number of free online classes that you can take, and many of them are scripturally based.  While these won’t get you any credit towards a degree they can help you to have a more structured and deeper study of the scriptures. – http://ce.byu.edu/is/site/courses/personalenrichment.cfm
  • Seminary website: This website contains many great resources for seminary students and their parents, including manuals, study guides, reading charts and even tools to help you learn the scripture masteries! (my mom has been a seminary teacher for the past several years and she is a huge proponent for the method that they use to help learn scripture masteries) – http://seminary.lds.org/
  • Mobile Applications: If you have a mobile phone, iPad, Kindle etc this site will help you find the church created tools to put these technologies to use helping you study your scriptures.  – https://beta.lds.org/tools/mobile-apps?lang=eng
  • Subscriptions: The church puts out many podcasts, RSS feeds and email newsletters that are uplifting and informative.  You can find a full list of them here  – http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&vgnextoid=cdd1f9bd8b7d4110VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD

Sharing and Note taking Resources

The best part about reading your scriptures is the cool insights you gain into the gospel.  But once you have those insights what do you do with them?  I personally don’t like marking scriptures with colors because I find it gives me a bias when I’m reading through the next time and I’m more likely to just remember old insights rather than gain new ones.  But everyone has their own style.  Here are some ways you can record and share the insights you gain with different tools.

  • Online markable scriptures: I haven’t used this personally but if you are looking for a way to have an electronic, markable set of scriptures I have seen this site come highly recommended – http://www.dearscriptures.com/
  • Google Documents: One of my friends noted that she uses Google Documents to share thoughts on scriptural topics with her husband.  It helps them have a place to record their thoughts when they have scripture study so they have them for later without making their scriptures messy, and it lets them collaborate on their topics – http://docs.google.com
  • Microsoft OneNote: If you want a great program to help you organize your notes I highly recommend OneNote.  It allows you to create different notebooks with sections for taking notes.  For example you could create a notebook that was called “Doctrine and Covenants” and then inside that notebook have a section for thoughts on Joseph Smith, and another section that had places the pioneers went.  Whatever helps you to keep things organized so you can find them later – http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/
  • Blogging: My preferred method for taking notes on my scripture study is to post about them in my blog.  It makes it so that I can search for my thoughts later, and share them with other people.  It’s a great missionary tool and it can help other friends have things to ponder on.  My mom and I have had many many conversations about things I have posted in my blog that have helped her with seminary lessons or other things she’s dealing with.  Plus, I get feedback from her, and anyone else who chooses to comment on the things that I write. – http://blogger.com or http://wordpress.com or http://LDSJournal.com
  • Facebook: Similar to writing a blog you could also post your thoughts as a note on Facebook.  Although, my preferred method is to write my thoughts in a blog and then import those blog posts as notes on facebook.  It just gives you another way to share with other people and get their input and insights as well – http://facebook.com
  • Twitter: For those of you who are unfamiliar with twitter it is a relatively stupid service that allows you to post 140 character posts to your friends and the world on whatever topic you choose.  However, as stupid as it is, I really have fun using it.  One of the best uses I have found for twitter is to help me take notes during General Conference.  I like posting the quotes that I found and like with the tag #ldsconf and then follow the #ldsconf tag.  Anyone on twitter who is watching conference and wants to participate in the conversation can follow that tag and add their own input.  One of the really cool things during this last conference was that the #ldsconf tag was trending (meaning it was one of the top 10 topics on twitter at the time) which meant that there  were hundreds of people sharing their thoughts on conference with the world, and members and non-members alike had a chance to see what was being taught by our leaders. – http://twitter.com
  • ScriptureLog for WordPress: This is a plugin that I found for WordPress that allows users to basically install the scriptures on their blog and then make notes as comments that they can share with others.  I really like the concept but it’s not quite what I’d like.  I’m hoping that a future modification will allow for me to make a separate blog post and then just associate that post with the scriptures that I choose.  Someday when I have more time (which is probably not for about 20 years or so) I’d really like to make that modification so that I could use this plugin myself.  It’s really well thought out and very cool. – http://scripturelog.com/download/

Multimedia Resources

These are all resources that you can either listen to or watch to help you with your gospel study.  The best part about listening to scriptures and scripture discussions is that you can do it while you do the dishes 🙂

  • Audio scriptures, church magazines etc: The church has a HUGE number of audio programs that are available from their website.  This includes the full version of the scriptures, General Conference, the church magazines, Jesus the Christ, and some church music. – http://lds.org/mp3/newarchive/0,18615,5249-1,00.html
  • The Mormon Channel: There are other uplifting programs that the church produces that are available to stream, download or subscribe to that are played on the Mormon Channel.  – http://radio.lds.org/eng/
  • Scriptures as a Podcast: This is another service I have yet to use myself, but basically you can create your own customizable podcast that will send you the audio version of the scriptures you’d like to study each day so that you can listen to them without having to look them up or find what you’re looking for.  Very cool. – http://www.scripturespodcast.org/Main.asp
  • BYU Broadcasting: Everything that is broadcast on any of the BYU TV or radio channels  is available on their website.  You can download a lot of the programs or watch them online – http://www.byub.org/
  • Mormon Messages: Each week the church creates and posts an inspiring video on YouTube.  I have to be careful when I watch them because I always feel the Spirit and end up crying.  They are incredibly well done and very inspiring.  You can subscribe to their feed in a feed reader so that you see the updates automatically – http://www.youtube.com/user/MormonMessages

Lesson Preparation Helps

I’m not going to write something about each of these since they are all pretty similar in what they provide.  There are a lot of lesson ideas, crafts, handouts, art, reading charts, relief society activities, coloring pages, scripture games, fhe lessons… you name it on these websites.  They are incredible resources to have whether you’re a mom or a teacher or just a member of the church 🙂  A word of caution with them though, while they have fantastic lesson plans already put together they should be always used as supplements to your preparation with prayer and study, not as a replacement for the spiritual preparation.

If you have any other resources that you think I should add to these lists or other information that you think would be helpful for people seeking to use technology to enhance their scripture study please leave me comments below!

Paying Tithing Online

Is the glass 10% empty or 90% full? Whose glass is it anyway?

If you’re like me then you have no doubt run into problems with remembering to pay your tithing when money comes in. It’s not that I don’t like paying tithing, or that I’m being grudging about it, I’m just not used to having to write checks. Tithing is pretty much the only check I write so I don’t carry around a checkbook. Plus, since Eric and I have been married at least one of us has had a variable paycheck so each month if we *do* remember the checkbook we still have to figure out how much we owe.  If we’ve left paystubs at home or forgotten when we paid last sometimes the math is too complex to figure out in sacrament meeting, and then another week goes by with our tithing unpaid.  Not good.

So, I decided to do some research and find out if there’s a way for me to pay my tithing online. I figure everything else gets paid online, why not tithing? It would make the difference between our tithing getting paid immediately when we receive income or when the stars aligned so that we knew how much we owed and had a pen, checkbook and tithing slip in sacrament meeting. The Church is fairly technically savvy so this didn’t seem like too much of a stretch that I would be the only person looking for this.

Lo, and behold! There is a way to pay your tithing electronically! If your bank supports a bill pay option you can set up your bill pay to send tithing payments to the church. I found this article that gave really good instructions. The links in the article were outdated but I was able to find the form that he mentions here and the electronic donations page here (although the form is really all you need).  I recommend reading through his whole article for the complete instructions.  He even gives good tips to get all the paperwork electronically if you are paper averse (like Eric and I are :P). Also, if you’re interested there is some interesting discussion on the subject on the LDS Tech forums (apparently elsewhere in the world tithing is *only* accepted electronically).

There are a couple important things to note about paying your tithing online

  1. Your tithing will not show up on your end of the year report in your ward when you go in for tithing settlement, but you will receive a year end report from the church of what you have donated.
  2. Your fast offerings will not go into your ward’s fast offering account but instead into the general church fast offering fund. If you want it to go into your ward’s specific fast offering account you’ll need to still write a physical check.
  3. Similarly you cannot contribute to the ward’s mission fund or to a specific missionary’s fund via online bill pay – you’ll have to do that manually as well. However, you can make donations to the general missionary fund.

The one thing you won’t find in the article is how to set up bill pay with your individual bank.  You’ll need to log in to your bank’s website and determine if they support this functionality and find documentation on how to use it.

  • If you bank with USAA – we do and we LOVE them – they support free bill pay if you have a checking account. You can find their instructions on how to set up bill pay here.
  • If you bank with Deseret First Credit Union (which my family does, which is the only reason I’m including it here 😛 ), they also support bill pay for free *if* you use it at least once a month. I didn’t realize there was that caveat when I first signed up for it, and since I didn’t have any bills that I needed to pay online… I got charged $3ish each month that I had it. But if you’re using it to at least pay tithing, that shouldn’t be an issue. You can find instructions for Deseret First here.
  • If anyone finds instructions for setting up bill pay with other financial institutions please feel free to leave a link to them in the comments!

I hope someone else finds this information as useful as I did! Hopefully it will be even easier than it is now in the future, but the overall process wasn’t too bad, and I’m so excited to not worry anymore about whether we’re current in paying our tithing.

HUGE thanks to Russell Sperry for his very helpful article. All of my research started from there and I’m so grateful for him sharing his knowledge.

Also, another big thanks to Amber Fife for allowing me to use her picture at the top of this post. She posted it on Facebook and I thought it was an inspired picture. Contact her if you are interested in a larger format or prints!