Archive for the ‘Curtis Money’ Category

How to Open a Savings Account

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Untitled-1The first step to having 6 months worth of living expenses set aside is to open a savings account.

As explained in an earlier Help for the Financially Shy post, a savings account is a safe place to keep your money.

That is a safe place where you can get your money if you truly need it but is not so readily available that you can be tempted to throw your savings away on impulse buys or non-essential items.

Also, as we’ll discuss in later posts, a savings account is also a mechanism for saving money.

What to Look for in a Savings Account

Select an FDICInformationInformationThe Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a United States government corporation created by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. It provides deposit insurance, which guarantees the safety of deposits in member banks, currently up to $250,000* per depositor per bank. insured bank that is conveniently located and offers a savings account with…

  • a low opening deposit
  • no maintenance fees
  • no minimum monthly balance (or a low one)

TIP: A bank that is staffed with people that you find to be friendly and helpful can be a big plus! (Just don’t let them sign you up for a credit card.)

Once you’ve selected a bank (ask around for recommendations if you like), simply present yourself at the bank with some form of photo identification, your social security number and some money to open your savings account.

A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.
— Joe Moore

About the Curtis Money Help for the Financially Shy blog

"Financial literacy for the rest of us" is our motto here at Curtis Money.

Our goal is to help you get out of debt and to have at least 6 months worth of living expenses set aside as soon as possible.

1 In 4 Americans Have Nothing Set Aside For An Emergency

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

  • 1 in 4 Americans are not prepared for a financial emergency.
  • 26% have no money set aside
  • Money recommends always having 6 months worth of living expenses available
  • Americans have “Great Insecurity”
  • 30 – 49 year olds are the worst about saving
  • Financial emergencies never come at a convenient time

The lack of money is the root of all evil.
—Mark Twain

What is a Savings Account? And Why Have One?

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

A quick and easy introduction to saving money in a Savings Account:

Topics:

  • What is a savings account?
  • Pretend the money is not there
  • Every time you get some money, put some of it into your savings account
  • Why put your money into a savings account instead of under your mattress?
  • Interest (aka “Free Money”)

If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.
— Ben Franklin

What is ‘Help for the Financially Shy’?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

get-out-of-debtQuestion: How do you get out debt?

Answer: Spend less money, make more money, while steadily paying off your debts.

Question: How do you do those 3 things?

Answer: Use the money resources at the Curtis Library!

Question: What are those money resources and how can I use them?

Answer: Curtis Money’s Help for the Financially Shy blog.

Financial Help for the Rest of Us

This online program has been created and designed for people who don’t have a savings account much less an IRA.

What Do We Want to Do?

Our goal – which we will work on together – is to get out of debt and have at least one year’s living expenses in the bank.

After we do that, we’ll focus on retirement!

How will this work?

Bookmark the Curtis Money page because as we will regularly post tips, tutorials and resources for saving money, making more money and paying off debt. We’ll share money saving tips and ways to track our progress toward financial freedom.

You may, after tallying your debts, find that it is mathematically impossible to pay off all your debts with the money you are currently making within a year – or within a lifetime!

If so, we have you covered as we’ll discuss the various ways you can make money from home.

Join us – You’ve got nothing to lose except your worries about debt.

How Tweet It Is!

Connect with Curtis on Twitter to be notified when new Help for the Financially Shy posts are posted:
twitter.com/curtislibrary

Need help setting up a Twitter account? Ask a Curtis librarian.

Running into debt isn't so bad. It’s running into creditors that hurts.
—Unknown

How to Live Without a Car in Brunswick, Maine

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

car freeThis Curtis Money post was adapted from WikiHow’s How to Live Without a Car

Brunswick is a very walkable town for many of its residents.

Type your address into www.walkscore.com to find your home’s “walk score” (mine is “Very Walkable – Most errands can be accomplished on foot”).

Why even consider it?

In addition to saving money on fuel, insurance and maintenance, living without a car can bring a sense of freedom (no more being tied to the responsibilities of car ownership) and can increase your level of health and fitness (as you will obviously be doing a lot more walking).

Public Transportation

If you sell your car, you will not have to hoof everywhere. The Brunswick Explorer currently runs from 6 am to 9 pm. Click here for its route. Click here for its schedule.

Consider Moving Closer to Town

If your walk score is not high enough (i.e. you live on the outskirts of Brunswick), consider moving closer to the center of town. (After moving to Federal Street, I realized I no longer needed an automobile and could not justify the costs of owning one).

Work close to home (and/or work at home)

Find housing that is near where you work.

You can also start a home business (using the resources at Curtis Library) which could in time eliminate the need for a “day job” (and function as a safety net in case your employment situation changes for the worse).

Buy a bicycle

car freeBiking is a revolutionary, non-pollutionary alternative to motorized transport. Note the bicycle racks that have sprung up all over downtown Brunswick.

(You can then join the Merrymeeting Wheelers Bicycle Club and meet some of the nicest, healthiest, eco-friendliest people on the planet.)

Take a taxi, train, rent or borrow a car

I personally have always found Brunswick Taxi to be affordable and convenient (even more so when you call ahead of time). For example, It costs me only $5.00 to take my cats from my cloistered domicile on Federal Street to the Sunray Animal Clinic on Bath Road (and I only have to make that trip once or twice a year).

When I want to visit Portland, I can now take the Downeaster (before I had to wait until a friend was going).

Shop ’till you Drop (online)

Sadly, Grand City closed its doors for good about two months after I sold my lemon yellow Nissan Xterra. I was crushed because Grand City was truly one-stop shopping, I mean they had everything!

I could have hitched a ride with friends when they were heading to — or through — Cook’s Corner but I soon realized that I could buy most of my non-perishable needs through Amazon.com (free shipping and no sales tax) and other online outlets.

Connect With Curtis

If you live within walking distance of Curtis Memorial Library, you’re in luck! At Curtis, you will find art exhibits, discussion groups, games (and people to play them with), crafters meet ups, book talks, community events, fun & educational programs for children and teens, public computers, free wi-fi and of course lots and lots of things to read.

Caveats

  • Be wary of dangerous motorists and hooligans. Walking and biking can be dangerous as some people drive irresponsibly without any thought to the safety and well-being of others. Be the very soul of caution when you cross a street (anywhere). I’ve always felt safe strolling through Brunswick during daylight hours but if I have to work late, I get a ride or call a cab.
  • Be extremely careful of who you accept a ride from.
  • Buses and trains cannot always stay on schedule.
  • If you rent or borrow a car, know what your liabilities can be.
  • If you decide to move closer to work, find out who your new neighbors are going to be and what kind of lifestyles they have.

The Financial Capability of Young Adults – A Generational View

Monday, June 9th, 2014

dependentsPrepared by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, this study explores the financial capability of millennials relative to other generations and examines differences in financial capability among various demographic groups within the millennial generation.

The study finds that in the wake of the Great Recession millennials are struggling financially — but it is millennial households with dependents that are struggling the most. It is based on data from the 2012 National Financial Capability Study. (Released 2014)

PDF Download

Click here to download this study.

8 Ways Curtis Can Save You Money

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

IMG_06141. “Subscribe” to Curtis. You can cancel your subscriptions. Come to Curtis to read the current issues of your favorite magazines. Don’t forget you can check-out many back issues and take them home. You can also access online periodical (magazine) databases through MARVEL!. (Need help? Ask a Curtis Librarian).

2. Joining a Curtis book group is a cost-free way of meeting people and broadening your mind.

3. Peruse the Curtis Kids Calendar for free programs to keep babies and toddlers amused and stimulated through activities such as singing songs, finger fun and storytelling. There are free, stimulating, mega-fun programs for teens as well.

4. Watch DVDs and listen to Music CDs at no cost.

5. Digital downloads are free with your Curtis library card – Download e-books, audiobooks and movies.

6. Use the library’s wi-fi instead of paying for expensive home Internet service.

7. Googling from home can be overly time consuming and counterproductive. Curtis’ professional reference librarians are the best search engine. They are super-sleuths at helping you find information on just about any topic you can imagine.

8. Attend one of Curtis’ community events such as our recent How-To Festival.

Libraries are our friends.
― Neil Gaiman

Energy Savers Guide: Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

save-energy-and-money-at-homeFrom energy.gov:

Easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy.

  • Install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills and manage your heating and cooling systems efficiently.
  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
  • Turn things off when you are not in the room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and your computer and monitor.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use — TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F.
  • Take short showers instead of baths and use low-flow showerheads for additional energy savings.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Air dry clothes.
  • Check to see that windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your home.
  • Drive sensibly; aggressive driving such as speeding, and rapid acceleration and braking, wastes fuel.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR™ label on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics, and other products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.
- Joe Moore

Tips for Change E-Book

Monday, March 17th, 2014

April is Financial Literacy Month and it’s rapidly approaching!

Download the e-book to read tips submitted by financially savvy consumers.

mmi_ebook

I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.”
― E.E. Cummings

Your 30 Step Path to Financial Wellness

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Financial Literacy MonthFree Personal Finance Resources from Money Management International.

The first and most important step in developing and following a financial plan is to examine your attitudes about money. Are you ready to accept responsibility for changing your financial situation? Do you believe that you can and will change the way you make financial decisions? Can you identify at least one benefit you hope to gain by changing your money management behavior?

Download the free Financial Literacy Month e-book

A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.
– Jonathan Swift

To Your Credit: Online Video Series

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Based on the FDIC’s Money Smart Financial Education Series – These videos were produced by the Apache Junction Public Library, AZ and made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through Smart investing@your library®, a partnership with the American Library Association.

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Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.
– Nelson Mandella

Five Dos and Don’ts That Can Help You Achieve Greater Financial Security

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

adobe-blueprint-pdf-symbol-iconWith the unemployment rate slowly falling, many Americans are facing a healthier job market and trying to get their financial lives back on track.

Drawing on the findings of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study of more than 25,000 Americans, the FINRA Foundation has developed five tips to help consumers both manage their day-to-day financial challenges and build a brighter financial future in 2014.

Free PDF download:

>>> Five Dos and Don’ts Investor Checklist

I try not to borrow, first you borrow then you beg.
― Ernest Hemingway

Money Matters: Online Video Series

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Based on the FDIC’s Money Smart Financial Education Series – These videos were produced by the Apache Junction Public Library, AZ and made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through Smart investing@your library®, a partnership with the American Library Association.

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
– Dorothy Parker

Help With Maine Property Tax Fairness Credit

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

cartoonAs you may already know, AARP “Tax-Aide” volunteers are standing by here at Curtis to help you with your Federal and State Tax Returns.

But did you also know that you can get help getting your Maine Property Tax Assistance Credit?

(The Circuitbreaker Program has been replaced by a refundable Property Tax Fairness Credit that can be claimed on the Maine Individual Income Tax Form – http://www.maine.gov/revenue/taxrelief/tnr.htm)

NOTE: You can if you wish get help with only filling out and filing the form for the Property Tax Fairness Credit.

Call the Curtis Reference Desk at 725-5242 ext. 510 to make an appointment.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
― Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Get Help With Your Tax Return

Monday, February 10th, 2014

aarp-tax-helpAARP Tax Prep appointments:

- Mondays 10:30 am – 2:30 pm

- Wednesday afternoons 3:30 – 7:30 pm

- Fridays 12:30 – 3:30 pm

AARP “Tax-Aide” volunteers are ready to help prepare federal and state income tax returns. This free service is sponsored by the IRS and the AARP Foundation.

Tax-Aide counselors are trained, tested and certified each year. Appointments are made at the reference desk (x510).

What You’ll Need to Bring

1. Driver’s License or other photo ID

2. Social Security Card or another form from the Social Security Administration for every person on the return. They can’t do the taxes without it

3. Last year’s tax returns + W2 and 1099 forms

Get or Replace a Social Security Card

Application Form

How to replace a Social Security Card for an adult:
Replace a Social Security Card for an Adult

Local Social Security office in Portland:

550 Forest Ave
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 771-2851

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