Archive for the ‘Curtis Money’ Category

Dave Ramsey – Baby Step 1 “Small Emergency Fund”

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Dave Ramsey establishes a starting point in a financial fitness program – quickly save $1,000 cash in a starter, beginner emergency fund.

Curtis has Dave Ramsey’s books and audiobooks. Click here for availability.

Remember – It is going to rain. You need a rainy day fund.
— Dave Ramsey

Tax Forms Update

Monday, January 12th, 2015

tax formsThese are the tax forms and publications that we expect to have available at the Curtis Library (plan to see them towards the end of January):

– Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ
– Publication 17, one reference copy for each participant (Taxpayers
will be able to access Publication 17 in English and Spanish online from irs.gov/Pub17 and, new this year, it will also be available as a free e-Pub for downloading from IRS.gov and viewing on most e-Readers and other
mobile devices.)
– Publication 4604 (EN/SP), Use the Web for IRS Tax Products &
Information
– Publication 1132, Reproducible Copies of Federal Tax Forms and
Instructions
– The TFOP Poster Package which includes:

o Publication 1169, Need Tax Help?

o Publication 1258, Where Should I Send This?

o Publication 1309, Tax Forms This Way Publication

o Publication 1725, If The Form Fits…Use It

These can be ordered by visiting this page.
http://www.irs.gov/uac/Forms-and-Publications-by-U.S.-Mail

– IRS.gov/Forms <http://www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs> – to view and download
– IRS.gov/orderforms <http://www.irs.gov/orderforms> – to order tax
products to be delivered by mail
– 1-800-829-3676 – to order tax products to be delivered by mail

Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

7 Things You Can Do When You’re Unemployed

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Just been made unemployed and no idea what to do next?

If so, here are some suggestions for you…

1. Apply for Maine Unemployment Benefits

Website: www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment/benefits.html

Curtis offers professionally maintained Public PCs with high-speed Internet.

2. Create or update your resume

Visit Curtis’ Job Search Neighborhood for books on how to write resumes and cover letters.

The library’s public PCs have Microsoft Word which you can use to create and edit your resume and cover letters.

Need help saving your documents? Ask a Curtis Staff Member.

Curtis Money Books

3. Search for a new job

Curtis’ Job Search Neighborhood has books on:

  • how to prepare for a job interview
  • job searching
  • how to change careers

Use the Library’s Job Search page to get started.

You may also wish to consider registering with a Temporary Staffing Agency.

4. Get some new skills / Sharpen your existing skills

– Curtis has books on how to do most anything (search the Library Catalog and/or ask a Curtis Librarian)

– Flip through the computer help books within the Science & Technology Neighborhood
Need help? Reference Librarians are standing by to assist you

– Your Curtis Library Card gives you free access to the Learning Express Library which offers unlimited, 24/7 access to targeted skill–building interactive courses in many subjects which can be most valuable to today’s job seekers. Click here to learn more about the Learning Express Library.

– Attend Curtis’ Tech Meetups (check the library’s calendar of events or ask a Curtis Librarian)

Merrymeeting Adult Education offers adult education courses in five categories.

5. Volunteer

There are volunteer opportunities available right here at Curtis Library.

Read Volunteer Coordinator Jessica Flaherty’s blog post on Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment.

6. Start your own business

You can start a home (or library-based) business with little or no money.

For example, you can create your own product (digital or physical) and sell it; sell existing products; sell your services as a tutor, music teacher, consultant, landscaper, painter and so forth.

Whichever business you decide to start, Curtis has valuable resources for you.

7. Stay Positive and Productive!

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

– Albert Einstein

Video: 50 Home Business Ideas

Monday, January 5th, 2015

These are, of course, just ideas.

Many will not be for you…

But some may give you ideas for businesses you can start.

And, you may already possess the necessary skills for some of these home business ideas…

Remember that Curtis has many resources to support business owners and entrepreneurs such as:

– computers with Microsoft Office
– computer help books
Learning Express Library
– print & digital business resources
– wi-fi
– tutoring rooms
– and of course professional Librarians

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.
– Jim Rohn

2014 Maine 1040ME Individual Income Tax Booklet and Form

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

How do I get a Maine individual income tax booklet and a form?

  • Booklets and forms are available for download from the Maine Revenue Services website at www.maine.gov/revenue/forms.
  • Individual taxpayers who would like to have a booklet mailed directly to them may:
    • Order on-line using the Maine Revenue Services Electronic Request form at www.maine.gov/revenue/forms/FormsReq_form.html, or
    • Call the forms line at 207-624-7894 (leave your name and mailing address), or
    • Write to Maine Revenue Services, PO Box 9107, Augusta, Maine, 04332-9107.

Maine FastFile

Electronic filing and payment services

More than 80% of the Maine individual income tax returns filed each year are now filed using Maine Fastfile. It’s fast, easy and no paper forms are needed.

Maine I-File
Maine E-File
Maine EZ-Pay
I-File Logo Maine efile logo Maine EZPAY Logo

Visit www.mine.gov/revenue/netfile/gateway2.htm for more information.

Small Business Licenses and Permits

Monday, December 29th, 2014

If you are interested in starting a business in Maine, you will need to find out which License(s) & Permit(s), if any, you need for that type of business.

Maine’s Department of Economic & Community Development has an online tool that can help you determine licensure/permitting requirements.

Simply select the type of business you are interested in starting (such as “Bridal Consultant”):

select-business-type

And answer the questions…

business-questions

Click here to begin.

NOTE: The Guide to starting a business in Maine is a secure, state of Maine government website.

Contact

You can contact the Department of Economic & Community Development weekdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. eastern time by calling (toll-free) 1-800-872-3838

You can also e-mail at business.answers@maine.gov

The value of an idea lies in the using of it.
— Thomas Edison, General Electric Co-founder

What is a Business Plan?

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

business plan writingAccording the US Small Business Administration, A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success.

This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.

Source: https://www.sba.gov/writing-business-plan.

This sounds like a pretty intimidating document to write — but there are books in the “Curtis Money Neighborhood” that can walk you through the process of writing your own business plan.

Click here to see them.

Here is a sample business plan for a sole proprietorship business: Sample-Service-Business-Plan.pdf.

As for what to write your Business Plan on (and with), Curtis’ Public PCs are all equipped with Microsoft Office.

Need help saving your business plan document? Just ask for help at the Reference Desk.

This short video describes how and why to write a business plan, using SBA’s free tool at www.sba.gov/business-plan

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
― Yogi Berra

Starting Your Own Business…

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

If you are lucky enough to be employed but are, in fact, one paycheck or two away from being homeless, you may want to consider two things:

1. Growing an emergency fund.

2. Starting your own home (or library-based) business.

If you are interested in starting your own business but don’t know where to begin, browse the books in the "Start Your Own Business" section which are within the Curtis Money Neighborhood located near the Reference Desk.

start-your-own-business

IMG_0425

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

10 Reasons Why a Library-Based Business is Preferable to a Home-Based Business

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Curtis LibrariansThinking of starting a home-based business?

Instead why not use the Curtis Library as your base of operations?

Advantages of operating a library-based business as opposed to a home-based business.

1. You don’t have to pay for office furniture.

2. You don’t have to own a computer.

3. You don’t have to pay for Internet.

4. You don’t have to clutter your domestic domicile with office furniture and computer equipment.

5. You don’t have to own a printer, a copier or a fax machine, although (as we will explore in future Curtis Money blog posts) it may be very easy for you to run a paperless business.

6. Curtis’ extensive business and financial resources are within easy reach.

hardware7. Reference librarians are close at hand.

8. There are other people around (working home alone can cause one to feel isolated).

On the other hand there are also quiet zones with comfy chairs which are ideal for reading, collecting your thoughts and quiet contemplation.

9. Curtis offers are private study rooms which you can use for focused work, “Skyping,” and meeting with business associates and customers.

10. Curtis is open 62 hours a week and rarely loses power.

5 Ideas for How to Make Some Extra Money (Using the Resources at Curtis)

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Nearly 6 million Americans primarily work from home and more than 13 million Americans spend at least one day a week in a home office.

1. Start your own business.
Visit the Curtis Money Neighborhood for books on Entrepreneurship.

start your own business

2. If you love writing…

Many websites need part-time writers. Examiner.com pays people to write reviews for restaurants, shops, parks and concerts in their area.
If reviews aren’t quite your thing, ProBlogger has listings of sites that are willing to pay semi-professional writers. Over time, good writers have found this sort of freelancing can be quite lucrative. Every website has a different application process, so log on and get paid.

Curtis offers Public PCs with Microsoft Office and free wi-fi.

3. If you are artistic..

There are plenty of sites to let your arty side shine and make some money in the process.
Etsy.com is a virtual marketplace where the craftier among us can sell their wares to shoppers from all over the world for a percent transaction fee.

Café Press allows you to design and sell your own graphic T-shirts, mugs and other printables from home for the cost of materials.

Digital images of your works can be uploaded to these websites from Curtis’ Public PCs. Curtis also has a Crafters Meetup group which meets Mondays, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM.

4. Tutor

If you have a special skill — whether it’s the ability to play an instrument well, paint like Picasso or explain calculus in a way anyone can understand — you may be able to sharing it with others. For example, you could earn about $15 to $30 an hour tutoring individual kids or college students if you speak a second language or have great math, science or writing skills.

Curtis offers tutoring and meeting rooms.

5. Freelance.

Websites like TaskRabbit, Odesk, and Craigslist offer opportunities to avid freelancers to pick up programming, design, and marketing jobs on the side. Working on a per-project basis lets your balance your side job with your current one. Sites like Freelancer.com can also offer a leg up.

In addition to the Library’s public PCs and wi-fi, you can access the Curtis Library’s extensive business and financial reference section, use the Library’s meeting rooms and function spaces (some with a small fee), sharpen your skills by attending free Tech Meetup sessions, and more.

How to Track Your Spending (& Why You Should)

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The first step to getting your finances on track is to know where your money is going. But that isn’t always obvious: you may have a good handle on your monthly bills, but what about your daily expenses? You may be surprised by how much money you spend on small items—like food and transportation—when you add up your out-of-pocket costs.

joan-spending-tracking

Quicken. Microsoft Money. Intuit. There are plenty of high-tech ways to manage your money and help you track and cut spending. But if you can’t master, won’t use or are too frugal to buy the high-tech solutions, pick up a pencil and start saving and budgeting now with a low-tech option.

Most budgeting gurus advise their followers to track spending for several months. You can get a notebook just to record spending or write down expenses in a planner you already use.

NOTE: If your expenses include wi-fi, reading materials and entertainment, check out the 8 ways that Curtis can save you money.


The most basic tracking method involves writing down what you spend in a notebook on a daily basis. If you choose to track your expenses using a notebook, carry it everywhere you go or keep it in a handy place at home along with a pen or pencil. If you have to search for your notebook and a pen or pencil, recording what you spent that day can be — and will most likely be — forgotten.

Another tracking technique involves saving receipts from your purchases and documenting that information in a notebook or on your computer later. 

NOTE: The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program is available on Curtis’ Public PCs. You will need to save your spreadsheet to a Flash drive or to a cloud account.

If the receipt is hard to read, you may want to write the date, amount and item on the back of the receipt.  When you spend money on items for which you don’t receive a receipt, it is wise to continue using a notebook to write down those miscellaneous expenses.

receipts2
NOTE: Just don’t let those receipts pile up! Set aside a few minutes every night to record them into your expenses notebook.

5 Easy Ways to Save Money

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014


Unless you get hit with a polar vortex, you probably won’t notice a change of a few degrees. You should also lower your thermostat a few degrees before you leave the house and before you go to bed.



If you head into a grocery store with no real idea of what you’re looking for, you’ll end up with a cart full of novelty ice cream products and frozen pizzas. 



As someone who has struggled to stay fit, I realize that eating healthy and staying in shape is easier said than done. But for those who are in good shape, you can save a lot of on life insurance and individual health insurance plans. And as an added bonus, you’ll feel better and have more energy.

 



It may sound crazy, but we sometimes forget that coins carry value. If you have loose change in your wallet or purse, you’re more likely to spend it … or lose it in the depths of your car or couch cushions.

By putting your excess daily change into a jar, you’re preventing frivolous spending. And once you have a healthy stash, you can take your coins to the bank and deposit them. More !

 



Even though the author may have overestimated the savings from skipping a latte at Starbucks, don’t underestimate the ding it puts in your pocket in the long run. You don’t have to entirely ban drinking coffee, but skip it as often as possible unless you make it at .


Wants vs. Needs – What’s the Difference?

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

imageDefining “needs” vs. “wants” is an essential money management skill that many people do not realize they already have.

And it’s the skill that can save you the most money!

A need is something you have to have, something you literally can’t do without – such as food, clothing and shelter.

A want is something you would like to have but it’s not necessary in order to survive such as double chocolate chip ice cream, designer clothes and a McMansion.

There is “of course” no definitive Wants vs. Needs chart as these things can be highly individual.

wants vs needs

For example, you may need a smart phone for your “day job” and you may need to have Internet at home because you have an online business which you work on when most of the Wi-Fi Hotspots where you live are closed.

Therefore in order to create your own true needs vs. wants chart, you need to be brutally honest with yourself.

For example, you might say to yourself: “Do I need this item to survive? To earn a living?”

If not, it should probably go on your “wants” list.

To help you create your list, here is a printable Needs vs. Wants worksheet from Smart About Money:
www.smartaboutmoney.org/Portals/0/Worksheets/WantsvsNeeds.pdf

Stop chasing what your mind wants and you’ll get what your soul needs.

Help with Unemployment, Jobs and Training

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Help-with-Unemployment-Jobs-and-TrainingYou can use the resources at Curtis to get help with your job search and supporting yourself and your family if you’ve lost your job.

Find a Job

The Job Search Neighborhood is located on the second floor of the Curtis Library near the Reference Desk.

The "neighborhood" features:

  • Dedicated Jobs computers where you can search for a job and create a cover letter & resume
  • Job Related Print Resources (how to create a resume, how to prepare for a job interview, how to write a cover letter, how to change careers and more)
  • One-on-one help to establish e-mail accounts and introduce resume software (by appointment 725-5242 ext. 510).

Apply for Unemployment Benefits

You can file an unemployment claim through the State of Maine Department of Labor website.

This can be done on any of the Library's Public PCs.

Library staff members can provide some assistance with navigating and using the website.

Find Education and Training Opportunities

If you would like to learn additional skills and/or further your education to increase your chances of finding a job, there are many opportunities available for you to do so.

For example, you can sit down at any of the Public PCs and access the LearningExpress Library where you can:

– Build Your Math Skills
– Learn About a Career You Might Be Interested in Pursuing
– Prepare for an Occupation Exam
– Learn New Computer Skills
– And More!

Need Help?

As always, Curtis Librarians are standing by to assist!