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10 Money Tips for Saving Money

September 22nd, 2014

piggy1. Create a budget and track where your money goes. Click here for Budget books at Curtis.

2. Don’t use a credit card unless you know you’ll have the money to pay the bill in full when it arrives.

3. Skip unhealthy snacks and save money while losing weight (If you could save $1.00 per day on snack food, that would be a saving of $30.00 by the end of one month and $360.00 at the end of one year!)

4. Your credit past is your credit future! Be aware that you can order a FREE credit report once yearly. To order, go to www.annualcreditreport.com.

5. Shop Responsibly!

Write a list before you go shopping, stick to it and use your food budget wisely (For the price of a large bag of chips and a box of cookies, you can buy a lot of apples, bananas, carrots, potatoes, peppers, and other healthier foods).

Save money by using coupons (Follow these guidelines for using coupons from choosemyplate.gov).

6. Spend your money on needs instead of wants.

A NEED is something you CANNOT do without (such as food and shelter).

A WANT is something you DO NOT HAVE to HAVE (such as a new iPhone).

7. Save your loose change – Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund, according to AmericaSaves.org.

8. Drink water instead of Big Gulps

Soft drinks decrease your savings while increasing your waist line.

Two 20 oz. soft drinks at $1.10 each for 5 days = $572 a year.

9. Get rid of your car.

While minimizing car use can save cash, Andy Hough of Andy Hough, author of the TightFistedMiser.com blog suggests cutting out car use altogether.

Hough says public transportation, biking, and walking can work just as well.

10. Instead of paying for DVD rentals, music CDs, new books, computers, entertainment for your children and Internet at home — use the Curtis Library instead.

If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right!
—William Shatner

Recommended Money Help Books for the ‘Financially Shy’

September 15th, 2014

Helping you save money and pay down your debt is our goal here at Curtis Money. “Financial literacy for the rest of us” is our motto.

IMG_2251With this statement in mind, these three books have been personally selected by Curtis’ Help for the Financially Shy Librarian as they provide an easy to read and understand introduction to personal finance.

These books are also very inspiring!

Reading these books may very well help you with your motivation to be debt free with 6 months living expenses set aside.

- The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need
Personal Finance 332.024 .T629 onl 2010

- The Millionaire Next Door
Personal Finance 332.0973 .S789 mil 2010

- Financial Peace Revisited
Personal Finance 332.024 .R183 fin 2003

Seven Tricks to Stop Using Your Credit Cards

September 12th, 2014

frozen-credit-cardIf your debt is rising, it may very well be time to stop using your credit cards.

We all need food, shelter and medical treatment – and you may have to resort to paying for these things on credit.

But if you can’t afford to pay cash for non-neccessities (such as snack foods, alcohol, cigarettes, clothes, brews at Starbucks), it might be best to do without.

Without further ado, here are 7 Tricks to Stop Using Your Credit Cards to Pay for Non-Essential Items (including the dreaded impulse buys) from credit.about.com:

1. Lock them up.
The “out of sight, out of mind” approach might be the thing to work for you. Put your credit cards somewhere that takes effort to get them –in a safe, file cabinet, the bottom of the laundry. Keeping your credit cards out of your immediate reach will help control your “need” to use them. Some people even freeze their credit cards in a bowl of water so the cards are unavailable.

2. Close them.
One call to your cardholder is all it takes to inactivate your credit card. You can easily quiet a nagging desire to use your card by thinking of the embarrassment you’ll feel when the clerk says your credit card has been denied. Closing credit cards can have a negative impact on your credit score, so make sure you’re not closing a card you should be leaving open. However, it’s better to close your credit card and suffer a temporary credit setback than to go deeper into debt trying to save your credit score.

NOTE: We’ll cover how to use (and not misuse) emergency credit cards in a later Help for the Financially Shy blog post.

3. Shred them.
Office shredders work just as well on that little piece of plastic as it does on your paper. If your credit card is in pieces, there’s no way you can swipe it. Don’t have a shredder? Scissors work just as well. Cut the card up into small pieces so the credit card number can’t be guessed by identity thieves.

4. Leave them at home.
Take your credit cards out of your wallet before you go shopping. If you get the urge to buy something, you’ll either have to use cash or come back for the item once you have your credit card.

5. Shock therapy.
Have you ever thought about the amount of money you spend in interest each year? Or the length of time it will take to pay off your credit cards? Sometimes the numbers will shock you into putting your credit cards away for good. A $1,000 balance at 14% will take you 4 1/2 years to pay off if you make $25 payments each month. You’ll have paid $347.55 in interest by the time you pay off the balance.

Credit card statements now include the amount of interest you’ve paid so far this year and the amount of interest you’ll pay if you’re just making the minimum payment. You can probably name several other things you could purchase with the combined interest from all your credit cards.

6. Reward yourself.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way in building a habit. We use it with our kids and when training our pets. Why not use it with ourselves? Each week that you don’t use your credit card, treat yourself to something you like but don’t ordinarily allow yourself to indulge. Keep your treats on the inexpensive/free end of the spectrum so you don’t upset your monthly budget.

7. Old-fashioned self control.
Being able to tell yourself “no” is a skill that goes beyond using credit cards. The same self-discipline that gets you to work on time each morning can also be used to stop using your credit cards. Think twice about swiping your credit card just like you’d think twice about pressing snooze just one more time.

Source: http://credit.about.com/od/creditrepair/tp/breakthehabit.htm

Life was a lot simpler when what we honored was father and mother rather than all major credit cards.
— Robert Orben

8 Ways Curtis Can Save You Money

September 9th, 2014

At a time when we are all feeling the pinch, it’s nice to know that you can go somewhere that offers you something for virtually nothing.

There’s evidence that when the economy is down, library use increases and there are plenty of reasons why people turn to Curtis for its invaluable services.

(Of course thousands of people come to Curtis even when the economy is up!)

Here are just some of the many ways that the Curtis Library can save all of us money and inspire and stimulate at the same time.

1. Borrowing instead of buying two books and two DVDs each month could save you more than $50.00.

2. Planning a holiday or a day trip? Rather than buy a map or travel guide, get one from the Curtis Library Travel Neighborhood.

3. Instead of a magazine subscription, visit the Curtis Library Magazine Reading Room (you can check out back issues).

4. Socializing isn’t always cheap, but joining a Curtis Book Group and/or the Crafters Meetup are cost-free ways of meeting people and broadening your mind.

5. You can learn a language for a fraction of the price you might pay otherwise if you borrow a selection of courses in audio format.

6. Why not take up a hobby that doesn’t cost you money? For instance you can research your family history at the Curtis Library with staff on hand to suggest useful resources.

7. There are plenty of free ways at Curtis to keep babies and toddlers amused and stimulated through activities such as singing songs and rhymes and storytelling.

8. You can pay for the internet at home or you can browse for free at Curtis library using either a public PC or the Wi-Fi.

Dave Ramsey Gives Lunchbox Financial Advice

August 30th, 2014

Playing the Lottery is not an investment. Dave Ramsey explains why…

- You have a better chance of dying driving one mile home from the market than buying a winning ticket
- Dave recommends putting the money you would spend on lottery tickets into real investments
- Average person who buys lottery tickets is below average income
- People who play are those who cannot afford to play

You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.
— Dave Ramsey