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How to Live Without a Car in Brunswick, Maine

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

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

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

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

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