Posts Tagged ‘help for the financially shy’

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!

Help Your Family Save Money

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

You can help your family save money by remembering to do little things like turning off the lights and clipping coupons. Use the tips in the comics below to learn ways of helping your family save money every day.

NOTE: These comics are in the Portable Document Format (PDF).

You can click each image to open the How to Save Money comic in your browser. You can also right-mouse click each image and select “Save” from the pop-up menu to download the comic to your computer.

Younger Kids Teens

Source: usa.gov

10 Money Tips for Saving Money

Monday, 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’

Monday, 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

Friday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Saturday, 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

Call For Action: How to Create an Emergency Fund in a Year

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

– It’s not that hard to create an emergency fund
– Money experts we should all have 3 to 6 months expenses put away
– There are places we are spending money we don’t have to (it’s money we could put aside in our emergency fund)
– We can put together a $500 emergency fund in 6 months or less
– Look for places you are squandering money
– Save money by shaping around for prescription drugs (call each pharmacy in your area and ask “what do you charge for…”)
– Save money during lunch (eliminate one drive through a week, bring your lunch instead)
– Sell on eBay as opposed to garage sales (Examples: “clothes in her closet she’s never going to wear;” toys kids will not play with again)
– Go forth and save!

Option for Saving Money – Consider Using a Hipster PDA

Friday, August 15th, 2014

800px-Hipster_PDA

Hipster PDA

iPhones, iPads, MacBook Pros et al. are wonderful gadgets but they’re also uber-pricey and possibly even addictive.

If you feel the need to have the latest and greatest [ fill in the blank with your favorite technology toy ] — and are spending more time online than in the real world, consider embracing the luddite within and fighting gadget lust by going “technology free” (at least at home).

For example, instead of using a fancy-schmancy iOS task manager such as OmniFocus, consider using a “Hipster PDA” – which is nothing more than a set of index cards held together by a rubber band. For additional organization, you can use color coded index cards!

Instead of a calendar application, use a paper calendar.

Instead of watching a streaming movie on an Apple TV, go outside and perceive the full worth of a sunset.

Instead of reading an e-book on an iPad, read an actual factual book (Curtis has 124,261 of them).

If these sound like they could be viable options for you, you can go through each of the home computer and smart phone applications that you use and seek out "real world" alternatives for them.

Then you can sell your gadgets on eBay (or somewhere else) and bank the proceeds.

Luddite
a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology

Discover Your Barista Within…

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Cutting back on small, frequent expenses like buying coffee instead of brewing it at home can be a painless way to save money.

Even if you don’t frequent Starbucks and instead spend $1.29 each work day at a convenience store — that still amounts to $323.79 per year.

(Plus the incidentals you might be tempted to buy while you’re there such as donuts, candy bars, bags of potato chips, lottery tickets, etc.)

Instead, buy an inexpensive coffee maker (or learn to love instant) and discover your barista within.

Figure out how much money you had been spending in coffee shops (or wherever you had buying it each month) and then put that money into your savings account (or drop that amount into a jar each day and deposit it at the end of the month).

Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self.
― Terry Pratchett, Thud!