Ryan S.'s blog

Don't Pay for Tax Prep—Free Community Tax Service Is Back This Year

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It's income tax season again, which means we're seeing lots of ads (and people in costume) trying to persuade us to get our returns processed by a commercial accounting firm. But the money-smart alternative, United Way of Monroe County's Free Community Tax Service, is more popular than ever, and it's easy to see why. There's the price—no charge, hooray!—but several other reasons make FCTS the way to go.

Talk to an Expert Featured in the Indiana Daily Student

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PHOTO: INDIANA DAILY STUDENT

People who come to our Talk to an Expert program usually make an appointment, but I was pleased to see a surprise walk-in at last night's sessions. Reporter Annie Garau from the Indiana Daily Student came by to find out more about TTAE, and it was great opportunity to share what the It's Your Money project offers the campus community. Thanks to Annie for the great article that ran in today's IDS—we're looking forward to seeing new IU faces at our events!

The next TTAE sessions are February 17 and 18. You can make your appointment by emailing money [at] mcpl [dot] info, or calling (812) 349-3263.

Suffering from Holiday Splurge Syndrome? Time to Talk to an Expert!

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PHOTO: JASON ROGERS

After its usual December hiatus, one of our most popular offerings—Talk to an Expert—is back! Our next TTAE sessions will be Wednesday, January 20 and Thursday, January 21 at the Main Library, and you don't want to miss out.

TTAE sessions are friendly, one-on-one 30-minute conversations with an independent expert in personal finance, on any money-related matter you choose. This is an excellent time to ask questions like:

  • How do I prepare to pay back student loans after I graduate?
  • Is buying a home right for me?
  • What's the best strategy for tackling credit card debt?
  • I can barely make ends meet—how do I begin to save?

No sales pitch, no strings attached! Our expert is contracted by the It’s Your Money Project to provide unbiased, practical money advice—free of charge.

So take advantage! Set your appointment by emailing money [at] mcpl [dot] info, or calling (812) 349-3263.

Good Money Habits: Written in the Stars

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PHOTO: KARNA DESAI

I had the privilege recently of meeting some of the brightest stars on campus—or the brightest minds studying them, anyhow. Students at Indiana University's Astronomy Department joined me in December for a

Making 2016 a Money Smart Year

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PHOTO: TRACY TORRES

Now that the new year is here, many of us are getting back into the swing of things—the sights and sounds of the holidays are fading fast as we catch up at work or plan for the semester ahead. One of the smartest things you can do for yourself while the new year's still new is to commit to a better financial 2016.

Use the Power of Two Kitchen Appliances to Save Big on Food

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PHOTO:MATTHEW DEIGHTON

Everybody likes a good meal, but for a lot of people, a busy schedule doesn't allow for the time and energy home cooking requires. For others, there's simply not a desire to spend too much of either on food preparation. Either way, when you rely too much on eating out and prepared or processed meals, you run the risk of spending way too much money—and you'll almost certainly consume too many calories and chemicals, but won't get enough real nutrition.

Using two appliances in your kitchen, you can learn to cook delicious, nutritious meals with very little effort and

Get Bankable Skills for Free with Lynda.com

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There are lots of online learning resources out there, but for top-notch video instruction on a wide variety of subjects, it's hard to beat Lynda.com. You get in-depth lessons from the pros with Lynda.com, on subjects ranging from business to graphic design to programming—all at your own pace. What's more, many of the skills you develop can increase

Fun Around Town with No Money Down

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Lots of free entertainment, culture, and education can be found in Monroe County (aren't we lucky?). Here’s a selection for the upcoming week:

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Monroe County Money Smart Week is Coming Up!

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Once again this fall, the Library is proud to be part of Monroe County Money Smart Week. Along with our partner organizations, we’re celebrating a financially empowered Monroe County October 16–22 with programs and events around the community—you can’t afford to miss out!

All events are free, and no prior registration is required.

Friday, October 16: Money Personality Quiz
Are you a miser, a spendthrift, or something else? Find out by taking our fun quiz 5–8 p.m. at Food Truck Friday in the Chocolate Moose parking lot (401 S. Walnut Street, Bloomington).

Saturday, October 17:Tasty Tailgate Food Demo
Celebrate Homecoming Weekend in the Main Library Courtyard noon–2 p.m. Our chef shows you how to plan your next get-together the money-smart way—you taste the results.

Monday, October 19: It’s Getting Chili! Home Winterization Tips
Enjoy different types of chili as you learn about keeping the “chilly” out of your home this winter, 6:30–8 p.m. at the Library's Ellettsville Branch. Families welcome; vegan option available.

Wednesday, October 21: Teen Game Night
Money matters are no game—except in The Ground Floor! Play money-themed games and enjoy pizza along with your other Game Night favorites 7–8:30 in The Ground Floor at the Main Library. For ages 12–19.

Thursday, October 22: End of Life Financial Planning
Nobody likes thinking about it, but not having your affairs in order—no matter what your age—can mean financial hardship for others. Get the information you need at this low-key information session 6:30–7:30 p.m. in Fountain Square Mall, Room 240 (South side of the square, Downtown Bloomington). Refreshments provided.

 

Artists & Performers: Learn More About Making (and Keeping) Money at Wednesday's Artist Panel

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IRIS & R-Juna

What's even harder than making money at your creative passion? Keeping it, of course. Artists of various types will be on hand to discuss their money strategies and struggles as part of the Library's You Get Paid to Do That? workshop on Wednesday, October 7 at the Main Library.

The Money on My Mind artist panel discussion is the second part of the workshop that day, and takes place in the Auditorium from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, and no prior registration is required.


Suzanne Halvorson

Artists confirmed for the event include R-Juna and IRIS (husband-and-wife hip hop duo and music label owners), Brian Oppenlander (video game developer), Suzanne Halvorson (textile artist), Marc Tschida (artisan jigsaw puzzle creator), Patrick Siney (graphic designer), Jesse Lacy (singer-songwriter), and Ane Jenkins (music producer).

Following a panel discussion on financing a career in the arts, there will be time for questions from the audience. Rookies and seasoned working creatives alike will appreciate the honest, practical advice presented here—don't miss out!

Photos courtesy of the artists.

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