How Much Do You Know About Your Finances?
Need help managing your finances? Improved financial management can keep you from wasting money, can help to improve your credit, and can lower your stress levels. Here are five tips to help you stay on top of your finances.
Know Your Credit and Make Sure it is Accurate
Your credit has a significant impact on your financial future and well-being. Your credit can affect where you can live, what jobs you’re eligible for, how much money you can borrow, the interest rate you will pay, and it might even affect aspects of your personal relationships.
By law, you have the right to view your report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) once a year. It’s free, typically takes less than 15 minutes, and it won’t negatively affect your credit. To view your free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. You can opt to pay for your credit score if you’re curious. Checking your credit report can help you detect and dispute any errors and could help you catch identity or credit card theft early on.
Know Where You Are Spending Your Money
You might be surprised to see what expenses can add up over time. It is helpful to see what you typically spend each month on necessities versus discretionary or impulse purchases. Knowing where your money is going will help you easily monitor your spending to see where you can cut back and can help you create a realistic budget. Some of the top-rated budgeting apps are Mint, PocketGuard, and You Need A Budget.
Evaluate Your Monthly Expenses and Cut Back if Needed
Are excess expenses weighing you down? When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance, cable, internet, or your cell phone plan? You could save tons of money each month by downsizing or renegotiating some of these contracts. You should also take the opportunity to eliminate any monthly subscriptions that you’re not using.
Set Up Push Notifications
Most financial apps have the option of push notifications built in them. Make sure any financial app you use is set to allow push notifications through text or pop-up notifications on your phone. You can use this to alert yourself of low balance warnings, suspicious transactions, large withdrawals, due dates for payments, and more. Look at it as an opportunity to correct any erroneous transactions or prevent yourself from missing an important deadline.
Schedule Regular Progress Reports
To be effective, all of the tips listed above need to be repeated regularly. Schedule bi-monthly or quarterly checkups to ensure that you are staying on track and are meeting your financial goals. If you are not, then it might be time to re-evaluate your methods or goals.
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