How exactly do you get your finances where you want them? Everyone's situations and goals are a little bit different, but these two financial health to-dos are a great place to start.
1: Check Your Credit Report
A great credit score makes it easier to get credit and can make you eligible for lower interest rates, saving you money in the long run. A low score typically means you'll have to pay higher interest on a loan, or could lead to denial of credit. It's not the only way to measure your financial health, but it is an important factor.
It's a credit idea to check your credit report regularly. The important thing is to make sure your information is correct, and that you are paying on time and reducing credit balances.
You can pull a free credit report once a year from annual credit report.com. Here's what to look for on your credit report:
- Check your name, social security number and contact information
- Make sure all the accounts and credit inquiries on your report are truly yours
- Look to see if the payment histories, balances and account status are all correct
If you find mistakes, file a correction with the credit reporting agency on their website.
2: Make a Budget Plan
One of the most important steps toward strong credit and financial health is to make sure you pay your bills on time. A budget can help you stay on track.
- Add up all your income sources to find out how much money you have each month
- Write down all of your bills and expense
- Prioritize to decide what is non-negotiable
- Plan for how much money you will devote to your bills, living expenses and savings
By setting your budget in advance, it's easier to manage your money to meet your goals. You can use this free downloadable budgeting calculator to help you get started and keep you on track.
Improve Your Financial Health at First Alliance Credit Union
First Alliance Credit Union has many helpful resources to help you get started with reaching your financial goals, such as our Beginner's Guide to Budgeting and our Credit Score Facts Page. We've also partnered with companies like Green Path Financial Wellness, which offers free, unlimited financial education tools and one-on-one financial counseling.