With the change of seasons, you might feel the itch to tackle some overdue deep cleaning.
Why not approach your personal finances the same way? It's the perfect time to clean your financial house.
Cindy Hilkin, a loan consultant at Dupaco, offers three simple ways to freshen up your finances:
- Review your monthly budget. Look at the income coming in and the expenses going out. "Almost all of us can find things we could cut out of our budget," Hilkin says. "Maybe you're eating out too often or spending too much on clothes. If you can cut back a little, you'll realize how much more money you'd have."
- Pull your credit report. Take advantage of www.annualcreditreport.com, which allows you to access one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies annually - at no cost. If you discover several sources of debt and have a hard time remembering when payments are due, talk to a loan consultant at your financial institution to determine whether consolidating your debt is a good option. (Watch for our next post to find out what hurts your credit score.)
- Start saving - if you aren't already. Open a savings account that accepts automatic deposits from your paychecks. Start small, with a savings plan you can afford. "Saving is like exercise. If you start out too big, you'll get frustrated and give up," Hilkin says. To start saving for retirement - something that's never too early to think about - talk to your financial institution about setting up an IRA account. At Dupaco, you can start one with as little as $5.
By Emily Kittle