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Do you hate managing your finances? Does the word “budget” make you cringe? Well you are not alone. In a recent survey, 60% of people said they don’t track their spending. 30% said they spend more than they save and 40% said they have never had a budget.
Living in Denial
In my early 20s, I was in that 40%. I skipped student loan payments and racked up credit card bills. I had no idea that I was having such a negative impact on my financial fitness. I finally found out when I applied to rent an apartment and was denied. The landlord explained that my credit score was bad. At the time, I didn’t even know what a credit score was.
What’s a Credit Score?
Your credit score is a number that evaluates how worthy you are to receive credit. Lenders use this number to evaluate how likely you are to repay your debts. Ranging from 300 to 850, the higher your score, the better your credit.
“The range your credit score falls into is very important. It can determine whether you can get a loan, how high your credit card interest will be and whether or not you can rent an apartment. It can even influence some job prospects.” – Lexington Law Firm”
Improving my credit score took time, but I was able to do it. Everyone has the right to good credit. The law is on your side to help fix mistakes.
Fast forward to today. I am much more financially stable and have a high credit score. I certainly wish I knew then what I know now. But even with a much better understanding of money management, I still have setbacks from time to time.
A bit of a setback
Last year, I did not balance my income and expenses very well. I spent more than I earned for the first time in many years. Having this backslide helped remind me that I want to make sure I am back on track for 2020. I’ve set these goals for myself and hopefully a few might help you too.
6 Tips for Better Financial Fitness
Check Your Credit Report
Did you know that you can check your credit report for free every year? There are 3 main reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. If you haven’t checked your credit score before, you can reach out to Lexington Law Firm for a free consultation. They’re the oldest and most respected name in credit repair!
According to the Lexington Law Firm website, “if you haven’t checked your credit report recently that can cause major issues for you in the future.” In searching for my last credit report, I found out that I hadn’t checked it in 3 years. Whoops! I’m now setting a reminder on my calendar to do it once a year.
Pay off bad debts
Holding on to high interest debt from credit cards and personal loans adds up extremely fast. I cringe at the thought of how much interest I paid last year. Paying off debts like these are my first priority this year. I realize how this debt can hurt my credit score.
That said, the credit repair industry has grown so much there is a lot of fact vs. fiction information out there. Know that you can get help to fix credit issues you may have by reaching out to companies like Lexington Law Firm. Credit scores are not set in stone, and you don’t have to navigate the credit repair process alone!
Get Your Taxes Done Early and Save Your Refund
I finished my taxes last week and it feels so good! Last year I waited until the last minute and it caused a lot of unnecessary stress. Avoid this hassle by getting your tax documents prepared as soon as possible. I find completing my taxes helps put me in a better money-mindset as well.
Many people see their tax refund at “free money.” Technically, it’s your money to begin with. If possible, save your tax refund. It can help serve as an emergency fund should unforeseen expenses arise.
OK, I mentioned that I hate the word “budget,” but understanding the ins and outs of your money is important. Rather than trying to write everything down, use the online resources from your bank and credit card companies to review what you spend. Many of them have a year-end report that can really help you identify areas to save for the next 52 weeks. Upon reviewing my year-end statements, I found a number of areas where I can cut back. Typical areas where many Americans can save include:
Use drugstore and grocery chain items instead of brand names
Eating out is a huge expense. American’s can save an average of $280 a month!
Skip the coffee shop?
I consider myself lucky since I don’t drink coffee. With fancy coffee drinks exceeding $5 in many instances, it’s such an easy way to save money.
Cancel automatic subscriptions and memberships
I found 3 that I had forgotten to cancel. Bingo! Saved over $200 for next year.
Try a Money Savings Challenge
If saving money seems like a chore, turn it into a game instead. Ask friends and family to join you too. I recently read about a 52-week challenge. By saving just one extra dollar each week (starting with $1 the first week), you’ll save a total of $1378 at the end of 52-weeks. I wish I’d done this last year. At the end of the year, I had too much credit card debt.
Ask for Help
Don’t be embarrassed if anything about your financial health is confusing or troubling.
In reviewing my recent credit report, I found one questionable item. I called Lexington Law Firm for a free credit report consultation and they were very helpful. In addition to providing information regarding my issue, the representative explained that people are often taken advantage of when in need of credit repair. Lexington Law will advocate for the credit you deserve, and can help you review your rights as a consumer.
Never pay up front for credit repair
I asked about common pitfalls when it comes to credit repair. He responded, “Never pay for credit repair up front. I once helped a customer who had given someone $1600 to correct his credit. That person skipped town and the customer was left with nothing but more debt.
Check Out Lexington Law Firm
Lexington Law Firm offers a variety of affordable packages to fit consumer needs. They even have an app where you can keep track of everything going on while they work for you. How cool is that?
It’s also important to me that Lexington Law Firm has long-standing relationships with all three of the credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These long-standing relationships, and experience of how to get errors removed works, and enables the team to communicate more routinely and efficiently for their clients.
Such great advice, living in debt can seem impossible to get out of, but small steps in the right direction will get you there eventually
Being careful about our finances has always been a priority. These are very valuable tips and will are a great help for my household. Thanks for sharing!
Very good tips for those who have not given enough thoughts to saving and money management. Loans exceeding paying capacity and credit cards are the biggest culprits for many. I too went through this phase many years back but in control again for many years now.
This is great advice. One of the places I leak money is the automatic subscriptions. I’m a sucker for a 30 day free trial.
Thank you for this, it’s a great topic to discuss and one that should be discussed more often. Especially to kids, in my opinion, it would help them so much.
These are really useful tips for us. It’s definite;y a great thing to know how to manage your finances properly. I will check out Lexington Law Firm soon.
I really am glad I have started taking care of my finances. Spending money is not something you should be doing willy nilly these days.
I try to be careful about how I spend my earnings. We don’t use credit cards and the only debt we have at the moment is the mortgage. I firmly believe that if I don’t have the money, I can’t buy the things I want or think that I need. I like the idea of the money savings challenge.
Always clear your record. Pay bad debts and start over again. Plan and budget your expenses.
This is a very important topic people often avoid talking about. thanks for all these tips.
Being smart with one’s money is not difficult – it just takes some common sense. I agree with your tips here! Great advice.
We always have a use for our tax return, so it is difficult to save it. However, I would like to give the money savings challenge and Lexing Law Firm a good ol’ try.
Ah yes! We have to stop procrastinating about what we owe people. That’s one sure way of keeping some money in our pockets longer.
I try to budget but still have my shopping sprees which I need to manage better. ahem. These tips are great and perfect reminders for me to stay on track with spending!
I’ve always been extremely careful when it came to finances. I am always working on a budget with everything. I love to be able to save whenever possible.
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These are really great tips and will definitely be a great help in our household. Thanks for sharing!
Nice tips. Eating out is a HUGE expense. Especially when doing it every day. Make it at home and bring it with you!
It’s funny how many people hate the word budget, and think it’s such a drag to have a budget. My husband and I have found that it has been so freeing! No more fighting over money, no more stressing about how we were going to pay off credit cards. We know where our money is going, and we’re making it work for us instead of being slaves to it!
I’ve been really focusing our paying down our debts to raise our credit scores. I’ve used many of these tactics and they work well!
These are exactly the same things I keep reminding my grown children. I know how tempting it is to splurge when they get their paychecks, but it is more important to save and keep track of spending.
These are great tips! My husband and I are frugal but in our 20s we were making minimum payments on our credit card debt. Luckily, we figured out pretty quickly that it was a big mistake.
good tips. bravo. i definitely believe debt is one of the worst financial pitfalls. a strong budget is so important for financial fitness.
All of these tips are spot on. I had a bankruptcy which I am not proud but I learned how to budget. You should not be embarrassed to seek help.
I’ve pretty much always had a habit of eating my meals at home and packing a lunch. I have to look into trying some other ways as well to save money. Thanks for sharing your tips.
OH YES! Eating at home or packing lunch = HUGE MONEY SAVER!!!!!
This is so, so important for everyone to read and understand, especially young people. Young people have a way of thinking that tomorrow will sort itself out. Sometimes, it does but not when it comes to finances.
Wow this is super useful for me I’m like 2 keep track of my finances but I would like to get rid of of some bad credit
I love these tips! I’m always careful with my money. I always put some back into savings and I hate being in debt, so I try to pay that off as quickly as I can.