When it comes to money, the reality is that finances and credit are what makes the world go round for us here in the United States, because at the end of the day, we don’t live in a bartering system, so proper cash flow and fund allocation equals power.
So if being smarter with your money, debt reduction and money management in general is on your list of resolutions for 2018, we’ve got some helpful tips to get you started.
(1) Keep an eye on your credit score. You can’t buy really buy anything in the United States without good credit, so make sure to look through credit reports regularly for any errors or fraudulent activity. You can access a free credit report annually from each of the major credit reporting firms, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. If you want more protection, you can sign up for credit monitoring, which will track your credit and keep you apprised of any dramatic changes.
(2) Try to pay your bills as soon as possible – preferably right after payday, and well before the due date. By doing so, you avoid late fees and you also avoid getting dinged on your credit score for being late.
(3) Create a budge and stick to it. By sticking to a budget, not only are you less likely to overspend, but it will also help you plan for future expenses.
(4) Invest, invest, invest. If you are financially able to invest some money, you should do so because you’ll make more money that way than simply keeping your cash in a savings account. Although interest rates on savings accounts are going up, they’re still too low to let your money just sit there. You can invest some of it in retirement plans, stocks or even property to maximize its potential.
5) Pay down your debt. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, consumer credit card debt has gone up by a whopping $61 billion in the past year alone, bringing the current total to $808 billion. Set a concrete goal for how much you want to pay down, and focus on paying down the debt with the highest rate of interest first.