New Year’s resolutions are nothing new, and, according to the credit reporting firm Transunion, nearly 40 percent of Americans say they will make at least one big financial change in their life next year.
More than 32 percent say they will save more money, while 28 percent vow to pay down debt, and 27 percent saying they will eliminate unnecessary expenses.
No matter where you fit in the spectrum, the money mavens at Transunion suggest five steps you can start with to set you on the right path to financial fitness:
- Check your credit – Start by knowing where you stand. Check for any evidence of bad financial habits such as late, missed and minimum credit card payments. Knowing where problems lie is the first step toward fixing them.
- Dispute false credit data. Wrong information on a credit report can be the start of significant credit and financial problems for years to come. Protect your credit health by disputing any items on your credit report that are incorrect or that you do not recognize and getting those items removed.
- Address credit rating deficiencies – Once you know your credit score, take the necessary steps to raise your score. Pay down debt, hike those minimum card payments, and keep a lid on spending.
- Don’t overspend – It seems like a simple concept, but vow to stop spending too much money on services and stuff you don’t really need. Create a monthly spending plan (b-u-d-g-e-t!) and set limits on how you spend your disposable income.
- Watch out for identity theft. Recent news that millions of Target shoppers were victims of a security breach should resonate with every consumer. Keep ID thieves at bay by using a reputable credit monitoring service and tracking your credit card and bank statements regularly to make sure you’re not exposed to a data breach.
Source: Barbara Pronin