For some, flipping the page on their calendar gives them a clean slate. Four weeks ahead of you are ready to be conquered. This moment is the perfect time to run some basic maintenance on your finances before the month gets away from you. Whether you've just started to refine your financial habits or if you need a quick reminder, keep reading for a rundown of some helpful steps you could take every month.
1. Inspect your financial records and analyze your spending patterns.
Keep an eye on your financial accounts by connecting them to your Credit Karma account. That way, you can review transaction details, and check for signs of identity theft or if you need to contact your lender to clear up any errors.
Connecting your accounts also allows you to look back at how you spent your money the past month. See if you can spot trends in the categories that you spend the most money in. For example, if you're interested in seeing how much you're really spending on eating versus on cooking at home, you can compare how many transactions fall under "Groceries" and how many fall under "Restaurants/Dining." From there, you can track and gauge your progress toward changing your spending habits.
2. Check your credit score.
While you can refresh your credit score on Credit Karma weekly, your score likely won't change every week. That's why it's important to track how it does over longer periods of time. Whether your graph looks rosy or not, don't be discouraged. It's important to face your financial woes. By checking your credit score and reviewing your credit report details, you can get a better idea of how actions you're taking might be impacting your credit.
3. Pull your credit report.
Like viewing your financial transactions, retrieving your credit report is a good way to watch out for signs of identity theft. It'll also help you pinpoint any mistakes a creditor or bureau may have made that you can file a dispute to correct. Regular monitoring of your credit report can help you keep your credit blemish-free long before you may actually need your credit to apply for something. Credit Karma provides free credit monitoring of your Equifax and TransUnion reports, meaning we'll alert you after significant changes are made.
4. Review your recommendations.
Keeping an eye on your options may help prevent missed opportunities. If you could save money by switching to a different product or consolidating your debt, waiting a whole month might make a world of difference to your wallet. As you check your recommendations on Credit Karma, it's a good idea to read recent reviews about these products. It's always important to research your options and review the applicable terms, but also watch for timeliness as promotions may change often. Of course, if you can't afford a new loan or you're simply not interested in another line of credit right now, then wait until it's best for you to open one.
5. Share your knowledge.
As you build up your financial knowledge, share some of those brains with other Credit Karma members. The Credit Advice Center is an active community for our members to share their unique experiences and thoughts with each other. You can also contribute nuggets of wisdom in the comments sections of our articles and blog posts. By taking some time to answer questions or offer opinions, you'd be helping others grow their credit expertise and keeping up your own financial education at the same time.
Your credit health is something you tend to over the long haul. Like getting in shape, you don't stop once you reach a goal. You keep eating well and exercising often. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
These are some of our basic suggestions to keep in mind every month. Now tell us: How do you maintain your credit health every month? Share your tips in the comments section below.
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