Knowledge is power, and in honor of National Financial Awareness Day (on August 14th), we’re here to reiterate this.
Here are some moves you can make to save money and become more financially empowered:
Know your credit score
Your credit report has a huge impact on what you can do, financially. Ideally, you should check it – from each of the three credit reporting agencies – once a year. Go to annualcreditreport.com; it’s free. Why bother if you’re not taking out a loan anytime soon, you ask? To identify potential problems, such as unauthorized charges/fraudulent behavior, and inaccuracies. After all, error rates range from about 3% to 25% (and some studies put that figure as high as 80%).
Research loan options
Are you looking to take advantage of record low mortgage rates and do a refi? Take the time to research loan options. Getting just one additional rate quote could save borrowers an average $1,500 over the life of a loan, according to research by Freddie Mac. Shopping five lenders could save you about $3,000.
Granted, it’s become a lot harder to establish goals during these challenging times, but keep in mind we’re much more inclined to save when we’re saving for something specific, whether that second home in the suburbs or a family vacation once we’re through this pandemic. Consider writing down your short and long-term goals and establishing a plan to meet those goals.
When you pay your bills late, you’re not only faced with late fees (which could easily exceed your minimum payment on your credit card), but higher interest rates and credit score consequences, which affects your ability to buy a home, a car, or even get a job. By having a designated place for bills (and setting aside a time to pay them, or arranging to have them paid automatically) you’ll avoid these negative consequences.