A new tax year is upon us, and that means it’s time to take full stock of your finances — for better or for worse. Yearly budgets should be evaluated, your wallet of credit cards should be audited, and you should perform your annual credit report checks (which you can do for free once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com.) Depending on how long it’s been since you did, well, any …Read More
From the birds tidying up their nests to the gardeners preparing their land, spring is the time that we clean away the cobwebs of winter and get ready for the year ahead. But while many of us take part in an annual spring cleaning of our homes, few of us extend that same principle to one of our messiest places: our finances. Cleaning Up Your Finances The idea of …Read More
By: Gail Cunningham A recentÂ online poll by the NFCCÂ allowed consumers to select their greatest financial regret.Â Of more than 2,200 respondents, 53 percent indicated that habitually overspending was what they regretted most. Overspending far outweighed other financial concerns such as inadequately saving (18 percent), insufficiently preparing for retirement (14 percent), not having bought a house (10 percent), or having bought a house (five percent). Although most people have financial regrets, …Read More
Dear Kim, I made the mistake of going into our family file cabinet and it is a disaster. I have papers from 1989 in there. We have always been so afraid to throw anything way. How long do you hold onto important documents like tax returns and credit card bills? Thanks, Katie, VT Dear Katie, Cleaning out the clutter is a great way to start a new year, but how …Read More
Find an extra $20 per week for the remainder of the year, and put it toward debt reduction. Not worth the trouble? Consider this: If you currently owe $1,000 on a credit card, have an Annual Percentage Rate of 18 percent, and are making a minimum monthly payment of 2 percent of balance, even if no further charges are ever added to the account, you wonâ€™t have that $1,000 paid …Read More
If recent events have made your credit report less than stellar, work on improving it. Review the damage by obtaining a free copy of your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com. Look for what’s doing you the most harm, things such as accounts that have gone into collections, or old credit card bills that you’ve forgotten about. Create a plan to begin repaying these debts, even if it’s a small amount each …Read More
Contribute the maximum amount to your retirement plan at work, or at the very least, meet the matched amount or you’re throwing away free money! Also inquire about the availability of Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. All of the above can lower your taxable income.
Have everyone in your household who spends money track their spending for 30 days. At the end of the month, come together to review the findings and determine where the leaks are. Jointly decide how to plug them. Make adjustments so that your budget reflects exactly how you want your hard-earned money to be spent. You will never be fully in charge of your finances until you complete this exercise.
Even if you have overdraft protection, this is a habit that speaks of a deeper problem that should be addressed. Write down each deposit and withdrawal in your check register, including all debit and ATM transactions. Regularly balance your checkbook, and reconcile your bank statement within one week of it arriving. If you do these things, but continue to overdraft your account, the overdraft is no accident. Do not continue …Read More
Sometimes people become so overwhelmed that they bury their head in the financial sand. Not only do they neglect paying their bills on time, they donâ€™t even open their monthly credit card statements. Such habits result in late fees, a tarnished credit report, and a lower credit score. Become financially organized by creating a cash-flow calendar where you record each payday for everyone in the home who earns money. Next, …Read More