How to Set Financial Resolutions

By: Elena Laramie

The New Year  it's full of potential and promise. It's also a great time to take control of your finances once and for all. And to help you do just that, we've compiled these tried and true credit management tips.

1. Take time to really study your credit card statements.

What are your statements trying to tell you? If you simply file your monthly statements in a box, you'll never know. Try sitting down with them and find out exactly where your money is going each month. That will help you identify problems areas and where you might be overspending. You may find out that your dry cleaning is taking you to the cleaners or that you spend more than you should eating out each month.

2. Create ways to save money.

After some quality time with your credit card statements, you'll usually find that there's some room for improvement. The first thing to do is make the necessary adjustments to curb any spending habits you see as problematic. Next, try pay down or at the very least, transfer your high-rate balances to a 0% card or to a card with a lower APR than the one you currently have. Then try to use your cards only for emergencies, even if that means going without that perfect pair of shoes or that gotta have it gadget. A little discipline goes a long way.

3. Make your money work for you.

You work hard for your money, so make it do the same for you.

If your credit cards aren't too bad and your debt is paid down  congratulations. Now, it's time to make money with your money. Step one is to make sure you have roughly three months salary saved in an account you can dip into without any penalties and without any waiting period, just in case the unexpected happens and you need cash quickly.

Next, instead of taking an extra vacation or a buying that little red sports car, you should look at long-term savings plans such as Individual Retirement Accounts. Your financial planner can help you find the one that's right for you. Just remember that the earlier you start this process, the easier (and earlier) you can retire.

4. Regularly review your credit.

Finally, it is imperative to regularly review your credit to make sure it's healthy, helping you become wealthy, and that's wise.

Be sure to check your credit report and credit score at least quarterly. You should also check them and do a debt analysis 30-60 days after changing your behavior to see how much you have improved. If you find any inaccuracies, write in and have them taken off your credit report. You can even have your side of the story added to your credit file. Simply send in a written statement.

Finance
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Finance