Financial Basics

If you are looking to make your financial situation even the slightest bit better, this is a great place to start. The following is just a few things that I suggest. Some of these things I have personally done and have helped me. Maybe you already do these things and have more to add. Let me know. I may have missed it or wasn’t aware.

  • Credit Scores
    • No Credit
  • Monitor / Decrease Bills
  • Subscriptions
  • Receipts
  • Coupons
  • Assistance

  • Credit Scores:

Checking your credit scores gives you an idea of where you are ranked in the financial world. If you haven’t already done this, pull your credit report from a reliable source. You can get your information for free from Experian, TransUnion, your bank, etc. I use Credit Karma the most. Review every bit of it and if anything is incorrect, you can dispute it. They generally estimate it taking a month to go through the process, but I’ve seen things removed much sooner.

Once you’ve made sure your information is correct, you should keep an eye on it in case things change. I check mine really often, but then I’m obsessed with increasing my credit score at the moment. A lot goes on that you don’t even realize. I’ve seen accounts get removed, then added again later under a different company name. While you’re reviewing it, carefully choose ways to help build your credit without hurting it.

I recommend not applying for every card that comes your way. The loans and cards may help at the moment, but you now have additional payments to manage later. If you’re able to, it does help to set up automatic payments. Late payments will only prevent you from catching up, especially if you’re late on more than one bill. It’s also best to keep your charges below a third of your credit. If your balance goes up, try to make an additional payment to bring it back down.

  • No Credit:

If you are starting out or just don’t have any credit at all, you may feel extremely stuck. It is a very difficult place to be in. I was already working when I was a child and opened up all sorts of accounts right away. I was a train wreck. I would normally say that Credit Karma recommends cards accordingly, but you won’t be able to access it without any credit. I would look into credit cards that will help you build your credit. You can get some with a security deposit and possibly fees. Also utility bills can be added to boost your credit. Again, be careful so you don’t set yourself back in the process.

  • Monitor And Decrease Bills:

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are complacent with their bills. They may just be comfortable dealing with the same company. If anything, they’ll complain that they are going up. And, that’s if they even notice the increases or any extra charges. I was one of those people, for a long time.

At one point, I went through all of my accounts to see how much I’m paying. Depending on the bill, I contacted them to review my bill and try to reduce it. It doesn’t hurt to ask. In some cases changes could be made, discounts applied, and even credits were given. It’s definitely worth the extra time spent doing this. Since that’s done, I just keep an eye on the bills to see if there’s any changes.

  • Subscriptions Add Up Quickly :

Subscriptions are only a few dollars here and there, but they quickly add up. I have fallen into this too often. The latest trap was when we cancelled cable and subscribed to multiple streaming services. It ended up costing more in the end.

  • Receipts:

Check your receipts for errors and verify that your coupons were used. I absolutely hate doing this, I really do. I shouldn’t have to, but I have found so many mistakes that were costing me money. If I notice it at the time, I’ll have them fix it. If I’m already home, I’ll call the store right away to tell them. The next time I go in, they refund the money to me. Also, don’t forget to scan your receipts to get even more cash back. There’s more info about this on the Savings Tips page.

  • Coupons:

Coupons can be a bit of extra work, but they are worth it. To get the most out of them, use coupons on sales items and stock up. You can also pay with a card that gives cash back, and then scan your receipt for even more money back. See more like this in the Coupons section of the Savings Tips page.

  • Assistance:

There’s no shame if you need the extra help. That’s what it’s there for and a lot more people use it than you realize. Find out if you qualify for any assistance programs in your area. I can’t vouch for anywhere else, but I know that in Pennsylvania you can get food stamps, heating assistance, rental and home owner rebates, health insurance, and more. It goes according to household size and income.

I hope this helps. Again, they are things that I have personally done that have helped me.

For more financial information, see Smile Sparkle Save, Savings Tips, Scan Receipts, Extra Money, Freebies. Everything else can be found on the Site Map.

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