If you are looking to make your financial situation even the slightest bit better, this is a great place to start. I said it before, I’m not an expert and I’m not rich, but I’ve done my fair share of research, testing, and experiencing things of this nature.
The following is just a few things that I suggest. These are things that I have done or continue to do, and that 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
- Lower Bills
- 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 in about a week.
Once you’ve made sure your information is correct, you should keep an eye on it in case things change. I check mine every few weeks, 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. Carefully choose ways to help build your credit, instead of hurting it in error.
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 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.
- Lower Bills:
Over time, most of our bills go up. Every few months, I contact them to see if there’s anything that can be done to reduce my bills. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Usually the answer is no, and I kindly move on. In some cases changes can be made, discounts applied, and even credits are given. For example, my phone service is horrible. I call constantly to complain that I’m paying for service I do not receive. Most of the time, they give me credits.
Check your bank and credit card statements. Check bills as well. I verify each statement against my budget spreadsheet, making sure I captured all transactions. I then add any charges, interest, and cash back that I received. Depending on the charge, I will contact the company to have it reversed.
Subscriptions can quickly get out of hand without even realizing it. We thought that it was cheaper to get rid of cable, but those few bucks here and there for subscription services quickly adds up.
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 usually refund the money to me. Also, don’t forget to scan your receipts to get even more cash back. More info on the Savings Tips page.
From what I’m hearing, either you’re all about coupons or you just don’t care. To get the most out of them, use coupons on sales items and buy multiples. On top of that, you can pay with a card that gives cash back and then scan your receipt for even more money back. See more like this on the Savings Tips page.
See 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. It is just meant as a basic guideline to point you in the right direction. Let me know if you have any tips as well. I love hearing from everyone.
For more financial information, see the following pages.
To save some money, visit the Savings Tips page. Here is where I discuss ways to save money from the beginning to even after a transaction.
If you would like to make a few extra bucks, go to the Extra Money Tips page. I have a few sites and apps listed that could help you do this.
I just added a third page to this called GPT Test Items. This is all about getting free Amazon items. I included some pros, cons, and things to be aware of.