10 Steps to Financial Fitness
It is very important to be aware of personal finance choices that will affect you for the rest of your life. Here are some other helpful tips:
- Establish a list of your “wants” versus your “needs.” Anything that does not contribute to your immediate survival, such as food, a place to live and, while you’re in college, tuition and books, is considered a “want.”
- Set up a budget. Use a budget calculator for help.
- Prioritize your spending according to your needs. If you have extra money, place it in a savings account with a high interest rate.
- If you must have a credit card, apply for one with a low fixed annual interest rate (APR).
- Protect yourself from credit fraud by keeping close track of your credit bills. If you lose your credit card, call your lender as soon as possible to report possible fraud.
- Establish your credit by paying your bills on time, including credit card, loan, and utility payments.
- Pay your rent or mortgage first and never skip your credit card or loan payments. Pay as much as you can and contact the lender immediately if you are having difficulties.
- Review your credit report at least once a year to check for accuracy.
- Always keep in touch with your lenders. The more you communicate, the more you have a chance of avoiding default. Bad credit stays with you for a minimum of seven years.
- As soon as you feel like your financial situation is getting out of control, contact a reputable credit counseling service.