It’s always important to protect your finances, in good times and especially in volatile times. Here are ways to get started now:
- Monitor and improve your credit score: In the U.S., you get a free credit report each year at www.annualcreditreport.com. Also, www.creditkarma.com offers free credit scores and helpful tips and insights to help you manage your credit. This is critical for those buying houses because your credit score may influence mortgages made available to you.
- Review your spending: A budget is a great tool for monitoring cash flow. You can review where you’re spending your money and where you have an opportunity to save. For example, streaming services and subscriptions pile up quickly. Take a reality check and list all monthly charges, then sort through them to cut extra spending.
- Make a savings plan: Do you put money aside each month into a savings account? If you do, do you assign a job for it? Research shows that those who know what they’re saving for are more likely to fulfill their savings goals. Save for specific goals to stay motivated.
- Have a rainy-day plan: In addition to a savings fund, it is helpful to always have a backup plan for bringing in extra cash. Think about a side-hustle, like freelance writing, or items you can sell online. You may even decide to sell arts and crafts online if you have a special artistic talent. Don’t underestimate your skills and money-earning potential.
- Don’t bury your head in the sand: If you lose your job, or are left suddenly out of work for illness, don’t avoid the situation and potential impact on your finances. Take swift action: Prioritize which bills need to be paid first and call providers and explain the situation. Most service companies will work with customers to pay bills at a lower monthly amount — they prefer this to nothing at all. Then you’ll save the late charges and potential to cut off services to your home.
- Work with a financial advisor: Once you’ve completed these tasks, check in with an advisor and find out if you’re spending money smartly. They’ll help to identify opportunities for improvement.