We’ve just dipped our toes into 2021, so before work and school completely take over your schedule, now is the best time to take stock of your finances.
A great place to start is your credit report. Understanding how your credit score is calculated will give insight into how companies view you according to your credit history and how you manage your money. It also allows you to confirm that all the debts against your name are correct and that you’re not being penalised for administrative mistakes.
Your credit score will be a number between 0 and 999, although the figure may vary depending on the credit bureau calculating it. It’s an indication of your ability to repay debt, with a higher score being better. If you have a low credit score, then you’ll likely struggle to get a loan at any store or bank, whereas a higher score will give you better access to credit.
By improving your credit score, you will also improve your own financial management, your debt situation and your overall finances.
Here are some tips to improve your credit score in 2021:
- Access a free credit report and analyse the details. Make sure that the information is correct and query anything that you’re unsure of. This is the first step to taking charge of your financial situation.
- Pay your accounts on time. Either set up automated bank payments or track payment dates in your calendar and ensure that you are paying your dues on time.
- Create a budget to help you track your monthly expenses. It’s hard to know where your money is being spent unless you’re making an effort to watch it. Having a budget can also help you to live within your means by showing you where you may need to cut down.
- Save for emergencies. This will alleviate any cash flow issues when you suddenly need to deal with a major car service or an unexpected medical bill.
- Plan for upcoming expenses that you know of. Set aside small amounts of money to cover school expenses, birthdays and special occasions. This could allow you to pay cash for something instead of taking out an additional loan.
Empower yourself by taking charge of your finances this year and work towards understanding and improving your credit score.