Take control of your finances with these first steps.
Set Goals: Commit them in writing! Are you considering buying a new car? Maybe a home? What about vacation, sending the kids to college, or retirement? Plan to meet your goals. Take your financial future into your own hands and begin the process now.
Build a Budget: Your budget is an important part of your financial plan. It will take effort. You will need to be honest with yourself. Where are you spending? Where can you cut back? How much can you save? Identify your wants vs. your needs. View and print a basic budget form, or establish your budget using OnTrack, a secure online budgeting tool.
Payoff Debt: Start paying off your debt. There are several ways to start making headway. Start with low balance debt that can be paid off quickly; or start with high interest rate debt. Consolidation may be an option too. Make a list of all your debts, include balances, payments and interest rates, and then choose your method for reducing your debt. If you aren’t sure, our loan staff can help you with choices.
Build an Emergency Fund: Wouldn’t it be great if you had money saved the next time you really need it for a large expense? A basic savings account or a Savings Builder certificate is a good start. When you build up a balance, move some to a longer term share certificate or a money market account to earn higher dividends (interest).
Check out Your Current Credit Report: Check out your free credit report from all three bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Transunion) at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you want to know your score, you will have to pay a fee. Looking at your credit reports periodically is important. Identity theft is a growing problem and can be discovered when you check your credit report. Verifying correct information on your credit report can help improve your score if something has been reported in error.
Build a Stable Credit History: Perhaps you have had some credit trouble in the past. Read more about building a stable credit history.