As well as managing your money better, what about getting smarter when it comes to paying your bills, choosing credit cards and checking your credit scores?
This time, we’ll be looking at how you can save money by looking at your bills, credit cards and credit scores.
1. Check your credit scores regularly
We strongly recommend that you check your credit scores regularly to ensure everything is up to date and accurate.
You’ll need to make sure that any closed accounts are marked as closed, and that current and previous addresses are accurate.
2. Challenge any incorrect entries on your credit score
Incorrect entries might mean that you don’t get the best rates on your credit cards or loans, or that you’re denied in-store credit.
Even if you’re not looking for a loan or credit card, you might still need your credit score to be as good as possible.
Your credit score might also be the reason you don’t get a mortgage, or a landlord doesn’t want you as a tenant.
You can dispute incorrect credit report entries, and get your credit reports corrected and updated.
3. Remember to pay your bills on time every month
If you pay your bills manually then you’ll need to remember to pay them on time every month.
Just one missed payment can affect your credit score.
Perhaps you already set aside an evening to pay your bills, or do it on your commute on the train.
Maybe now is the time to automate as many bill payments as you can.
4. Use the online bill payment function
Taking advantage of the online bill payment function to automatically pay your bills via your bank account each month will eliminate the risk that you forget to pay something.
5. Change the due date of your bills
If you can, and want to, why not change the due date of your bills so that you know you’ve definitely got the money to pay them?
Perhaps you get paid at the end of the month, so paying your bills in the first week, rather than the last week of the month makes more sense to you.
6. Use your credit cards wisely
Whilst we’ve talked about not spending, and saving money, using your credit cards wisely can help you over as a short term solution.
Remember, unless you pay the balance off in full, you’ll be paying interest, which you want to avoid.
Instead of splashing out on something expensive that you can’t afford, you could use your credit card for gas or groceries only, and pay it back in full each month.
7. Credit cards can be a way to get what you want, sooner
But at a cost…
If you’re making a large essential purchase like furniture or a washing machine or car repairs, then using your credit card and making monthly payments can mean that you get what you need sooner.
Perhaps paying 10-20% more to get your boiler or car repaired immediately will be worth it because you don’t have to save up several months for it.
Using your credit card to buy a new TV just because you want one, or buying expensive designer clothes, is probably not a good idea.
8. Don’t rely on your credit card for regular expenses
If you’re regularly using your credit cards to pay rent, or relying on them to buy gas or groceries as you often run out of money, then you need to address you financial situation immediately.
Paying for gas on your credit card and then paying it back at the end of the month, is different from paying for gas on your credit card because you have no money.
9. Pay off your credit card in full each month
If you use your credit card wisely, for buying things you would have bought anyway, you will be able to pay off your credit card debt in full each month.
Avoid paying the minimum amount, or you’ll be paying it off for a long time, and that single purchase will work out extremely expensive.
Use an online credit card calculator to see how much you can save by paying back a fixed amount compared to just the minimum.
10. Your credit card can help you improve your credit score
Making a single purchase on your credit card each month and then paying it off immediately can help to show existing and potential lenders that you have a history of making payments on time, which can help to improve your credit score.
Instead of buying luxury items that you can’t really afford, you could use your credit card for gas or groceries once a month, and then pay the balance off in full each month.
Making the payment on your cellphone or computer the minute you get home will ensure that you don’t forget and get charged interest.
Keeping your bills, credit cards and credit score up to date, can save you money, get you better rates and means that you .
We’ll be posting our next 10 money saving tips next month.