It’s nearly time for the big spring clean and it’s got me thinking about all the other things in my life that it wouldn’t harm to give a little spruce up. My car most definitely needs a service and a bit of a clean, the garage and garden could both do with some tending to and so on, but this led me on to thinking about what I could afford to spend a little extra money on and in turn that got me thinking about how long it’s been since I actually took stock of my finances. It turns out it’s a lot longer than I imagined it was and that my finances probably needed the biggest spring clean of all. To get me started I came up with this little financial health check list and I hope it will be of some use to you too.
- Sign up for a Free Credit report
There are a few companies out there who offer this service so just do a quick search online and work out the best option for you. This will allow you to view yourself how lenders view you which will be exceptionally important if you look to make a big financial commitment such as buying a new car. It also gives you a good overview of the type of financial products you have attached to your name or property.
- Spring Clean your Credit Score Yourself
Once, you have signed up and taken stock of it you can set about really understanding your credit score. Look at all your open accounts, total debt, defaults and so forth. If there is anything than can be cleared off make sure you contact the companies and ask them to make a change to your report so it looks as good as it possibly can to prospective lenders.
- Check for any suspicious activity
With your report to hand and with a good visual overview of your finances, make sure there is no suspicious activity on there, part of your financial health check should be to ensure that you have not been a victim of identity fraud and that someone else isn’t running down a credit score that you might need to be in tip top shape for a life event such as buying a new home. If you do find suspicious activity be sure to report it as soon as possible. Most agencies who offer credit report services will have a department that could help you with this so they might be a good first port of call.
- Income and Expenditure
Make an exhaustive list of your income and outgoings and then pick it apart. Is there anything that you are paying for that you don’t need to be? Are there high bills that could be lowered by switching to other providers? There are some great online sites that have excellent budgeting tools that can help you out with this and also have extra help and advice for sorting out your finances if you need it.
Once you have finished your financial health check, just put a date in the diary to remind you not to leave it so long next time! It will be much easier the more regularly you keep up to it.
- Get Help
And don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!