Recession. National debt. Fiscal cliff. Tax increases.
We have become all but too familiar with these and other financial terms as an impending doom looms over the country…or so the media reports. I’m not a financial expert and beyond the basic supply and demand type principles of economics, I don’t have any background. But I do know that as individuals, we have an obligation to take care of our own personal finances.
One way to manage your finances is to monitor your credit. Whether you make 4 figures or 7 figures a year, you need to see what’s going on with your profile. It will help you catch anything that seems fraudulent and regular review will allow you to realistically see how your credit is affected when you take certain actions.
We’re all on a budget these days, so here are some free sites that you can use to monitor your credit score and credit report. And, yes, I use all three! They’re free and all cover different aspects. Keep in mind that the basic services are free and you don’t have to supply payment info but you can always upgrade to include paid services.
Annual Credit Report – www.annualcreditreport.com
This site is one that will give you an absolutely free copy of your credit report. You can get one report from each of three reporting agencies each year. I saw a tip last year to use only one agency every 4 months so you can spread it out over the entire year.
Credit Karma – www.creditkarma.com
This is a free site that I’ve been using for over 2 years. You can monitor your credit score monthly for free. You can see the items that changed over the past month, which will allow you to see how paying on time (or late) affects you. They also give suggestions of how you can improve your score, as you view the ‘credit report card’. You also get a reminder if it’s been around 40 days or so since you last updated your score.
Credit Sesame – www.creditsesame.com
I’ve just learned about this site about 4 months ago and have been using it to monitor my credit score along with Credit Karma. It’s similar to Credit Karma in that you can see your progress over the past several months but they use different reporting agencies. Also, Credit Sesame gives the option to automatically update your score, and you get an emailed notification that your profile has been updated. The monitoring feature lets you set criteria to get notified if certain things happen on your credit profile, like hard inquiries or if your score drops.
It’s a new year, so take even more initiative in taking charge of your personal finances. Listen to the reports but don’t be bound by them. Start by making use of the free services available.
Until next time, do something today that you only talked about doing yesterday!
Deuces & Smoochez! ~ Diva