Take Control Of Your Finances

Want to start controlling your wallet instead of letting it control you? There are three simple things you can do this month to start the year off right.

1. Set up a household budget. Take a look at where you spend your money and how much, and set up a predetermined amount of money for each category. Then, try to stick to this budget during the month. If your "out to eat" budget runs out, cook pizza at home instead of calling for takeout. Our free Financial Fitness Workbook can help you assess your finances and set up a reasonable budget.

2. Check your credit score. Maintaining a good credit score is crucial to your financial future. Your credit score can affect your ability to get a loan, rent an apartment and sometimes secure a job. It is important to know your credit score and review your credit reports to check for errors, fraud or discover areas for improvement. When reviewing your credit, lenders and other groups will typically review data from three national credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. Be sure to check the following:
- Correct name, address and employers
- Incorrect names, previous addresses, etc
- Inaccuracies that could negatively impact your credit
standing such as credit lines you did not open

3. Organize your taxes now! You'll be getting your W-2 and 1099 forms in the mail this month, so keep an eye on your mailbox to be sure you don't miss these critical envelopes! As you get them, keep them in a safe place until you're ready to do your taxes - a specified folder or envelope will help you do this. If you don't receive your forms by January 31, be sure to contact your employer(s) to inquire. And, to help you out in your tax preparation this year, Telhio offers a discount for members on Turbo Tax software.