- Check your credit score annually to make sure there are no errors in your financial history. Free credit reports can be obtained at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- The Fair Credit Billing Act requires the three main credit rating agencies—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax—to correct errors and disputes pertaining to your financial history.
- To bolster your credit rating, make payments on time, manage your cash flow wisely, correct errors in your credit history and don’t utilize more than 30 percent of your available credit.
- Save first, spend second.
- You can’t start a good saving plan (or habit) until you’ve established a budget.
- Increase your income, reduce your expenses and control your emotions—wait 48 hours before pulling the trigger on a major purchase and don’t fall into the FOMO trap.
- Before you embark on the dream of owning your own home, make sure there are no errors in your credit score or financial history.
- If you can’t come up with a 20 percent down payment, you can often still buy a home—but you’ll typically need mortgage insurance.
- Many new homebuyers underestimate how much they’ll pay in ongoing maintenance—budget $1 per square foot per year in addition to PITI.
- Leasing limits your mileage, but you don’t tie up cash, you drive a late-model car, repairs are limited, and you don’t have to sell.
- Buy if you’re looking at used vehicles that you plan to drive for three-plus years and you don’t expect major lifestyle changes.