15 Tips To Manage Your Finances, Debt

By Amanda Humphrey
The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Rachel R. Gause, a financial consultant and owner of Personal Financial Change, LLC., shares her top tips for getting your finances in order.

The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.

A dozen women gathered at Jacksonville City Hall Saturday morning with a similar goal in mind: to learn how to manage their finances.

The four-hour class presented by Rachel R. Gause, a financial consultant and owner of Personal Financial Change, LLC., covered a variety of topics including getting out of debt and how to prevent credit report surprises.

Here are just a few things the retired Marine, who straightened out her own finances and now aims to help others, suggested:

1. Check your credit report at least annually. She suggested using annualcreditreport.com or creditkarma.com. “What you don’t know can definitely hurt you.”

2. Dispute errors. Gause suggested disputing errors found on your credit report, but to do so politely since attitude is typically met with attitude. To do so, visit experian.com or dispute.transunion.com.

3. Freeze access to your credit report which makes identity theft more difficult. To do so, visit freeze.equifax.com, experian.com/freeze or freeze.transunion.com. Just be sure to unfreeze it if you know a company is trying to check your credit.

4. Change your withholdings so you don’t receive a large tax refund and you don’t owe the government money come tax time. Visit irs.gov/individuals.com/IRS-Withholding-Calculator to see what your withholdings would need to be.

5. Avoid financial distractions. If you’re looking to buy a car, purchase what you can afford to maintain and keep it. Don’t use credit cards or, in the words of Dora the Explorer, “Swiper no swiping.”

6. “Budget” may start with a “B” but it’s not a curse word. Gause suggests budgeting as often as you are paid: monthly, biweekly or weekly. Reconcile your checking account and record every single transaction. The budget, she says, will make sure you know where your money is going and shows where you’re overspending. For many, the grocery budget ends up being over simply because they’re tired after doing the grocery shopping. “You’re eating away your savings.”

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