One of the most underutilized financial services among debtors is credit counseling. While anyone facing bankruptcy may be required to participate in the courses offered by a credit counselors, they are open to everyone. In fact, many Clearwater bankruptcy attorneys recommend them as a first stop in the debt relief process.
Credit counseling agencies offer a variety of services from tips for budgeting and saving, to investment and retirement planning. Whatever your financial goals are, chances are a credit counselor can help. However, there are a few things we all can do to ensure become smart money managers:
Prioritize your savings — saving money should not be an afterthought, but a part of your monthly budget. Have at least three or more months worth of your monthly salary saved to cover essential living expenses and debt payments in the event of a financial hardship.
Follow a budget — many people never pay much attention to their money until there is a problem. Rather than wait until your account balance is low, create a spreadsheet of your expenses and track your spending each month. Taking note of where you are spending and how much you have left for an allocated budget category can prevent you from overspending.
Use credit wisely — Credit debt can be good for maintaining a high credit score, but too much credit quickly becomes detrimental. Don’t use credit for easy purchases, but plan out your purchases to ensure you can use them at a healthy level. Keeping your balance under 40% of the total spending limit of the card is a quick way to bump your credit score in the right direction.