Personal finance

Easy Ways to be Financially Conscious in the New Year

NBC 7 Responds looked at some tips to start 2021 off on a good financial note

NBC Universal, Inc.

With the start of a new year comes new resolutions. Many resolutions involve having a firm grasp on your finances and there are a few easy ways to do that.

"One of the best things people can do is check their credit report," said Matt Schulz. "Especially if they haven't done it in a while."

Schulz says the end of the year is the perfect time to look at where you are financially. Usually, you can only view your complete credit report once per year, but because of the pandemic, they are available weekly here.

"If you haven't done it for a while, take advantage of those reports," Schulz said. "It will be a good thing for you."

The report does not show you a credit score, but instead displays every credit card, account, loan and other factor taken into account by the credit reporting agencies.

There are a few other easy ways to stay on top of your finances. Schulz says if you have a lot of credit cards or loans, look at debt consolidation.

"You're basically taking a bunch of other debts and putting them in one place," Schulz said. "If you can make it simpler for you to manage that debt and knock down your interest in the process, then it's a really good idea."

Because of the pandemic, many of our habits have changed. You might not be using those airline miles as much, so Schulz says look at what reward cards you are paying for.

"The best credit card for you is one that fits your lifestyle the best," Schulz said. "Honestly, a lot of people's lifestyles are not the same now as they were a year ago."

If you're paying for a high end travel card and never using the points, Schulz says consider looking for one that instead offers cash back.

"Look at the cards that you have, how you're using them, what you want from them, what you're getting from them now," Schulz said. "If they don't match up to how you're spending and what your goals are, then you should be willing to go look for other cards."

As we enter 2021, Schulz says another good practice to start is checking bank statements and changing your passwords. It's a good way to try and stop yourself from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.

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