As you make transactions throughout the month, go ahead and record on your personal check register.
When you receive your monthly banks statement (electronic or paper), pull out your check register and use the following steps to make sure everything is alright.
Check all your deposits. Mark off on your register all your deposits into the checking account.
Check all your checks and bill payments. Mark off them on your register as well.
Review all your ATM withdrawals. As you mark them off, remind yourself what you spent the money on. You may discover a money leak.
Verify all your check card transactions. Double check to see if everything matches up.
Closely check any fees or interest earned for your account. If your bank is charging excessive fees, consider moving your money to a bank or credit union that values its customers better.
Make sure your total and the bank’s total matches. Don’t stress over pending bills if the math adds up. Depending on your bank’s policy, they can take a day or more to go through on your account. Call your bank if you notice any discrepancies.
The process in review your checking account doesn’t take as long as many people think.
It’s an extra step, but it adds a safety net to your financial system.
Thoughts on Balancing Your Checking Account
How many of you balance your checking accounts? How many do it regularly? Why or why not? How do you feel about your bank or credit union’s service?
Learn how your credit score is calculated and how you can increase it to get better deals on your mortgage, insurance, and more.
If the two of you are planning on refinancing your mortgage or buying a house with a loan in the near future it’s important to get a handle on your credit report and your scores.
Why Your Credit Score Matters
Higher credit scores typically mean you can qualify for lower interest rates, which can save you tens of thousands of dollars or more over the course of the mortgage so it pays to stay on top of credit monitoring.
Before we get into what a ‘good’ credit score is, I want to review how credit scores are calculated.
Examining How Credit Scores are Calculated
Many people, including myself years ago, use credit reports and credit scores interchangeably.
While the are related they are not the same. Quite simply, your credit scores are calculated based on what is on your credit report.
Your credit report is a record of your history of payments on your debts and helps lenders determine your credit worthiness.
You have 3 credit reports, one with each credit bureau – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Since they’re used for your credit scores, please check to make sure it’s accurate.
Checking Your Credit Report for Free
If you’re looking for a free option on checking your credit reports, you can use Annual Credit Report.
You’re entitled to reviewing all 3 of your reports for free. This is a completely free site, no trial, no membership sign-up.
Breaking Down Your Credit Score
According to FICO, credit scores are calculated by a few factors, weighted differently:
Your credit score from each bureau is a number between 300-850 that each of the credit agencies assign based on the information on your credit report. Since the information should be the same across the board, your scores should be quite similar, but that’s not always the case.
Good Credit Scores Save You Money
Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with many people around 600-700. If you’re looking for a minimum to work for, then 720 or better is something to shoot for.
When I was checking FICO to see what interest rates for mortgages you can get based on your credit scores, here’s what it came up with:
I want to mention, while you can get your credit reports through Annual Credit Report, you can not get your credit score.
You can use free option like Credit Sesame to get a credit score using data from Experian updated monthly.
The free membership (no credit card required) allows you to see your credit score and you can also get suggestions on ways you can save money on your finances, like mortgages or credit cards.