Every January, thousands of Americans open their credit card statements to see the damages done over the holiday shopping season. (Not me – I no longer go crazy at Christmas like I used to.) According to a November 16th Gallup poll, Americans plan to spend an average of $638 on gifts this holiday season and the average consumer with a credit card has $7,573 worth of credit card debt. Without the right resources, trying to pay down the debt in 2010 may feel like a hopeless cause. More and more companies, however, are offering free online tools and resources to help you become financially fit and savvy. Below are four easy steps people can follow to make sure their finances are in tip top shape for the New Year.
Step 1: In order to get a gauge on your financial health, you need to find out what your credit score is. You can track your score for free using a site like CreditKarma.com, which can help you figure out how their debt is affecting their credit score. This can help a consumer determine what debts or credit cards need to be paid off first.
Step 2: Next, take a look at what you owe and what you have by taking a look at your bank accounts. Sites like Mint.com and Wesabe.com allow consumers to aggregate all of their bank accounts in one place, monitor expenses and set budgets for the upcoming year.
Step 3: Start thinking about next year – decide on savings goals and use a goal savings site such as SmartyPig.com. The site helps you define your savings goals and recommends how much money you need to set aside. Smarty Pig will hold you accountable by teaming you up with others and making your goals public.
Step 4: Shop smarter by using Milo.com, a site which makes it easy for shoppers to research the best products, find the right prices and check where products are available near them. Another site, Billeo.com also helps users shop smarter by taking out the hassle of tracking down and remembering to include coupon codes while shopping online and auto-fills them at the checkout page.
These tools should help you reduce your debt and get your financial life on the right track for the New Year.
Article courtesy of CreditKarma.com