1. Keep your computer safe – If you haven’t changed your passwords in a while, now might be the time. Using stronger passwords, including capital and lowercase letters with punctuation or numbers, as well as good antivirus and malware programs, can help keep your information safe and help protect you from costly computer repairs.
2. Pull your credit scores – the FTC conducted a study and found that 20% of consumers had errors on one of their three major credit reports. Errors on your credit report can affect the information that determines your credit score, thus makes an impact on the amount you’ll pay for loans, mortgages and insurance. Credit reports can be pulled at no charge, once per year, together or separately, at www.annualcreditreport.com.
3. Reassess your needs and plan ahead – Are you way over or under your cell phone allotment each month? Does your family utilize the extra premiere channels added to your cable bill? Cutting out expenses for unused services or products can help a lot and planning for those expenses that occur annually, like veterinarian bills, car maintenance or heating and a/c services, can also help you make better budgeting decisions.
4. Review your 2013 taxes – We are at the beginning of the 2014 tax year, so this is a good time to review this information. If you ended up owing money in 2013, you may want to talk to your employer about increasing the deductions listed on your W-4, or if your refund was rather large, you may want to decrease the deductions so you receive more of your money now. If special circumstances took place, now might be time to a consult a tax professional for 2014 advice.
5. Utilize your BBB’s Consumer Education Blog – Daily our staff provides a blog containing tips, news updates, and happenings, hoping to help consumers save money, time and learn more about our marketplace. These may discuss popular calls we‘ve received, new products on the market or provide warnings on potential fraud. There is a search box, so you can search specific topics, or contact your BBB to learn more.