Many of us have been sheltering in place for so long that we forget what day it is (Blursday, anyone?). You might feel helpless being stuck at home so much, but there are ways to make good use of this time and impact your finances in a positive way. Here are some ideas:
Sterilize your credit score. One of the most important numbers in your life is your credit score, because it determines whether or not you can borrow money in times of need. You should be keeping an eye on your credit score regularly, and since it can take time to fix any errors, there’s no time like the present to take look. There are three major credit bureaus in the U.S., and each one offers consumers one free credit report per year. That means you can space them out to have one free credit check every four months.
Dust off your credit cards. Instead of closing any credit cards you don’t use which can negatively affect your credit score, see if they provide an interest-free option for balance transfers in case you need to decrease your monthly budget for a while. If you have cards that carry annual fees, reach out to them to see if they offer a different card without a fee…most do.
Declutter your paper. One major headache that could take this pandemic to a whole new level of difficulty would be falling victim to identity theft. Unfortunately, scams are more common during times of crisis. Going paperless not only helps keep you more organized, but it also decreases your chances of having personal information lifted off of stolen credit card statements, tax documents or utility invoices. Paper can be snatched right out of your mailbox or by digging through your trash.
Scrub junk emails. Another way to eliminate the threat of theft is to “spring clean” your email inbox. By eliminating junk and spam, you can reduce the number of emails from scammers who are attempting to access your personal data through phishing. These emails typically contain links or attachments that can give criminals access to your sensitive information.
As unique as this pandemic is to our economy, many of the old tried and true methods for protecting ourselves are still the most important actions we can take to remain financially secure. If you have any questions or need help getting started, please reach out.