How to Analyze Your Current Finances

Two Methods:Review Your CreditMake a Budget

Improving your financial health begins with learning how to analyze your current finances. That knowledge can empower you to take the proper steps to improve your money management once you know exactly where your money comes from, where it goes and how much you have. Analyzing your current finances helps you set financial goals.

Method 1
Review Your Credit

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    Request your credit report from the 3 credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. This is the information that lenders will evaluate when you apply for a loan, credit card or insurance. Sometimes prospective employers will also get your credit report.
    • In the United States, can request a copy of your report from each of the 3 reporting agencies once every 12 months by visiting; calling 1-877-322-8228; or by mailing an Annual Credit Report Request Form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
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    Determine whether your debt could be considered good debt or bad debt. An example of good debt would be your mortgage. That investment will appreciate over time and you'll be able to make money on it in the long run. Bad debt includes a large balance on a high-interest credit card for luxury items such as trips or entertainment.
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    Read your credit card agreements so that you fully understand the terms and conditions, including your interest rate as well as any annual fees.

Method 2
Make a Budget

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    List your monthly expenses that are fixed; for example, your rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, cable and phone bills. Make a separate list for variable expenses, which would include things like entertainment, gifts and clothing purchases.
    • If you have a hard time estimating your variable expenses, write them down for a couple of months or keep receipts. However you decide to do it, you must get accurate information.
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    Determine your total income. Be sure to include all wages, Social Security payments, investments or even public assistance. Don't estimate the amount. If necessary, examine your bank statements and pay stubs to get an accurate number.
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    Know when every fixed expense is due. Make sure to include bills that you set up for automatic payment. You also need to know the date when your income clears your bank account.
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    Subtract your total expenses from your total income. If you don't have any money left at the end of the month, you have a problem. You must either to cut back on expenses or increase your income.
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    Make a budget that balances your income with your expenses. Ideally, your budget should include savings, as well.
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    Organize all of your account information into several folders so you can easily access all of your accounts when you have an issue that needs to be resolved.


  • If you're having trouble making sense out of your financial situation, visit a consumer credit counselor. Often their services are free or based on your income.
  • Personal finance software can be a tool to help you analyze your current finances. You can input your income and expense numbers, set a budget, make a savings goal and get information on ways to improve your finances.

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Categories: Managing Your Money