It’s that time of year when we go through mounds of paperwork to get ready to do our taxes and rake piles of leaves to get ready for our first mow of the season. But yard work and paperwork aren’t the only kinds of clearing out you should be doing right now.

In “Give Your Credit a Spring Cleaning,” the experts at FreeScore offer some advice on dusting off your credit management skills and sorting through the mess. recently discussed this issue and named six steps everyone should take to clear out the clutter and refresh your finances. Here are a few of their suggestions:

Sort and Shred Your Paper Files: Go through your filing cabinets and clear out unnecessary paperwork. The IRS requires we keep records for all income, deductions or credits claimed on federal returns for at least three years. But older records and statements for nondeductible expenses can be shredded once payments have been posted to your account. To reduce paperwork altogether, sign up for online billing. Be sure to keep your electronic records organized and backed up in case of a computer crash. Safeguard important paper files in a fire-proof safe or safe deposit box at your bank.

Get Your Payments Organized: Most of us have debt spread across several credit cards. As a result, it becomes difficult to really know how much debt we actually have and how much we’re paying. Gather all of this information into one document and set up a plan to pay off your high-interest rate cards first and then pay off those with lower rates. Then, set up your car, cable or mortgage payments for auto-payments (direct debit from your checking account) so that you won’t miss a payment and incur late fees.

Shop Around: Researching better interest rates can help you save money in the long run. Many lenders will be willing to lower your interest rates on things like credit cards, mortgages and car loans, but you have to ask. Before calling, look online to see if you have good credit scores – lenders may be more willing to lower your interest rates.

You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t have any errors, discrepancies or unapproved charges on your credit report that could damage your credit score. Millions of Americans fall victim to a negative credit score due to errors. Being familiar with your credit report can save you from headaches in your report due to inaccuracies. FreeScore provides easy access to all three credit scores and reports from the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Like a year-round form of spring cleaning, FreeScore also helps keep your credit clear of fraud and errors with 24/7 monitoring and automatic email alerts of changes to your credit reports.

Blog provided by Atlanta Real Estate Forum

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