It’s important to rebuild and maintain a good credit rating so you’ll be in control of your finances. Having good credit also makes it easier to get a loan when needed because lenders won’t be worried that you’re too great of a risk. Here are five tips that can help you get your financial house in order.

Monitor Your Credit Score

It’s important to monitor your credit report on an ongoing basis to always be aware of your credit standing. You should look out for new activity that could negatively affect your credit score. For example, too many inquiries after applying for a loan or being more than 30 days late on bills can lower your score. You can also be proactive by always paying your bills on time and by setting up credit alerts through credit monitoring companies. This is especially important in situations that involve fraudulent activity or identity theft, which can unfairly lower your credit score. Being on the lookout for problems can save you a hassle later.

Reduce Debt

Even small changes in your spending habits can make a huge difference over time. The following budget areas are great places to start looking for savings:

  • Credit card interest rates. Average credit card interest rates are between 9 percent and 30 percent, but savvy customers shop around or negotiate for a lower rate on their existing card.
  • Phone bills. You can reduce your phone bill by taking advantage of promotional offers or by shopping around for the best plans.
  • Medical costs. Making healthier choices concerning diet and exercise can significantly reduce future medical expenses.
  • Fees and fines. You can also save money by minimizing carelessness to eliminate late fees, parking tickets and utility fees for restoring interrupted services.
  • Debt repayment. Paying down your consumer debt, beginning with the bills with the highest interest rates, can also reduce spending over time.

Other Money-Saving Tips

The more ways you reduce spending, the better you can manage your finances. Other money-saving tips include opting in to rewards and cash back programs and reducing mortgage and auto loans by paying more than the minimum amount due each month.

There are many ways to get your financial house in order. Start by doing a quick assessment of your current financial state, then develop good habits to better manage your financial activity over time. This will help you stay in control of your finances and be ready in case you need personal credit on short notice.