Small steps could save you big bucks

Britt Scearce of Emery Federal Credit Union shares simple money moves you can make to tremendously improve your financial situation.

1. Modify your spending habits

This one is a no-brainer but you'd be surprised how many individuals complain about not having enough money to make ends meet yet refuse to cut back on variable expenses. Can't think of anything to cut back on? How about those quick runs to the nearest fast-food joint, frequent movie nights, daily trips to Starbucks or cable upgrades, just to name a few?

2. Be vigilant of your account activity at all times

Haven't paid much attention to your statements in the past? Now's the time to start as identity theft is at an all-time high and your account activity may serve as the first indicator that you have been victimized. Start by reviewing the activity on both your bank and credit accounts at least once a week and review the comprehensive statement when you receive it at the end of the month.

3. Renegotiate interest rates
Have you tried reaching out to lenders to secure lower interest rates on your debt?
•Request a lower APR on your credit card. Pick up the phone and give the credit card company a ring to see if they can do anything for you. You never know until you ask and the worst they can say is no.
•Consider refinancing your auto loan and/or mortgage. Depending on the loan, a reduction of a few points could save you thousands of dollars.

4. Check your credit
Reviewing your credit report takes only a few minutes, yet so many choose not to do so. Would you want to end up with a higher interest rate on a loan because of a mistake on a credit report that lowered your credit score -- a mistake that could have been corrected with a quick call or letter to the creditor? You can check your credit for free at

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