The No Credit Needed Network will hosting this week’s Carnival of Debt Reduction. For more information, please click this link.
I am not a fan of credit cards, debt, or borrowing money, but I AM a fan of keeping my personal-finance house in order. So, I like to check my credit report, at least once a year. I have been doing so for the past 4 or 5 years. I live in Georgia, and we have been entitled to a free credit report (also known as a credit file disclosure) for many years. Now, everyone in the United States is eligible for a free copy of their credit report. Here is a link to the site for your free annual credit report:
Simply go to the site, and select your state, and begin the process of getting your free credit report. What if you want more than one free annual credit report? Well, you are in luck! First off, there are THREE credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. All THREE of them do pretty much the same thing (and all three of them are accesible via the link above). They track your credit and debt history, and provide a consolidated report to financial institutions with which you might do business. (Some jobs, schools, and insurance companies also pull credit reports. So, you need to be sure that your credit report is up-to-date, and accurate. By the way, it is illegal to remove ACCURATE information from your credit report.) So, here is the trick for getting THREE, not just ONE, annual credit report. Simply request a credit report from ONE of the three companies at a time, not all three at the same time. You schedule could look something like this:
February: Request credit report from Equifax
June: Request credit report from Experian
October: Request credit report from TransUnion
There, now you will get not “one” free annual credit report, but three. If you are married, you could actually get SIX free annual credit reports, three for yourself, and three for your spouse. If both of your names are on joint accounts, you can track those accounts on all six reports. Something like this:
February: Request your credit report from Equifax
April: Request your spouse’s credit report from TransUnion
June: Request your credit report from Experian
August: Request your spouse’s credit report from Equifax
October: Request your credit report from TransUnion
December: Request you spouse’s credit report from Experian
There, now you have six credit reports, for free. (Please note, it is illegal to request another person’s credit report. Allow your spouse to request his / her own credit report, or get their permission.)
Warning: If you find an error on one of the reports (a serious error, which could result in a negative affect on your credit score) immediately pull ALL three of your credit reports, so that you can compare and contrast.
For much more information about your free Annual Credit Report, please click this link for their faq’s.
I am 65% of the way towards reaching my goal of saving 20,000 dollars by 10/10/2006. You can check out my chart here… (shameless plug for the NCN Network…) So, it is almost time to reevaluate my goals for the coming year. (My wife and I each contribute to retirement plans, and we will be increasing our contributions in 2007. The following represent NON- RETIREMENT, NON-COLLEGE cash savings, for emergencies and planned purchases.) In our house, our fiscal year actually starts in OCTOBER…
My Goals by Year
[x] Save 1000 dollars for mini-emergency fund
[x] 11,510.22 Debt Re-Payment (Actually completed in February 2006)
[ ] Save 20,000 dollars in a 6-Month Emergency fund (65% complete)
[ ] Save 20,000 dollars in auto-replacement fund
[ ] Make 5000 in new, additional income
I save all of my money at ING Direct. They pay 4.35% on my savings. If you’d like a referral to ING Direct so that you can start your cash savings, please click this link, or hit the contact button at the top of this page and send me an email. Also, if ING Direct does not float your boat, you can check out this awesome site which lists the best, current banking rates and deals.
Forget about your budget plans and splurge on something that you don’t really, really need?
Buy a 50 Inch HDTV, even though you only watch about 3 hours of television a week, just because they are soooo pretty?
Eat and eat and eat, even when you are not hungry, because you are: bored, tired, frustrated, happy, celebrating, stressed, etc… etc… etc…?
Put of doing something that is relatively easy, instead of going ahead and doing it and getting it over with?
Refuse to forgive someone, and stew in your anger, just because it feels “good” to be a jerk once in a while?
Grind your budget into little bits and pieces, spend a bunch of money, and live like “everybody” else for a month or two?
eBay EVERYTHING and go live in a cabin, in the woods, all by yourself, because you are tired of stupid people?
Eat even more?
Stop blogging, podcasting and networking, because… you know… they take hard work, effort and imagination, three things that are, right now, in short supply?
Go all day without a shower?
Let me tell you a little secret. You see those things up there. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY has to deal with the temptation to throw their hands up, forgo progress, and stop moving forward. In order to be successful with your debt reduction (and life) you must be determined to press forward. You must refuse to live under the influence of your “feelings” and you must determine to live by the power of “faith” in your plan. If the idea of getting out of debt was good yesterday, it is still a good idea today. DO NOT STOP, even when tempted by frustrating situations, unforeseen setbacks, and temporary problems. You are in charge of you. You rock! You are awesome! You are “your change”.