Fall financial cleanup

It’s the perfect time of year to get your finances in tiptop shape.

School’s in session and everyone’s getting back into the groove. Now’s the time to review your finances, starting with these five easy refreshers.
Couple Reviews Budget on Tablet

Review your spending

Assess your spending over the next month or two. Look for trends in your spending and see if there are expenses you can reduce (maybe try eating out less or getting rid of subscriptions or services you don’t use).

  • Tip: Break down your expenses into “wants” versus “needs” to help you prioritize.
Icon Showing a Bar Graph on a Mobile Phone

Work on (and stick to) your budget

After figuring out what and how you spend, you can set your budget for the upcoming year. Be sure to include money for unexpected expenses, such as car repairs or new tires. Build savings into your budget if you can—even saving $10 a week will build $520 over a year.
  • Tip: Compare your actual spending to your budget on a regular basis. Adjust your spending or your budget as needed.
  • Tip: Set up your budget with spending categories in digital banking’s planning tools. Bar graphs reflect your spending in each category.
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Get a handle on debt

Here are two common strategies to paying down debt:

    High interest rate method
  • Pay off debt that has the highest interest rate first. This strategy can save you money over time, but if the debt is large, it can be hard to see progress.
  • Snowball method
  • Pay off the smallest debt first. Once it’s completely paid off, continue with the next smallest debt. This helps you see progress quickly to stay motivated, but you may pay more over time by not paying off the highest interest rates first.
Icon of a Circle Graph to Reflect Credit Report

Review your credit report

You can request a free credit report once per year from each of the three major credit-reporting companies. Check your credit report regularly to fix errors and spot identity theft. This is particularly important if you’re considering a major purchase, like a house or car.

  • Tip: Give yourself a calendar reminder every four months to request a free credit report (alternating between the three companies). Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request a free credit report.
Young Woman Budgeting at Computer

Keep retirement in mind

The earlier you start saving for retirement, the better. The sooner you start, the more time your funds will have to grow. If you wait until you’re older to start saving for retirement, you’ll have to save more money each month, and you lose out on time for the money to compound.

Free financial education

Explore free, online courses in the TCF Financial Fitness Program. Get refreshers on basics you know or learn about complex topics, like estate planning, with more than 20 courses available. TCF sponsors financial education programs developed by EVERFI, an unaffiliated third party.
Keep learning
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