GOAL! Score your financial goals this summer

With the FIFA World Cup well underway, chances are you’ve been bombarded with football and goals every time you’ve turned on your television or computer. We’re not going to talk about football but we are going to talk about goals, financial goals that is! So forget about your Ronaldos and Rooneys, this is about you working out what you’re shooting for and netting those goals for tip-top finances.

SCORE! Credit score that is.
Having a strong credit score is incredibly important as it can have a very real impact on your finances as it helps lenders decide what services they can offer you, whether or not they can approve loan applications and also what rates you receive. Whether it’s a home-improvement loan, a credit card of a mortgage, a better rate will save you money which you can then use to save for the future or pay off your other debts even quicker.

Improving a credit score isn’t an instant thing as lenders like to see solid and consistent management of your finances to feel confident you’ll handle any loans they approve appropriately. However, there are often a lot of things you can do to help improve your credit score. Find out more here.

Tackle the small thing to save big.
It’s often the small spends we don’t think about which have the biggest impact on our budget. Things such as buying lunch instead of making it at home can really add up over the course of a year.

For example, if you buy a £2.50 coffee each morning on the way to work rather than making one when you’re there, that £2.50 turns into a whopping £650 spent on unnecessary coffee in a year. Just foregoing that morning coffee could pay for your next holiday. An easy to follow financial goal can be to work out where your money is going, figure out what you wouldn’t miss not having and cut it.

You could even set up a savings account and pop that saved money there so you’ll be able to see the small amounts build into a good sum.

Set up your savings
When we think of saving money it can be easy to focus on the short-term needs such as saving for the next holiday or new car but it’s good practice to look further to the future and have at least three different sets of savings. As well as the ‘holiday’ savings it’s financially savvy to have an account for emergencies such as the boiler breaking down and another account for retirement. Having your finances organised can make them easier to manage and your future self will thank you when things go wrong but you’ve got the savings to help you out.

Don’t let in the penalties
No one wants to waste money and a great financial goal is to aim to clear any outstanding debt as soon as you realistically can. It’s often tempting to only make the minimum payment on loans and credit card bills each month but by doing this, the debt will continue to accrue interest which means you’re giving away extra money which you could be saving or spending on something else. And don’t forget, any missed payments can often land you with additional penalty fees which just add to the financial burden.

Check your credit report regularly for a strong defence
Checking your Noddle credit report once a month is an excellent and easy goal to set yourself. As mentioned above, checking your credit report is important to keep track of your finances but a credit report is also one of the first ways to spot if your identity has been stolen. If strange searches appear on your report or accounts are opened in your name that you don’t recognise, it could mean someone has stolen your identity. By checking your Noddle credit report when it refreshes every 7 days you put yourself in a great position to prevent and deal with any potential identity theft.

Pinch the pennies and make the save!
Loose change is easy to spend on unnecessary things but whenever you pay for something and get given your change why not make a rule that any silver or copper coins get put in a jar at home? What might be a handful of pennies a day will quickly begin to add up and could help pay for this year’s Christmas presents or even next year’s summer holiday. As an extra tool to help you budget your way to a great financial 2014 we recommend this budget calculator from the Money Advice Service.

Get your credit score

As we said above, one of the best ways to consistently save money is to ensure your credit score is as strong as it can be which will help get you better loan rates and in turn save your hard-earned cash. And the good thing about a credit score is that even if it’s taken a beating, it can always be made healthy again.