Do you have a major goal in mind for the rest of 2019? Whether you’re buying a starter home or your dream home, having good credit and good practicing personal financial habits are very important. Even if buying a home isn’t on your radar this year, doing so will benefit you when you’re ready to make the big move.

Let’s talk about some of the best practices for your finances:

1. Create a budget or a system:

Knowing how much money comes in and how much goes out is key. Start by calculating how much income you receive per month, from your career, side jobs, and any other source of income. Next, use previous bank statements to get an average of how much you spend each month on groceries, eating out, activities, and anything else you might spend your money on. Now, deduct your total monthly spend from your income: Are you negative, positive or breaking even? Hopefully, you’re in the positive and are able to set aside some savings! But if you’re not, creating a strict budget (a specified amount for spending you will not exceed) will help. Or, you can try putting a system in place. For example, set aside $200/month for groceries and $100/month for eating out. Put each amount of cash in a labeled envelope. Once the money in each envelope runs out, you know you have nothing left to spend in that category!

2. Check your credit report:

The credit report – a scary, mythical thing! But it’s actually quite important to check your credit score at least once a year. Why? Your credit score is a large factor in determining whether or not you can make major purchases like a car or a home. It applies to smaller items, too, like if you qualify for a credit card.

3. Make timely payments:

Paying certain bills on time can actually increase your credit score, which is impacted by your payment history. Some of these bills include credit card payments, rent/mortgage, and student loans. However, it is still important to pay all of your bills on time to positively impact your financial well-being and shape your spending habits.

4. Go automatic:

An easy and efficient way to make sure you pay your bills on time is to automate your payments. When you automate your bill payments, you allow the organization to which you owe to withdraw a designated amount from your bank account or credit card that recurs based on your payment agreement. This ensures that you don’t get behind on any of your bills, and you won’t be penalized with menacing late fees.

5. Start saving:

It’s never too early or too late to start setting aside money! One way to do this is to automate a designated amount of money from each paycheck to be deposited into your savings account. Your bank most likely already has this feature, even if you might not know about it. If not, you can manually do this through your online banking. Another way? Withdraw a specific amount of cash from each paycheck or every month, and watch your cash pile grow!