KSAT News at 9′s top financial tips of 2019

Improve your financial habits before 2020 begins

The year is almost over, and if you haven't taken care of your finances, you may end up paying for it next year.

SAN ANTONIO – The year is almost over, and if you haven’t taken care of your finances, you may end up paying for it next year.

Fret not, there’s still time to get ahead of the game in 2020. Here are this year’s top five “Money: It’s Personal” tips to get a head start on improving your finances.

First, know your credit score and request your credit report every year. Lenders use your credit score to determine if you’re a good candidate for loans or credit, and it can even be used by rental and insurance companies.

Payment history, length of credit history and number of accounts are just some of the factors used to calculate your credit score.

Remember, you’re entitled to a free credit report every 12 months by visiting annualcreditreport.com.

‘Money: It’s Personal’ — Maintaining a good credit score

Next, emergencies can happen any time, and if you're not prepared, bills may start piling up in your mailbox and cause you lots of headaches in the long run.

Putting away even small amounts of money can make a significant impact over time. Start putting aside what you can to help cover emergencies and set up guidelines for how you can use your emergency savings fund.

‘Money: It’s Personal’ — Saving for emergencies

While we’re on the subject of saving, how about making it easier for yourself?

One of the easiest ways to save is by setting it up to happen automatically whenever you get paid. This is a way to make your money grow consistently and without much effort.

Whether you're saving for a rainy day, a vacation or retirement, once you set up automated savings, you'll be able to set aside money without thinking twice.

‘Money: It’s Personal’ — How to make saving easier for yourself

If you’re not in a position to save a lot because you’re paying down high-interest debt, consider stashing your high-interest credit cards, determining how much money you owe and try to pay down the debt with the highest interest rate first while still making payments on your other accounts.

‘Money: It’s Personal’ — Tips for paying off high-interest debt

The final top tip of the year is to create better personal finance habits. Only apply for credit when you need it, set up bank accounts to track your finances and avoid missing any bill payments.

‘Money: It’s Personal’ — Creating better personal finance habits

About the Author:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.