(BPT) - A year into the pandemic, many people have experienced changes in how they manage their money. With different spending needs and, in some cases, changes in income, the ways we balance budgets, save and monitor credit have become top of mind.
'No matter where you are financially, budgeting and saving are two key habits that can help all of us bounce back from life's unexpected moments,' said Lawrence Bailey, head of financial health and community banking for Chase. 'Another important habit is understanding how credit works and what goes into a score.'
To help people manage their changing needs and stay financially healthy now and into the future, Bailey shares some smart tips and simple strategies that anyone can adopt:
Build a budget to meet your needs
Three in four people have concerns about creating a budget that's flexible and realistic for how they live, according to the 2020 JPMorgan Chase Financial Needs Study. It's a good practice to update your budget frequently to gain a clear understanding of where and how you can make adjustments. Use traditional paper budgeting tools or digital tools to help keep an eye on your expenses and income as well as find gaps or ways to save."
Use technology to help keep you on track
While algorithms can vary depending on the credit bureau, an estimated third or more of your credit score is tied to on-time payments. Financial technology can help you with managing your bills and how you get paid so you never miss a payment. Automate all you can and set up transaction alerts for deposits and withdrawals so you stay on top of money movement.
Monitor and protect your credit
Some actions can impact your credit more than others, and having a clear picture of your credit score is critical. Sign up for Chase Credit Journey for free to check your score, receive alerts about changes to your report and get insights on building good credit. This is important if you are considering applying for a loan or a credit card, or refinancing debt or your home loan.
Set aside savings
Having money set aside in an emergency fund can help provide peace of mind. Also, by saving regularly, you'll have the financial flexibility to help you reach future goals. Use an online calculator to see how your savings are tracking. Keep in mind, even setting aside a few dollars a week can help you prepare for the unexpected and save for short- and long-term plans.
Stay alert to scams
Financial scams are prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. To stay up to date, visit the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. Remember, it's smart to triple-check any social message, email or solicitation you get from someone claiming to be from a financial institution. Most banks, including Chase, won't ask for confidential information like your name, password or PIN when reaching out to you.
Look into payment programs if you need help
If you are worried about making payments, contact your home loan, car or credit card company and ask if they have any payment relief programs. You can also reach out to community organizations and city and state resources that can help connect you to aid if you need it.
For additional resources, tools and information on how to manage your budget, grow your savings and build your credit, visit chase.com/personal/financial-goals.