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Improving Your Financial Health

Key takeaway

Taking actions such as cutting unnecessary expenses or paying all your bills on time are ways to help improve your financial health, potentially making it more attainable for you to achieve your goal of buying a home.

Your savings, credit score, and the amount of debt you carry are key components of your financial health. Evaluating your current financial health may show you changes that may improve your ability to get a home loan and achieve your goal of homeownership. Here are some actions to consider.

Build your savings

Saving money is a key part of building your overall financial health, and it’s an important step in preparing to become a homeowner. Among other things, you may use savings for earnest money, a down payment, to pay for a home inspection or closing costs, or for sprucing up your new home after you buy. Some of the most effective ways to increase your savings:

  • Find additional sources of income. This can be a side job, overtime, or by selling some items you no longer need.
  • Cut unnecessary expenses. Put the money you would have spent into your savings.
  • Set up an automatic transfer. Put a portion of every paycheck (such as 5% or 10%) automatically into a savings account.

Reduce your debt

The money you owe on credit card bills, car loans, or student loans has the potential to add up. As you’re preparing to buy your first home, reducing debt may change your budget so you have money to put into savings or more of your paycheck available to spend on your monthly mortgage.

To determine where to start, review which of your balances has the highest annual percentage rate (APR). It should be listed on your monthly statement. If the interest rate on these debts is high, less of your minimum monthly payment is going to pay off the amount you first borrowed.

Focus on paying those high-interest balances first. If one credit card has a 13% interest rate, it deserves more attention than one with a 1% interest rate.

Finally, consider consolidating your debt if it reduces your interest rate.

Related articles

The importance of your credit, debt, and savings

These three pieces of financial information may have a big impact on your ability to buy the home you want.

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Understanding your credit report and credit score

Your credit report and credit score may impact what kinds of loans you’re offered, as well as the interest rate and loan amount.

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