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Baby Steps for Improved Personal Finances

If you're finally going to get your finances in order this year, one of the most difficult tasks can be getting started.

There are usually so many financial issues that need to be addressed, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to put your energy first. The most important thing is to simply begin. To get the ball rolling, consider these steps:

Change your attitude: Make sure you have a positive attitude about tackling financial tasks. If you can't convince yourself that getting your finances in order is a positive step that will reduce stress and make your life better, you are going to fail. Just because the process may be difficult doesn't mean it's something that should make you miserable.

Get a free credit report: To know where you stand and uncover hidden surprises, order a free credit report. Because you can get one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, spread them out over the year. This will allow you to see any changes and quickly catch any unusual activities.

Designate a place for tax information: This may seem like an easy thing to do that you can put off until later, but you will thank yourself many times over come April. If you're expecting a refund this year, you might want to start running the numbers early so you can file as soon as possible.

Grab a financial book from the library: If you don't have a personal finance book in hand already, it's time to make a trip to the library. Some to consider: "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey, "The Wealthy Barber" by David Chilton and "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. Having a book on hand to read in your spare time will ensure that personal finance doesn't accidentally get forgotten. It will also remind you which financial steps to take next.

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