Check your credit reports regularly because your credit rating determines the loan rate you'll get on mortgages, credit cards or auto loans, as well as the rate you'll pay for auto insurance, said bestselling financial author Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, aka "The Money Coach". She also recommended scrutinizing credit card statements to avoid potentially fraudulent charges made without your knowledge or authorization. Khalfani-Cox said credit cardholders who do not maintain realistic budgets are liable to over-spend and have cash flow problems. Finally, she suggested using windfalls to pay down debt, which will in turn improve your credit rating.

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