I use the Mint app on my phone all the time. It’s incredible. For those not familiar with Mint, let me be the one to sing it’s praises. Mint links up all your accounts (credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, student loans, etc) as well as tracks all your spending. Any check, credit or debit transaction is automatically recorded with Mint and cash spending can be manually input. It updates very quickly- often I’ll walk home from the grocery store and it will have my spending already recorded. You can set up budgets, financial goals, track spending monthly and annually, record your income for each month and see in a handy pie chart where all your money goes. It is the single most used app on my phone.
A few months ago Mint started offering a free credit score check and this past week I took them up on it. I found out my credit score is a very healthy 740! I’m super pleased with this score because 1) it’s badass and 2) it has gone up 50 points in the last year.
As I chip away at my student loan debt I’m beginning to think (read: dream) about other things I want to do with my money. I have a Roth IRA that I want to keep growing, but I would like to get down and dirty in the coming years with investing. I’d like to open a credit card again. I want to buy a house someday.
Having good credit helps with all these things. Landlords and employers check renters credit scores, insurance companies give better deals to people with high credit scores, and people with high credit scores get the best interest rates on loans and mortgages. In order to help my future self, it’s great that I have this credit score now. I may have a little trouble keeping it because life happens to us all, but I believe that I am learning and practicing healthy financial habits that will stay with me throughout my life.
Finally, if you don’t want to hassle with Mint, you can always get your credit score for free at annualcreditreport.com.
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.