DIY: 5 step self-audit for personal finances

Many people have a general idea of how to take care of their personal finances but when it comes to conducting a personal finance audit, they are in the dark. Along with the necessary checks on your personal credit report and score, it can be helpful to run some personal audits now and then to help you stay focused and on track with your financial goals. Below are five simple steps you can take to help you self-audit as well as monitor credit scores and reports.

Have a Goal in Mind When You Start

A self-audit is meant to give you insight into a certain aspect of your financial situation. Without having a goal in mind when you begin, you will not know how to look at the data you gather and you will not be able to accurately apply it to your current and long-term goals. Sometimes the goals may be focused more toward looking at your expense records to see where you can cut back. Other times, the focus may be on profits, losses, or other aspects of your personal finances. Once you have your goals in place and at the forefront of your mind, you can look at the data you collect and know how to best interpret and apply it. You will also know if any credit checksare in order, if bank calls need to be made, and if any important issues need to be addressed.

Plan Ahead for the IRS

Doing a personal audit can also help you avoid some of the hot areas that will often get flagged for audits by the IRS. One of the most common of these is simply failing to report all income that is taxable. Doing a personal finance audit can help you have all income sources on hand and easily accessible so that you are less likely to forget or overlook something when the time comes to fill out the yearly paperwork for the IRS. These and other benefits await you when you buckle down and start doing your own self-auditing. 

Be Honest With the Audit

It’s important to be honest in your self-audit. Avoiding issues and glossing over known problem areas will only make things worse. Checking your free credit score and report for any issues or to check on the status of known issues is an important part of this process. Many people do monthly audits of their financial situation so they can see patterns that begin to emerge and know when the lean times will be in the future. Above all, you must be honest with yourself. If there are things you do not like about your results, then see what you can do to fix them. Burying your head in the sand like an ostrich will do nothing but make the issues worse down the road.

Deciding What You Can Take Away From the Audit

Sometime this is easy to do, such as when you are faced with glaring issues such as frivolous spending or a lack of savings. Other times it is a more subtle issue that needs looking into. This where you have to get creative and look at the things you can change and how you can go about protecting your credit, improving your credit, and sharpening your financial skills. This aspect of the auditing process is especially important for those who are self-employed and want to avoid getting letters from creditors, lenders, and the IRS.

Continuing the Trend

Once you have your results, the logical thing to do would be to take what you have learned and apply it. A self-audit does little to help if you do not apply what you have learned and change things that need to be changed. In the world of credit checks, audits, and financial insecurity, you must do everything within your power to help yourself succeed. Many people understand the basics of taking care of their personal finances but when it comes to conducting a financialself-audit, they are lost. This does not have to be the case for you as it is easy to see how a self-audit can help you get back on track and see where you stand financially.

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