Learn these easy steps to rebuild your finances on your own. Learn — or re-learn — the basicsFocus on ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’Pay your bills on timeUse ‘healthy’ debt the right wayPlay the long game Deciding to get your finances into better shape can be intimidating when you don’t know where to start. Often at large corporate banks, you may feel like just another number. Whether you’ve racked up debt, opened every credit card a department store ever offered you or you’re just starting out, most people make a few mistakes on their financial journey. Taking money matters into your own hands is a big step, but it’s also an opportunity to learn from the past and move forward. One benefit of joining a credit union is a sense of empowerment and their philosophy of members helping members. To follow through with your money resolutions, CBC Federal Credit Union, which recently expanded membership to anyone who participates in associations headquartered in Ventura County, has products to educate and improve your financial situation. Here are some easy steps to rebuild your finances on your own. 1. Learn — or re-learn — the basics Lots of people begin their financial journey without really knowing how to manage their cash in the real world. Studies have found only around 57% of adults in the U.S. are financially literate. To help empower their members, education is a driving mission for federally insured credit unions across the nation. Among the free educational resources which anyone can view, CBC Federal Credit Union has produced a series of online learning videos called Financial Cents. Each video breaks down concepts into easy lessons on everything from building credit to taking out a mortgage. 2. Focus on ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’ When you know the difference between your needs and your wants, you can avoid the financial pitfall of overspending and budget more accurately for expenses. But it doesn’t mean you have to cut all wants out of your life. A need encompasses essentials, such as rent, food, transportation, and bills versus a want which includes nonessentials or treats, such as expensive dinners in restaurants or a shiny new, flatscreen TV when you already have a working one. The goal of a budget is making sure your needs are met, and you’re building a savings or an emergency fund, before splurging. 3. Pay your bills on time If you’re trying to repair a poor credit score, paying your bills on time is important. To get a fresh start, a New Beginning Checking (call or come into a branch for more information) account is designed for individuals with an open QualiFile* record. (QualiFile is a reporting agency used by financial institutions to manage risk). This type of checking account has some restrictions, but it allows you to pay your bills and check your balance online. It can be the first step toward establishing better financial habits and simplifying how you manage bills. 4. Use ‘healthy’ debt the right way Not all debt is bad. Using debt wisely can actually show lenders you’re a good risk and improve your credit score. Broadly speaking, good debt are long-term investments that help you secure a better future, such as student loans, car loans, or mortgages. In contrast, using credit cards to make purchases you can’t afford right now can quickly land you in unhealthy debt. High-cost loans from banks are another easy way to slip into deep debt. To borrow money, a payday alternative loan, or PAL, from CBC Federal Credit Union allows you to take small amounts at a lower cost than a traditional payday loan and pay it back over a longer period. 5. Play the long game Rebuilding your finances takes time and CBC Federal Credit Union offers tools like Credit Climber, which is coming soon to help you navigate improving your credit score. Visit CBC’s website and social media for updates on the release. to help you navigate improving your credit score. A good credit score can help you achieve your future goals, from buying a home to investing in your retirement. Everyone has a different financial journey and CBC Federal Credit Union has banking, borrowing, investing, insuring, and learning services all centered around benefiting its members rather than profiting from them like a for-profit corporate bank. By Cemile Kavountzis for CBC Federal Credit Union, click here to view the original article.