Updated: April 1, 2020 

As 2019 comes to a close, a lot of people are taking the time to reflect on decisions they’ve made throughout the year. While most of this reflection usually pertains to health and fitness, finances should also be at the top of your mind at the beginning of the year. To help you get your finances squared away in 2020, we’re digging into 4 financial lessons you can learn from 2019. Keep reading to see our financial takeaways from 2019.

You’re wasting money on credit card interest

The national average credit card interest rate is about 17%, according to our friends at CreditCards.com.This means if you’re carrying any credit card balance, you’re throwing away money on interest. So what can do you to avoid credit card interest? Balance transfer credit cards can help! These cards offer long 0% intro APRs on balance transfers. This gives you the opportunity to transfer the balance from your current card to a new card and pay no interest for an extended period of time (up to 21 months with the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser). While balance transfer credit cards often come with balance transfer fees that often range from 3% to 5% of the total transfer, this one-time fee is usually worth paying since it’s often a lot cheaper than the amount you’d pay in interest with your current card. To help you find the right card for your needs, check out the best balance transfer credit cards.

Credit cards rewards get better and better

Credit card offers are constantly changing and in the past year, we’ve seen credit card rewards get even more appealing. Some cards, like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (a NextAdvsior advertiser) are offering up to 6% cash back on select purchases while others, like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offer generous intro bonuses! Since rewards are getting better and better, consumers are doing themselves a disservice if they aren’t using a credit card for all of their purchases. That’s because with responsible credit card use, you can earn some serious rewards on your purchases and avoid carrying a credit card balance. So which cards offer some of the best rewards? Our picks of the best rewards credit cards is a good place to start.

There’s a credit card for everyone

Whether you want to earn rewards, get a long 0% intro APR, there’s a card out there for everyone. As noted above, credit cards are constantly changing. Add to that the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of credit cards on the market, and you can understand why we say there’s a credit card for everyone. In fact, we’ve seen that the issue most consumers have is that they can’t find the right card for their needs or they get overwhelmed with the seemingly endless options. That’s where we come in. We have a handful of guides and comparison charts to help you find the perfect card. For example, if you’re looking for our favorite cards, our best credit cards page is where you’ll want to head. On the other hand, if you know you want a cash back credit card or a balance transfer credit card, you’ll want to visit our best cash back credit card reviews or our best balance transfer reviews. Whatever type of card you’re looking for, we can help you find it.

Understanding your credit reports is key

Credit reports impact many aspects of life these days. From your ability to get housing to a new loan or access to utilities, credit touches more than you expect. That’s why it’s essential for you to gain an understanding of your credit reports, what they mean and how your everyday credit decisions impact your reports. This is especially true in the modern day of hackings, data breaches and identity theft. Consumers don’t have to know the complete ins and outs of their credit reports, but they should at least have a general understanding of the basics. For a start, you should know that you have 1 credit report from each of the 3 major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). All 3 credit reports are not always the same because not every credit issuer, utility service or landlord report to all 3 bureaus. This means you’ll have to check all 3 credit reports to completely get a full view of your credit. How can you do that? You can do that through AnnualCreditReport.com for free once every 12 months.

While checking your credit once per year is better than never checking it, being in the know all the time is ideal. That’s where a credit monitoring service comes in. These services monitor your credit reports and alert you of changes made to them. Our top-rated services also provide you with copies of your credit reports and scores upon signup. Visit our credit monitoring reviews to find the right service for your needs.

Setting and working toward goals is the key to financial success. By learning from financial lessons from 2019, you can be on the right track to maximizing your wallet.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.