are you ready for your summer financial checkup?When it comes to your financial health, it always pays to know where you stand, and a financial checkup can help you do just that. With June nearly over, we’re already halfway through the year, making it an excellent time to step back and assess what has or hasn’t been working for you financially. Continue reading to see which questions you need to ask yourself order to conduct your very own mid-year financial checkup.

How’s your credit looking?

With credit determining whether or not you can find an apartment, get car insurance, pay for utilities and finance major life decisions (like buying a house, funding a car or getting student loans), it is perhaps one of the most important measures of your financial life. As such, you should make sure to review your credit reports at least once a year. This is important not only for getting an idea of where your credit stands, but also for catching any potential errors that might be dragging down your scores. Verifying the accuracy of your credit reports can also save you from the hassle of having to pay off a debt that isn’t yours. If you do find errors on your credit reports and they are more substantial and you find it difficult to remove them on your own, you may also want to consider a credit repair service, which will handle all of that on your behalf.

Checking your credit reports is also essential if you’re trying to improve your credit — after all, you can’t know how much you want to improve if you don’t know where you start. Since you’re legally only allowed to obtain one copy of your credit reports for free every year (with a few exceptions), you may want to consider investing in a credit monitoring service. These services will alert you as soon as something is changed or added to your credit reports, and most of them also provide you with copies of all three credit reports and scores upon signup. Visit our credit monitoring reviews to see find the right service for your needs and budget.

Have you stayed on budget?

If you’re working toward any sort of financial goals, sticking to a budget is one of the ways you can work toward achieving them. If you do have financial goals but don’t have any sort of budget in place, now is the perfect time to start. To create a budget, you’ll first want to note and organize all of your expenses. You can organize them based on a monthly or weekly basis, or how often you get paid or when the bills are due — whatever makes the most sense to you. Once you have a running list of your expenses, deduct them from your income to see how much you’re spending each month. After that, you should be able to cut back on some expenses, like weekly trips to the coffee shop, and determine how much money you can set aside for your financial goals.

The most important thing you should know about a budget is that it’s not something you do once and never touch again, as your expenses likely change on a monthly, weekly or daily basis. As such, you’ll want to make sure you keep track of your expenses by collecting receipts, using an Excel spreadsheet or Google Doc, relying on old-fashioned pen and paper, utilizing budgeting tools your bank may provide or taking advantage of a third-party financial application that monitors your spending for you (although beware risks these may pose). Regardless of how you track your money, knowledge is power as they say, and knowing your spending habits will give you insight into how much money you can set aside for financial goals. If you notice patterns, like charges for underutilized subscriptions or excessive coffee runs, you can start to make subtle adjustments that will benefit you. While saving a dollar here or there won’t make you a millionaire, you still stand to gain from making informed adjustments to your spending.

It should be noted that there are some ways you can make tracking your spending easier. For example, those who are working to save money may want to consider an online savings account, as they typically earn more interest than a brick-and-mortar bank and they will allow you to keep your saved money separate from your spending money, while allowing you to access the fund if you need to. Online banks also offer a lot of budgeting tools that can help you see where your money goes, which is helpful. Similarly, using a credit card to pay your bills may be a wise way to go because it allows you to easily track your spending (since it’s all on one account), and if you have a rewards credit card, you will be able to earn rewards for paying your bills. As long as you use the card responsibly, meaning you pay it off every month and don’t overspend, you’ll be good.

How are you handling your debt?

This question goes hand-in-hand with knowing your budget. With a good budget you can see how much you spend on financing your debt, and possibly reallocate some of your spending toward paying off your debt.

In order to truly optimize your debt repayment strategy, you’re probably also going to want to take a look at the types of debts you have and see if you qualify for some sort of refinancing with a personal loan or by completing a balance transfer. The latter is one of the best options for ridding yourself of credit card debt because a balance transfer credit card will allow you to pay no interest for an extended period of time, while a loan will require you to pay an agreed-upon interest rate. Not sure how to complete a balance transfer? This blog post breaks it down. It should be noted that those who are carrying multiple types of debt will want to focus on paying down the debts with the highest interest rates first, especially if they are variable and not fixed rates. This way, you can avoid having higher payments down the line, because debt with higher interest becomes more expensive to manage more quickly.

Finally, if you feel that you need to take on more debt this year, make sure it’s good debt that you can finance properly. Before you sign onto any debt, you’ll want to be sure you double check your budget and confirm that you can make decent and timely payments without stretching yourself too thin.

Are you keeping track of your tax obligations?

Tax season is a long ways off, but as we’ve stated before, preparing taxes is a year-round endeavor. If you’ve had any major life changes since the start of this year – marriage, new children or even moving or starting a new job – make sure you keep all the necessary documentation reflecting these changes. You’ll also want to keep last season’s tax documents on file, as these could help you ease the process of filing your taxes next year. A lot of tax preparation services use previous W-2s to catch potential discrepancies, and unless you’ve had multiple major life changes that drastically alter your tax status, you can probably benefit from this. Finally, if you filed a tax extension this year, you’ll want to make sure you have all of your 2016 tax documents in order, or start to organize them now, so you can be ready for your Oct. 16 deadline.

How do you feel about your financial future?

This financial checkup is designed for you to get a handle on what your financial health will look like going into the near future and what you’ll need to do to manage it. While these probably aren’t the only questions you’ll want to ask yourself, they provide a solid start for getting a glimpse into your financial life and gaining an understanding of what you’ll need to do when managing your finances going forward.

If you’re looking for more financial tips or news, keep reading our personal finance blog.