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Get your credit in check in the new year

Sunday - 1/8/2012, 3:23pm  ET

Taking stock of your finances in 2012

WTOP's Debra Feinstein reports

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More tips on saving you money

WTOP's Debra Feinstein reports

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WASHINGTON - It's a new year and time to take stock of your finances and get your fiscal house in order.

Financial Regulatory Authority President Gerri Walsh suggests starting a rainy day fund to handle medical bills or surprise repairs. Also, avoid payday loans or rent-to-own plans.

"They tend to have exorbitant interest rates," she says. "If you have a rainy day fund, you can draw on that resource instead of having to turn to a payday lender if you do run into hard times."

Also, kick off the new year by requesting a free credit report to you can get your credit in check. Pay off bills as quickly as possible, and make sure you're up to date with your bank's overdraft fee policies.

And remember to set money side for the future.

"Contribute to your retirement plan, especially up to the amount your employer will match," she says.

WTOP's Debra Feinstein contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)