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The 17th of August is ‘Get Smart About Credit Day’. I know we’ve already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of cash vs. credit, and covered the basic rules of paying back what you borrow, not borrowing more than you can afford, and ensuring you get the best credit card for you. Today though, I want to cover the importance of really understanding your personal finances, and how to educate yourself further in order to ensure that you are getting the best out of what is being offered to you, and that you fully understand the choices.

Because, if you’re really honest with yourself, are you REALLY educated about credit?

Here are places to go to really get smart about credit:

1. Take a course in personal finance

Hotcourses is a good place to compare the different personal finance courses you can take across the UK, including distance learning courses. They very in price, length, and availability and start for as little as £49.

The Open University also has a good personal finance course that you can complete via distance learning. By educating yourself you’re taking back control. It may seem a little drastic to take an official course, but honestly, the more you understand the easier it is to make informed decisions. You will have a better understanding of how to manage your own finances, and will gain a financial skill set that will set you up for good choices in the future. No one will be able to pull the financial wool over your eyes again!

2. Youtube

This is a genuinely helpful suggestion that was given to me a few months ago (albeit about learning Italian, not getting credit advice). Youtube is a mine of information, as we’re all aware, and there are loads of professional channels and presenters out there who give online seminars and talks on every single topic you can think of. They’re free, informative, and you can watch them numerous times. You are also able to search for the exact thing you are looking for, as opposed to more traditional seminars which are more likely to cover broader more generalised topics as they need to serve as a ‘catchall’ for everyone attending.

3. Advice from your bank

Genuinely, high street banks are now getting much better at issuing credit advice and offering constructive assistance if you get in contact with them asking for help. For example, HSBC have contact numbers you can phone in order to set up a face to face meeting with one of their experts, as well as links to independent experts such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, and the StepChange Debt Charity.

Lloyds Bank also offer assistance with budgeting, guidance for students, as well as listing contact numbers you can call in order to set up meetings with one of their financial experts if you are experiencing trouble and need advice.

Check to see what your bank can offer you as one of their customers. It’s in their interest for you to be financially savvy and sound. Therefore they are usually very happy to assist you in any way they can if you turn to them for advice, as it ensures your continued investment in their services.

Also, bear in mind that they are a bank – they’re kind of the experts!

4. The money saving expert

Martin Lewis founded this website in 2003. It is a great place to go for any general financial advice you can think of! It provides a mix of information and articles that enable people to save money. The money saving expert is a very clear and easy to use website. It also contains thorough, comprehensive, information on a range of things from reputable sources.

If you need help with things such as; choosing credit cards, how to avoid debt, and the best way to manage your credit and debt, then this is a really good place to go and start educating yourself on the subject.

These are all good places to start in educating yourself about credit.

By getting smart you’re getting control.