The views expressed in Economy Matters are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System.

Editor's note: Throughout Economy Matters, "Southeast" refers to the six states that, in whole or in part, make up the Sixth Federal Reserve District: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Financial Tips from the Atlanta Fed: Summer Spending

June 1, 2021

photo illustration of a pile of colored question mark-shaped blocks

Nota del editor: Este artículo también está disponible en español.

The summer months often bring about a sense of adventure and National Splurge Day on June 18 might involve a major purchase such as a car, motorcycle, boat, RV, or other big expenditure such as vacation travel. All of these are very exciting because they can mean summer fun, but there are also financial factors to consider.

  • No matter the purchase, it is important to understand how it fits into your overall budget. If you don’t currently have a budget, use a budget template to compile details on your income and expenditures. This information will help you better understand how you are currently using your money and opportunities to adjust to meet your financial goals.
  • Comparison shopping can help to weight options, prioritize features you care most about, and determine which options fall within your budget.
  • Throughout the pandemic, you can obtain your weekly free credit reports using AnnualCreditReport.com, the only source authorized by federal law for free credit reports. Although these credit reports do not contain your credit score, they do provide a recap of your credit history. Ensuring that this information is accurate is important because inaccurate information could affect your ability to get credit or the amount of interest you’ll pay.
  • There is often concern about whether pulling your credit report affects your credit score. Soft inquiries (also called soft pulls), which don’t affect your credit score, occur when you pull your credit report or when potential lenders review existing accounts. Hard inquiries (also called hard pulls), which do have an impact on your credit score, are generally inquiries that lenders make when you apply for credit. Multiple hard pulls of a similar type, such as for an auto loan, that occur within a short timeframe—generally 14 to 45 days, depending on the credit reporting agency—are often classified as a single inquiry. This allows for individuals to apply the comparison-shopping principles to financing options.