Having your finances in order, understanding your credit report, and maintaining a good credit score are key ingredients to financial success. You can set yourself up to achieve that success by taking a few simple steps.

First, everyone has certain fixed income and expenses each month. However, it is important to set aside money to save for big purchases, like the down payment on a house, emergencies like unexpected medical bills, and of course retirement. Anything left after that becomes your disposable income. Planning your lifestyle so that you spend no more than that amount every month is one of the keys to financial success.

"It's hard to live within your means if you don't know what your means are," says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for Experian, a global information solutions company. Take some time to sit down with your computer and analyze your accounts and spending with a software program. With Microsoft Money, for example, you can automatically download all of your financial information from different accounts into one place. You can even view historical information for those accounts to help you better understand your past spending trends. Microsoft Money also lets you track your spending in categories that you want to watch closely, such as dining out, entertainment, or shopping. This will help you allocate your money in an easy and effective way.

Find more tips for achieving financial success  by viewing the rest of this article.
From Amber Marquez-Moore.