Credit Repair & Secured Credit Card
Money management is a skill best learned over time and with the benefit of those little mistakes along the way. While some have an inherent knowledge of personal credit and financial matters, the majority of people stumble from time to time. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall, you can whip your credit and finances into shape with a few simple tips.
Understand your credit report
Figuring you have plenty of time to learn about your credit isn’t the most productive approach. The saying “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” doesn’t apply to your credit score. Pull a free copy of your personal credit report from the credit reporting agencies at least once per year and make a habit of disputing incorrect information. Paying attention to your credit before you need it ensures fewer surprises when you apply for a loan.
Respect your credit usage
If you aren’t in a position to pay off your personal credit card bills each month, that’s ok as long as you plan for it. By now, you’ve already heard that the average credit card takes 30 or 40 years to pay off when you only make the minimum payments. Cash flow doesn’t always come in even batches, so making only the minimum payment on your cards may be necessity. When you know you won’t have the funds to pay the full amount, forgo making frivolous personal credit purchases. Do you really want to pay interest on fancy restaurant dinners for the next several years?
Plan for the future
Building up your savings account is the best way to avoid overextending your use of personal credit options. Create a savings plan that covers the full range of your goals. If you know you’re spending a week in Hawaii next winter, begin saving now to avoid racking up credit card charges. In addition to planned expenditures, save for unexpected emergencies. No one likes calling a professional to deal with a burst pipe, but it’s less of a blow when you can pay with cash instead of credit.
Keep credit accounts current
Devise a system to make sure you don’t forget due dates. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your auto loan, home mortgage or personal credit card bill, failure to pay on time results in late fees, negative credit reporting and potentially increased interest rates as a late payment penalty. Make a habit of paying bills early if you can. Loan companies are often more forgiving of a late payment from a customer with an outstanding payment history.
Keeping your personal credit in shape isn’t hard as long as you’re willing to work with it. A little bit of attention now can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars of frustration in the future.