When you apply for a credit card, a home or auto loan, and even for some employment opportunities, your credit score can play a vital role in whether or not you get approved and in some cases, get hired! As a credit score reformer myself, I can fully say that if you can take control of your finances, learn about your credit score, and get your score in the “Good” level or better, it will be your financial best friend as you get older in life.
When you are a teenager, just starting to dip your toe into the adult world of finance, you have no inkling of what your credit score is (you’re not born with one!) or how it affects you, until you take a personal finance course or accounting course in high school. As parents, you can set your child up on your credit account so that you SHARE your credit score and help them build a solid credit foundation that will take them into their future adulthood.
So, my personal story about how my husband and I reformed our credit score takes place over a period of a year. For many years, we lived paycheck to paycheck, and our credit score was in the mid 600’s. We had overdue accounts, bounced checks, etc. We worried about what bill we wouldn’t pay so that we could pay others. We have been there and we understand.
First step was we each pulled our own credit history. We dug down and found out what showed on our reports, and if there were any delinquent payments, open but dead accounts, accounts we didn’t open, or any other misinformation. Any issues we found, we contacted TransUnion and Equifax, as well as our bank, to let them know what was showing and what was incorrect.
After that was fixed, we buckled down and monitored how much we spent each month and on what. One of our best moves was to grocery shop once a week and create a weekly meal menu, saved on spending on junk foods. We moved from using checks to paying our bills online, which is quicker and better for bookkeeping as we know when payments will be coming out of our account.
If we charge anything on our credit card, we pay it off the next pay day, or make a maximum of four payments to pay it off. We also work to pay extra than what is required, as this cuts down on the principal owed, and that means less interest charged.
If you are diligent and pay attention to what you spend and when, you can create a solid foundation for your future financial purchases.