We all struggle with the stress that money creates. Take it from Antoine Walker, a former Miami Heat star that ‘went from $108 million to bankrupt‘ in less than a decade. This serves as a reminder: it’s not how much you make, but how you use it.
If you have a stable job, it is possible to live a Better Credit Life as long as you put the time and organization into your financial planning. Ready to get started? Here are 10 ways for you to start living a Better Credit Life:
1. Plan for Disaster from Day One
If you anticipate a financial crisis, then there will never be one. So planning for the near and mid future will keep you safe in the long run. And you have no excuse; just join the millions of Americans that already use budgeting and personal finance tools. Having a budget and sticking to it, is a sure way to stay on track to a Better Credit Life.
Simply download Mint, YNAB, or another highly-rated app, and finally take charge of your financial freedom today!
2. Watch for Credit Report Errors
It’s surprising how often errors end up on credit reports. Stats suggest this impacts 1 in 20 consumers, which is five-percent of Americans. While some errors are more damaging than others to your credit score, as many as 1 in 250 consumers are behind more than 100 points from errors.
You can request a free copy of your credit file from AnnualCreditReport.com once a year from each credit bureau. Further, with our services you’ll find out if there are any errors right away – as we provide a copy of your Equifax and TransUnion files.
3. Examine All Your “Fees”
Most Americans have no idea how much goes to waste on preventable fees. It’s said that hundreds of dollars are spent every year on unknown costs. According to the Ponemon Institute, an average of $942 is spent on hidden fees each year.
Online banking has made a difference, but there are new ways to lose money without realizing in the digital age. Get digging and see where you’re losing!
4. Negotiate What You Pay
Many things are made cheaper so compare costs and cut deals where you can. As you look for high fees, this might open you to ideas like switching bank accounts and utility providers.
Don’t ever be scared to negotiate – for instance, most cable, phone and Internet providers have a user retention line. Most that inquire end up getting a moderate to large discount on their services.
Heck, even some “extreme couponing” could make a big difference!
5. Consolidate Your Large Debts
Your total amount owing is the second biggest variable of your FICO score. So it only makes sense to limit your overall debt.
FICO’s algorithm weighs revolving debt higher than installment debt. This means temporary loans set with payment installments (like a student loan) will drag your score down less.
Therefore, by obtaining a consolidation loan for your credit cards (which are revolving debts), you can eliminate the biggest credit hindrance of all.
6. Build a Relationship at a Credit Union
You stand a better chance getting a home loan with moderate credit at a credit union than a traditional bank. This is especially true if you get familiar with the staff at your local credit union. Further, you will find many rates are better, insufficient funds fees are easier to waive and other perks.
7. Don’t Become a Data Breach Victim
Your information on the web is never safe. Make sure to audit your Internet safety from time to time. The single most effective way of doing this is by checking whether your email was hacked. If your data was leaked on the web, you will be able to find out through HaveIBeenPwned.com’s search tool. Further, you can set up email alerts to inform you if a data breach occurs.
8. Plan for Christmas in January
You should look at your past year of finances and what you expect to make and spend for the following year all at once. Do this after Christmas is over and prepare your budget for the next winter holidays. If you don’t want to buy the items right away in case it’s not appealing later, stash the money in gift cards or make a savings account for this purpose.
9. Shop Online for the Best Cards and Loans
Whether you need a consolidation loan, a travel rewards card or even an auto loan, you should compare the best rates online. Sites like BankRate.com make it easy to see which cards and lenders provide what you need.
10. Honor Your Debts
Everyone wants to disavow their debts, but no one wants to go bankrupt. The key is to forget how owing money can damage your life. Since 15% of your FICO score is based on your credit length – it’s better to keep your lines open. So when you pay off a card, don’t close the account!
Even taking on a higher credit limit is good – it improves your credit utilization rate, so long as you don’t waste the new funds.
Never give up on the idea of living a Better Credit Life, because it’s available to you with a little discipline. Even if you need credit repair help or require consolidation loans to make it happen–as the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way…”