One of the biggest worries that everyone has in their lives is money. Being able to buy groceries without having to worry about your bank account going in negative, not having to shuffle around bills, avoiding debt collection calls–these are all real problems that millions of Americans face every day and feel helpless about. But the best way to get out of a financial rut is to first fix your credit score.
Your credit score is the number given to your financial health. If you have a lower score, then you’re going to feel the consequences through unpaid debts and even living from paycheck to paycheck. But when you have an excellent credit score, you will have a stable savings, pay your bills on time, and be approved for a car, home, and other bigger purchases.
Here are ways you can improve your credit score and make sure it stays healthy.
Always Pay Bills on Time
This is a huge one that many credit professionals will do over and over again. Even slipping on one bill can mean the difference between a fair or excellent score. Always ensure that your bills are paid on time. An excellent credit score will have bills paid 100% of the time or even 97% of the time, which is considered less than stellar.
Consistently Check Your Credit Score
It is free to check your credit score and the best practice is doing so on a regular basis, ideally at least three times a year. This doesn’t mean just looking at the number and making sure it is in the green zone. You should do a thorough check on your credit score to make sure you are on the right track of having an excellent credit as well as monitoring for any fraud. Otherwise, fraud can destroy your credit and cause huge amounts of stress if left unnoticed.
Try to Use Your Credit Card More Often
This might sound counter-productive when you’re trying to fix your credit, but there are rules to this. First, get your spending and credit under control before applying this method. Once that is taken care of, most financial professionals agree that paying with a credit card even for gas or smaller purchases is the way to go as long as the bill can be paid off each month. Spend wisely for a better (and bigger) reward.
Have Awareness of Financial Decisions
This involves both small and large financial decisions. Most people tend to think over bigger things when it comes to credit but even smaller bills or expenses can rack up debt and bring your credit score down. However, be extra aware of decisions such as co-signing on a loan or other bigger financial choices. Understand their consequences as well as their rewards before signing on that dotted line.
Turn Around Bad Financial Habits
In the same vein as having awareness about your financial decisions, whether it’s paying bills or co-signing on a new loan, it is also good to take a look at bad financial habits just to see how they can be turned around. Most bad habits, such as impulse buying or not properly managing bill payments, can be easily reversed and turned into good habits of being able to pay on time, pay back any outstanding debts, and creating a savings account for those rainy day situations.
Seek Out Help if Needed
You should never feel helpless about your financial condition. But sometimes a little bit of outside help might be needed through a financial adviser or even a money savvy family member or friend who can help create a budget for you and make sure you stay on track to improve your credit. Nobody is alone when it comes to stepping up their financial game and having excellent credit, there are dozens of helpful programs and limitless amounts of information out there for you to use.