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Credit Boost: Improving your credit takes time, but some tips speed up process

Who doesn’t want to have a wonderful, pristine credit score?

The entire idea behind having good credit centers on being able to obtain the things in life that aren’t necessarily the most important but stand as items you need on a day-to-day basis.

Buying a house, car or getting a line of credit for something that is smart, such as home equity for fixing up the investment that is your house, tends to take place much easier with favorable credit scores rather than ones that are either highly questionable or just average.

Lenders tend to scrutinize these scores much more closely than they did even five years ago. Today’s banks and financial institutions dot more than just the i’s and those t’s that get crossed are hardly few and far between.

And with that, you’re staring at a credit score that isn’t doing you any favors, and then the questions of how to fix it begin to populate in your brain. Who wants to have a credit score that is going to be more of a detriment rather than something that is going to help you secure loans and get what you need without much headache?

Fixing your credit, however, isn’t an overnight process. It takes years often times to get that three digit score where it needs to be so that your financial future isn’t one you’d consider cloudy at best.

That said, you still have a few viable options that not only will help in the long run but can set a foundation for success and expedite the process more than you think.

Ask yourself, do you even know your credit score, specifically what it is comprised of? Knowing what is on the report could be the easiest part of the process, given that you may have a collection amount that you were never aware of and can troubleshoot right away.

Budgeting also is key to not so much fixing your credit score directly but more so putting a plan in place to tackle debt in a consistent way, such as focusing on making on time payments if you’re buried by one credit card bill after another. You’d be surprised to know just how easily your credit score can increase just by making on time payment, which is why debt consolidation is an option you can consider without worrying about any negative repercussions to your score. What those programs do more than anything is make sure you’re paying on time, and they’ll deal directly with creditors if you’re not having much, if any, luck.

Your sub par credit score doesn’t have to define you forever. The key is fixing it with great focus and determination with both long and short-term solutions.

Waste not, want less: Are you throwing money away?

When you ask yourself whether or not you’re good with money, you’ll probably quickly come to your own rescue.

Your response might be that, of course, you are smart with money. You have some saved, but perhaps not quite as much as you’d like. You also are quick to point out that you have a budget, and that you’re happy to say that it is looking pretty good when compared to income versus expenses.

While that is all well and good as they say, you still might be prone to wasting money, or in essence throwing it away where you least expect it.

A big culprit of money not spent so well is at one of the places you visit frequently: the grocery store. As outdated as it may seem, the list at the grocery is a simple money saver for the masses. How many times have you gone in for a few items and left spending hundreds of dollars, because you believe you need this, that and the other thing?

Chances are, you are buying duplicates at the store, and that is sending your receipt into overdrive. You get home from the grocery store, and you realize that you already had a few laundry detergents on the bench along with more items that you thought you needed but really didn’t. If you’re like most people, you end up throwing away more food than you eat, mostly because your intention of cooking meals at home or prepping those fruits and vegetables to eat falls by the wayside, and they end up in the garbage. Be realistic about how you eat, and if you’re constantly tossing lettuce heads and half eaten bananas in the trash, that’s money down the drain.

From one popular spot (the grocery store) to another, the bank, when was the last time you found a late fee on your checking account? If the answer any time is affirmative, that’s one too many.

You should never, with this much technology, ever bounce a check or have a debit card cut up in front of you. With overdraft protection, those 30 to 50 dollar overdraft fees should be a thing of the past. Even if you get hit with one or two per year, that’s money that is being wasted and ultimately putting your financial future in jeopardy.

The key to saving money is naturally to have a budget, stick to it and count your dollars out the door versus what you’re bringing in on a regular basis. But it is easy to get sidetracked with the simple and not pay attention to not so much how you’re spending money but rather if you’re wasting it.

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