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When you really think about your finances and how good or bad you are at anything from budgeting to saving money, how do you measure your success?
Some argue that your debt to income ratio is king, while others say assets and equity rule the world. That savings account or 401K balances aside, the true benchmark still remains the three digits that will haunt you if you haven’t taken care of them all this time.
Your credit score.
Yes, the credit score is the culmination of two trajectories the average consumer takes: you either have taken good care of that number and it is flourishing to the point that one glance at it and lenders are having no issues or qualms about lending you money or assuming that when they do, they’ll get paid back and then some.
The flip side to that is a pathetic, paltry credit score that is flirting with near disaster to the point that it is so low, creditors even offering ridiculous interest rates want absolutely nothing to do with you.
How you go there probably won’t do you much good at the moment. What is more telling is how to fix it and get that score out of the frying fan and much more favorable to who matters most beyond just you: lenders and others who can help you get the car, home or loan of your dreams or ultimately be the ones to turn you down in a heartbeat.
So fixing your credit score is paramount, but can it be done?
Yes, of course. But the trick is to follow simple steps to rebuild it, and the lenders will come. For instance, do you pay your bills on time? This is the easiest way to start getting yourself back on the right track. And if you can’t pay your bills, consult a consolidation company so that they’ll be able to get you into some sort of lateral move where you have one payment that might be a little more manageable than the mess you’re making at the moment.
As silly as it seems, a big reason credit score are so bad is that most don’t even know what is on them currently. If you haven’t checked your score, you should. And sign up with a company or online entity that monitors your score and lets you know if or when it changes for the good or bad. You also can have the chance to fix any errors or mistakes on your report because quite frankly they’re not always perfect.
And neither are you, but you don’t have to be to fix your score. You just need to get your head in the game with the basics.
Think for a moment the last time you used your credit card but more so for what? Can you answer that question honestly and without worrying about believing that you’re using your credit card for the wrong reasons.
Let’s analyze some common answers.
Clothes, possibly acceptable if you desperately are in need of them.
Food, another one that makes the list if you need them badly but certainly isn’t advisable for a credit card purchase.
Other bills, ouch this one hurts and is going to put you behind the proverbial eight ball rather quickly.
Vacation, no, never, not in a million years should you be charging a vacation, particularly if you’re not adept at saving money or spending it wisely.
No matter why you’re using your credit card, one thing is for certain: you need to take stock of your reasoning and determine if you’re actually addicted to using that plastic gem that comes in handy in an emergency but shouldn’t be used on a daily basis.
One easy way to tell if you’re hooked is if you’re constantly using it for frivolous items, things that you don’t need to have but want and refuse to take out of your budget. Everything from a light-hearted shopping spree to a concert ticket and even something such as restaurant dining on a regular basis. All of those things add up to the wrong reasons to be using a credit card. Why on earth would you want to be paying interest on plane tickets or chicken, when you have zero return on any investment for those so called must have purchases.
You also can mark yourself as addicted to credit cards if you’re quick to justify the perks you’re receiving as a result of having them. If you’re running up the bill at Target on your red card because you get 5% off each purchase or you can’t say no to all those miles that your Visa or Master Card, you aren’t thinking clearly or processing the full scope of what is happening.
Can you really justify a 5% discount at the point of sale when your interest rate after that introductory six months no interest turns into something like 20 or 30%. It is hard to imagine that the ottoman storage unit or luggage for the family really is worth paying triple the purchase price.
Being hooked on a credit card is nothing new for the general public. More than 50% of the population has a credit card debt of 10,000 dollars or more, but no amount is impossible to overcome, as long as you realize the real problem might just be you.