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Pay Off: Is it better to pay off debt or save money?

Plenty of would be money managers, those who take stock of their own wealth on a personal level, tend to debate one topic tooth and nail as it relates to budgeting.

Should you focus on saving money or taking anything above and beyond what you’re spending and put it toward paying off debt?

The conventional thinking is you want to amass as much of a nest egg as you can, in the hopes that if something comes to the table, such as a leaky roof, siding for the house or the hot water tank that blows without notice.

The idea of having money saved is so you don’t have to use credit cards or find a lender that will loan you the cash at a decent rate for the term that you want. Furthermore, you can’t fake the feeling that is so gratifying knowing that you have that money to fall back on when you need it the most.

You also can’t argue with the notion that if you’ve budgeted correctly and you have that extra cash, you want to see it grow within the confines of a savings account that previously didn’t exist.

What often is overlooked, however, is your credit score, debt to income ratio and what those credit cards look like beyond that credit ceiling you want to avoid hitting. What affects your credit score negatively are those credit cards that have the $5,000 limit and that’s exactly what you owe in that card. If you try to borrow money or take out a loan, you won’t get very far as most lenders are going to see that aspect as a bad thing, no matter how much money you have saved in the bank. This is particularly paramount for things like car loans, buying a home or other lending needs you can’t pay for outright out of as savings account.

Once again, as lending comes into play, you want to make sure your debt to income ratio isn’t anywhere near 50 50 or worse yet less than perfect, where you owe more than you make. You may take the notion of paying off debt as being the idea that you can get that 50 50 or worse to a more respectable level.

Truthfully, if you have major purchases on the horizon and money that needs to be borrowed, your focus should be on getting your debt in check and not worrying about getting money set aside. Otherwise, save, save and save some more if you’ve already settled into that home and have the car you want.

Want to improve credit score? Copy someone who’s good

Plenty of people want to have that picture perfect credit score, something that is in the neighborhood of 700 or better, so that they can rest assured that if they want a loan or faith of a creditor, they’ll have it.

The habits of those who rule their respective credit worlds are something that hardly would be considered monumental but rather rooted in common sense and financial acumen. But even if you’re not a financial planner by trade, you still can keep that score at something of a respectable level.

And that’s pretty much what those in the know do. They make smart decisions. They pay their bills on time. They don’t go into debt and instead go without.
But for those who aren’t so good at credit, saving, spending or keeping that credit score at a decent level, your best bet would be to find someone who is competent when it comes to credit and immolate what they are doing.

So in addition to paying your bills on time, what else can you do to keep your credit score high?

Those in the know don’t take their credit score for granted and instead stay on point as far as what their score is doing and not doing. Simply put, they check their score on a regular basis or employ a credit service that alerts you when something is going on, so you can investigate accordingly.

If you’re someone who just assumes what your score is, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

And as far as paying bills on time, those with good credit scores don’t just pay on time but they make sure there is something of a backup plan in terms of that very point. Automatic bill pay works wonders and can be done through online banking or the creditor itself. Those who don’t have this service in their back pocket either don’t know about it, don’t care or they know they don’t have the money to do something like that.

Finally, good credit scores are built on budgeting, knowing where your money is going and what is coming in on a regular basis. They’ll also keep their borrowing at a minimum especially as it relates to their debt to income ratio and how they look in terms of balances at it relates to what your maximum limit is (such as a credit card with a $5,000 limit and a balance of $5,000; obviously, not a good thing to hit that debt ceiling).

Turning around your credit score isn’t impossible, but it’s going to take following and implementing a simple plan and putting your faith in someone you know who has already done it.

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