Staying organized and on-track is very important when you are trying to boost your credit score, because there are so many details to follow up on and so many things to remember. A few basic organization tips can help make sure that you do not overlook anything that can cost you your good credit score:
Keep all your financial records – including tax records – in one place. Note the days you paid your bills on the bills themselves. Note how much you owe and where you owe money. Keeping your financial information in one place allows you to refer to it easily. Seeing all your financial life in one place also makes it easier for you to see where your credit and your financial life still needs work.
Some of the information you may want to keep in your financial file includes:
-Tax receipts and forms
-Articles and pamphlets about debt
-Your credit reports and scores
-A list of contacts that affect your financial life (such as your bank and credit agencies, for example)
-Your written emergency plan, detailing what you should do in case of a sudden loss of job or other problem
-Deeds to your assets (such as your house)
-Agreements you have signed for loans and other financial services
-A list of your financial goals
You may want to buy a box and keep your separate information in different labeled folders (tax information together, for example, and bills in another folder) for easy referencing. Whatever system you use, you will find it much easier to manage your finances – and your credit – if you don’t have to hunt for random pieces of paper.
Credit repair takes time and effort. Some days, it will seem that you are getting no closer to a better credit score at all. In order to keep track of your progress and in order to keep going forward, you need to set goals and keep track of what you are doing.
For example, setting a goal such as “I will improve my credit score” is far too broad. Set smaller goals, such as “I will talk to my bank about budgeting this week” or “I will pay off half my credit card bill by next month.” These goals work better because they are manageable and have a built-in deadline.
Writing your goals on a calendar or planner you look at everyday will motivate you to keep working on your credit repair and will keep you making the small steps that can lead to better credit. If you review how far you have come each month or week, you can really keep track of your progress and see how much you still have to do.
Little things make a big difference. Misquoting your social insurance number or using a slightly different name (Jane Doe Smith instead of Jane Smith) can make a big difference, since credit bureaus can count the two names as different people. Making sure that you fill out each financial form accurately and in the same way can go a long way in ensuring that there are no mistakes in identity that can affect your credit score.
A few points on a credit score can mean the difference between a lender offering you a prime rate reserved for the best credit risks and the worse interest rate offered to less than prime customers. This may amount to only a few percentages in different loan rates, but this can make a huge impact, especially on a large purchase. For example, a few percentage points on a long-term fixed-rate loan can mean the difference between tens of thousands of dollars saved – or tens of thousands of dollars overspent.
It is in your best interest to boost your credit score by every percentage point you can and to fight for the very lowest interest rate loans you can. After all, if you have larger payments each month due to a higher interest rate than you deserve, it will be harder for you to repay your bills. Also, you will qualify for fewer loans if you have higher-than-needed interest rates, as you will be able to afford fewer of the larger monthly payments.
As you can likely tell by now, credit repair is not one magical solution but rather lots of relatively small things you can do to help repair your credit. To make sure that you don’t over look any one thing, you may want to develop a to do list that you can post and check off.
You may list credit accounts you need to close, accounts you need to pay down, people you need to contact, and things you need to check out or research. As you tick off each item, you will get a real sense of accomplishment knowing that you are taking steps to improve your finances. Keeping a credit repair checklist posted will also keep you on track and let you know what you still need to do.
Thanks to automatic bank payments, you can have your bills taken out of your checking account each month or even charged to your credit card. If you are the sort of person who gets dings on their credit report because you can never remember to pay your bills on time, this can be a very useful service.
You can even set up your email service to send you automatic reminders of bills that are due soon so that you can pay them. This sort of automation is one of the nicer things about high-tech living and can help you keep your credit score clean if your credit score suffers mainly from your own forgetfulness or disorganization.