Credit Score Resolutions 2009 – Episode #100
Credit Score Resolutions 2009
With so many resolution lists out there, my resolutions are focused on how to counter the trend of lower credit scores and stricter credit limits that’s making credit even harder to attain. As you can’t do much against the credit standards being set, [thankfully GMAC just reset credit score minimums back to 621 from 700 opening the door for 41 Million consumers], the focus will be on things you can do to keep your credit score high and/or get it highe
- Don’t be late…ever again. Look there is too much technology to keep from being late. Stop giving the “I want to be in control” argument to keep from setting up automatic payments.
- Stretch to pay off more. If you make the minimum payments each month, stretch to make more than the minimum payments. If you don’t make minimum payments, you’ve got to figure out how to make at least the minimum payments. Paying off more will likely mean cutting back in some other way.
- Cut back on non-essentials. This is the time to start working on asking the tough questions. Do I really need cable? Do I really need netflix? Do I have the right cell phone plan? The right home phone plan? Can I cut back on heating costs? Can I get my hair cut less frequently?. Being able to apply $50 more per month against credit card debt can make a huge difference.
- Fight the lowering of credit limits. Don’t do anything different with your credit cards. Using them more than usual can signal risk, and using them hardly at all is a signal that you don’t need all the available credit.
- Fight the closing of credit cards. If you have credit cards you don’t use, make just 1 small purchase on them to make sure credit issuers don’t close them on you. The credit issuers don’t have to give notice to close down unused credit cards.
- Pay off cards as often as you get paid. If you get paid twice per month, then make payments twice per month. This will decrease the amount of interest you pay.
- Seek the right kind of credit counseling. If you are having trouble making even the minimum payments on your credit cards, then seek credit counseling. DO look for a US Dept of Justice approved agency, DON’T use anyone calling themselves a “credit repair” expert.
- Clean up your statements. Check to see if you, your spouse or your kids are getting monthly charges for something you don’t really use on your credit card statement AND on your cell phone bill. I’ve started to see lots of subscription models that look like free services until you check your bill.
- Get “creducated”. You can’t master anything without a little study. Knowing how credit scoring works and what factors impact you is critical to your success.