When was the last time you stressed out about money? If you answered “recently” or “every single day,” then you’re not alone. A recent APA survey reported that 72 percent of Americans reported feeling some sort of money-related stress in the previous month. This is a statistic representative of nearly ¾ of the population of the United States.
Life is expensive. And, it seems to be getting pricier by the year. On average, Americans have spent 3.5 percent more this year on common household groceries than in 2020. That’s a sharp increase in price, and some have found it difficult to keep up with rising costs.
No matter your financial standing, there’s always a way to keep yourself in good financial graces and improve your overall financial health.
Maybe you’re needing to take out a loan, or perhaps you’re considering filing for bankruptcy. Regardless, developing a few good credit-building habits will benefit you in many ways.
Credit Building Science
If you’re like most Americans out in the workforce today, you’ll probably agree that the home economics class that you took in high school should have been replaced with a class on how important credit actually is in the modern world.
Credit is one thing that most schools don’t teach you about, and it’s become a vital part of financial health.
Good credit is extremely important, especially if you plan on taking out a loan, buying a car, or applying for a mortgage. Your credit score can even affect your ability to land a decent job, as many employers are pulling credit history to verify eligible employees. Thankfully, there are many ways to improve your credit score.
Credit building can be thought of as a science of sorts. This is because there are several aspects of credit (and how to build it) that are applied in a methodical approach.
For instance, did you know that you can quickly add up to 100 points to your credit simply by paying more than one credit card payment a month? It’s really that simple in some cases.
But, the science of credit building has to start with a plan, and this plan is all based on how to effectively move your money around in order to keep your financial obligations current.
Credit Building Plan
The first step in a credit building plan is to get yourself on a budget. You might even already have a budget plan in place, but you’ll also need to learn how to tighten it up a bit.
Find where you can cut costs, and reflect those changes in your budget first. This can be as simple as tracking how much you spend on food, fuel, and luxury items. Now, we all love to pamper ourselves or to go out to eat on occasion, but these are the types of spending habits that you can stop altogether and use that money to help catch up on bills.
Pay Bills On Time
This should seem like a no-brainer, but many of us simply can’t pay all of our bills by their due dates.
Payment history is largely considered the single biggest factor that affects your credit score. For example, late payments that are 30 days past due will stay on your credit report for up to seven years, and in some cases longer.
Stay in touch with your creditors if you know you’re about to miss a payment. You’d be surprised how happy most creditors will be to work out a plan with you that won’t affect your credit score.
Ask For Higher Limits
This might seem counterintuitive. Why would you want to be able to spend more money and possibly accrue more debt? Well, it’s not exactly that cut and dry.
If you raise your credit limit but you can maintain the same balance, this instantly lowers your reported overall credit usage and will increase your score over time. Basically, a high limit looks good, but only if you don’t use it all immediately and keep your additional available credit. This, in turn, improves your credit standing.
If you’re paying your monthly credit payment only, then you’re probably only paying towards interest. In today’s world, you have to pay more than what your bill is to truly make any headway.
Sure, you may like that 25 dollar bill amount, but try paying 50, or 75 and see how much better your credit looks at the end of 90 days.
Chances are, your credit could go up 100 points or higher if you double or even triple your monthly credit card payment.
We all have to make money to survive in society. So, unless you’re willing to rough it and live off of the land for the rest of your life, chances are that you’ll have to maintain a healthy credit history if you want to enjoy certain things that society offers.
Getting your credit in check will be one of the best things you can do for your financial security, and the rewards are worth it in the long run.