I get asked all the time “Do I need a credit score?”
Do you need a credit score to live? No. But is a good credit score beneficial – absolutely. Your credit score and credit report reflect how you handle your money. They are your financial reputation. And just like in life, we all should strive to have a stellar reputation. So what can you do to make sure that your financial reputation is stellar.
Here are a few tips:
Make all your monthly payments on time – Being prompt on your payments shows that you take your committments seriously. You made a promise to pay a certain amount by a certain day and you followed through on that promise.
Keep your credit utilization low – This shows that you can handle whatever is given to you and that you don’t need to spend everything you have access to. Just because you have a total credit limit of $10,000 doesn’t mean you need to spend $10k. 10% or less is considered excellent in the credit world and is just the smart thing to do. Don’t overextend yourself – it won’t end well.
Keep your accounts low – You don’t need 10 credit cards to make your point. All it takes is one card paid every month on time to build your credit – as long as you keep your usage below 10%. Don’t have so many accounts that you need a “beautiful mind” to keep up with it all.
Be patient – Building credit takes time and repairing credit takes even more time. Just keep doing the right thing and your reputation will speak for itself.
It is not about debt – You can build credit without ever going into debt. Debt is owing more than you have. Credit is a source of payment. Using credit is not a bad thing – as long as you have the funds to back it up.
These tips work whether you are building credit or trying to rebuild your credit. I went from a 585 at the beginning of my journey to over an 800 now. It takes time and commitment but it is worth it for a stellar financial reputation. Remember the tortoise wins every time you read the story!
We all need a financial toolbox – tools we can use to win in the area of our finances. And as much as you are going to hate to hear this, a budget is your biggest wealth building tool in your financial toolbox. Give me a moment of your time and I will explain why in hopes that by the end of this blog, you will agree and begin to take seriously the budgeting process.
First, let me clear up a huge misconception – a budget is not designed to tell you no. Actually, the opposite is true. Of course, if you are living paycheck to paycheck, you are going to have to say no to some things. At least, you should say no to some things. However, when you have a budget, you know exactly where your money is going; therefore, you are able to say yes more. Maybe not in the beginning – it depends on how big your hole is. But as you begin to dig yourself out of debt and build wealth, the budget will allow you to say yes – a lot!
A budget (or spending plan as I like to call it) is simply a way to look at your income and your expenses. When you can see it visually, it helps you to see where to cut back on expenses, when to raise your income and helps you make awesome financial decisions that will move you forward in your getting out of debt and building wealth goal.
Now, if you don’t want to build wealth and you are okay where you are currently in your finances, then budgeting probably won’t work for you. However, if you are looking to get out of debt, save money and build wealth, then you definitely need to budget.
Budgets are a snapshot of your finances. Having this snapshot every month will help you walk in your truth and begin to make better financial decisions in order to reach your financial goals. So stop avoiding a budget! Now is the time to start – it will take a few months to get the hang of it and that’s ok. And if you have no clue where to start, head over to our short, easy course and learn everything you need in just a few short minutes.
It doesn’t matter how you learn or what methods you use. The main thing is that you start! Today is your day! You’ve got this!
If you are in debt right now, odds are you have a shopping “situation”. For me, it was a full blown shopping addiction. (Yes – that is a real thing with a 12 step program and everything.)
But even if you aren’t addicted to shopping, your shopping “situation” is stymying you from becoming debt free and building wealth.So how did I get my shopping “situation” (addiction) under control? Here are a few things that I did that helped me turn it all around and even help me today when I find myself shopping more than my budget can handle.
Remove all of your credit cards from your shopping websites
Remove all of your shopping websites from your email
Cut up and close all of your credit cards
Only go to the store when necessary and when you go, take a strict list and cash
Be content with what you have – promise yourself you won’t upgrade unless what you have breaks and can’t be fixed.
When you start shopping online, get up and do something else. We shop out of boredom a lot and just doing something else for a few minutes gets our mind off of it.
Shopping gives many people a high – it makes us happy, gets us through rough times, and makes us feel good for a moment. But like every high, it doesn’t last. However, the debt does. We need to take a few seconds every time we feel like shopping and reprogram our brains to do something else – something that doesn’t cost money.
I challenge you to look at your credit card statements and your spending for the last 3 months. I think you will be shocked at how much you actually spent. Now, I want to challenge you to go on a 30 day spending freeze. This is how I retrained my brain 20 years ago and I still use it today when needed.
When you stop spending money on “stuff” and start buying only what brings value to your life, you will have more money to save and to use to pay off debt and build wealth. And that will give you a high that will stay with you always!