Summer is finally here and spring is a not so distant memory. The flowers and trees have bloomed and hopefully, we are well on our way to getting our summer bodies in shape — because again, summer is here!
Speaking of getting in shape, summer can also be a time for a mid-year summertime check up on your finances too. So, before you take that highly anticipated family vacation, you may want to check your credit profile and organize your finances before you go.
Below are some simple steps to guide you through your summertime credit checkup.
Step 1: Draft a budget
A budget is an itemized summary of income and expenses for a given period. I recommend drafting a budget monthly to help you see exactly where your money will go for the month. This will allow you to see how much money you have left over to apply to any outstanding debts or to build your emergency fund. It’s also a great way to “weed out” unnecessary spending.
Step 2: Order and appraise your credit reports
As a consumer, you are entitled to a free credit report every year from all three credit bureaus. You can access the reports from www.annualcreditreport.com but know that it will not come with a free credit score. There are providers that offer your FICO score with your credit reports. These can also be obtained by visiting the credit bureaus website directly.
Step 3: Review your reports for mistakes
What is your credit issue? Some people make late payments, do not have any open credit accounts or just got out of a bankruptcy. Look over your reports thoroughly to determine your credit issues.
Step 4: Design a plan to solve the problem
After identifying a problem, devise a plan to correct it.
Example: If you have a problem with remembering to pay bills, consider setting the accounts up on Auto Pay from your bank account to ensure that the monthly payment will be timely.
Step 5: Don’t throw in the towel!
Negative credit and finance issues don’t happen overnight, so neither will correcting them. Stay committed to your plan and, in due time you will start to see the results of the changes that have been implemented.
Step 6: Making strides
Establish a timeframe in which you will monitor your progress. You can do weekly or monthly checkups just to make sure that you are on the right track. Make adjustments if necessary.
Step 7: Call in reinforcement (if needed)
If you are monitoring your progress and you are not seeing the results you desire, it is totally OK to hire a professional. Companies like Blackwood Credit Services offer credit consulting services to assist those who need assistance getting their credit in shape.
Having great credit is no longer just about obtaining loans and property. More than ever, credit histories are now determining character, reliability and employability. Don’t wait until you need great credit to start working on revamping your credit. Start today!