Not everyone can be blessed with a perfect credit score and a silver spoon from birth. Some of us have to learn about financial responsibility the hard way. Even if you’re in debt or have no credit, you can begin to tidy up your finances, starting today.

Pay a Debt

Whether you have no established credit history or one rife with mistakes, you need to consistently make payments toward something in order to look good on credit reporting paper. So, if you have no credit to speak of, consider getting a secured credit card. This is a credit card that you’ll get approved for, because you’ll have to shell out a deposit. Over time, you’ll get positive credit ratings for making your payments. If you’ve wrecked your credit in the past, get a free credit report and start paying off those old debts that are hurting your financial reputation. Even paying off the small debts helps. In addition to that, make sure you’re staying current on all your recent bills and debts.


Piggy Bank

Start a savings account at your bank. If you’re not good at regularly remembering to deposit money into it, set up a plan for your institution to take out a certain amount from your check to add. This is especially important if you’re hoping to get a loan in the future. Lenders typically want to know what you have in savings. Even if you’re not hoping to get financed, having something saved will still be beneficial. The exact target amount you should strive for will vary depending on who you ask, but Margarette Burnette at NerdWallet suggests tallying up your monthly spending on essentials then going for a figure that is three to six times greater than the monthly total. She explains, “Having three to six months of expenses saved is a general rule, but you could opt to save more. If you think it would take longer than six months to find a new job if you lost yours, or if your income is irregular, then stashing away up to 12 months’ worth of expenses could be a smart choice.”

Get Authorization

If someone who trusts you has excellent credit, ask them if they’ll consider making you an authorized user on one of their existing credit card accounts. Think of it as hitching a ride on someone else’s credit score. As long as the original account holder has a good payment history, your score will go up quickly. Jacob Hamilton at CreditRepair recommends, “By piggybacking off of someone with established credit, you can bulk up your own report and earn a higher credit score.”

Whether you’re hoping to build credit or repair it, a little cleaning up goes a long way. There’s no time like the present when it comes to your finances, so get started today.

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