Keeping Your Credit Clean
Keeping your credit clean is a matter of due diligence and you should make it a priority to give yourself a "credit checkup" every year, much like you would make it a priority to get a medical or dental checkup.
Even if you don't think you have credit problems, you should get copies of your credit report. You can get them from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Check these to make sure everything on there is correct. If you find errors on your credit report, clear these up immediately.
If you apply for a credit card or loan, then you can get all 3-credit reports for free. Additionally, if you receive a letter that denies you credit, make a copy of it and enclose it with your written request for a copy of your credit report.
Most debts that are over 7 years old may not appear on your credit report, if this is the case, don't open up old wounds by going looking for them! Many creditors after 7 years of having no contact will write off the debt. In some cases they will continue their efforts to locate you, either way, don't open Pandora's box if the debt isn't listed on your credit report.
Be aware that when you apply for a loan or any type of credit, the lenders will request copies of your credit report, this will add points to your credit score and this inquiry stays on your report for about 3 years.
Nowadays almost everyone will check your credit report so if you are buying a car do not allowing the sales person to check your credit until you know this is what you want.
Keep tabs on your credit report periodically and if you have notice charges on your report that appear suspicious contact the three credit bureaus immediately.
When you do have credit card bills or loans, try to pay them off in full but if you don't have the money to pay the bill in full, make sure you pay as much as you can (at least the minimum on the bill to avoid bad credit reports. Also, if you have any debts that have not yet gone to collection, find a solution for getting those bills up to date before you get a bad mark on your credit.
If you do get into trouble with your credit, you might want to find someone that you trust who can help guide you through the process of repairing your credit. If you don't know someone personally, try finding a Debt Counselor that is qualified to assist you.
No matter whether you clear your debt yourself or use professional help, one good way to get started is with budgeting.
Come up with out a budget that includes your monthly installments. Then make another budget that comes as close to your debts as you can. Finally make a budget that satisfies your demands for survival after you have cut back funds.
If you come up with ways to save money by cutting back, finding some way to earn more money, and having a budget then you will have a guaranteed strategy for getting yourself out of debt. Plus once you are out of debt you will also notice an increase in your income.