Happy Spring! Perhaps you can relate to wanting a new beginning with your personal finances and credit as well? Spring is a perfect time, especially if you’re still dealing with paying off holiday shopping bills or are planning some major purchases like a home or a car this year. Think of the steps below as Spring Cleaning for your Credit. Follow this plan, and come summer vacation-time, you’ll feel as peaceful as a summer Sunday.
Dust – Have you checked your credit lately? If you haven’t pulled it in the last six months, it’s time to blow the dust off and take a look. Visit annualcreditreport.com or myfico.com to access your report. Checking your credit regularly prevents identity theft and fraud, and helps you stay on track with maintaining your healthy credit. Regular check-ins can help raise your score, especially if there are errors on your report that are costing you points.
Prune – Cut back on your revolving credit accounts. Having a good mix of credit is one way to boost your score but too much revolving debt can be detrimental. It’s easy to lose control of so pay off the cards you don’t need or use, but don’t close the accounts. Also, make sure to prune back your balances on any revolving accounts to 10 percent of the total credit available. Having low balances and making payment in full and on time will help your score go up.
Organize – Especially important if your bills and finances are feeling a little out of control, take a little time to organize, purge, and create a plan. You need to create a written budget, which is simply a plan for each dollar you earn. Then write down some simple financial goals such as pay down credit card debt, save an emergency fund, and increase your credit score. Then go through all the bills you have yet to open, confirm all the charges are correct and file or purge them. Once you get organized, you’ll feel so much better!
Sweep – Sweep up all your rewards points and check your rewards balances and expiration dates. If you have points you need to use, redeem them before they’re lost or make a plan to use them for an upcoming trip. For cards with smaller balances, I often like to redeem them for gift cards that I can keep handy to give for gifts or to say thanks.
Ah, can you just smell the fresh scent of healthy, clean credit? I wish you a happy Spring and remember you can always reach out to me with your questions or concerns. I’m here to help!