Some of you may have fallen into the trap of relying too heavily on a credit card over the holidays. Now, the bills are coming in.
It's easy to fall into a trap with credit cards because they are so easy to get. Especially those store cards, because often times they offer extra discounts when they're opened.
According to credit restoration expert Bill Lavender, none of that will matter if you don't pay it off quickly.
"I think the number one new year's resolution should be having good credit for 2019," Lavender said.
Lavender, also known as Dr. Credit, has seen firsthand how quickly people can screw up their credit and get in over their heads with debt. He has some advice for people who are realizing they need to get back on track.
"It's the basics, start with a budget," Lavender said. "Second thing as part of that budget, free up cash!"
That budget needs to be written down. If you have a spouse or partner, you need to work together and agree on it.
Also, Lavender says free up some cash. Do that by paying off the credit card that has the highest payment. Once that's done, go to the next card, but pay the same amount you've been paying. It will take time, maybe a year or two, but Lavender says it's worth it.
"It's not so much about increasing income," Lavender said. "Most people focus on the wrong thing. 'If I can just get a second job, if I could just make more money, get a different career.' No. Let's look at keeping more of what you have."
Having good credit can affect your life in many ways. Your credit rating is used to:
- Determine the interest rates you pay on car and home loans.
- How much you pay in car insurance. The higher your credit score, the less you pay.
-Whether you can rent an apartment or home
-Utility deposits: Electric and gas companies will run your credit and if you have a low score, you could pay hundreds of dollars as a deposit.
-It can affect your job. Many employers check your credit because a low credit score could mean you aren't trustworthy and if you have a job that requires a security clearance, it affects that too.
So that's why it's a good idea make that New Year's resolution to get your finances back on track!
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