Thinking about credit can either be a positive, negative, or a neutral experience for you. It’s all about where you’re at in life right now. When you’re a teenager, credit is probably something that’s neutral for you, since it doesn’t quite affect you yet. You can’t enter into contracts without your parent’s permission, so you can’t be offered any credit. However, you can always think about how credit affects you down the road.
Now, if you’re someone that already has credit challenges you probably have a negative view of credit. Sometimes the hardest thing that we have to do in our own recovery periods is think differently than we have. The credit card didn’t do anything — you are the person in control of you, always. That might sound a little harsh, but when we take full responsibility, we have full power over our lives.
There are some people have had to use credit in a sticky situation, and our hearts go out to them. However, if you find that you’re struggling with credit problems as a result of poor spending habits, you have to make sure that you correct course before you fall into bigger problems.
Cleaning up your credit the smart way means that you have to take a comprehensive approach to the way you handle credit. You cannot just hide your credit problems and hope that everything wills hake out okay in the end. That’s a recipe for disaster, and it doesn’t have to be that way either.
You just need to make sure that you’re focusing on the bigger picture in front of you. For example, have you made a budget? If you’re not sure how much money is coming in or going out of your home, it’s time to really start thinking about the type of lifestyle you’re leading. You can’t expect to be disorganized and really still reach all of your goals. It just doesn’t work that way.
The better approach is to set a budget that you can live with. A lot of people try to clean up their finances by making some sort of draconian budget that never lets them do anything except work, come home, pay bills, eat, and sleep. That might work for some, but every budget needs some room for play. It’s really like dieting. A strict diet might work in the extreme short term, but long term it does more harm than good. Eventually, you will get tired of living on nothing and you might “binge” and have consequences to deal with later.
Make sure that you are routinely looking at your credit report. There are errors that can come up from a wide variety of issues, especially in our growing digital culture. This is also another reason why you want to have your paperwork in order. If there’s an error on your credit report, good recordkeeping will make sure that you can fix it fast. Contrast this with the haphazard approach that most people take — and you can immediately see the difference.
Don’t be afraid to get the whole family involved. If you make small but consistent steps to clean up your finances, you’ll have big results in good time. If you try to rush the process, you will only find that you’re not getting where you want to get — which will only make you frustrated and feel like quitting.