How To Repair Your Credit All On Your Own
There’s just no getting away from credit these days, as we’re sure you’ll agree. It doesn’t really make a difference where you live, nor does it matter much who you are.
Everybody who wants to have any kind of independent, financially viable adult life is going to need to get familiar with the credit system and understand how to make it work for them, as well as how to get around the pitfalls that are likely to crop up throughout the course of our financial lives.
Just as credit is important, though, credit repair is an equally vital topic to familiarize yourself with, and it’s credit repair that we’ll be discussing in this article.
Any purchase of any magnitude is going to require a certain amount of money to be paid back over a period of time. Whether it’s a refrigerator, a television, or something more sizeable, like a house or a car, if you’re trying to get a loan of some description, your credit score is going to prove to be of utmost importance to the lender who will potentially approve or deny you for that loan.
How Credit Works In Layman’s Terms
Put simply, all your credit score is is a way to display, numerically, how reliable you are as somebody to lend money to.
If you have a good credit history, full of repayments that were made in full and on time, you’re a safe bet without much risk involved, and as a result your credit score will be on the lower end of the spectrum, marking you out from the herd as somebody who can be trusted with a financial commitment.
On the other hand, if your score has tanked for whatever reason, lenders are going to take one look at that number and decide that you’re a risky proposition.
As a result, the terms of the loan you’re going to be offered will turn out to be significantly less favorable, since they need some way to balance out the risk they’re taking on by giving you any money in the first place.
A low score will typically require a degree of credit repair in order to get it back to normal.
Scores can go downhill for a number of reasons, of which poor financial decisions are only one. For example, you could have financial interests in a company whose stocks tanked on account of some unprecedented socio-economic disaster, which would wreck your ability to pay your bills through no fault of your own.
Similarly, you could be a victim of identity theft, during which a criminal got hold of your details and used them to make fraudulent purposes, which will also show up on your credit history and have a disastrous effect on your score.
What Is Credit Repair, Anyway?
If your score isn’t quite where it should be—whether that’s your own fault or not—you’re going to need to consider credit repair. Credit repair is a catch-all term given to a series of techniques which you can apply to your own score in order to boost it somewhat, and as such you’ll be able to give yourself a better chance at securing reasonable financial commitments you’ll be able to handle in the short- and long-term.
Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not. To a lot of people their credit scores are regarded as abstract non-entities—vague, far-off mathematical approximations which they have no idea how to even interact with, let alone begin to repair.
If you’re in that boat, take heart: you’re not alone. There’s good news too, though. Everybody can repair their credit all on their own, and by the end of this piece you’ll understand how to do it for yourself.
At this point, you’re probably asking the most common question we receive when it comes to credit repair, namely: how long the entire process will take. It’s a totally reasonable question, especially when we remember that credit reports are issued every few months, and you want to get your score moving in the right direction as quickly as possible so you can start to see the benefits sooner rather than later.
While we’re going to be regrettably unable to provide you with an exact timeline by which you can chart your credit repair journey (considering that it varies so much from case to case), what we can guarantee you is that results can start to become apparent within the first few months, if you’re diligent about it, meaning you might be able to get your new, healthier score with your very next credit report.
Below are a few of the most simple guidelines to follow when it comes to performing credit repair on an ailing score. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start, and covers the most important principles.
As with everything financial, long-term thinking is the way to succeed, so if you can manage to make any of these habits stick, you’ll find your score will start to improve practically of its own volition.
Here they are: the best ways to practice credit repair all on your own.
How To Repair Your Credit Score On Your Own
Habit One: Making Lists
Any good financial habit that’s worth getting into is going to find its basis in the ability to make, maintain, update, and follow well thought-out lists.
Not only is it the most basic principle when it comes to organizing the high-speed lives most of us live today, it’s also the best way to make sure that nothing sneaks up on you when you’re not expecting it.
The last thing anyone wants when they’re performing credit repair on their own is for an unexpected expense to pop out of nowhere, wrecking the entire scheme and prolonging the pay-off part of the credit repair process even further.
Nobody performs credit repair for the fun of it. We’re all interested in making our scores as healthy as we possibly can, and the best way to ensure that you keep making forward is to get into the habit of making lists.
The most important list you need to make is a budget. It’s best to start off small, with your daily expenses, and then your weekly expenses, and then your monthly expenses (as you go on you’ll begin to figure out which are short-term expenses and which are long-term expenses, and this will help you to organize the list even further).
Without a budget it’s impossible to plan for any kind of financial future, no matter how optimistic you may try to be, and it’s probably the single most vital aspect of any cohesive credit repair strategy.
While a budget is the most important list, that doesn’t mean you should stop there. The best habits are the ones we can stick to for long enough that they become second-nature, so why not give yourself a helping hand by applying your list-making abilities to other purposes as well? Grocery lists (if you don’t already make them), lists of goals, lists of goals scored by your favorite soccer team—every little helps.
Habit Two: Refusing To Take The Easy Option
Too often we can fall into the same predictable pattern of trying to go for the path of least resistance. It’s hardly our fault: everything in nature is wired like that, but when it comes to performing credit repair on your score, it’s not the best way to proceed.
If you find yourself falling into spending patterns that you know you can’t afford, over and over, it’s probably time to do some hard structural re-working and shift your focus towards challenging yourself, rather than rewarding yourself.
It sounds like a simple mindset change, but it’s devilishly tough to keep up with 100%. Fortunately, you don’t need to challenge yourself every minute of every day, and life would be a little bleak without any rewards whatsoever.
All we’re suggesting is that if you want to get your credit repair journey firmly underway, it can be a good idea to try and cut back on needless expenditure, no matter how rewarding, regular, or tempting that may be.
Your list-making strategies will help you out no end when it comes to this second habit, too. The more you become aware of exactly where your money’s going every month, the better you’ll be able to recognize what’s important and what’s not.
From there, it’s a relatively small step to make to cut out what you don’t need in favor of what you do need: paying back all of your monthly commitments, in full and on time. That’s the single fastest way to get your credit score back in order. Nothing else is given so much importance in the algorithms FICO and other similar companies use to calculate our credit scores.
Habit Three: Thinking Long-Term
It might sound a little presumptuous of us, but if you’re in need of credit repair for reasons that aren’t identity theft or unprecedented disasters, odds are that you’re a little too used to thinking in the short-term to give yourself a good shot at succeeding in a financial life.
It’s not a bad thing in and of itself—we’ve all been there at some stage or other, and thinking short-term can be a very rewarding and beneficial way to consider almost all of life’s challenges and pleasures. The reality, though, is that financial decisions are never benefited by blinkering yourself with short-term thinking.
If you can make an effective shift from thinking short-term to framing the way you go about your life in a more long-term perspective, you’ll find it easier than ever to keep up with the financial obligations you’ve undertaken.
We recommend visualizing where you’d like to be, financially speaking, in a number of years. It doesn’t have to be three, or five, or ten. It’s best, in fact, if it’s a number of years in the future that speaks to you, for whatever reason.
Once you know where you want to go, it’s easier to choose the right path; and by building a habit of thinking long-term rather than exclusively short-term, you’re giving yourself an excellent chance at really succeeding when it comes to repairing your credit all on your own.
In conclusion, there’s good news and bad news. Or maybe good news and less-good news would be a better way of phrasing it. The good news is that you certainly can repair your credit all on your own. The less-good news is that it’s going to take a lot of hard work—but then, you knew that already.
If you’re thinking about credit repair, chances are you’re going to have a hard time securing approval for a car loan. Have you considered giving us here at autoloans.ca a call? We afford every application we receive the same decision process, meaning that no matter how bad your credit score is, you’ll get the same degree of attention and care as everybody else.