Credit Mistakes That Cause Low Scores

Beware of these items that will cause a major drop in your credit score.

Asking a creditor to lower your credit limits. This will reduce that all-important gap between your balances and your available credit, which could hurt your score. If a lender asks you to close an account or get a limit lowered as a condition for getting a loan, you might have to do it -- but don't do so without being asked.

Making a late payment. The irony here is that a late or missed payment will hurt a good score more than a bad one, dropping a 700-plus score by 100 points or more. If you've already got a string of negative items on your credit report, one more won't have a big impact, but it's still something you want to avoid if you're trying to improve your score.

Consolidating your accounts. Applying for a new account can ding your score. Also, transferring balances from a high-limit card to a lower-limit one, or concentrating all or most of your credit-card balances onto a single card. In general, it's better to have smaller balances on a few cards than a big balance on one.

Applying for new credit if you've already got plenty. On the other hand, applying for and getting an installment loan can help your score if you don't have any installment accounts, or you're trying to recover from a credit disaster like bankruptcy.









   Step Two

Prepare a Budget
FACT
Credit cards that are maxed out lowers your credit scores.
Creating a Budget can Help You Stay on Track
Developing and living by a household budget is by far the best way to get your expenses under control which, in turn, can mean a much less stressful life and possibly a better looking credit score.

However, many families find it very difficult to stick to a budget. It does take hard work and a lot of self-discipline, at least in the beginning. The good news is that most families find the longer they can stick to a budget, the easier it becomes. This is because sticking to a budget eventually becomes an unconscious habit, just like driving a car. And once it becomes a habit, the budgeting process just sort of goes on cruise control and requires much less thought or effort.

But what do you do during those first three, four or six months, when sticking to a budget feels so difficult?

There are several answers to this. The first is to make sure your budget categories are realistic. You may think you can get by with $100 a week for groceries, but is this real? Do you have checks or receipts that verify how much you have been spending at the grocery store? You really need to know. Otherwise, you may budget too little. In turn, this becomes frustrating because you will always be over budget.

Second, make sure you have all categories covered. There are some categories that are easy -- rent, mortgage payment, utilities, car payments, etc. But think hard about all other categories such as clothing, eating out, prescriptions, pet care, tuition, books, allowances, movies, CDs and DVDs, and computer software and games, to name a few. If you do not budget for all these kind of expenses, I promise they will bust your budget.

Begin tracking your spending habits for the next 30 days to  find out where you are spending your money!

After 30 days commit to making the necessary changes to better help improve your spending habits and your credit scores.

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