Your credit score is one of the most important factors in your adult life. It impacts your ability to lease a car, get an apartment, and take out a loan of any kind. The mistake that many people make, especially young people, is neglecting their credit score until they need it. This is why building and maintaining a good credit score is imperative to your livelihood as an adult, and taking steps to actively protect your score can make all the difference down the line. Here are a few tips for protecting your credit score that you should start implementing ASAP.
Know Your Credit Score
This may seem like a no-brainer, but knowing your exact credit score is the first step to protecting it. One of the most common misconceptions regarding credit is that checking it more than once per year hurts your score. This is a myth that can actually negatively impact your credit score, as only checking it annually won’t really allow you to see the changes to your score as they come. Websites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame allow you to check your credit score for free without hurting your score. Checking your credit score regularly can be especially beneficial if you’re looking to take out a loan or purchase a piece of New Jersey real estate, as your score can make or break your ability to do these things.
Think Twice About Credit Cards
Credit card companies target young people in particular when it comes to getting people to sign up, with promises of free airline miles and cash back perks. However, it is important to do thorough research and weigh your options when considering applying for any credit card. Things like annual fees, interest rates, and the annual percentage rate (APR) are all important factors to consider before taking the plunge and signing up for one particular credit card. Once you get a credit card, make sure to only use it for purchases you can immediately pay off. Never use a credit card with the mindset of “I’ll just worry about it later.” Having a credit card is a huge responsibility, so spend wisely.
Late payments, forgetting about bills, and just being generally unorganized can cause you to neglect your credit score, so make sure you’re staying on top of these things. It can be helpful to purchase a file folder to store all of your bills, bank statements and credit information in, with labeled sections for each category. Whenever a bill comes in the mail, file it away immediately and set a reminder to pay it. You should also keep a physical planner or calendar with the due dates of all of your bills and credit card payments, so that you never skip out on one by mistake. Staying organized and on top of your finances will give you peace of mind and ensure that your credit score stays in a good place.