Bad credit can feel like the end of the world. This is because we’ve been conditioned over our lifetimes to believe that having bad credit is tantamount to being a terrible person. This is a philosophy that was built up primarily during the last century and during a time of economic excess. But now the economy is a wreck, our wages haven’t kept pace with the cost of living and more and more of us are having to rely on credit just to afford simple necessities like food. The times, they have changed.
Today, having bad credit isn’t something to be whispered about in dark corners. It is something that most of us have to deal with at least once (if not more) in our lives. And the idea that you should regard it as your enemy or that you should relegate your life to living in squalor when it happens to you is totally bogus. You can live well and be happy when your credit score isn’t perfect. Here’s how.
Bad Credit is Temporary
If you start working to fix your credit, you will see your score start to rise within a few months. There are a few ways to do this. Obviously, you’ll want to pay your creditors and lenders on time every month, even if you can only afford to pay the minimum due. It’s also good to show that you can handle new credit responsibly. The best way to do this is with a secured credit card that you get through your bank or a local credit union.
Buying What You Need: The Big Stuff
Perhaps the worst part of having bad credit is feeling like you have no options when something breaks or goes wrong. For example, you can’t afford to just fork over the cash for a brand new refrigerator when the one you have breaks. The good news is that, for bigger purchases like these, there are many stores that contract through third party creditors, like Crest Financial, to offer financing options to people whose credit might be less than awesome. These financiers rarely look at your credit history but they do report your positive repayment history to the credit bureaus (which helps raise your score).
Buying What You Need: Clothing
One of the keys in repairing your finances is to find a way to earn more money than you are currently making. This might mean taking on a second job or asking for a promotion at your current job. As shallow as it seems, both of these tasks are harder when you show up wearing the same threadbare khakis and button down that you’ve been wearing for the last year.
It’s important to have a good outfit for interviews and at least a few good pieces that you can mix and match at work. Shop for these items in thrift stores and on clearance racks.
Another good idea is learning how to sew so that you can tailor clothing you find that you love but that might not fit perfectly in the dressing room and so that you can make your own when you can’t find what you need in stores.
You will never perform at your best if you aren’t eating well. Eating the cheap processed stuff will deplete your energy levels, cause weight gain, wreak havoc on your skin, etc. You’ll be amazed at how much energy you have and how much more confident you feel when you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet. Better still, this doesn’t have to be expensive. Books like Good and Cheap teach you how to eat well on a shoestring budget, which helps you save money at the grocery store. This, in turn, helps you put more money toward your debt and credit rebuilding program.
Sometimes paying down your debt and rebuilding credit is a relatively simple project that you can complete on your own by tweaking a few habits for the better. Other times, it is a complicated process that can feel overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start or what to change, meeting with a credit counselor is a good idea. You can find good counselors through local non-profit organizations and your local DHS. Steer clear of anyone who tries to charge you for credit repair.
Most of all, try to keep your head up. Channel your inner Dory and just keep swimming. If you work at it, you can rebuild your credit–and live well while you do it.