Repair Your Own Credit

If you've got money problems, especially bad credit issues, chances are you're the one who got you there. You're the only one who can get you out. Don't waste valuable time playing the blame game but don't beat yourself up, either. Retire the negative and embrace the positive. Positively make your mind up that you can and will repair your own credit rating to something admirable and then do what it takes to achieve that goal.

Where to begin? Assess the realities of the situation with as little emotional involvement as possible. Remove yourself from the numbers and confront them head on. How much money comes into your household each month? Why? How much goes out? Why?

Now think about how you can bring in more money while, at the same time, you are spending less. How can you stretch every dollar that comes your way? Don't get all weepy thinking this is a life sentence to poverty. It isn't. It's just a temporary period of unpleasantness that you will overcome. The more serious you get about it, the sooner you'll repair your own credit and be on your way to a wiser, more pleasant financial lifestyle.

Get a free copy of your credit rating from each of the big three credit reporting bureaus operating in the US - Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Federal law requires them to provide a free credit report every year to every American consumer. Credit scores are the measure of credit worthiness creditors use to approve or deny applications. Each credit reporting bureau formulates its own scores and they, unfortunately, are not freely given to consumers. You'll have to pay for them but they are a must if you are seriously working to repair your own credit. You can't tell how far you've come unless you know where you started.

Contact all creditors to see if you can maker lower payments or get a reduced interest rate. Let them know you are actively involved in a program to repair your own credit but that you can't do this without their support and assistance. Remind them that your improved financial status means their improved bottom line.

Cancel any unnecessary services or activities. If you won't cancel cable TV entirely, downsize to a less expensive service. Learn to groom the dog yourself. Eat at home more often. Shop thrift stores. Read books. Check out movies from your public library instead of paying rental fees. Teach your kids how to play Monopoly instead of going to a movie, concert, or other expensive entertainment venues each week. You'll all get to know each other better and the kids may learn more about sound money management than you did growing up.

Ask friends and family what they're doing to get the most out of their money. Read financial strategy books. Talk to financial planners or counselors. Use the internet to explore ways you can repair your own credit. Avoid services that expect you to go deeper into debt before their questionable services can get you out.

Make a review of your financial status a monthly ritual. Discuss it with your family. Everyone in the household is affected by the family's financial status so make sure everyone knows what's going on. Don't let money be a secret. It'll make it easier to understand a request denied and it will unite the household in a worthwhile endeavor.

Be patient. It took time to sink so deep into this financial quagmire. It'll take time to claw your way out. In the meantime, make peace with yourself.