People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of understanding credit and maintaining a good credit score. In fact, credit scores are gaining such widespread acceptance that even potential romantic partners are talking about their credit with you!
Improving credit scores has never been more important, but there is one reason why some people simply do not improve theirs: They have the misguided notion that it will be too difficult and take too long to make the positive changes necessary.
Improving credit is not instantaneous, but it is fairly easy and straightforward and, in some cases, you can see fairly quick results. But the best way to improve your credit is not through sweating over your credit report for hours on end. Rather, setting aside just a few minutes every day (no more than 15 minutes a day, often less) can reap huge rewards.
There's a famous saying that says, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." And what most people forget is that the journey of a thousand miles not only BEGINS with a single step but is entirely made up of single steps -- one at a time, over and over. You might rephrase that famous saying to be: "The journey of a thousand miles is made up of many, many single steps." It's the same with your credit. You can take many small steps to make a big change.
Here are several ways that you can spend only 15 minutes or less on your credit each day and still see improvements on your credit score:
1. On larger projects that require a lot of time, set a timer for 15 minutes and only do that amount of work. Then stop and leave it until tomorrow. For example, this is a smart thing to do when going through your credit report to find errors that you can dispute. The first time you go through your credit report, you might find several errors so it could take some time. But if you do it in 15 minute intervals, it might not seem as stressful.
2. If you have several items that are overdue or with debt collectors, work on just one a day. Don't try to tackle them all at once, just do one a day.
3. When you get a credit card statement in the mail, look through it and make sure you are aware of each purchase. If there is an issue, now is the best time to solve it.
4. Also, when you get your credit card statement, pay it that day (or as soon as possible). The longer you wait, the more you risk spending the money on other things and potentially paying late.
5. After you've reviewed your credit reports regularly, you'll find that you might be able to handle your entire credit report in just one or two 15 minute segments because you'll be so familiar with it and you'll spot issues immediately.
Big changes can happen, but they happen fastest and easiest when they are the result of small actions. Don't become overwhelmed by your credit. Use these tips to turn your thousand-mile journey into a series of simple steps!
California is the worst state for foreclosures, and unemployment and bankruptcy also are severe problems, according to CardRatings.com. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 10.7 percent (Labor Department).
Arizona has the second worst foreclosure rate in the country, and many Arizonans also have low credit scores, according to CardRatings.com. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 8.3 percent (Labor Department).
Many Floridians are stuck in foreclosure, delinquent on their credit card debt, unemployed, bankrupt, or have low credit scores, according to CardRatings.com. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 8.8 percent (Labor Department).
Georgia is one of the worst five states in unemployment, bankruptcy rates, average credit score, and credit card delinquency rates, according to CardRatings.com. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 9.3 percent (Labor Department).
Nevada has the worst unemployment rate, personal bankruptcy rate, and average credit score in the country, according to CardRatings.com. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 12.0 percent (Labor Department).
Iowa has a lower than average unemployment rate, lower than average credit card delinquency rate, and higher than average credit score. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 5.3 percent (Labor Department).
Montana has above-average credit scores, fewer personal bankruptcies, fewer foreclosures, and less delinquent credit card debt than other states, according to CardRatings.com. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 6.4 percent (Labor Department).
South Dakota has better than average employment and credit scores, according to CardRatings.com. It also has fewer personal bankruptcies, fewer credit card delinquencies, and fewer foreclosures. State unemployment rate in June 2012: 4.4 percent (Labor Department).
Vermont was second best in the country in the foreclosure and personal bankruptcy categories and was above average in the other three categories. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 5.0 percent (Labor Department).
North Dakota "may be the best-kept secret in the country," CardRatings.com says. It was the best state in three categories, including unemployment, and fourth best in the other two, according to CardRatings.com. But remember that if you move there, you would have to live in North Dakota. State unemployment rate in July 2012: 3.0 percent (Labor Department).
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