THE BLOG
12/23/2016 02:03 pm ET Updated Dec 24, 2017

Give YOURSELF A Gift This Year

'Tis the season for festivities and gift giving! You probably have a big list of people who you're planning on giving gifts to this year - family, extended family, friends, coworkers. In all of the festive gift-giving, it's easy to ignore one important person who should receive a gift from you this year... YOU!

That's right, you should give yourself a gift this year. But what should you give? Something from your "I-need-it-anyway" list? Something from your "always-wanted" list? What about something from your "guilty-indulgence" list?

Here's a gift suggestion that could actually be even better... because it can allow you to get things from all three of those lists! In fact, you might be surprised by all the ways that this gift can help you.

The gift you should give yourself this year is: the gift of good credit.

Credit is your ability to access money when you need it; it's one measure of your financial reputation - an indicator of how consistently you pay back money you borrow. And, although you may not have thought of it for yourself as a gift this year, just think what it could do:

Unhealthy credit will limit how much money you can access at once, or even prevent you from accessing any. And if you can access some, it will cost you more to get.

On the other hand, healthy credit increases how much money you can access at once and lowers the cost to borrow.

Therefore, if you give yourself the gift of healthy credit this holiday season, you're really giving yourself the gift that keeps on giving all year 'round...

Need to buy a house? A car? Borrow money for a renovation? Use your credit cards for a vacation? Whether it's a need-it-anyway or even a guilty-indulgence, healthy credit can make it happen... and make it happen at a lower cost!

That's why credit is such a great gift to give yourself - because rather than getting one gift for yourself this year, healthy credit allows you to get yourself many gifts next year and for years to come... more easily and affordably.

Not sure where to start? How about ordering your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. What a great start to helping take control of your credit!

Then, take the time to go through each credit report thoroughly and carefully - looking for mistakes, out-of-date information, and opportunities where you can clean up your credit. Dispute the incorrect information, update the out-of-date information, and create a plan to clean up your outstanding debts to get healthier credit.

Now, you might not think of credit as a gift to yourself right now but later next year, when you use your healthy credit to get a new loan or to renegotiate your interest rate on an existing loan, then you'll realize the full benefit of your gift to yourself.