Ahhh....the New Year, a great time to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start! What would you like to change this year? For many of us, following the holidays the first change we'd like to make is the number on the scale. Along with your physical fitness and health, consider improving your credit health too. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
1. Drop the bad number - We all have numbers we'd like to see go down, like weight, dress size or waist measurement. For your credit fitness this year, I suggest bringing down just one number, the amount of outstanding credit card debt as a percentage of your total available credit. Keeping your revolving balances at or below 20 percent of your credit card limit can not only help you keep credit card debt in check, but also raise your credit score.
2. Raise the good number - Want to get stronger and more fit this year? Start with what you can do whether it's walking for ten minutes or doing ten push-ups. Then little by little add on. It's the same with your credit health, make little changes to raise your credit score -- like reviewing your credit report, reducing credit balances, and paying off bad debts -- and by the end of the year you're likely to see a positive difference.
3. Make good choices - Once you have committed to improving your fitness you also have to make positive choices, like eating better. The same is true when improving your credit health; you need to be able to say no to the temptations, like frequent offers for new credit cards everywhere you go from the department store to the furniture store. Having frequent inquiries on your credit can bring down your credit score.
4. Ask for help and build a support system - Success for your fitness plan as well as your credit fitness is largely based on accountability. Create a plan and share it with an accountability partner, whether it's between you and your spouse or trusted friends. Bring them in to help you stay on track and you're much more likely to reach your goals.
5. Set realistic goals - We've all done it, set a goal to run a marathon or drop 10 sizes and inevitably lose motivation because we set our bar too high. Be realistic when setting your fitness and credit fitness goals for the year. Remember that you don't have to achieve all of your goals at once, focus on one at a time and remember small changes done consistently add up to big changes over a the course of a year.
So, get out there and make 2015 your best year yet! And remember to follow my blog, I'll be offering more encouragement and credit fitness tips throughout the year.
Cheers to a Happy New Year!