After the holidays and long winter, it’s not just your house that needs a deep clean. Your credit reports, balances or savings might be looking a little dirty, too. While you’re making a checklist of things to throw out, clean or redo, we recommend adding a few credit items to the list. In the name of the season, we’ve got 5 spring cleaning tips for your credit!
1. Check your credit reports for any errors
It’s extremely important to make sure there aren’t any errors on your credit report. An error is usually the result of a clerical typo made when processing an application, but it could also signify identity theft. Order all three of your credit reports and make sure you don’t see anything suspicious. Learn how to dispute an error on your credit reports, and keep reading for a discount on all three credit reports and your FICO® Score.
2. Outline your debt and come up with a plan
Take a pragmatic approach to your debt. Open a spreadsheet and outline all of your credit accounts including limits, interest rates and balances. It’s also smart to calculate your total debt amount, as this is factored into your FICO Score and it’s something lenders may look at in relation to your income. Then, come up with a payoff plan. Many experts recommend paying off the balance with the highest interest first. This calculator can help you get started
3. Pretend you’re a lender
If you were going to lend someone thousands of dollars, what items would you be looking for? A good FICO Score? Responsible payment history? Low overall debt? This blog post can help you start imagining.
4. Evaluate your savings
First, read this blog post about why a savings account is important to your FICO Score. Then, evaluate what you have. Ideally, you’d at least have an emergency account, a retirement account and another account for other financial goals like a home or a vacation. If you’re savings falls short, set up direct deposit. Even saving a small amount every month can make a huge difference.
5. Calculate your plan of attack
Everyone’s credit picture is different, but almost everyone has some sort of financial goal. Most financial goals aren’t something you can accomplish overnight. They take months, or sometimes years of smart financial habits. We offer a plethora of calculators—everything from mortgage payments to banking—to help you reach your goals. Check them out, crunch the numbers and start working towards your goal.
Kelsey Havens is a financial health enthusiast, consumer protection advocate and Content Manager at myFICO.