Be Your Own Baller: Fix Your Credit Score This Income Tax Season In 5 Easy Steps

It's a new year, income tax season is approaching, what better time to fix your credit? New Years all are all about starting fresh and now you have money available to fix any financial mistakes you might've made in your past. I know that it's hard not to go out and buy that Louis Vuitton purse you've had your eye on, or book that flight to New Orleans for All Star Weekend, but why not spend your income tax money on something that will last and truly benefit you? If you're young and you don't know, credit is VERY IMPORTANT and it will haunt you if you let it go bad. Be responsible and be smart! Below is 5 ways on how to fix your credit score THIS YEAR! 

1) The first thing you need to do is request your credit report. If you didn't know, each year the government grants you one free credit report check (by logging onto annualcreditreport.com) print out or write down ALL of the information available. 

2) On your credit report you will have a list of all of your negative accounts. These are companies, persons, or organizations that have sent your account to collections because of failure to pay or late payment. Make sure that all of the negative accounts listed actually belong to you. There may be a chance that you were a victim of identity fraud or there is an error in the amount owed and you need to settle this immediately. Either call the company directly using the number listed or file a dispute. 

3) Call each negative account and set up payment arrangements. Sometimes just setting up payment arrangements will remove the account from being negative (of course if you do not go through with the arrangement it will go back negative) Also, a lot of companies will agree to allow you to pay half or 75% of the amount owed to settle your debt. 

4) Student loans will never go away. It doesn't matter if it's been 10 years, if you filed for bankruptcy, there is no way to get out of owing the government. Sometimes they will even take your income taxes, garnish your wages, and prevent you from getting certain jobs. The first thing you need to do is stop dodging them. Call them up and set up a payment arrangement. If you are unable to pay them anything, ask for a deferment because of financial hardship if you TRULY don't have it. Building your credit back up means becoming financially responsible and budgeting your money. If you set up an arrangement or they agree to defer your loan your account will be removed from negative but the deferment will not last forever, you HAVE to pay these folks!

4) Apply for a secured credit card. A credit card is one of the best ways to boost your credit score, or build credit if you do not have any. The difference between a secured credit card and the traditional unsecured credit card is that your spending limit on a secured credit card is your deposit amount. For example, if you deposit $1,000 onto your secured credit card your spending limit is $1,000 (this is why applying for one during income tax season is a great idea) But, be smart, a $250 or $500 spending limit may be all you need. Remember this is about building your credit not splurging with a credit card and damaging it even more. And the best thing about a secured credit card is EVERYONE is eligible for one. 

5) Stay on top of your bills. We all have wants (shoes, clothes, car, weave, makeup, trips, etc) but you don't want to get so behind and so in debt that you feel like you will never surface. Material things, extracurricular activities can wait. Your credit is SO important, and I learned this the hard way. Getting a car, a home, I was even denied a job because of bad credit! It won't be easy, and it won't be instant, but if you stay dedicated and responsible your credit score can and WILL change. Also make sure to monitor your credit report so you won't become a victim of identity theft!

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Comment by SoLuscious on January 16, 2014 at 11:23am

Great post! Totally agree about the student loans. im glad that was mentioned. a quick note about 2 things

1) payment arrangements. if your credit is already a hot ass mess and creditors are calling you to make arrangements...be firm in what you want that arrangement to be.  They try to strong arm people into arrangements. don't let them intimidate you. They get paid for every account they collect so they want to collect the most. let them know the arrangement you want. if they say no. tell them, you know your credit is already a mess, so you have nothing to lose. then hang up. in a few weeks, they'll call and want to make a much better arrangement.

2)the secured card. let me just say that by NO MEANS do I like capital one, but I think they have one of the best secured cards. Only bc, you have to put down an initial deposit of $29 or $49, depending on your credit standing, and they will grant you a secured card with a low limit, like $100, $200, or $300. on top of that, at any time, you can add more and increase your own credit limit...which I strongly suggest. also, using more than 30% of your credit limit is detrimental to your score. I try to stay in the 20% range, just to be safe.

Comment by Tracy McShady on January 16, 2014 at 12:39pm
I'm all for being educated on a topic, but most of these were already mentioned... http://www.balleralert.com/profiles/blogs/be-your-own-baller-buildi...
Comment by Denise Love on January 16, 2014 at 9:53pm

These are great reminders.

Ladies your financial future is sooo important. Having a credit card is important. Especially, if you rent cars and even book certain hotels. Secured credit cards are the way to go when starting out or rebuilding!

Comment by Denise Love on January 16, 2014 at 9:54pm

I love this blog by the way!

Comment by Beautiful Brownie on January 18, 2014 at 9:14am

I've been working on my credit  for the last 2 years.  Trying to make the 800 club.

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