How to Prioritize Which Bills to Pay When You’re Struggling

How to Prioritize Which Bills to Pay

Here is the next installment in our the Reader’s Questions Series which highlight questions emailed to me by you, the readers of Money Q&A. Be sure to find out at the end of this article how you can receive a free copy of Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover if your money question is chosen to be featured on an upcoming week’s blog post. If you’re not familiar with Dave Ramsey’s book, you should run right out and get it. It is one of my the best personal finance books that everyone should read. Now….our reader’s question. If you are in financial trouble and tight on funds, how do you prioritize which bills to pay and which to leave until next month? There eventually may come a … Read more

Why You Should Regularly Check Your Credit Report

Why You Should Regularly Check Your Credit Report

Check your credit report often!You need to check your credit report often. If you think you only need to think about your credit report when seeking a loan, think again.

Your credit report is a valuable tool in identifying reporting errors and is even an early warning for identity theft. Being proactive in monitoring your credit score can help you resolve previous credit problems faster and help you avoid future credit problems altogether.

When and How to Check Your Credit Report

It’s recommended that you check your credit score at least once a year. There are three major consumer reporting companies that can provide your credit score: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

You can contact any of them to sign up for a detailed credit score subscription. However, you’ll have to pay for such services, whereas the U.S. government provides free access to your credit report through each of the three consumer reporting companies once each year via

To make the most of this free service, you can check your Equifax credit report early in the year, your Experian credit report in the middle of the year and your TransUnion report later in the year, for example.90% of top lenders use FICO® ScoresWhat’s your FICO® Score? Find out now for $1 with enrollment in Experian Credit TrackerSM!Check your credit report often!

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Why You Should Regularly Check Your Credit Report

You need to look for errors in your reports.

Your credit report affects how much money your bank is willing to loan you (if any at all) and on what terms. If there is a reporting error from any of the three reporting companies, it’s important to take care of it immediately, before you try to apply for a loan. Aside from banks, potential employers also could request a copy of your credit report.

By regularly checking your report, you can spot discrepancies as soon as they arise and avoid a major headache when applying for a loan or a job. Check to make sure your name and basic information is up to date and spelled correctly and that all of the credit cards or loans that are listed are actually yours.

Your credit report can alert you to identity theft.

When looking for errors in your report, you might see that someone else’s social security number is listed, or that it includes loans that you never applied for. These mistakes could have been made by the consumer reporting company or by your creditors, or they could point to a much larger problem: identity theft.

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A Quick Experian Credit Score Workout

Your credit score isn’t going to increase on its own. Well, it might, but only for a little while before jumping back down again. This is how the unobserved credit score works. Without specific action taken to keep your Experian credit score on the up and up, it’s never going to get much altitude at all. People tend to get discouraged with their credit scores. After all, they think, I’m careful with my money. I guess there’s nothing else I can do. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do to boost your credit score. Credit scores are subtle things, and until you start to understand the consumer behaviors that cause them to rise and fall, you’ll never be able … Read more

Hidden Problems Renters Face with Their Credit Score

Your Credit Score May Be Costing You Thousands of Dollars

Many young people don’t realize their credit score has a big impact on their ability to rent a home or apartment. Most landlords pull renters credit and credit reports before agreeing to sign a lease, and a less than desirable FICO score can severely limit your chances of getting into a decent apartment at all, let alone at a reasonable price. 90% of top lenders use FICO® Scores. Insurance companies, too, often charge higher insurance premiums to applicants with poor credit scores. But do you have to let your negative credit score affect you in this way? Can you rebuild your credit history solely as a renter? Can paying your rent on time help you to rebuild your credit? These are … Read more

Does Bad Credit Affect Car Insurance Premiums?

Does Bad Credit Affect Car Insurance Premiums?

For years car insurance companies have used your credit history in order to help them determine the likelihood that you will file a claim on your car insurance. According to studies like the one conducted by the industry group, the Insurance Information Institute, drivers with low credit scores tend to file 40% more insurance claims with their car insurance companies. It is estimated that those with poor credit scores can find themselves paying anywhere between 20% and 50% more for insurance than someone with better credit. How Much Does Bad Credit Affect Car Insurance? No one knows for sure how bad credit affects car insurance premiums for individuals. That is because car insurance companies keep it a secret. While most experts … Read more