Got Bad Credit? 3 Tips for Staying Sane

If you’ve got bad credit, you’re not alone. Almost one-third of Americans have a less-than-ideal credit score. With bad credit, it can feel impossible to get through life as smoothly as other people. That loan? You can’t get it. That apartment? Sorry, they’re not interested in you. With all the doors closed to you, it can feel like bad credit is slowly suffocating your life.

You don’t, however, have to live with it forever. Without further ado, here are our three favorite tips for staying sane while you navigate out of a bad credit score.

Start Reversing Your Credit Score

You’ve likely accumulated a bad credit score for two reasons: debt and late payments. While you’re stuck with your past mistakes for now, you can slowly start to reverse your current situation. Getting out of debt will improve your bad credit. You can start decreasing your debt by budgeting and assessing your financial situation. Once you know how much you have to work with, you can stay under budget every month. Never spend money you don’t have in your bank account, and limit yourself to a certain amount per month for groceries, miscellaneous expenses, etc. If, even after budgeting, you’re still coming up short, you may need to get a roommate, move to a smaller place, or get a new job.

Start Building Positive Credit

While you work on eliminating your debt, you can also start building a new, positive score. Get a new credit card and make sure every payment is on time. If you need to send yourself reminder emails before a bill is due, do it. Set an alarm on your phone. Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. Whatever you need to do, start paying your bills on time. Building up a new history of punctual payments will help build you a new credit score, reversing the old one.

Look for Existing Bad-Credit Options

It’s all very well to work on clearing bad credit–but what about right now? Take heart, you’re not totally lost. People will make allowances for bad credit. Stay clear of scams and traps that will worsen your situation, but take advantage of opportunities to improve your conditions, even with a bad credit score. A used car loan can work to your advantage, even if you have bad credit, and you can pay monthly. By financing a used car, you can re-build or improve your credit, and then refinance the loan structure after your credit has improved. Bad credit options are out there, so don’t lose heart. You can improve your financial situation and still live normally.

Getting out of debt can be a real challenge. Improving your credit score involves not only getting out of debt, but building a new credit score as well. It can feel like an overwhelming job, depending on your level of debt, but remember–it’s possible. You may need to make some hard choices and live a little differently, but the faster you pay off your debt, the sooner you can enjoy a better future.