For the better part of twenty years my credit has been in the toilet. I suppose at one point in time it was pristine and sat on it’s pedestal looking down at the scores that ranged in the “unacceptable” zone. Then I got married and decided to take things into my own name. We were a team right? So if I had the pretty, shiny credit score it was only right that I put things in my name. Over the years, I have had a bad habit of being the one that has had everything in my name: bills, cars even insurance. Then one day when everything goes to shit, so does your credit. I never thought it mattered much and it was something “old” people thought was important.
It was only important when I needed my next car lease or apartment and realized that in my twenties, thirties and even forties I needed my parents to co-sign everything for me. It felt like a slap in the face over and over again as the world of finance and responsibility reminded me that I, in fact, was not yet a grown up. I was not handling my business like a big girl, but continuing to let medical bills and debt ruin my numbers and cause my credit score to hemorrhage. It was only after ending up penniless, jobless and homeless that I made a promise to myself; I would pay more attention to my credit score and I would work my butt off to bring it back to having a pulse.
This wasn’t an easy task. First you have to get your credit score from one of those free sites. I use Credit Karma. Then you have to know what affects your score; inquiries, credit cards, past due or delinquent bills. You need to contact these people even though they are the same people who used to harass you for payment when you were down on your luck and made you feel less than human. It was time to take the bull by the horns and put your big girl pants on and get down to business. You will need to make payment arrangements and settlements to bills that are old. You will need to be on time with all payments going forward even if it kills you or you can’t buy groceries. You will need to stop thinking you can get approved for an American Express as no one is going to give you a line of credit if you can’t pay your bills on time.
Once you begin to do this, you will show that you are, in fact, a responsible adult and that someone should give you a shot at continuing to act like it. You can then and only then apply for a credit card. You will get some ridiculous card with a high APR % and you will even know what the hell APR is! That is how adult you will be! Once you prove for six months that you can pay your measly credit line of $300 every month, they will give you more credit. As you build this, you will begin to establish yourself in the world of functioning adults. Then one day, you will walk yourself into a car dealership. You will talk the talk and walk the walk and you will spit out your credit score like the woman on that commercial going for a loan at the bank. You will ask them NOT to run your credit until they know you will be approved because once they do your score will go down 3 points. They will make fun of you for knowing this and you will remind them that for the last 20 years you have brought your credit score up from 1 in the VERY POOR range to just over 660 in the “FAIR to GOOD” range. You can see 700 on the horizon and you aren’t going to allow them and their shenanigans to bring it down at this point.
They will then eventually run your credit, they will approve you and for the first time in twenty years you will then, finally lease your own car, your own apartment and not have to rely on anyone. You my friend, have arrived. Welcome.