The best way to use your money more efficiently and improve your credit score is to follow these financial habits of successful people. Here are five habits that can boost your credit score:
They check their credit score and credit report.
To improve your credit score, you first need to know what it is. Your score will fall between 300 and 850. The higher it is, the more likely you'll qualify for perks like competitive loan rates and credit cards.
Additionally, you'll want to review your credit report at least once a year. Your credit report will show you credit and loan providers you work with, the amount you owe and your payment history.
They have a system in place to pay bills on time.
Arguably, the most important factor in your credit score is your payment history, which accounts for 35 percent of your FICO score. If you're constantly forgetting to pay bills on time, develop a system to help you stay on top of payment due dates. Set up automatic bill pay, vow to pay each bill as soon as they hit your mailbox or designate specific times of the month that you sit down and handle your finances.
They maintain a budget and track expenses.
If you're monitoring your budget and spending, you're less likely to miss a payment or find yourself short when a bill comes in. Turn to personal finance software like Mint and LearnVest. These tools put all your financial accounts in one place so you can more easily track your money. You can also find free financial spreadsheets online or keep a notepad handy to write down purchases.
They minimize use of available credit.
If you have a credit card with a high limit on it, don't rack up purchases on it just yet. Although you should have active credit accounts in your credit report, don't get caught with high balances. Credit bureaus look at what's called your credit utilization ratio — a ratio of 30 percent or less tells credit bureaus you're spending within your means.
They think twice before applying for new credit.
You might consider signing up for a new store credit card to take advantage of a discount or special offer. But, if you open multiple credit accounts in a short period of time, your score can take a hit. That's because credit bureaus are wary of consumers who suddenly have too much new credit in their name.