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3 Mental Tricks to Overcome Credit Stress

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It was the moment of truth: Sam sat across from the loan officer at the local bank. The loan officer had just input all of Sam’s answers to a loan application and now she was doing one of the final steps in the process by pulling Sam’s credit scores.

As she clicked enter, Sam broke out into a cold sweat. Had he done enough to ensure the best possible credit score? Could he have done more? Most importantly, would he get the loan he needed? The seconds ticking by seemed like forever to Sam.

There’s nothing quite like an imminent loan application to help us refocus our attention onto our credit. However, that excitement of boosting our credit scores can quickly vanish when we receive our 3 credit reports in the mail and we look at the stack of information that we have to review. The “opportunity” to preview our credit score before a loan now feels like a punishment. If you want to quick look at where you stand (and where you could stand to improve), check out your Credit Report Card.

Although the end result (of better credit) is where we want to be, the journey suddenly seems less enjoyable. Here are 3 mental tricks to help you overcome the stress and improve the result of your credit-boosting journey.

  1. “Raise” your hopes. Remember that better credit doesn’t just mean that you get a loan. It means that you could potentially get a bigger loan at a lower interest rate; and a lower interest rate means that you get to keep more of your hard-earned money instead of spending it on interest payments. If you knew you were getting a pay raise at work, you would be eager to do even the most daunting tasks to get it. So boosting credit scores to potentially lower the amount of interest you pay has the same result.
  2. Keep the end in mind. The purpose of boosting your credit is often for a specific purpose – maybe a mortgage or a car loan. But when you feel like you’re buried under an avalanche of paper, it’s hard to remain inspired. To counter this effect, cut and paste a picture of your desired end-goal and glue it on the cover of the binder or file folder that you keep your credit papers in. And instead of scheduling time to “do credit building work,” schedule time to “work on getting my new car” or “work on getting my new home.” The change in thinking will encourage you to keep at it!
  3. Don’t be a loner. Given the choice between doing credit-building work and watching reruns of Friends on TV, friends wins out! We realize that it’s not a productive use of our time but it doesn’t seem as boring. Transform your credit building time by finding a friend who wants to boost their credit, too. Both of you can schedule time to get together once per day or once per week to each work on your credit. The extra person makes it harder to procrastinate and provides greater encouragement and accountability.

We all know that rebuilding credit is good but when it comes time to roll up our sleeves and do the work, that’s another story. That’s why it helps to have a plan and a new perspective to help you accomplish your credit goals.

Image: RLHyde, via Flickr

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