Home > Credit Score > Why Your Credit Score HATES This Time of Year

Comments 3 Comments

For many of us, fall is a favorite time of year: The kids are in school, the leaves are falling from the trees, the festive season is just around the corner, and comforting smells like pumpkin and cloves and turkey fill the house.

You and I might revel in the crisp autumn weather, but your credit score hates this time of year.

The reason? Starting in October and continuing through the next 90 days, many households dramatically increase their spending: Halloween requires candy and decorations and costumes (and, probably more candy if you ate the first batch); Thanksgiving requires turkey and all the fixings (and maybe more candy); Black Friday is a spend-happy time to get great deals on gifts (and on the things you’ve been wanting to buy all year); Christmas requires gifts, stockings and more.

Those are just the “regular” days that most people celebrate. If your family has a birthday or celebrates other social or religious holidays during this time, it increases spending even more. Your expenses might also rise this time of year as you run your furnace, put winter tires on the car, and book a vacation to a warmer climate. October through December is 90 days of fun, festivity, candy and turkey – it’s also 90 days of spending.

If you’re not paying cash for everything, credit cards are the easiest way to spend during this season.

There’s also another reason that your credit score hates this season: Everyone is so busy with special events and pageants and banquets and holiday parties that we tend to put a lot of our good habits on hold — including the good habit of focusing on maintaining and boosting our credit scores.

By the time January rolls around, we realize that we need to tack “Rebuild credit” onto our New Year Resolutions — somewhere between “Lose the holiday weight” and “Eat less candy.”

Fortunately, your credit doesn’t have to suffer this season. Along with adopting careful spending habits, make sure you follow these simple tips to ensure that your credit has a festive season too:

  • Carefully use your credit cards to keep those accounts active but never put more onto your card than you can afford to pay off.
  • Schedule time to work on your credit score and stick to your schedule! (Why not achieve two goals at once? For every candy you steal from the Halloween bowl by the door, you need to spend an extra 5 minutes working on your credit score).
  • Remember that even small credit decisions you make now now can have big repercussions in the new year.

This is a time of year that many people look forward to, but it’s too easy to put the responsibility of working on our credit until later. Resist the temptation of ignoring your credit for the rest of 2012, and you’ll give yourself a gift that will reward you all year long next year!

Image: joe goldberg, via Flickr

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Pingback: Why Your Credit Score HATES This Time of Year | Wordpress Real Estate 7()

  • brian

    Look there is loop holes in how to get credit reports and score. If you go to your banks website they may have an id theft service that you can try out for 30 day trial. billing will occur on the 30 day so make sure you cancel before the deadline. Please be considerate to the agent you speak with on the phone when you cancel. The agent is just like you trying to make a dollar and has to try to rebuttal to save you or the will get fired and the cancellation goes against that persons numbers. The agent main focus is to help you but are required and pressured to save customers. when you call to cancel say you are permanently moving out of the country to India or ask for a supervisor at the beginning of the call before you let them know you are canceling, every company has exceptions on agent call rate if you say the right thing. Please be kind to agents and only screw the company.

    • chris

      What does that have to do with this article? And I don’t think they get fired for not preventing you from canceling your trial. What is the point of your comment?

  • Pingback: Why Your Credit Score HATES This Time of Year()

  • Pingback: 4 common misconceptions about credit |()

  • Pingback: 4 common misconceptions about credit | CreditRanker.com()

  • Dennis

    Chris—-I think that brian is trying to give you (and me and everyone else) an easy way to check our credit. Why not use the info. instead of asking questions that are not very productive—BTW , good thing they don’t base credit on being socially acceptable; isn’t it ?

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team