Your credit is one of the most important things in your life. Just like you might use your blood pressure or body weight as an indicator of your physical health, your credit (including your credit report and credit score) is an indicator of your financial health.
But there’s a problem: People often don’t like talking or thinking about their finances. Sure, we all like spending money, but there can be a lot of mental anguish associated with activities like balancing your household budget or checking your credit scores. So, when people come to me and ask me how they can “fix” their credit scores, they might be wishing for an instant, magic, quick-fix pill. In reality, there are only patient, persistent steps to take to repair credit.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean credit can’t be fun. While some people might think that pulling and reviewing your credit reports is boring, it can be turned into a great time. Here are some suggestions to make credit repair a fun activity.
1. Pick a Credit Score Repair Day
Although there is a benefit to working bit-by-bit on your credit every day, it can also be fun to set aside a special Credit Score Repair Day for deeper dives. Wear comfy clothes, put on your favorite music, and have a one-person “credit party” where you review your reports line by line for errors or improvement opportunities.
2. Make This Day a Family Event
Mark it on the calendar and have everyone in your family who is old enough to have credit pull their reports and view their scores at the same time. (You can get your reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view your scores for free each month on Credit.com.) On your family’s Credit Score Repair Day, order pizza and beverages, sit at the kitchen table and conduct your credit checks together.
At the end of the day, reward yourselves with a family fun time — perhaps a game or a favorite family movie. When you check your credit to see how any changes you made have impacted your scores, you can award a prize to the person with the largest gain.
3. Give Yourself a Prize for Every Error You Find
Pick up your favorite candy (or some other small treat) from the store and put it in a bowl. Then scour your credit reports for errors. (They’re more common than you think — you can go here to find out why errors appear on credit reports.) Every time you find one, give yourself a candy. Then follow up by disputing these errors with the credit bureau in question.
4. Get Your Kids Involved
Your children might enjoy sitting down with you (doing “grown-up stuff!”) and reviewing some basic information. For example, you might have them check your report for the correct spelling of your name, accurate addresses or some other simple task. You’ll want to review their work, of course, but a second set of eyes is always helpful — plus you’ll be teaching your kids valuable credit score lessons.
5. Reward Yourself
After you’ve worked on your credit reports, submitted any corrections to the credit reporting agencies, or successfully improved your scores, give yourself a little reward for a job well done. (Just make sure this reward doesn’t break your budget!) And, remember, you can generally build and maintain good credit scores by making all of your payments on time, keeping credit card balances low and adding new lines organically over time.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- What’s a Good Credit Score?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report