Like it or not, bad credit sometimes happens to good people. You lose your job. Or become ill only to find that your medical coverage isn’t enough! Or for some it’s the financial devastation brought about by a marital separation.
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Then the bills pile up. Late bills mean additional fees and added interest. You fall behind.You become overwhelmed. Then before you know it, you’re just a paycheck away from poverty. It happens to the best of us.
In fact, in today’s tough economy, even actors, athletes and musical icons are feeling the squeeze. Legends like Barry Manilow, 50 Cents, and Fantasia Barrino have made headlines with bankruptcy and foreclosure calamities.
But the good news is that there is life after bad credit. And though your FICO (credit) score has some bearing on your quality of life, thank God that it won’t keep you out of the pearly gates, or out of happiness reach.
Here are a few tips to help you recover, get back on track, and get back into the groove of life!
1. Master the art of delayed gratification
Truth be told, many of us got into dire straits because we convinced ourselves we had to “have it now.” Now that big screen T.V. that you’re “conveniently” paying minimum payments on will probably die out long before the final payment is made! Bad call. Not to mention, any “sales prices” that you are able to get good deals through are voided when you purchase with plastic and tack on all the finance charges and interest. Instead save up for your heart’s desires; you won’t die. And you’ll feel that much more satisfied when you take it home and it’s completely yours!
2. Go on a financial diet
That’s right.Take stock of what you have and what you can do without. Trim the fat. Perhaps you need to get a cheaper cable provider, or a less expensive gym membership package, or carry your lunch a few days of the week instead of eating out five days a week.
3. Recognize that “richness” is more about perception than possessions
All the material things in the world won’t make up for spiritual poverty, a lack of awareness of one’s blessings, or low self-esteem.
4. Learn to have fun “on the cheap”
You can throw lavish parties courtesy of the Dollar Stores, you can watch weekly movies for free via your local library, and a romantic picnic in the park with a date never loses its appeal.
5. Discover the gift of thrift
Gone are the days when shopping at thrift stores branded you as fashion-challenged, cheap, or prone to a life of polyesther. It’s not your granny’s store anymore! You can score fabulous designer fashions, valuable antiques, and artwork for your collection, for prices that are unbeatable! Word to the wise—selections vary depending upon the neighborhood. Choose wisely and wear comfortable shoes.
6. Barter, baby!
Cash challenged? The age-old practice of exchanging goods and services is resurfacing with a vengeance! This year alone, I’ve saved bundles by exchanging my creative writing and blog design services for painting, landscaping and computer repair services. And you can too. According to Barter Bucks, an organization that facilitates barter trade, even the major players in business indulge—over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies engage in barter.
7. Purchase a pre-paid debit card
Living entirely without plastic is unrealistic and a bit unwise. Besides the convenience they provide, we also need them for identification purposes, to rent cars, and to pay bills on line. Pre-paid debit cards allow for many of these functions without the added worry of late fees and finance charges. And since you can only purchase according to the funds that are available on your account, you never have to worry about getting in over your head.
Follow these seven savvy tips and discover a greater quality of life with less debt and less stress. Here’s to the good life!