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You thought the last score that would really matter was your ASVAB, but turns out being an adult has more tests and scores than you thought. While some of those scores might be far out of your control, there are some you can have a hand in improving.
One score that you can influence? Your credit. Sure, this magical number with such bearing on things like where you are able to live often feels like it's solely based on conjecture and someone with a dartboard, but it turns out, you do have the power to change your credit score. Here are 5 hacks for raising your credit score.
1. Get your report
The first step in raising your score is knowing it, identifying any problem areas and disputing any discrepancies. Looking at your credit report will show you any late payments or high balances which both can negatively impact your score. If you have late payments, get that money in!
2. Pedal to the metal
One of the factors of your credit score is your credit utilization. So you have a $10,000 line of credit … but if you've got $8,000 in charges on there, your utilization is too high.
Ideally, you want it to be below 30%. If you can, double your payments per month on your unsecured debt to pay it down ahead of schedule. The better your utilization rate, the better your credit score.
3. Boost your bills
It sounds like something that might be used in Space Force, but Experian Boost is a real thing. Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, offers users the opportunity to get credit for making their utility and cell phone bills on time.
Users link their bank account and Experian scans for on-time payments. If payments were late, no harm, no foul (which is not how this usually goes, for the record). Wins all around.
4. Give 'em a ring
Never underestimate the power of a phone call. If you can't make a payment to your credit card company and you're going to dance into that dangerous late zone, pick up the phone.
Ask the company if they can put you on a payment plan or give you a grace period. Making sure that your payments remain on time will keep your credit score climbing.
So you don't have a great credit score or maybe you don't have much in the way of a credit history at all. One easy way to rectify this situation? Piggybacking. Ask a trusted family member or close friend who has excellent credit if they will add you as an authorized user on their credit cards. Sorry kid, authorized users don't get their own black AMEX, it's just a status that allows you to "piggyback" on their good standing. Aside from some risk and the fact that the next 10 rounds are on you, as long as you know the account holder has an outstanding history in paying on time, there's not much of a downside for you. And, there's none for the cardholder. Hop on.
Just like your ASVAB, your credit score has an influence on your future, especially when it's time to buy your first house. Luckily, companies like Veterans United work with service members and veterans to utilize the VA Loan, meaning awesome rates and no money down for purchasing. Whether you use that extra cash to double up on a card payment or buy a beer for your "piggy," we aren't here to judge -- just here to help.
This post was sponsored by Veterans United.
We've all been there. You're at the checkout line on the 14th or 30th of the month, frantically refreshing your online bank account to see if somehow your EFT came a little early like a Christmas miracle, or if you at least have enough to cover your transaction. There's no stress like financial stress.
Give yourself some breathing room by having extra savings at the end of the pay period. Here are 4 easy ways to save a little more each month:
Never underestimate the power of a skillset. Maybe you’re excellent at ironing and the guy down the hall who cuts hair hates laundry. Racking up Venmo charges for babysitters? Find a neighbor with kids and swap. Trade mowing lawns for meals. Save money by exchanging goods and services.
2. Free ride
Life might not be a free ride but your unit might have one. We know it’s not the coolest option to roll downtown on the duty bus, but what is cool is that while your buddies go through their paychecks one Uber ride at a time, you’ll have more in your pocket. Carpooling and the base shuttle are great options.
3. Leverage your base resources
We know just as well as you do that the pork tenderloin in the chow hall on Monday is going to be served five different ways until some sort of stew on Friday. The other thing we know? It's free.
Take advantage of the services offered on base, whether it's coffee at work or dinner. Use the base gym and skip the memberships outside the gate. Take a base tour with your family whenever you PCS to a new duty station to better understand some of the free resources your family can utilize, whether that's tutoring, counseling or that fineeee pork tenderloin.
4. Take advantage of discounts
If you're not getting free concert or show tickets through VetTix or discounted prices through MWR or base, entertainment adds up quickly.
Take advantage of discounts in order to stretch your money. A night out with free tickets and free childcare through a kid-swap sounds much better than lighting the $400 on fire that it would cost you normally.
Taking a look at your spending and seeing where you can save a little more each month will alleviate some of your financial stress. Another huge relief? Being able to buy a house with a VA Loan. With no money down required, your savings account can take a deep breath. Learn more about the VA Loan and Veterans United, the nation's #1 VA lender: Veterans United Home Loans provided more VA Home Loans by total volume than any other lender in 2018. Source: Department of Veterans Affairs Lender Statistics
Military life is stressful enough without worrying about whether or not your next transaction will go through. Use our hacks to help you save.
This post was sponsored by Veterans United.