Paying your bills a few weeks late and maxing out your credit cards may not seem like a big deal to you now, but when you decide to get serious about your financial situation, you'll realize you've made quite a mess for yourself.
It can be easy to push thoughts of repercussion for your financial faux pas out of your mind, but when you start applying for personal loans, mortgages, apartments- and possibly even jobs- you might be surprised at the answer.
If you're hearing 'no' left and right, you need to take a look at your credit report to find out just how much damage has been done. Your credit score often dictates whether or not a lender will approve you and if your credit score is very low, you probably won't be approved at all.
Most credit bureaus use a credit scoring system that ranks from 300 (the worst) to 850 (a perfect score). People with a score under 600 can expect to be charged very high interest rates if they are approved for a loan. A credit score well over 620 should be aimed for, and anything over 700 looks great to lenders.
If your credit score is very low- under 500- you probably aren't going to be approved for any loans. You will most likely be asked to supply a co-signer if you want to get the loan badly enough because your credit isn't good enough to get it on your own.
You can reestablish good score by paying your bills on time each month, but it will take some time. Six months of steady payments will start to increase your credit score, so keep making your due dates each month and you'll see it slowly start to rise.
Another way you can bump up your credit score is by paying off your credit cards. If you've only been paying the minimum and your cards are maxed out, this might be another reason your credit score is low. If you don't want to look like a financial risk to lenders, don't charge more than you can afford per month.
A high balance and no available credit gives the impression that you are financially unstable and lenders won't extend credit to you as a result. If you want to change how you're viewed by lenders, devise a strict monthly budget and stick to it. Set aside enough money to pay all of your bills per month and write down the due dates for each on a calendar if it will help you remember. Anything you do to help yourself get organized and financially responsible will go a long way to restoring your credit score.