If you´re in the process of repairing your credit, you don´t want holiday spending to get you off track. Credit repair can imply improving bad credit, but it can also involve disputing errors on your credit report. Either way, keep in mind that the holidays are about so much more than spending money on things you maybe can´t afford! Here are some tips to get a handle on your gift spending this year:
1.- Cut back on your gift-giving list
This might sound mean, but it´s way more important to keep your credit on it´s way to being in good standing than to overspend during the holidays. Don´t be scared or embarrassed to say that this year you´re on a tight budget. This is better than having to ask your family to borrow money later on because you can´t cover the credit card bills.
2.- Give the gift of your time and attention
When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me money when I was sick, or for the holidays. It was his way of expressing love. However, I don´t remember how much he gave me. What I cherish are the memories of the time he spent with me helping me with my homework, or working on a painting together. Give IOU´s for massages, a home-cooked meal, game-night, a walk at sunset, and keep your word!
3.- Make, don´t buy, gifts
If you have a special talent like knitting, sewing, painting, then make your own gifts. They don´t have to be expensive. My teenage niece is great about this. One holiday she gave us all mason jars filled with a loofah sponge, soap and a face towel. Ok, she did have to spend some money but not a whole lot and she thoughtfully personalized each gift. This is a great way of showing others you care about them enough to spend time creating something special.
4.- Regift thoughtfully
How many times have you been given something you don´t use? How often have you bought an item that ended up forgotten in the back of a drawer? As long as you regift thoughtfully, it´s all good. What I mean is, don´t regift to the person who gave YOU something and also, make sure that what you´re giving is meaningful for the recipient. Once I was given a camera that I was simply not going to use. However, I knew that a family member was pining for that exact model. It ended up being her favorite Christmas present and I didn’t spend a dime.
During the holidays and year-round really, you want to make sure that you have a handle on your credit. I had to go through the process of repairing my credit after my divorce eight years ago, so I will share with you some of the actions that helped me start and then stay on track. It´s not easy, but it´s possible!
1.- Be informed
The first thing is to know where you stand, which means checking your credit score at least once a year. You can get your free credit report at Credit.com.
2.- Dispute errors
If you find any errors in your credit report, then you should dispute them. They will not go away on their own. You can do this yourself, by writing a formal snail mail letter to the credit bureau or bureaus where you find the error.
3.- Hire a professional
If you´re struggling with your credit, you can also hire professionals like Lexington Law, to help you repair your credit history, monitor your credit profile and, finally, build your financial future.