After bankruptcy, the first thing you should do is work to rebuild your credit. While it may take up to ten years for something to come off your credit report, there are steps you can take long before then to improve your score—and improve the likelihood you’ll be approved for new credit in the future. Getting started is not easy and it does take some time to rebuild your credit, so don’t expect results overnight.
Open a Checking and Savings Account
Open a checking and savings account combination with a local credit union or bank if you do not have one already. While a bank account does not improve your credit score, it does help you pay your bills on time and more efficiently. If you have difficulty opening a checking account because you have recently filed for bankruptcy, speak face-to-face with the bank’s manager and explain your situation. A lot of banks offer second-chance checking accounts for people with poor credit.
Start a Secured Credit Card
A secured credit card is one of the best ways to improve your credit score. You start with an opening deposit similar to a savings account. The amount you deposit is your credit limit. But, as you use the card and make on-time payments, the credit account will be reported to credit bureaus, ultimately showing positive credit history. Eventually you may be able to switch to an unsecured credit card after you have a history of paying your card on time and keeping the balance low.
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Make a Budget…And Stick With It
One of the most common reasons consumers file for bankruptcy is because they get in over their head and most never use a budget. Sit down and establish a budget. If you and a spouse share expenses, then set a budget together. First, assess how much money you have coming in each month. Then, add up your monthly expenses, focusing on priorities, such as gas, food, mortgage or rent, utilities, credit account payments, and so on.
Most importantly, set a realistic budget and stick to it. If you set $300 for groceries every month, do not spend more than $300. By sticking to your budget, you can make sure you have enough money each month to pay your recurring bills.
Set Up Automatic Payments and Avoid Any Late Payments
Late payments are detrimental to your credit score, even if they aren’t always intentional. Set up automatic payments from your checking account so that you never miss a payment. Always make sure you have enough funds in the account to cover those payments and set the deduction date a few days before the bill is actually due.
Stay on Top of Your Credit Report
Each year you can access your free credit report. Stay on top of your credit, review the report, and fix any errors right away. Make sure debts that were resolved in bankruptcy are removed, balances are correct, and keep an eye out for credit activity that you did not authorize.
Get Help with Your Bankruptcy Issues Now
Whether you are just filing for bankruptcy or thinking about it, you need the experience and expertise of a bankruptcy attorney in Florida. The Law Office of Kelley & Fulton has years of experience handling consumer bankruptcy. Contact us today at 561-491-1200 for a free, initial consultation to see how we can help you too.