Being a single parent is never easy. You carry double the amount of responsibilities of a married parent, which means you will want your finances in tip-top shape. One of the biggest issues to tackle is building a great credit score. This can be challenging if your credit has never been good or if you went through a divorce and your former spouse had bad credit. However, there are some tips that can help single parents to build great credit.
Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
Getting a copy of your credit report is an integral first step toward improving your credit. You are entitled to receive your free credit report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the major credit bureaus. Thoroughly examine each document for any errors, suspicious items, old credit accounts, bad debts and more. If you spot any mistakes or anything that appears suspicious, such as fraud or identity theft, immediately report it to the credit bureau to get it resolved.
Pay Balances in Full and Timely
While you should always charge only what you are able to afford, you should also pay your balances in full and on a timely basis. Avoid using your card to make large purchases that you can’t foresee being able to pay off when your bill is due. This can be a trap that leads to debt and can lower your credit score. Also, although it might be tempting to make minimum payments on your card, it only benefits you in the long run to pay your balances in full.
Open a New Line of Credit
When you are trying to improve your credit, you’re looking forward to the future and a better tomorrow. Therefore, it’s a good idea to open a new line of credit. It allows you to start anew and fresh. Be cautious while using your new credit card, however, and be sure to stay within 30 percent of your credit limit when making purchases. Keeping your balances low and your utilization rate under 30 percent will help your credit score to gradually increase.
Be Patient and Let Time Take Over
Finally, it’s important to be patient and let time do its job. After a period of six months to a year, while following these tips, you will notice your credit score improving. Be diligent and your and reputation will become great. Over time, you will also be able to open additional credit accounts, which can help to further improve your credit score. However, be wise and make sure not to go overboard. Only sign up for credit cards you will actually use and limit yourself to a maximum of three cards.
As you improve your credit score to the range of being great, you can focus more on your children and worry less about how you’re going to pay your bills. A great score will give you more peace of mind and help you to become more financially responsible for the long term.