JUL 06, 2011
Sometimes you need to edge over the speed limit to get past that slow-moving vehicle in front of you. And maybe this morning you didn’t have time to make yourself a healthy lunch, so you’ll be eating out of the vending machine.
Whether it’s the rules of the road or guidelines to better health, it’s not always possible to follow all the rules all the time in life. Credit advice can be hard to stick to all the time, too. You may be well aware of what you should do, but unable to put those concepts into action.
Recovering from a bout of rule-breaking is about the same as when you fall off the diet wagon. One misstep doesn’t mean you should completely abandon your long-term goals. Instead, take action to get back on track and try to learn from your financial mistakes:
Keep paying – Missed or late payments can have a major negative impact on your credit. If you’re having trouble paying the entire amount you owe every month, it’s better to contact your creditors and see if you can negotiate a lower payment. Let them know you’ll be sending something, even if it’s a fraction of the amount you actually owe. This at least lets creditors know you’re trying.
Catch up quickly – One missed or late payment can ding your credit, but you can recover from it pretty well if you make sure you reliably pay on time going forward.
Cut back on credit use – If you’re already struggling with credit card debt , don’t make matters worse by running up that debt any more. Stick with a cash basis for everyday needs like food, utilities and gas.
Don’t beat yourself up – No one can be perfect all the time. Feeling badly about your need to break the rules isn’t going to help you at all. Instead, channel your energy into planning how you’ll recover and stay on track the next time you face a credit challenge.