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Can I Get a Debt Consolidation Loan?

Do You Have to Have Good Credit to Get a Debt Consolidation Loan?

If you're struggling to pay off your debts and can't find a good way to increase your income, you may be thinking about finding relief by other means. As you probably know, there's an entire industry that's devoted to helping folks pay down their consumer debts in a timely fashion. A significant amount of the activity that occurs in this industry involves a practice known as debt consolidation lending.

Debt consolidation loans are large loans that may carry relatively low interest rates. They are ideal for borrowers who carry large amounts of credit card debt. Debt consolidation loans enable these borrowers to pay off their high-interest debts and may dramatically simplify their debt payments.debt consolidation loan application form.

True to the "consolidation" in their name, debt consolidation loans are designed to reduce the number of monthly debt payments that a struggling borrower must make. Instead of 12 outstanding credit card bills, a credit card consolidation borrower only has to worry about making a single larger payment to his or her lender.

If you're behind on your credit card payments, you may be wondering whether you have to have good credit to obtain a consolidation loan. Unless you've been very lucky, your credit score is probably not as solid as you would like it to be. You might have a justified worry that you'll be unable to secure approval for your loan.

It would be ironic if you were unable to secure a credit consolidation loan as a result of your poor credit profile. After all, consolidation loans are designed to help borrowers who struggle with large amounts of credit card debt. Most such borrowers have less-than-ideal credit scores. Debt consolidation lenders that adhered to strict credit-score standards when screening borrowers would be cutting out a significant portion of their "target" clientele.

For this reason, it's possible to get a debt consolidation loan with bad credit. Many debt consolidation lenders are willing to issue loans to distressed borrowers. Unfortunately, such loans typically come with some problematic drawbacks.

High interest rates are one of these drawbacks. Whereas "prime" borrowers may be able to secure low-interest consolidation loans, borrowers who have poor or mediocre credit may have to pay through the nose for their loans.

Even in this low-rate environment, it's not uncommon for lenders to charge annual interest rates of 15, 20 or even 25 percent on their sub-prime loans. This might substantially raise your borrowing costs and negate any of your loan's potential savings. If you can't save at least 5 percent on your outstanding debts with a consolidation loan, this course of action may not be worth the hassle.

The potential need to collateralize these loans is another serious drawback. Although each lender's policy is slightly different, many may require you to put up some collateral as a condition of your loan. This could take the form of a car, house or other valuable asset. If you become unable to make the payments on your loan, this asset could be subject to seizure.

The prospect of doing further credit-score damage is a final weakness. Since these credit facilities are so large, the monthly payments on credit card consolidation loans can be massive. If you fall behind on your loan or become unable to make your payments at all, you run the risk of a credit-damaging default.

Once you default on your loan, your credit score will drop precipitously. In turn, this will make it difficult for you to take out another loan. Even if you can find a lender that's willing to approve your application, your new loan would probably carry a far higher interest rate than your original credit facility.

Before you take out a debt consolidation loan, you'll want to consider all of the credit relief options available to you. Although you may be able to secure a loan with a poor credit score, there are certain risks associated with this course of action. In the end, you're the only person who's capable of determining how best to tackle your unsecured debt burden.

by Lacie Kehm

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Having A Side Gig Benefits Your Whole Life

Having A Side Gig Benefits Your Whole LifeYou might have heard someone taking on a side gig to complement their take-home pay. It is becoming a new normal especially coming from the recent Great Recession. A lot of people are now trying to look for ways to increase their income. It helps them budget better, pay for their expenses, and more importantly, prepare for unforeseen incidents.

This is because a lot of people were caught off-guard when the 2018 Great Recession hit the country. There were about 8 million jobs lost and about 1.2 million homes lost during the Recession. Many people are still trying to get back up on their feet fixing their finances. Some are already thinking ahead and strengthening their emergency fund.

In both these situations, having a side gig will be a big help in helping your finances get to a point where you will feel comfortable, or at least safe. Safe in the sense that when another unforeseen incident arises, your finances will be able to handle it. You will have that buffer you need to get it through and weather the storm.

It might surprise you to know that the gig economy consists of about 34% of the total workforce according to reports from CNN. According to the same report, it is expected to go as high as 43% in 2020. With these numbers, it is safe to say that a lot of people are gravitating towards taking on a side job. Here are a few of the actual benefits it brings you.

A side gig provides you additional income

This is one of the most obvious reasons why people want to take on extra side jobs. As mentioned earlier in the article, it helps increase their take-home pay and gives people the chance to create an elbow room in their finances. It is quite hard to try and live from paycheck to paycheck because one wrong move and you are back in debt.

If you are in debt, having an extra source of income is a welcome development. This is because the extra money you get can help you pay for your financial obligations. If you have been forced to pay just the minimum on your card, you can now pay more than that or even pay it in full. You can finally get your car fixed or even get up to date on your house payments.

If your finances are on track, the extra money you get can help you move forward faster with your goals in life. For one, you can strengthen your emergency fund to tackle unexpected situations in life. You can also put more into your retirement account. The extra money can even help you max out your 401(k) contributions and take full advantage of an employer matching program.

It allows you to pursue your passion

A side gig can also help give you the chance to pursue things that you love to do. This would be challenging or even close to impossible if you are on a shoestring budget. Rather than pursue something else, you would simply put all your efforts into meeting your payments. You would not have the time or the resources to do anything else.

If you are able to find a gig that involves your passion or hobby, then good for you. Not only will you be able to earn extra money, you get to do something you love as well. That is a win in most people’s book because that does not happen always. There are people who feel they are trapped in their line of work and stay there because of the bills they have to pay.

For some, they are not as lucky to find a sideline job that they want. Maybe it was there for convenience’s sake like dog walking or tutoring the neighbor’s kids. This is still a good way to earn money. It can even give you the ability to take on your hobbies with the little extra you make.

Retirees find purpose

Retirement is a completely different experience and people usually forget to plan for activities once they retire. Most people’s idea of retirement is not reporting for work and staying in watching tv all day. Though it really depends on you on what you wish your retirement to be, a lot of retirees feel differently especially when it comes to working.

A Gallup survey revealed that about 63% of retirees plan to work part-time after retirement. This simply means that a lot of retired people would be looking for a side gig for a number of reasons. Some would obviously do it for the money. Any source of income after retirement could be a big deal. They can use it to buy medicines, eat out, or even set it aside for the rainy day.

Then there are those who would do it to find an alternative way of spending their time. They can devote their time to pursuing a passion no matter how much they make out of it. The already have what they need to live out their retirement anyway. The money is a plus but they do it simply because they love what they are doing.

It keeps you occupied

There are times that you need a side gig to keep you preoccupied. It is possible that you may have a lot of time on your hands due to different situation in life. For one, retirees have a lot of time on their hands that is why they can pursue any sideline work. There are also students who need it and may want to put the extra time to good use.

You might also have a lot of energy even after you get home from work so looking for something to do and earning from it seems like a good choice. You can take up online work writing articles, designing artwork, or even managing projects for other people. This is all possible without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

Weekends are also a great time to look for a side job you can do. If you have a particular hobby you are good enough for people to pay you for it, then you can explore that. It can be baking on weekdays and selling them at a nearby market on weekends. If you love photography, you can offer your services to family and friends for a minimal fee.

There are a lot of benefits you would get from taking on a side gig whether to augment shortage on your own income or to spend time wisely. What you need to keep in mind is that you can do this at any point in your life. As a student, you can take on side jobs to help you pay for school. Cost of attendance is one of the biggest problems of students nowadays. When you are already working, you can take on an extra job to make use of time and energy you both have. Retirement can also be a good stage in your life to consider doing some part-time work. The bottomline is that you can take up extra jobs to help you reach not only your financial targets but your life goals in general.

Emergency Fund And How Much Do You Really Need

emergency fundOne of the areas of personal finance you might be struggling with at the moment can be your emergency fund. For an account that is supposed to be as straightforward as it goes, a lot of consumers are still in the dark. It is either you do not have any reserve money to speak of or you do not have enough to help you when unexpected life situation occurs.

Not everyone is able to save up for their own reserve funds. It is sad that only 39% of Americans have enough to cover a $1,000 emergency according to a CNBC report. This is a dangerously low amount of consumers who have money for emergencies. There are times when you think life is going great but all of a sudden, it can throw you a curveball.

You might think that you have a great career but there are things out of your control which can affect that. A sudden buyout by a competitor might leave you jobless. There can even be economic problems with a big supplier which can affect the company you are working with. It may cause your company to fold and you would be out of a job in no time.

There can also be medical reasons why you would need an emergency fund. It helps to invest in your health early on but there are instances where you cannot control what happens to your body. Apart from accidents happening, there are some illnesses that seem to just come out of nowhere. Some can just be your common flu but there are others much worse.

The CDC shares that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for most Americans. This happens without any warning and if you make it to the hospital in time, you might make it. But this is just one of the instances where having your reserve funds can be handy. It would give you the chance to meet your financial obligations while you recuperate in the hospital.

How much do you really need in your emergency fund?

This has always been one of the first questions you would ask yourself when you start saving for your reserves. When you start to do your own research, there will b a lot of suggestions from $100 to even 12-months or more of emergency money. It could start to get confusing real quick when you do not have an idea where to start.

One of the factors is job stability. The stability of your job and that of your partner if you are married plays a crucial role in deciding how much emergency money you need. If you are at a point where you have a stable job and able to cover your expenses easily in your budget, you can do away with about three months worth of emergency fund in your finances.

On the other hand, if you are trying to make ends meet holding unstable jobs, you would need a lot bigger amount in your reserve fund. This is to help you get through the unforeseen events which could lead to a lot of things including job loss. Once your current situation negatively impacts your income, you need to rely on your emergency savings to get you through while looking for a new job.

The challenging part of this is that when you are struggling, you need more in your emergency money but that is hard to accomplish with your current financial situation. When you are doing great, you do not need a lot. What you need to remember is that you will not always be in the same financial position as you are now. So remember to save up when you can and limit spending when times get tough. This will help you save for emergencies and manage to spend when running a tight budget.

What does you emergency money cover

You may have a lot of factors to consider when your emergency reserve money is concerned. Apart from identifying how much you need, you also need to make sure that you are able to cover all the essentials in your budget. There is no two budget that is the same but there will common expenses that need to be covered in times of emergencies.

One of the most important expenses your emergency fund needs to cover is your housing situation. You need to include either your rent or your mortgage payment in your planning. This helps ensure that you do not become homeless when experiencing an emergency. It is also important that you factor in your utilities so you keep essentials like water and lights running.

Other expenses would be food budget, car payments, and expenses, as well as insurance premium payments. Take a look at other recurring expenses you might have at home as well. When computing for the amount you need to save, try and limit the amount you put into discretionary expenses. This can help you lower down your target and make it a bit easier to save up for it.

Running behind on your savings

There will be times when you might seem to be behind your schedule in saving for your emergency fund. You could think it is doable since you might not need it in the coming months. However, the sooner you save up for what you need, the less stressful it will be when you need it. There is no way of knowing when that instance will be so the sooner you save up, the better.

One idea to try is to enroll in a high-yield saving account into automatic transfer. You can put your emergency money into this account. It can work because the money is not just at home in a drawer where you can be tempted to use it. At the same time, it is not that hard to get hold of your funds when an emergency happens. Once you put that money into that account, you need to forget about it. Think of it as an expense or a bill payment every month. Once you make a payment, it stays there and you do not dip into it unless you have to for emergency purposes.

What is an emergency situation

This is another question that you have to seriously consider when managing your emergency money. You cannot simply consider every problem an emergency otherwise your fund will run out real quick. It is a good idea to make a list of possible situations that would classify as an emergency. The last thing you need is dipping into your emergency account because you want to buy a new pair of shoes.

Make a list of what an emergency situation is for your if you cannot distinguish a sale event from car trouble. It can as big as losing your job or getting hospitalized or even your car needing emergency repairs. Your funds need to be used for emergencies only and not to give in to your wants.

There are a lot of factors to consider when you start saving for your emergency fund and you need to consider all of them. Look at where you are financially and save up based on what you can and what you might need.

Retirement Planning Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Retirement Planning Mistakes You Need To AvoidAs you try and plan for your future, there are a number of retirement planning mistakes you need to be on the lookout. This helps you guard current finances and guides you better into your future. Retirement is not a question of “if” but more of “when.” For some people, it comes faster than they think while for others, they overshoot their timeline.

There are a number of factors that lead to when you get to retire. One of the biggest factors is your start date. You might have heard people saying that the earlier you start with it, the sooner you get to retire. More than just saving early, you get to take advantage of using compound interest to your advantage as well. You need to keep in mind that that average retirement age is now at  66 According to a Gallup survey.

This is one of the retirement planning mistakes people make because they do not have an idea what compound interest is. It is one of the most useful tools when you are trying to save money for future use. What this is is that it allows you to earn interest on top of interest every month. If you have $100 earning 4%, a year will yield you $4. This will then be added to your principal amount. On the next year, you will have $104 earning 4% which is $4.16. As your principal gets higher, your interest earning increases exponentially as well.

This is one of the reasons why you need to save as much and as early as possible is because of your compound interest. It is a retirement mistake when you do not take advantage of it. You will fall behind on your target and miss the chance to retire on your target date. Apart from this, there are a few other mistakes you might commit when it comes to retirement planning. Here are some of them worth looking into.

Thinking that retirement is a long way out

For a lot of people especially the younger generation, they believe retirement is too far away. This is one of the most common retirement planning mistakes which robs you of the chance to retire either on time or earlier than planned. Once you already have this mindset, it now becomes a challenge to save for the future. This is because you believe that there are far more important things to attend to at present.

That may be true where there are immediate needs that require your attention. Bills, utilities, student loan payments, and even mortgage and car payments. However, there you need to understand that retirement will be upon you sooner than you think. Time flies by so fast that you might be surprised you are already nearing it.

The beauty of retirement planning is that consistency early on is the key. You do not have to put in all your extra money into an IRA or your 401(k) at work. You just have to get started with it. The more you get used to it, the easier it would be to save up continuously as you go along. You can also increase the amount a little every year.

Foregoing an employer-matching program is one of the retirement planning mistakes you can make

This is one of retirement planning mistakes people usually make when planning and saving for their nest egg. There are a lot of employers who offer this benefit in the workplace in a bid to attract and retain employees. This is a financial investment on the part of the company to help its people plan for their retirement in the future.

The way it works it that your company matches a percentage of the amount you put into your 401(k). One of the most common programs is the 100% of the first 6 %. This means that the company matches the contribution up to 6% of the gross pay of the employee. This means that if you have a $50,000 annual pay contribute $3000 (3%) of it to your 401(k), the company matches and puts in $3000 as well.

That is why a lot of experts refer to this program free money. Not only will it help you increase your retirement fund, it can also play a big part in how compound interest is computed and added. You just have to make sure that you understand the vesting schedule set by your company. You might lose a lot if you leave the company and transfer to another job.

Gambling on your nest egg too close to retirement

It is not always talked about but one of the retirement planning mistakes people often make is that they take a huge risk too close to retirement. One of the reasons why people do this is because they want to make quick money to help them reach their retirement goal. They might think that taking on a lot of risk for a lot of return is the answer.

It is true that the higher the risk, the bigger the potential reward and a lot of people go into this gamble. However, one thing you do not have is time. If you were to lose a lot of money with that risky move, it will set you back years of work. This means that you have to keep on working just so you are able to save what you need for retirement. You can make the argument of what if you win, but investments are never a sure thing especially the risky ones. If you would have made this risky investment early in the game, you would still have a lot of time to recoup your losses. But if you lose a big amount too close to retirement, you’re in big trouble.

Gambling on your retirement fund while in retirement

You may not go into risky investments before retirement but you also need to be careful with how you manage your finances while in retirement. A part of retirement planning mistakes is not thinking about how you invest your money while in retirement. It is not just about putting your funds in a savings account all throughout your retirement. It should be part of your planning to keep an eye out for possible investment opportunities.

However, what you need to be aware of is that you are no longer in a position to take on high-risk investments. It is better to opt for low risk, low return opportunities. This way, it keeps your principal amount intact while being able to earn more than just what a savings account can offer. You need to be on guard as well on investment scams targeting retirees.

Thinking that you have to fall into a specific identity in retirement

What is your idea of retirement? Is it something you see on tv or an idea your officemates have? Are you planning to simply follow what your parents did for their retirement? One thing you need to understand when it comes to planning for retirement is that you need to know what you want for yourself. You can certainly look at what other people are doing but you need to decide for yourself. Define your retirement before you start saving money for it. Doing so will help you concentrate your efforts on your objective.

There are a lot of retirement planning mistakes people make that is why they are having problems during their golden years. That is why it is best for you to know these common missteps to help you plan better.

Smart Spending Tips For Smart Spenders

Smart Spending Tips For Smart SpendersIt is a good idea to look into smart spending tips to help you manage your finances. In today’s day and age, you might need just about all the help you can get. This is because a lot of consumers and households are struggling to manage their finances. A lot of people are also having a tough time handling debt as well.

According to The Motley Fool, the average household debt is over $137,000. That includes a lot of items from mortgage loans to car loans and even credit card debt. One thing you need to remember is that debt is not necessarily a bad thing. It is how you use it that makes all the difference. That is why you need to be smart with the way you spend your money.

Of course, that is easier said than done. For one, credit cards have made it a lot easier to purchase items even those that are out of your reach. You end up buying things you don’t really need and can’t afford. There are also times where you purchase items that have no real value for you except for immediate gratification.

However, this does not mean that you cannot spend money outside your basic needs. You just need to look into smart spending tips to help you guard your finances against impulsive purchases. There always has to be an end goal to your purchases more than just liking those pair of shoes. If this is what you are looking for, take a look at some of these tips.

Buy things that will help you earn more

This is a sound piece of financial advice when you are contemplating on a purchase right in front of you. While you are out and about shopping in the mall or even if you are at home on the bed browsing through online shopping sites. Before you head out to pay or to check out the item, try to think about the value it brings to your income.

If you are buying a new car, why do you need it in the first place? One of the smart spending tips is to ask yourself this question first everytime you will make a purchase. If you want the car because you want to impress people around you then that will not bring you anywhere. However, if you need it because your business requires you to be on the road a lot then a new vehicle becomes a good investment.

The same thing with personal gadgets, you can always ask yourself the same question. Why will you buy a new laptop? If you just want the same one your friends have then you are better off not buying one. But if you need it to get some side gigs done at home or to stream movies because you cut your cable already then that could be a good choice.

Will your purchase help you save time?

Forbes explained in an article how value is not inherent but rather subjective. Simply put, you have the tendency to put more value to a specific item in relation to how it can satisfy a want. If you were presented right now a bottle of clean and drinkable water and a big diamond, you would reach for the diamond. But if you think about it, you cannot live with water but you can live without the diamond.

Following that approach, you need to make sure that you have your priorities in line and that starts with valuing your time. One of the smart spending tips is to try and figure out if your purchase will help you save time so you can put it to other users. You can either use your free time to try and earn more or spend it with the people that matter to you.

If hiring cleaners will give you more time with your family when you get home then go ahead with it. You might have the chance to get started with a side gig at home if you just order your groceries online. It saves you time from having to drive up and down the grocery when you could already get started with work.

Spend on experiences

One smart tip on spending you might want to contemplate on is where you spend your money. Do you favor gadgets that will depreciate quickly or spend money to learn new things? One of the smart spending tips you can look at it using your money to create a better version of yourself. One is keeping a healthy body by joining fitness classes or going to the gym.

Feeling good can help you become more productive at work or in growing your business. You can also take classes to help you improve on areas you are struggling with or want to improve on your core strengths. The bottomline is to continuously learn and find ways to improve yourself to help you enjoy life better.

Work on your hobby

One of the smart spending tips you can consider is to try and make improvements to your hobby. For one, it gives you the chance to have an outlet in case you are having a bad day or week. It can also be a good form of relaxation for you on weekends or during long holidays. Your hobby can even help you save money when you can gift it to other people.

Another benefit of working on your hobbies is that it can be a good source of income or a valid career option in the future. It can become an income-positive hobby for you to help augment your income in your budget. It may even be a solid option as a career when you decide you want to pursue something you love doing.

As you work on your hobby, you develop a channel to de-stress after a hard day’s work. This is one of the reasons why this is considered one of the smart spending tips to look into. If you love cooking or baking, it gives you something to look forward to when you get home. It can also be a great bonding activity with your whole family. You can ask the kids to help around and you can start teaching them as well.

Hobby for retirement

When you hit retirement, you can turn to your hobby to help keep you pre-occupied in your transition to a new phase in your life. It can even bring in extra cash you can use in retirement. If you love taking photos, offer your services to venues as a part-time photographer. You can also talk to some coffee shops and restaurants if you can deliver some home-baked cookies they can sell to their customers.

There are a number of smart spending tips when you start to pay more attention to the way you manage your finances. The better you are handling your budget, the more productive you can be. You get to do more by carefully selecting where you put your money. As you do this, you achieve more in life and reach your goals faster. You may even be able to retire earlier with a secured nest egg giving you the chance to enjoy the results of all your hard work.

Avoid Late Payments With These 7 Tips

Avoid Late Payments With These 7 TipsOne of the things you want to always look out for as a consumer is to avoid late payments when it comes to your financial obligations. This is one of the most important details you have to look into as an adult. When you were still in college or younger, you might not have thought about it that much. However, this is an important aspect of your life when you are trying to get ahead with your finances and trying to reach your goals.

For one, late payments can greatly damage your credit score. Once that happens, your score will dip and you encounter multiple but avoidable financial challenges. For one, applying for a loan might start to become harder than it already is. Lenders will start to double guess your loan applications and might even deny some if your score is really low.

This is just one of the reasons why you need to avoid late payments. Lenders might still approve your loan or credit applications but you would have to contend with a high-interest rate. This is to ensure that they are covered for the risk they are taking to lend you money. Paying high interest on a loan for years can cost you a lot of money you could have used somewhere else.

One thing you need to understand is that your payments have a direct effect on your credit score. In fact, FICO explains that payment history makes up about 35% of a score. This means that when you have a lot of late payments reported on your credit, your score will have a significant drop. Once you understand this, you will try to find ways to pay on-time. Here are few tips to help make sure you always get to send out your payments on time.

Review your bills

One of the first things you need to look at to avoid late payments is to sit down and review all your financial obligations. This includes all your debt payments from the big-ticket items to credit card payments and even regular utility bill payment. The idea is to get a pen and paper handy and simply list every single detail down. You can do it with a computer but the important thing is to come up with a list.

Once you have your list, one thing you need to take a look at are the due dates in relation to when income comes into your budget. If you get paid every 15th and 30th of the month, you need to look at what payables fall on those dates. Are you able to cover your payments when they become due or do you have to float payments over to the next payday to get by?

If you can pay them all at once with your income then you don’t have much problem in that area. However, if you cannot meet all of your payments because of the due date, there is an easy fix. You can call up your lenders or creditors and ask if you can have your due date moved to another date. Some of them may not approve this but if they do, then you can avoid late payments because you get to schedule payments better.

Make sure you have a comprehensive budget

As you have already made a list of your debt payments, you can use this list to create a comprehensive household budget. One thing you are looking for when you create a list is if you have enough income to support your budget. It is not only your expenses you have to look into. You also need to make sure that you can save enough for the future.

One of the possible scenarios which can happen when you only have enough or barely enough for your expenses is that your savings start to suffer. It can be for your retirement fund where you are unable to make it grow over time. Your emergency fund might also suffer because you do not have any more funds to spare after paying your obligations.

It is important to avoid late payments but you need to balance it as well with your future outlook. For one, you have to save for your retirement fund as early as possible. The sooner you get started with it, the sooner you can retire. You also get to use compound interest to your advantage when you save for retirement early.

Create a payment schedule

After you have written down all your payment obligations and how it stacks up to when you get paid, a payment schedule is next. As the name suggests, this is simply a schedule of which bill gets paid on what date. This helps you remember and keep track of your payments. Once you have this, you can even explore enrolling in automatic payments with your lender. Once you do this, you just have to monitor the payments that go out every month.

Try making advance payments

This can help relieve a lot of stress from your plate because you are making payments for months ahead. Of course, it goes without saying that this would be difficult if you have a tight budget, to begin with. It is an idea you can look at when your finances improve over time. Apart from being able to avoid late payments, you also get to pay off your debts sooner.

Schedule a day for payments

It can be a day where you send out all your payments or simply a dedicated day or weekend to go over your finances. Doing this helps you stay on top not only of your payment obligations but your overall finances as well. When you are able to do this, you put yourself in a position to make changes if and when necessary. The important this is that you are able to make informed decisions because you understand your finances.

Organize documents and paper trail

This will help you stay on top of your payments and be able to dispute any errors that could show up in the future. If you still send out checks to your lenders or creditors, you need to keep track of all statements and payments you send out. If you make online payments, you need to save a paper trail or any form of payment confirmations or notices you receive after a payment. This will help you create a payment history for each lender and proof of payment as well.

Focus on strengthening your emergency fund as well

This might sound a little out of place when you are talking about on-time payments. However, this can actually help you stay current on your payment obligations especially when you are going through a rough time. If you find yourself in between jobs for an extended period of time, your emergency fund can come in and take care of your payment obligations while you look for a new job.

There are a lot of benefits when you try and avoid late payments on your account such as a high credit score. You also get to save money in the process. Instead of paying interest, fees and other charges on late payments, you get to save that money and put it in savings.
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