Credit Score for Noobs

Wassup, wassup. Welcome back to the Fuck the Status Quo Podcast in blog form, it’s your host Ellie Blake. If you’re new here, welcome to the shit show. If you’ve been here for a minute, I hope you know you’re a ray of fucking sunshine EXCEPT if you haven’t rated or reviewed this podcast, then you’re officially in the cone of shame now, homie.

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Anyway, hope you guys are having a good August with little to no assholes involved. 

This is going to be a chicken tender episode for you guys today. Which means it’s a schmedium length podcast. I must admit, this episode is really gonna show my age and where I’m at in life but this one is all about building your credit score. 

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Okay, first off, I feel like … legally, that even though I am the world’s leading asshole specialist, I am not a financial advisor. I know it may be shocking to hear, but it’s true. 

So that being said, in this episode I’m going to tell you exactly how I built my credit score. I went from a score of 520 somethin’ to 743 in three-ish years. 

And it wasn’t hard, it’s just a game I had to learn how to play. So let me teach you the game, or at least the way I figured it out so far. 

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Okay, first off … again … second first off, I want to fully disclose that I’m not saying I agree with the concept of a credit score. Matter of fact, I think it’s pretty fuckin’ stupid and shouldn’t exist BUT if you pay close attention to your credit, it CAN benefit you. 

So rewind to back in the day, before I got married. My credit score was shit because I didn’t have much credit. My dad had to co-sign for all of the important things like the utilties or the cable bill or even rent that I was paying these apartment complexes. And none of these things that I was paying for increased my credit score or helped me in anyway. Such bullshit. 

And it was like… how the fuck am I supposed to build my credit if no one will give me any credit?

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So the first move I made was just to become aware of my credit score and be able to monitor it. And this is not a plug for them but I used credit karma and I figured out where my score was at. 

The next thing that went down, not really intentionally, mostly for me to feel like I was a real adult, but I started working at a credit union. And I asked my co-workers how can I build my credit? 

So I ended up taking out a secured loan for $300. And so I paid $25 a month to pay off this $300 loan. And that helped my score a little bit. But still, not so much. Which was frustrating. I expected to take out one loan I guess and automatically be over 700, I don’t know. This was the beginning stages of me playing the game. 

So then I’m on credit karma one day and it recommends shit to you like credit cards or whatever. And obviously they get paid for this shit somehow, you know, they have to. But I just applied for a credit card. 

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And listen, my whole life, I’ve been led to believe credit cards are SO bad. Like, don’t ever get a credit card. It will financially RUIN you. Forever. 

And at some point, if you haven’t already, I hope you question the shit you learned when you were growing up. 

I’m not saying go out and be reckless and max out 100k on credit. But I am saying, use this shit to your advantage. The purpose of getting credit cards is not so you can spend a bunch of money on reckless shit, it’s so you can leverage your money. 

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I think I already sort of started a list here without telling you there’s a list. 

  1. Ok, so number 1 was being aware. I became aware of what my credit score actually was by signing up for Credit Karma.

  2. I took out a $300 secured loan from a credit union, and of course made all payments on time. 

  3. Chances are, when you log in to Credit Karma you might see some things that have gone to collections. Dispute all that shit. It’s very easy to do in Credit Karma and the company has to respond within 30 days or it gets wiped off your record. 

  4. If it doesn’t come off your record, my advice and what I did was to not fuckin’ worry about it. It has already damaged your score, ok? It’s done and over with, it happened. You paying off your debt isn’t really going to help you out much at this point. I’m not saying don’t ever pay it off … or maybe I am, because fuck ‘em, that’s why. 
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  5. Let’s talk about evil credit cards. Use these little plastic bitches to your advantage and use them for practical things that you are already spending money on.

    • If you shop on amazon all the time, get an amazon credit card. You get a gift card to amazon when you sign up and you also will get points back to you can continue to buy shit on Amazon. 

    • If traveling is more your thing, get a SkyMiles card or some sort of credit card with travel points. I’m not saying you’ll be jet setting across the world but it helps and there’s usually a sign on bonus with those too.
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    • I also have an AMEX card that I use only for groceries because it gets me 5 or 6% (I forgot) back if I spend money at the grocery store. I am going to be buying groceries no matter what every single month you know to sustain life and shit. And that, matter of fact all of my credit cards, are on auto pay. And the full balance is paid off every single month.

    • I buy all of my envelopes and things for my business for my business through Amazon, and tons of other pointless shit, so I have a business Amazon card as well as a personal one. And I like to save up the points all year and use them for Christmas gifts but, you do you. 

    • I have various utility bills on different credit cards. I have a American Airlines Citi card that pays for my Internet so I’m getting airline points there slowly but surely. I have another AMEX card that pays my power bill, and so on. Like I said, set all of these up on auto-pay from the start so you never miss a payment. 

  6. That leads me to the most important part of owning a credit card. Do not spend money that you do not already have and pay off your balance in full every single month. That’s where people get fucked over with credit cards is that they are stuck paying interest because they bought a bunch of shit they couldn’t afford. Don’t do that. Don’t get sucked into the trap. 

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  7. Use the card for practical things you already have to spend the money on. I will say there is an exception to the pay off every month rule. I had a Home Depot credit card, as well as a Lowes one. Before my husband and I moved to Florida, we did some upgrades to our Michigan house before selling. Instead of dropping several grand on all new appliances, we put it on a Home Depot card because it has zero interest for the first 12 months. So any time you can find a deal like this, I would take it. We also did this with Lowes for a new stove we had to buy and a washer and dryer when we moved to Florida. 

  8. Ummm, what number is it? Oh, 8. I don’t think this is another point, I think I’m done talking now. 

Be smart, cards with no annual fee are cool, pay off your shit every month, my credit limit is like … sheeewww over 50k now. Oh, there’s a good number 8. Let’s try this again.
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8. The reason I have so many credit cards is because credit score is greatly impacted by the percentage of your credit you are using. They tell you keep it under 30%, I’m telling you to keep it under 10%. And what this means is that … yes, I technically could max out all of my credit cards and be up to $50,000 but that’s gonna fuck up my score. So instead, I keep my total usage under $5,000. So mine is around 10% and I don’t exceed that. I don’t know why this matters, but it does.

9. I guess, I have more to say. I’m not telling you to go sign up for 10 new credit cards right now because each time you do that shit, it dings your score a bit. It will eventually go back up but just be mindful of that. So I spaced this out over several years.

10. Also, last thing, I think, your credit age matters. And time does what time does so there’s no way for you to speed that up. But what you can do is leave accounts open so that you have that good history.

11. Nope, I have one more. This is the never ending list. Number 11, if someone you know and trust has great credit, you can also become an authorized user on one of their credit cards. I did this with my husband and his credit score is higher than mine now, that fucker. Just kidding babe, I love you. But seriously, all I did was add him as an authorized user. He did get his own card with his name on it but I don’t think he even spends money ever. Anyway, it boosted his credit limit, me paying off my shit every month put him in good standing as well. It was a win/win. But do not do this with someone who is reckless or who has a shit ton of credit card debt because it will not help.

12. Number 12, no I’m just kidding. I’m actually done now. 

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Here’s a quick recap for you guys because that was a cluster fuck. 

  1. Be aware of what your credit score actually is.
  2. Look into a secured loan with a credit union.
  3. Dispute shit. 
  4. Don’t worry too much about things that have already impacted your credit score negatively. 
  5. Use credit cards to your advantage and spend money on practical things you are already paying for anyway.
  6. Pay off your balance in full every single month. Set that bitch up on auto-pay. 
  7. The exception to that rule is if the card has 0% interest. 
  8. Keep your total usage under 10%
  9. Don’t open too many new accounts at once.
  10. Age is just a number, fam, but it does matter when it comes to your credit score. 
  11. Become an authorized user on a responsible person’s credit. 

Like I said at the beginning, I’m not a financial advisor but that was, in fact, an episode full of financial advice. Take it or leave it.