Whether you decide to vacation or staycation, how you “spend” this summer can have a direct effect on your credit scores and your bottom line. It’s easy to go overboard in the heat of the moment – and repeated exposure to credit card overspending can burn your budget and scorch your credit scores for months, if not years. This can affect your ability to rent an apartment or get a good interest rate on a mortgage or loan.
However, if you take steps to strengthen your SPF (Spending Protection Factor), you won’t have to sacrifice your summer fun to avoid getting burned!
Tips to Help Boost Your “SPF” and Protect Your Scores:
- Agree on a spending and repayment plan. When it comes to protecting your credit scores, cash is king. However, if your primary source of funding summer fun is credit cards, keep in mind that the more debt you charge up, the longer it can take to pay down – and the more your scores and budget will suffer.
- Apply cash liberally, especially if you’ve overplayed the plastic throughout the year. If you owe a lot on several accounts, apply extra payments toward your card balances, whenever possible, to reduce your debt.
- Use caution when applying for plastic. It’s important to treat your credit gently – and avoid overindulging which can cause irritation. For instance, opening multiple new credit cards to help float your summer spending will trigger a rash of credit inquiries that can sink your scores.
- Know your limits. Depending on the balances you’re carrying, some of your credit cards may put you at a higher risk of overexposure than others. If your credit card balances total more than 30 percent of your total credit limits, your scores are getting burned.
- Be protective of your credit. Monitor your scores and reports throughout the summer for changes that may put your scores in the red – or unauthorized activity that could burn your good name.