I know you want in.

When I looked at my credit score  a year ago I desperately wanted to be in the  Cardi B money moves financially responsible squad too.

It’s like when I pass first class seats on an airplane.

Of course I would rather be snugged up with my complimentary blanket and snacks. But duh I want the unlimited free wifi like the real players do. But do you think I have first class Southwest Airlines money?

Heck, Southwest money at ALL. I fly the peasants’ plane Spirit.

It’s a forever goal but unfortunately living that type of good life seems impossible. Just like getting our credit up past a low number.

But have no fear, Laina is here.

In one year I raised my score from 585 to over 700.  And believe it or not but I did this without a sugar daddy, selling my soul or shaking it for a pimp at the King of Diamonds.

This was hard work dangit.

So strap on your seat belt because it’s about to get real. (Your future will thank you.)

Soul Plane credit scoreWhy do we need a good credit score?

When I began this journey I truly though healthy credit scores were for rich white folks super responsible people.

How could I raise such a low number when I could barely remember to take my laundry out the dryer in a timely fashion?

But through a lot of research I realized why having a healthy score is so important.

#1. It tells no lies about how you manage money. Credit scores are the messy friend you come to with alll the tea. It knows every late payment, what you owe, and every loan or card you tried to apply for.

#2. It determines your credibility. We all want a good reputation in life right? Well, when companies check your credit history they want to know they can trust you. Companies like:

  • Apartments and Housing
  • Credit Cards
  • A Car Dealership
  • Student and Personal Loans

And when they see that your score is piss poor, they will either deny, deny, deny or raise your interest so high that your kids’ grandkids will have your bills.

**Just a little disclaimer. I am team I don’t do credit cards now but I do think you can have a healthy relationship with them. Unfortunately, you don’t and that’s why you’re here. So let’s get to work.

Remember that this isn’t just about bills or paying “the white man.” This is about creating freedom, breaking chains of a poverty mindset and being at peace about your money decisions.

Oh yea, and coming out of hiding from Sallie Mae.

My Top A-Ha’s To Help Step Your Credit Score Game Up

First A-Ha: You must be disciplined to do this

So I know this a-ha has literally nothing to do with a credit score but I truly believe that I was able to be so disciplined with paying debt because of my commitment in another area.

During the time I decided to go all in with money, I had already been on a serious health journey.

I’m talking about 5:30 a.m. workouts and all that.

Getting your debt in control really sucks takes a lot of energy. I didn’t realize that commiting to my workouts and eating was building the character to focus in slashing credit but it was imperative.

I challenge you to pick something you want to glow up in before you begin tackling your credit. Maybe it’s passing on the buttery dinner rolls or finally cutting off that situationship but start building up your habits now. Your score will thank you.

Second A-Ha: You Must Understand How Credit Reports Work

You gotta know what you’re working with here.

First and foremost, let’s find your credit score if you don’t know it. There are plenty of free sites that will provide a credit report like creditkarma.com

Did you pull up your report?

Okay, so this is the breakdown of how a its’s calculated:

  • 35% – Payment History: Your ability to make payments on time *most important*
  • 30% – Card Usage: The amount of drunken squad trips credit you have used. The more you max out your cards the more it affects you.
  • 15% – Length of Credit: Your long term behavior shows they can trust you. Having a credit card open for longer periods of time is a good thing. 
  • 10% – New Credit/Credit Mix: If lenders see that you are applying for a lot of new credit, that waves a red flag that you may not be a trustworthy candidate. In addition, they look at a good credit mix (the ability to handle different types of credit) like having a car loan, credit card and student loan at once.

Now let’s take a breath, beloved. I know this is alot.

For review:

Five factors determine how well you are doing that include paying on time, how much you use your card, how long you’ve had it, any new cards you apply for and the ability to handle multiple loans at a time.

Third A-Ha: You Must Face The Facts of Your Credit Score

Before we move forward, I reallyyy need you to go check your credit score or make an account on creditkarma.com.

When I first checked my score it was a really low 585. Here is what the scale of a credit score looks like (according to me of course):

Your score is a snitch. By looking at where you are on the scale is a direct reflection of how you have handled your money up until now.

Don’t be discouraged, though. When I started this journey I was definitely Bow Wow. My score was 585. But in a year, I’ve now bumped up to some Chancellor Bennett status and TWO points from Queen Bey.

HOLLA. Ya’ll not about to cash me ousside with a low credit score again.

If you fall in the last two categories you REALLY must make it a priority to work on your credit. It’s will not go away.

Fourth A-Ha: STOP Increasing Your Credit Limits

This was one of my biggest mistakes evaaaa. When I couldn’t shop til I drop  keep up with my bills, I would call the bank and ask them to extend my credit line.

I mean I had maxed them all out but for whatever reason they kept saying yes.

Little by little this dug me in my biggest hole. Make a commitment not to put yourself in such desperation that you feel forced to beg for more credit.

This requires a budget so that you know where every penny goes.

One suggestion is cutting up your credit cards all together. This will physically force you to stop depending on them. 

Remember that the whole point of this is to create freedom not more chains.

Fifth A-Ha: Broke People Around You Won’t Be Able to Encourage You

Look. Getting your credit score up is HARD.

And I hate to say it but your broke friends will not understand why you’re “so serious” about getting in a better financial situation.

I had to stop discussing my finances with my deeply in debt friends because I often got answers like:

“One purchase isn’t gonna hurt anything.”

“You have your entire life to pay back your loans.”

“It’s time to enjoy yourself.”

They were like the Hooded Kermit advocated for staying in debt.

But I knew that I didn’t have peace. I was tired of going from check to check. I was tired of barely putting up enough pennies together to get a sub-par vacation.

Avoid money conversations with the people who discourage you from getting your life together.

On the flip side, find some accountable people who will walk alongside you during really difficult seasons (psss. Like us).

Sixth A-Ha: Do this one Debt At a Time

In my post about how I’m getting out of debt, I broke down exactly what I did to pay off all my credit cards. My score drastically improved once I knocked them out.

You’re obviously not going to wipe out the debt in one day.

List out ALL your debts. Even the ones from your parents and Paypal credit (didn’t think I knew about that huh?).

Find the smallest one and go in on it. This will create momentum and the drive to keep attacking each debt.

Seventh A-Ha: Closing Your Accounts Hurts Your Credit

When I actually started knocking out my debt I wanted to close EVERYTHING. 

Just get those demon cards out my sight I said.

But I realized that closing the accounts would actually hurt my credit. Why is that?

Well if you refer back to a-ha #2, credit reports love when you’ve kept accounts for a long time. It shows that they can trust you.

So even if you’ve paid off a credit card, keep it open to help with your score.

Eighth A-Ha: WE can do this

Getting out of debt seems so overwhelming. So impossible.

But as I read and prayed to God I realized that this wasn’t something I could do on my own. I had to trust the process and trust that God would continually remind me why freedom is something I deserved.

It’s gonna be tough. You’re gonna mess up. But when you finally pay that card or loan off that has been ruining your destiny for years it will open so many doors of possibility.

You will breathe lighter. 

You will be free.

Go get your freedom.