Thing about me #63. I have horrible credit.
My credit problems have hounded me since my late teens and early 20s. I got credit cards incredibly early, and never took the time to learn exactly how to use them. My parents have tried to take part of that blame, but I blame myself for most of it. I was irresponsible, charged up huge amounts and then couldn’t pay them off. I then incurred massive interest charges, overdue fees, and even had a couple cards cancelled on me. I had ATM cards taken away and defaults on other loans. I was a mess. It wasn’t pretty.
Since then, I’ve been working my ass off to improve my credit rating. It’s been an incredibly long and difficult road. Along the way, I was able to get a secured credit card with a $500 limit. I decided I was going to continually pay off as much as I could on that card and use it but not abuse it. And hopefully I could improve my credit rating by showing creditors that I could, indeed, sustain a good credit history.
I’ve since occasionally tried other credit offers, to no avail. (Knowing, of course, that you shouldn’t try too many, as that can make your credit score WORSE. Crazy how this works isn’t it?)
Well last week, I got a pleasant surprise.
I decided to try for a card at my credit union. The same one that took away my ATM card and requested that I cancel my VISA card 5 years ago. That’s right, folks, I have been living without an ATM card for FIVE years. In the meantime I have been writing checks at grocery stores and getting cash by writing them for $50 over. It’s been a PAIN. IN. THE. ASS. But I knew that I had to do it to keep my nose clean until things could turn around.
I went on the credit union’s website and applied for a MasterCard with a $1000 limit. I figured I’d shoot a little high this time, and see what happened. I filled out the form and sent it in. It went through the “Processing” screen for quite some time. When it finished, the screen said “Please call the Credit Union about your application.” I figured, “Oh well, worth a try,” and forgot about it.
The next day, I got an Email from the credit union saying my application was APPROVED!
I whooped for joy! Finally, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All of my hard work is paying off. If I can get a loan at my credit union (which is much more stringent about loans than other banks I have found,) then surely my credit rating has FINALLY improved to where banks and other institutions would not consider me such a horrible credit risk.
So of course, the mind started reeling about what kinds of things I could BUY with that $1000 credit card. It’s natural, but dangerous. I know that one thing I NEED to do is buy a new mattress. I’ve been sleeping on the same mattress since high school. It’s time for something new.
But after that, the card is put away until the mattress is paid off.
The other thing is a computer. I’ve been using the same computer for the last 3 1/2 years. I’ve done everything from add memory to replace the hard drive, graphics card and the CD burner with this thing. I use a lot of graphically intense programs which max out the memory regularly. I’m running out of options.
But I didn’t want to use the credit card on a new computer. So I figured I’d try my luck and see just how far this new credit power of mine will go. I can afford to make payments on a computer loan. I just need to see if I can get one first.
So off I went to http://www.dell.com to see what I can find out.
Would you believe I was approved for $1500????
My computer arrives Friday.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on going hog-wild here. This is the end of the credit experimentation. I know I’m doing better, and I don’t want to get into trouble again. I have much bigger fish to fry. The end result of all this will make me as a home OWNER instead of a home RENTER. That is my goal.
And this is another step– a BIG step– toward that goal. I’m really feeling very good about myself right now.
So #63 is now “I’ve had horrible credit– but it’s improving.”