How to Check for Errors on your Credit report

Check for Errors

Financial advisors recommend reviewing your credit report once every year or, at a minimum, before making large purchases with credit (e.g., buying a home or a car). If you think there is an error on your credit report contact the credit reporting agency and write a letter disputing the error. Keep a copy of the letter for your records. The credit reporting agencies are required to conduct an investigation within 30 days of receiving your letter.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your credit report is accurate. Credit reporting agencies do not check the accuracy of reported information unless you ask them to.

  • It is best to review your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once every 12 months or, at a minimum, before making large purchases with credit (e.g., buying a home or a car).
  • If you think there is an error on your credit report, contact the credit reporting agency and write a letter disputing the error. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.  (A sample dispute letter can be found on page 17 of your Participant Guide.) You may also be able to file the dispute online through the credit bureau’s website.
  • The credit reporting agencies are required to conduct an investigation within 30 days of receiving your letter.

How to Decrease Your Expenses

Decrease Your Expenses

If you struggle to figure out how to begin decreasing your spending:

  • Start small by reducing or eliminating one new expense every month or two
  • Eliminate or reduce expenses that are wants and desires versus needs
  • Think twice before spending or purchasing items that do not help you reach your financial recovery goals
  • Plan and save for certain items rather than using your credit card

 

 

Scenario

Dedra and her husband, Leon, had always lived within their means. Then their world was turned upside down when Leon passed away. A year later, Dedra is still struggling with the loss of her husband, large medical bills, and the need to provide for her children. While she received some life insurance money, she cannot maintain their previous lifestyle, and she has some difficult decisions to make.

 

She has been watching her spending and thinking of ways she can cut expenses or save money. For instance, going out to eat is now a special treat rather than a regular occurrence. Dedra cooks more and has started making grocery lists and menus based on sale items to save money. She has also eliminated extra telephone services (e.g., caller ID and call waiting), and reduced her cable and Internet service plans.

 

If Dedra is tempted to buy something, she considers whether the purchase is a “want” or a “need,” how it fits into her financial goals, and whether the purchase will impact those goals. If Dedra determines she or her children really need something, she no longer goes straight to the store to purchase it. She shops at thrift and consignment stores, yard sales, or goes online to find the cheapest deal.

 

 


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