8. Pull your credit reports from all 3 bureaus. If there is anything on there that is potentially negative, dispute it. You can do your dispute online, and for the reason for the dispute, just say that it isn't your account. That is what I did for quite a few items and they were all DELETED from my credit report because the companies didn't reply to the credit bureau within the allotted 30 days. I have drastically increased my credit score by doing that. Anything negative that remains on your report after the 30 day investigation needs to be paid off because your credit score can't improve with unpaid accounts or collections. So, chip away at any items that are unpaid and they will eventually be paid off. Meantime, do you have current credit cards that you are still using? If you are, your balance owed should never be more than 30% of your credit line because it affects your credit score. For example, if your credit line is $500, you should never charge more than 150 on that particular card. If you don't have a choice and there is an emergency, try to pay it off as soon as possible at least to get that balance down to 150. Hmm..what else? OH, I am sure you already know this, but once your cards are paid off, leave them that way and never charge more than what you can pay off in FULL by the next month's bill. There is a new law regarding minimum payments on credit cards that will be going into place sometime in the next year or so that will dramatically INCREASE minimum payments on credit cards. So, if you have credit cards with balances AND other bills that are unpaid and on your credit report, pay off the credit cards first, especially because of the interest you are probably paying. Then, after the cards are paid off, tackle the other debt, if any. My other old job was working for Visa, so I was fortunate to learn all the in's and out's of credit, credit scores, etc.
9. For entertainment, instead of going to a movie the first weekend it is out, wait til it's in the cheap theater then go see it. Or if you don't have a cheap $1 or $2 theater where you live, wait til its out on DVD and rent it. You will save tons of money by quitting going to the full priced movie theaters.
Entertainment on a budget is sure an issue.
Finding things to do usually isn't--yesterday, since I had to go to Orange County anyway, my family and I had a nice picnic dinner on the beach and then went and watched the fireworks from outside of Disneyland (We sat under the "R" in California) and only paid for food and gas--gas we'd have had to spend anyway, since I already had to go to Orange County.
But as big a movie fan as I am, giving up movie theatre trips has been hard for me. While I did go see the new Star Wars, that's been my only movie trip this year, which is tough for a guy who used to spend every weekend seeing whatever the hot new movie was.
As it is, I'm chomping at the bit about the new Batman movie that came out today--the wife and I might have to sneak out and see a showing after it becomes eligible for Entertainment Book coupons.