Protecting Your Credit Score

Oct 12

In addition to the family babysitter, taxi driver, chef, counselor  nurse, sports coach, and countless others, I am also the designated family accountant. My own parents have a sterling credit score (a man at a bank once told them it was the best he had ever seen), and I’ve seen much how it’s benefited them. They got great loan rates, financial help in emergencies, a fantastic mortgage and more – all as a result of being very careful with their money and credit. Keeping an eye on the budget is one of the most valuable things that a family can do to plan for their financial future, so here are some golden tips for staying on top of your family finances.

Be Credit Conscious

A person’s credit rating is one of the first things that a lender or financial institution will look at, and influences the outcome of mortgage and loan applications, credit card applications, and sometimes even utility provision and mobile phone contracts. As a rule, credit scores are made by applying an algorithm to past financial behaviour to predict future payment habits. This is also important for businesses, who have been struggling to get loans during the recession – a good credit rating can secure the financing necessary to keep your business alive. Curious how you’re doing? Many services charge money for a credit check, but you can go online for free and look up credit scores at

Be Prepared

One of the best ways for a family to stay on top of their finances is to plan well in advance of big events. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries and other events should be marked onto a financial calendar, and a budget set aside far in advance. A saving scheme where Christmas gifts and expensive holiday travel is slowly saved for (or paid off, as the case may be) can be a god-send for the festive season. Price comparison websites and browser plug-ins take the guess-work out of shopping by bringing together all of the best deals possible; it’s a wise idea to visit shops first to get a feel for the goods, to avoid annoying and expensive returns.

Make the Big Switch

Be sure to do research into gas, electricity, mobile phone, internet and land-line prices. The quality of these products and their pricing structures vary widely and can be confusing, so read the fine print (even if it’s boring). This often contains tricky conditional clauses that will mean a lot of expense further down the track.

Planning and being vigilant about family finances is time consuming at first, but after the initial work is in place it will save trouble down the line with poor credit scores and debt.