• Jennifer M. Lee, PhD

DIY Credit Repair

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

As reformed credit card user, I've learned to be responsible with debt. My high credit scores were related to constantly using credit cards and paying them on time. But having debt was too uncomfortable so I changed my ways! Today, I save like crazy for a rainy day, give generously, and don't use credit cards. I auto-draft everything so everything gets paid on time. In America we have to baby our credit scores to do everything from qualifying for a rental to buying a home.


A few healthy credit tips:


  • Stay under 25% of your potential credit card usage. Meaning if you have $10,000 in available credit, don't have more than $2,500 at any time on a card. Even that makes me queasy. I don't like having a balance at all!

  • Set everything on auto-pay. Crock pot your payments!

  • Work with a credit union on a consolidation loan, then cut up those cards!

  • Keep the oldest cards open, long history helps with higher scores (but don't use them!)

  • If you've got small debts, pay those off first. This give you some positive momentum!

  • If you don't have credit, seek a pre-paid card, and use that.

  • If you are a renter, ask your landlord if he/she/it will report on-time rental payments to the credit bureaus.

  • Seek expert advice. Look at the Better Business Bureau's website. Look for non-profit credit counseling services.



"Bad" Credit needs attention ASAP!


I have worked with hundreds of renters, buyers, and sellers. I've seen it all in terms of credit challenges. If you have a low credit score, it makes it hard to find housing!! A property management company's definition of low is under 600. Under 600 you must pay a double security deposit. Prior to finding me, some clients had spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars in application fees only to continually get declined. This is a symptom of a larger problem.

The lowest score qualification for buying a home is 620 and that is only for a VA loan. With COVID, credit score requirements for purchasing a home have increased.


  • Pull all three credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com

  • If there are mistakes on your credit report, Identify them in writing to the bureaus and request a review.

  • If necessary, contact the creditor to be certain the information is correct.

  • A credit bureau must investigate disputed information and correct mistakes or delete information which either cannot be verified or is stale.

  • Be aware that accurate negative information typically cannot be changed or removed.

  • If you have small debts, like that $75 you owe on a medical bill, please pay that off ASAP. Little debts = Little annoyances, and BIG credit hits.


Proactive Prevention


Medical bills: Call and ensure that these were put through your insurance. Ask for a hardship discount application, and/or make monthly payment arrangements.


Credit cards: Pay down the smallest balances first. Just knock them out. You'll feel better quickly knowing that you only have 3 cards, not 6. Trust me.


Debt Snowball the rest! Go Google debt snowball...it's a positive internet rabbit hole.


Student Loans: Consolidate loans, apply for Income Based Repayment or other repayment plans, auto-payment will often reduce your interest rate. (BY THE WAY: STUDENT LOANS DO NOT PREVENT YOU FROM BUYING A HOME, consult a lender! )


Set boundaries for yourself! It's called parenting yourself. We all need limits to our behaviors.


Raise your awareness: What is the cause of your spending? Is it a maladaptive coping mechanism. Dig deeper to figure out what's driving your spending or credit issues. Self-reflection is a good ADULTING.



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