September 8th, 2011
The Jersey Shore Guide to Improving Your Credit Health
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The cast of Jersey Shore is always good for a laugh, but did you know that these kids are a surprisingly accurate source of financial advice? It’s true!
With no further delay, I give you the Unofficial Jersey Shore Guide to Improving Your Credit Health.
Here’s a quick rundown of our crack team of financial advisers, currently in Florence, Italy, setting Italo-American relations back 200 years.
Ronnie has shoulders wider than most doors. He’s in a toxic on-again-screaming-again relationship with castmate Sammi.
The Situation enjoys working on his abs and causing drama, both of which he excels at.
JWoww is a likeable woman who shows great concern for her castmates as they make terrible life choices.
Pauly D (aspiring DJ) and Vinny (can speak Italian) enjoy kicking back and mocking their roommates’ mistakes.
1. The truth will set you free.
This season, The Situation claims he and Snooki hooked up while she was with her boyfriend Jionni. Snooki knows this could ruin her reputation, and takes a proactive approach, calling Jionni to tell him that The Situation lied.
Just like the truth can salvage Snooki’s relationship, the truth can also help your credit report and improve your credit health.
If creditors or jealous haters are responsible for derogatory marks on your credit report, you owe it to yourself to fix it. Get your free, full credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and make sure it’s completely true. If not, dispute the errors and rebuild your reputation. Cleaning up your credit report will improve your credit health.
2. GTL and OTP
Every day, no matter what, the men of Jersey Shore GTL–that is to say, Gym, Tanning, and Laundry. Being orange, ripped, and smelling like a spring breeze are high priorities and they’re following through.
That kind of diligence can sculpt ridiculous abs and strengthen your credit score.
OTP stands for on-time payments. Your payment history counts for about 35% of your credit score, so one missed payment can knock your credit score down. Make it a priority to pay your bills on time and you’ll be as reliable as the Jersey Shore kids. If you’re not ready to adopt OTP as your personal motto, calendar reminders can help you remember.
3. Respect your limits.
This season The Situation and Ronnie started to fight when The Situation head-butted a concrete wall. Why did he do this? He avoided a previous fight by smashing his head through a sheet rock wall, so he assumed it would work again.
Unfortunately, The Situation didn’t realize his head had a limit to what it could smash through. He went to the hospital, but it’s a valuable lesson that he’ll remember for next time.
Just like The Situation’s brain, your credit cards have limits too, and you should respect them. Credit card utilization accounts for 30% of your score, and you should keep your credit balances at 30% or less of your total limit. Pay off outstanding credit cards balances and maintain a low credit utilization to improve your credit health. Give those limits a wide berth and you won’t have any rude awakenings involving concrete or an ambulanza.
4. Talk it out.
In a recent episode, Deena was hurt when Pauly D and Vinny moved her bed out of their shared room as a prank. When Deena started crying, JWoww, brought everyone together to discuss it. The problem was quickly cleared up.
JWoww’s approach works equally well for improving your credit health.
If you have a debt problem that you don’t know how to handle, call your creditors and work out a repayment plan so you don’t go into default. By calling them directly you can lower your monthly payments, spare your credit score, and avoid crying so much that your spray-tan smears.
5. Play the waiting game.
So how do these financial savants pass the time when not putting their head through concrete or moving furniture? Instead of waiting impatiently for their roommates to get ready for the club, Pauly D and Vinny challenge each other to games of mini-foosball.
Like the boys, use your time wisely. It can take months or even years for your credit health to improve, but if you keep taking these proactive steps you will build your credit. You can check in at Credit Karma to monitor your credit health. Just work on OTP, and steer clear of any concrete walls (even if you think you can take them).
A penny saved is a penny you can spend on mini-foosball,
Ezra Fox, Karma Contributor