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I hope your Christmas and Holiday activities are off to a wonderful start. 2014 is about to gone for good in a few more weeks and it’s shocking how fast it went! In today’s post I want to highlight a great way to prevent credit problems while managing your spending this season. It’s widely known that the average consumer will rack up at least $1,000 in additional debt this season. People just go crazy over special incentives, door busters, and mail-in offers. One amazing way to stop over-spending and pushing those credit cards to the limit is shop the CLEARANCE items exclusively!

Credit problems always escalate this time of year. Banks see more NSF’s because people over-draft their accounts buying all over the place, more checks bounce and debit cards are pushed beyond their daily limits because a DEAL makes people crazy! Today’s SMART HOLIDAY CREDIT TIP #2 is shop closeouts and clearance on your favorite websites and during in-store visits If you are watching your spending even a little bit, these areas can save you allot of money and even if you push your giving to include more people, you just may stop yourself from wrecking your finances.
While the deals are appealing I want to include a BONUS recommendation; if you do in fact spend beyond your credit cards approved limit be sure to pay that balance overage by the next billing cycle. The reason is because your lender just might close that account to ensure no additional balances can rack up they feel they may have to collect on.
Keep these points in mind to close your year right:
1) Any credit cards you own right now could be in jeopardy if you have missed payments this year.
2) If you have a habit of not paying before their 10 day grace period ends, expect a late fee for that payment not posting on time to your account.
3) I some instances late fees accrue and can began to hurt your credit scores because they push your credit balances out of whack. BE MINDFUL!
Just some added value for your Holiday season. We want to help in anyway we can!
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If your credit rating is faltering or has hit rock bottom this year, there are ways that you can boost your credit scores.  It is important to take an honest look at your immediate circumstances and be real with yourself to move forward. 2015 is right around the corner and if you struggled all year or even over the last few years, these time-tested tips can give you a sense of order to move forward.

  1. Obtain all three copies of your credit report.

There are three main credit reporting agencies and not all companies will report to all three of them.  It is vital that you obtain copies of your credit report from all three agencies.  This way, if you have a problem on one report it may not necessarily show up on the other reports and you can still ward off any mistakes or issues.  Don’t just get a report from one of the major agencies, get all of them.

  1. Check your credit report often.

Experts advise checking your credit report at least once a year.  Some people, however, obtain their reports as often as every quarter.  It really depends on the activity and other factors as to how often you should check.  The common consumer who only has a few lines of credit can probably get away with checking less often.  It is important, though, to check your credit report so that you can ward off any problems, issues or even unauthorized activity.

  1. Delete your negative credit if possible.

If you have any negative credit such as delinquent accounts or slow payment history you need to work to bring it all current.  Credit repair is not as easy as it used to be, but you can pay on delinquent accounts to get them to a current status.  You should also begin to make regular, timely payments on a payment history that is slow or lagging.  If you can pay your delinquent accounts all at one time to bet them to a current status, but if that is not a possibility, you can pay on the accounts in increments and pay it a little at a time until current.

  1. Don’t close old accounts.

While you may be tempted to close old accounts, resist that temptation.  Keeping old accounts open and current will show as current accounts on your report.  This will show that you have active, good credit and will help to boost your rating.  The longer that you have revolving credit accounts with no negative reports, the better it makes your credit appear.  This translates to a better overall credit score.  Many credit experts advise that you keep a balance a balance or 30 percent of your credit limit.

  1. Pay your bills on time – always.

You may think that this tip is rather obvious, but it still stands to be repeated.  Your credit score can begin to decline even if you are only 30 days late in payment.  Even if you pay every month, if you pay late every month, you are still damaging your credit.  Your best bet is to make your payments on time every single month.

  1. Use credit to pay for credit.

This is an old, tried and true technique for credit building.  Get a secured credit card for “x” amount of dollars.  Once you receive your card, get a cash advance of 70 percent of your credit limit.  Do this with a second and third cards as well, using the cash advance from the previous card.  Open a checking account with the cash advance on the third card.  Use this checking account solely for making payments on your three cards.  Pay on time each month and your credit score will increase.  It may drop initially because of the three accounts taken out so quickly in succession, but within 4 months it will have rebounded and your score will be greater.

  1. Maintain different types of credit.

Diversify your credit with revolving accounts, unsecured loans and secured loans.  This shows that you are able to manage several different types of credit at once.  Get a vehicle, mortgage or personal loan so that you can have an installment loan on your credit report and charge cards give you the revolving credit.  This shows that you can handle short term credit, long term credit, fixed payments and variable monthly payments.

  1. Don’t file for bankruptcy.

While bankruptcy may seem like an easy way to get out of debt, resist the temptation.  Don’t file for bankruptcy or foreclosure; they remain on your credit report for 10 years and will cause your credit score to plummet.  However, the older a bankruptcy becomes (as long as it is combined with a credit history that is rebuilt), the less impact it will have on your credit score.

  1. Don’t open new lines of credit.

Do not open new lines of credit unless you absolutely must.  Every time that you apply for credit there is an inquiry that is placed on your report.  This often causes your credit score to drop slightly.  This is more important when you are just starting out or when you are rebuilding credit because you either show no payment history or a negative payment history.  That, combined with a lowered score can show you as a credit risks to creditors.

  1. Stay on top of all credit issues.

As soon as you realize that there is a problem with your credit, you need to take care of it as soon as possible.  When you are staying on top of your credit issues you can ward off problems that will destroy your credit score.  This strategy will also help you ward off fraudulent activity that may occur on your account due to thieves and identity theft.

When you use these tips to boost your credit rating you will see great results.  Your credit rating will improve with the structure you establish and you will have better access to credit if you never need it for emergencies. Emergencies can come at any time as we all know and your ability to some form of credit can truly help in a time of need.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

How to Save Money During Tough Times – Especially Making Personal Changes for the Better!

In this new year unfolding and recovering from an uncertain economy, many people are looking for ways to stretch their dollars and make ends meet. The good news is there are lots of ways to save money and stay on top of your financial situation. Here are some effective methods for using your money wisely and generating cash for your savings account.

Save money on your food and grocery bill. This can be done in a multitude of ways. First, limit eating out to no more than once a month. This includes lunches, so get creative and brown bag it to save money every work day. Make eating out a treat and not something you rely on regularly to stretch your food dollars to the max. Next, plan your weekly menus ahead of time and always shop from a pre-made list. Clip coupons from magazines and store flyers. Make your list while considering what is on sale. All the major stores have websites that will show you exactly what is on sale currently, so begin your list by checking out those sale items. Using a list will help you be more efficient with buying  items that can be used together, and you will be less tempted to impulse shop if you stick to your list.

Shop around for a less expensive television entertainment package. A lot of money can be saved just by calling your provider and asking about discounts or deals. Often you can eliminate channels that you don’t watch often and walk a way with big savings. If your current company doesn’t have any discounts, call around and check out the competition. The same thing can be done with your internet service or phone service. So, shop around and you can save big money on entertainment, internet or phone access.

Contribute something to your savings account every payday. Even a few dollars each pay period will add up over time and can make a big difference if an emergency comes up. Without a savings fund, the only way to get through emergencies is to take on debt and we all know how expensive that can be. So, if you are not already growing your savings account now, get started so you have a cushion for unexpected expenses.

Consider getting a second job. A part-time second job can generate a cash influx that makes the difference between getting by and getting ahead. Better yet, think about starting a side business. You may have a hobby or interest that can be made into a profitable business. Learning that your main job isn’t the only way to make money will open your horizons and get you thinking about new ways of bringing in money.

Have a yard sale to get rid of unneeded items around your house and make some extra cash. Sell suitable items on Ebay or Craigslist. This is a great way to clean out your closets and storage areas. You may be surprised at what people will pay for your things, but give it a try. Make sure to advertise your sale in free newspapers or online forums, Put a sticker price on every item as people don’t always like to barter. Be clear about your prices but also be willing to haggle with interested parties. You want to sell as much as possible so don’t be too picky about your selling prices. Your earnings can be added to your savings account making an even bigger safety net for the uncertain future.

So, there you have it. With the tips above you can save money during the hardest economic times. These ideas are tried and true methods for cutting your spending and generating cash for your savings account without imposing painful budgetary restrictions. Start living within your means and dedicate yourself to creating a sizable savings account and you will be well prepared for whatever the future holds. Now that 2015 is literally hours away, you can grab a hold of your direction and begin to create the life you deserve finally!!

Happy New YEAR!!


Staying on top of your very personal credit situation is a critical component of any kind of recovery effort. Many times in my conversations with my clients, it is often revealed they have no idea what is happening with their credit files. It’s daunting to live your life every day and make an appointment to see the dentist, a medical professional, your kids school teacher, and even your Tax Advisor; but have no idea what is going on with your credit files! In today’s article, I will outline 5 reasons to monitor your credit situation and those that have access to your information.

Your ability to stay off any foul play, misuse or representation based on illegal access to your personal credit information can only be further progressed if you bother to manage your credit files to begin with. Waiting until your car breaks down is a terrible time to discover you need to buy a new one and learn after an application for a loan has been submitted that you can only buy an older car and not a one based on your credit score. What a way to find out, your credit is in the toilet! So, reason #1 is monitoring your credit files and scores.

1. A credit file monitoring service like Credit Check Total or Score Watch are great programs as they send you an email when someone access your credit files to review almost immediately if not within 24 hours. Know sooner than later what is likely to impact a critical decision that involves your credit scores. The other benefit some companies actually provide insurance to help you restore problems when there has been some kind of breach involving large companies.

2. Identity Theft is simply the ugliest thing that ever reared its head with life changing
consequences. It happens in such a way that people spend years cleaning it up and restoring order to their lives. I have personally used a website called, http://www.idwatchdog.com/. They have some amazing services where it will often be revealed the source of the abuser. I found the person who used my information on their website!

3. Unintentional merging of family files can sometimes reveal problems that are in fact not your because you shared a residence with someone and their debt landed on your credit files. Perhaps your named after someone and you need to know if issues arise in your name and identification.

4. Job hunting is harder now than ever because credit is used to lock out or even create a cloud of confusion that is not helpful when you are recovering from a hardship and old debts could not be paid. Potential employers are sometimes unforgiving and forget in these times, your credit may be a target and used to judge you moving forward.

5. Moving and change of addresses is the last reason you want to manage your credit files. This is important because the access that someone can get from your old mail about your lifestyle, interests and activies is revealed in mail that is delivered to you. Moving can lead to access to your information when a change a address is not recorded by the post office.  Be mindful of this. It’s important to know what you behind when you leave a residence.

I hope you find this article very helpful. Please leave a comment and let us know how we can help you more. Cheers to a smarter 2015!

Credit Scores – Recognizing Their Impact and Leverage

Credit scores are such an integral part of our lives as decisions related to investment, spending and lending are intricately intertwined. There are simply very few places anyone can go and credit scores are not apart of a situation when money is needed. Do you ever wonder how to protect how your information is accessed? What about how to maximize loan approvals? Do you feel that restoring your credit situation is overwhelming and hard to manage? Are you tired of being penalized for late payments, medical situations or even divorce that has truly screwed up your credit scores? Well, I have some great news because I will be writing a series on all these areas and more over the next few months. In some cases I will share case studies of clients we help restore their problem credit credit situations and ultimately win. How often does that happen? A lot more than you realize.

Credit scores can ruin your life of you are not taking some responsibility to address things that happen to in your life. We see our clients recover from things like:

  • Tax liens
  • Foreclosure
  • Child support
  • Bankruptcy/Short-sale
  • Auto reposessions
  • and more
Being turned down is the worst for any of things. Not understanding why is the pits! Credit scores can make your life easier or quite difficult when not used to create the best circumstances for your goals. Small business owners, entreprenuers, and even part-time freelancers often need to borrow money. Every choice made up until that point, is up for review by a lender. Students trying to go to school are plagued by never-ending borrowing to finish school and those loans will never be forgiven unless approved by actions of government.  This is the time to renew your commitment to develop a mindset of management and clarity in all things about your credit. Identity theft is growing leaps and bounds as well.
 Bad Credit has become the norm and great credit something people think is elusive and hard to achieve. You just have work with someone who can help you get where you want to be. There is only 12 months in a year and it goes by pretty fast. You can be winner and stop being left out because of past problems. Living with bad credit is not necessary, but it is choice if you are not working on your habits that have created your situation.
The things that create the atmosphere of fearing credit scores and what someone has access to about your personal information is important to know. I have personally experienced identity theft not once but three times! It’s troubling to deal with someone running around using your information and being about to get loans, accept mail and even file taxes. I sincerely hope you will be engaged and committed to activating your attention to the areas I share in this article if they impact you in some way. Articles will be posted here and in our magazine.
2015 is your year and we are here to help you achieve your goals.

Now this post is not intended to create fear in what you have experienced for a long time, but awareness is important because of the new ways of manipulation that do in fact affect your understanding of how and why you may notice a company that has gathered some data on you. The action of pre-screening you generates those mailed offers and in some instances, the knowledge of your credit potential is revealed. If you have good credit and want some low-interest rate credit or loans; this action could be appealing.  If your credit is going through a patch and you are sensitive to what and whom can see your reports than that is something you can control.

Junk mail is the leading annoying factor in those special sale opportunities for potential credit promotions designed to get your attention and consider the offer.  Bad credit promotions are even more aggressive as the interest rates on those offers are generally so high and outrageous, many people get in a bad situation with funky fees and auto-billings.  In an earlier post, you can check out how and why ordering your Annual Credit Report is the beginning of tracking these types of activities. If you haven’t done so, take the time to order your reports. You should know what and who is checking up on you. You can do so for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. This website does not provide credit scores for free.

There was a time when having a bad or challenged credit history could save you from pirates and thieves, but all that has gone away with Cyber activity and the use of stolen data. Even in situation where your credit score is not directly impacted by some kind of breach, your “liking or personal details” are in fact on the hook. A new persona can be created without your social security number. Be your champion this year and get your mind on your credit business. Your future does depend on it. I hope you enjoyed this post. Let us know how we can help you with your goals.

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