Changes I’ve Made To Help Improve my Financial Health
I purchased my apartment at Christmas time last year and was lucky enough to finally move in this June. It wasn’t without its ups and downs or ‘teething problems’ as my mother liked to say, but I am finally starting to feel settled. If you read my last blog, What I wish I knew before buying my first home’, you will know I have learnt A LOT. I’ve also made a lot of changes, especially to help improve my financial health!
Two months after moving into my new home I got a text saying my water would be disconnected due to an unpaid bill. Firstly, not a nice text to receive and secondly, I had a mini panic. All my bills had been paid since I had moved into my apartment. I logged on to Credit Simple, and my credit report showed me that the bill wasn’t mine. Before moving I had arranged with my tenant to just change over the account ownership we did that, and I had assumed he was up to date with payments. He wasn’t. It turned out he hadn't paid his final bill. I made the payment and chased the old tenant.
Disputing errors is an easy way to ensure your credit score is as it should be. I challenged the bill. My water company had not told me of any outstanding invoices, and I had paid on time every bill (all two of them) that had arrived. I didn't know about it, so I wasn’t going to let it affect my score. I’ve saved all the emails, and if it shows on my credit report on Credit Simple, I will be ticking that “Question This” box.
Another thing I learned was around prioritizing money and paying bills on time. Not paying your bills – or paying them late – is one of the worst things you can do for your credit score.
After going on to Credit Simple, I learned that I was consistently paying my mobile bill 1-29 days past its due date. As this is due the day before my monthly payday, I am now paying this a month in advance, so I am always ahead.
Someone also commented on my last blog, What I wish I knew before buying my first home, that you can, in fact, choose those billing dates, so I have been busy emailing all the providers asking them for a billing date of the 15th. That way all my invoices should arrive on payday making sure these bills are paid as a priority before anything else.
A key change for me is now I regularly check my Credit Simple credit score and credit report. I have started to make it a habit, once a month, usually on payday, I sit down and spend 20 minutes paying my bills and checking my credit report on Credit Simple. Doing it then and there allows me to keep on top of it, track my finances and ensure nothing is slipping through the cracks.
I also spend some time checking to see where I can make savings. I know it's hard, but if you have a great credit score, you can call up Vodafone, your utility companies even your bank and negotiate a better deal.
I did this too and am so proud of myself! I called Vodafone, and I asked for a better deal on my account, to see if they could match a Spark deal especially since my bill was averaging $157.89 when I was on a $99.99 plan. The result wasn’t what I wanted, but it was great to try at least. Now I am the kind of girl who will ask for a better deal.
They say knowledge is power and this is a prime example. Knowing my credit score thanks to Credit Simple has changed the way I deal with money but it has also given me more power. Power to negotiate, to take advantage of better deals and to make improvements.
Take that power into your own hands, head to CreditSimple.co.nz and start getting your financial health on track. Trust me, your future self will thank you!