Financial blogger Kem Washington shares how a long-term strategy helped her lock in her dream car.
As a busy college student light on cash, I had to settle for cars whose best days were already behind them. Because of my limited funds, my cars just got me from point A to point B — and sometimes it was touch and go at that. After graduating from college I made a personal vow that I'd work to get the car of my dreams. And I did.
I'll probably never forget how proud I felt the day I went to the dealership and purchased my dream car. While that day felt like it was long overdue, if I hadn't taken the necessary steps to establish my credit, that day would never have come, no matter how much I wished for it or did research on trim packages and additional options.
Throughout college, my credit had seen its ups and downs. After being irresponsible with my credit, I realized that a change was needed. As my college graduation date drew near, I made a firm commitment to get my credit in order and leave my bad habits behind for good.
Making My Plan
Realizing that a change wouldn't take place overnight, I had to face some hard realities about my credit. I knew that it would take patience and time for my credit to turn around — no magic wand could take care of the changes I wanted to make. I committed to becoming proactive about my credit so my credit score could help me make the purchase I wanted to work towards.
First, I outlined a credit solution for myself. The first step was to review my credit report in its entirety. I studied my credit file for inaccuracies, unauthorized accounts and any credit mistakes that should be removed. Next, I contacted creditors with whom I needed to discuss payment arrangements to bring accounts to good standing. While this process wasn't easy or pleasant, it was the essential groundwork that would allow me to make-over my credit standing.
A Change Will Come
Finally, I knew that if I wanted to see a change in my credit, I had to commit to better behaviors for the long term. I took the time to understand the components that my credit score was made of. Armed with knowledge concerning my credit score, I made a commitment to make timely payments and keep my amount of debt low. Of course, my change did not happen overnight; however, it did get me where I wanted to be — driving the car of my dreams.
By staying committed to my goal and setting a realistic plan, I was finally able to make that trip to the dealership and drive away in the car I'd worked so hard for.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Experian.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
This article was originally published on May 19, 2015, and has been updated.