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The way you handle money early on in your life can set a spending pattern for many years to come. For example, if you begin relying on credit right after college, you may find yourself continuing to accumulate credit card debt for the rest of your life. For this reason, it’s important to actively build your financial future by creating a budget, improving your credit score, and paying back owed debt.

Know your credit score

The first time you borrow money from a lender that reports to a major credit bureau, you will generate a credit report. Most home loans, student loans, and credit card debt is reported to a major credit bureau, so you may already have a credit report in your name. Any time you wish to take out a future loan, your lender will look at your credit score to determine whether you qualify for the loan and what your interest rate should be. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to check your credit score for any errors.

Use debt sparingly

The biggest rule in borrowing is to never borrow more money than you can repay. If you’ve never owned a credit card, then you should begin by just taking out one card in your name. As you use your credit card, be sure to only charge what you know you can pay back. You may also want to consider building up your credit history by using a secured card, which you pay for in advance.

Repay your debt

Six months after you stop attending school, you need to start repaying your federal student loans. This includes your Stafford and Perkins loans. In order to ensure that you don’t miss any loan payments or benefit options, make sure that your lender knows your new address.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, Cutler & Associates, Ltd. can help you understand your options.