Extra Credit

I have rotten credit. We’re talking can’t-buy-a-stick-of-gum-without-a-cosigner bad credit. It all started, as most credit problems do, with a gym membership. That was when I was about 19 and it’s been that way ever since. I managed to pull myself out of the muck enough a few years ago to get a car loan without a cosigner but that took lots and lots of searching and the sacrificial bleeding of many goats.

And despite my cavaliar tone about it, I’m not proud of my credit history. I’m downright embarrased. It really came to a head for me with my last girlfriend when I started thinking there might be a genuine future for the two of us and the last thing I wanted was to go into marriage being unable to get a mortgage, or car loans, or Tic Tacs. The worst part of it all is that much of it could have been avoided. Unlike the majority of people with bad credit, I don’t have any excuse. I didn’t suffer dibilitating medical costs, or lose my one and only job, or have to raise a family on a single income or anything like that.

No, I’m just bad with money.

It’s a lethal combination of my general scatterbrainedness and the inability to track where my money goes. Now I’ve never made more than $15,000 in any given year so my income certainly has been a factor in getting into this situation, but many people before me managed to survive and that kind of money without ever seeing their credit score dip below their IQ. This is the biggest reason why I moved back home.

But soon I’m going to have to go out on my own again. I’m too old to be living at home and its a very unnatural situation that wears relationships with my family and friends down to nubs. And I guess the first sign of being able to solve a problem is admitting there is a problem. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this kind of financial situation. I’m probably not ever going to be making much more money so it’s going to come down to being smarter about money and getting my head screwed on straight in regard to record keeping.

Anyone else out there fight this battle and win? Got any tips? Advice? Scams I can use?