There are 168 hours in a week. By allocating a tiny fraction of them to improving your credit, you could potentially save hundreds or thousands in interest on future loans, get the best insurance rates and avoid utility deposits.
Here’s a Monday through Sunday credit-building schedule, but feel free to get started any day of the week. Check out the Nerds’ seven actionable steps you can take this week to improve your credit.
Monday: Pull and read your credit reports
You can do everything right credit-wise, but errors on your credit reports can unfairly hurt your score. In fact, according to a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission, more than a quarter of the participants discovered at least one potentially material error on one or more of their credit reports. As such, it’s important to pull your credit reports to check for discrepancies.
You can request your credit reports for free once a year. Go to annualcreditreport.com and read your credit reports to ensure they don’t contain errors.
Tuesday: Dispute any credit report errors
If you found any errors on your credit reports, now is the time to get them fixed. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year added new rules to make reporting errors easier. Gather any evidence you have that your reports contain erroneous information and dispute them for a possible boost to your credit.
Wednesday: Create a debt payoff plan
If you’re carrying a lot of unsecured debt, your score may be suffering due to high credit utilization. Credit utilization is the amount of debt you have in relation to your credit limits. Experts recommend that this percentage doesn’t exceed 30% at any time to maintain a good credit score.
Create a debt payoff plan to get your utilization down as soon as possible. If you don’t have enough in your budget to make progress on your existing balances, check out our ideas on how to increase your income and decrease your expenses. And if high-interest debt is slicing into your budget each month, check out our favorite balance transfer credit cards.
Thursday: Consider increasing your credit card limit(s)
To further improve your credit utilization ratio, consider increasing your card limits. This may result in a small hit to your credit via a “hard” credit pull — although sometimes you can get a small limit increase without a credit pull. But credit utilization has more impact on your score than credit inquiries.
Friday: Set up a payment plan on large debts
If you have outstanding debts you can’t pay off, call your furnishers and set up payment plans. Whether it’s a medical bill, overdue taxes or an account in collections, communication with your creditor is key to keep a past due bill from further damaging your credit.
Your creditors will want to collect the entire balance you owe, but many will gladly take partial payments over nothing at all, so call them up and ask. Also, make sure the monthly amount realistically fits into your budget before agreeing to a payment plan.
Saturday: Set up automatic payments for other bills
Consider setting up automatic bill payments. Payment history is the No. 1 factor in your credit score, and it’s important to make all of your payments on time, 100% of the time. Missed payments can be reported to the credit bureaus and linger seven years on your credit reports.
Avoid late payments — and their corresponding fees — by setting up automatic payments for every account you can. If you have irregular income and can’t be certain that you’ll have the cash in place when your bills come due, set up email or text reminders to pay every bill before its due date.
Sunday: Take a break!
Whew! It’s been quite a week. Take Sunday to rest — after practicing good credit habits, the best thing you can do for your credit is be patient. Time lengthens your average age of accounts and allows negative items to eventually fall off your credit report. Kick back and relax knowing that you’ve spent the week improving your credit and enjoy reaping the rewards of your hard work.
Read next: How to Raise Your Credit Score by Labor Day
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