The True Cost of Bad Credit

Bad credit can costs you thousands of dollars a year and a small fortune in the course of your lifetime. Think of all the money you are spending on interest every month on your home loan, credit cards, and auto loan. If you have bad credit or a low credit score, chances are, you are paying double digit interest rates which translates into a lot of extra money spent every month.

In this tight economy, lenders are getting more and more choosey on who they lend money to and at what interest rate. If you have a low credit score, they are going to hit you with a high interest rate whereas a person with excellent credit, is going to enjoy the benefits of low interest and overall lower monthly payments. Which person would you rather be? Tough choice – huh?

Money Spent Comparisons

To illistrate our point, let’s take two ficticious people, Ben and Sydney. Ben has a FICO credit score of 720, an excellent credit score, whereas Sydney’s FICO credit score is 650, a fair to poor credit score. Let’s look at a scenario where they are both buying a car for $20,000 on a 60-month loan:

Interest Rates According to Bankrate.com
Borrower
Interest Rate
Monthly Payment
Cost of Bad Credit
Ben
Sydney
4%
18%
$368.33
$507.87
$0.00
$8,672.40

As you can see, Sydney is paying over $8,000 more for the same car after the 5-year loan is paid off. That is a lot of money! Now, let’s look at another example where Ben and Sydney buy a house for $150,000:

Interest Rates According to Bankrate.com
Borrower
Interest Rate
Monthly Payment
Cost of Bad Credit
Ben
Sydney
5%
10%
$805.23
$1,316.36
$0.00
$184,006.90

Long Term Affects of Bad Credit

In our examples above, we showed you the short term affects bad credit can have a person. Sydney has to pay so much more for the exact same products as Ben, but what does that mean in the long run? Well, if they make about the same salary, the person with bad credit has less “fun” money at the end of the month. Money that could be spent on going out to dinner, taking a vacation, or maybe just investing it into a retirement account. When you have bad credit, more than just your wallet is affected – it affects your family, your well-being, and your overall quality of life.

People who have bad credit can never seem to get ahead of the game because they are spending so much more for the same things. That is why is it so important to work on increasing your credit score and cleaning up your credit. Removing negative items, consolidating loans, paying off debt, and paying your debts on time are all things each and every one of us can work on each and every month. A little effort can go a long way.

Ways to Get out of Bad Credit Hell

Now that you see how much money bad credit can cost you, how do you get out of bad credit hell? It is really quite simple, but it will take some dedication on your part. Just think about all the money you are going to save for that vacation to the Bahamas and that should keep you pretty well motivated. (See our article about Repairing Your Credit.) Here are some basic tips:

  • Pull Your Credit Report – you need to see what is on your report before you tackle the problem. Our site contains many ways to get a free credit report or you can opt for a credit monitoring service which affords you a credit report and score.
  • Take Note of All Negative Items – mark off all the negative items on your report and begin the task of disputing these. Our article on “Disputing Negatives with Original Creditor” will show you the way.
  • Pay Your Current Accounts On Time – start paying your open accounts on time and start paying them off. Consolidate them by taking out a low interest low and pay them off.
  • Open Some Different Lines of Credit – your credit score will benefit from varied types of accounts and make sure to pay these on time and keep low balances on them as well.

Once your credit score increases, you can then apply for loans with lower interest rates. Get rid of all those high interest loans and you will start to see some extra money in your pocket at the end of the month. Your Mai-Tai on the beach in the Bahamas is really not that far away!

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