Financial emergencies; we all have them. Whether it's an overspend on the weekly grocery shopping, the car failing it's MOT or an appliance giving up the ghost, the chances are most of us will know what it is like to feel financially stretched at some time or another.
In times gone by, many people would have had a small cushion to fall back on. These days things are very different. With prices on everything from food to fuel on the rise and wages stagnating, the purse strings are somewhat tighter leaving many with little to no financial fall back. The result is that even a minor overspend one month can leave a family struggling the following month.
Regular readers will know that my family has recently been on a holiday. However, as I received my regular income whilst we were away, we completely forgot to budget in any money for our usual living costs. When we did get home, it quickly dawned on us that we hadn't left much money for the following week until the next benefit payment was due. So we didn't budget so well after all!
Most of us have credit cards for emergencies and I am no exception. Yes, I should have thought ahead to the week or two beyond our holiday and budgeted better but I didn't. I reserve mine for genuine emergencies and most of the time I am able to pay it off each month because of that. That said, when I was young, free and single (with a splash of being irresponsible thrown in) and got my first credit card, an emergency was seeing the last pair of gorgeous winter boots in my size that I just had to have or a night out the week before pay-day after a bad week at work.
These days an emergency is a lot more than a wardrobe update or a bottle of wine on a Friday night and I am (slowly) getting better at financial management. Having been without a credit card for many years until a few months ago, it's nice to know I now have that little cushion, for emergency use only.
If you’re a stay-at-home mum then the chances are there’s just not enough time in the day. Looking after a child, fitting in a social life and hobbies, not to mention the household chores, means thinking about your credit rating isn’t top of the priorities list. It can be easy to neglect your credit profile when there are other worries, but if you’re already a mum or expecting a child, it’s a good idea to think about maintaining a healthy credit profile if you want to apply for a credit card. With rising costs, credit cards are become an essential part of paying for the weekly food shop or new toys and clothes. If you’ve never thought about your credit rating before and don’t have a clue where to start here are several great tips to help keep it in good standing.
Pay attention to your credit score
Even if you’ve never had a credit card in your name, you’ll almost certainly have a credit report. This is the information that lenders will look at when deciding whether to give out credit, whether a loan such as a mortgage or a financing option for a new computer. Your credit scores are the first place to start when you’ve been refused credit or you’re considering a credit card. Make sure that you don’t keep trying to get credit when you keep getting rejected as too many enquiries can have a negative effect. Visit sitehere to find out more about credit scores and how they affect your eligibility for credit.
Use your maiden name
This is a common mistake that most women, not just stay-at-home moms, make according to credit agencies. If you get married or divorced and don’t write to the three credit agencies to notify them of the name change and send the required documentation, then you might not have a credit record in your new name. No credit record can make it very difficult to get a credit card or loan which can be essential given the financial constraints of raising a young child. Don’t assume that credit agencies will automatically update your information, always check to save problems.
Get a credit card in your name
If you’ve never had a credit card before and you’ve become a stay-at-home mum then having no income to claim can seriously hinder your chances of getting a credit card. Parenting can be difficult at the best of times and with more and more mums staying at work longer during pregnancy due to financial pressures it is useful to have the buffer of a credit card to tide you over. Having a credit card or any bank cards in your name can make the difference when getting more credit or for first-time applicants. Don’t cancel cards already in your name if you’re a stay-at-home mum and remember that if you are an authorized user of your spouse’s card that doesn’t have any impact on your credit score.