850. Eight hundred fifty perfect points. It happened for the first time a few months ago: My FICO score hit the fabled 850 mark. It was, in a word, perfection. It also gave me the opportunity to think about how I got a perfect credit score.
How I Landed a Perfect Credit Score
I shop. A lot. And I always have. For someone who is relatively young–at least in the world of loans–my credit history is quite lengthy. I also use my credit cards regularly. Not just one or two, but I rotate through a handful of cards on a regular basis. Even the cards that I don’t utilize often, I do the $1 dance with them to keep the accounts open and in good standing.
I get it from my momma. One time, my mom tried to write a note to the cashier at Kohl’s giving me permission to use her charge card. I know. I tried explaining that it wasn’t 1952 at the corner store in Mayberry, but she didn’t listen. (“It has my signature.” Yes, Mother, I see that.) After that fiasco, she added me as an authorized user to a handful of her credit cards. Before you get the wrong idea, it wasn’t so that I could go on shopping sprees worthy of TMZ coverage. It was so I could run errands for her. You want to borrow the car? You better work, girl. Now it’s true that not every authorized user status shows up on your credit history, but some do. Plus, she taught me how to use plastic responsibility. If you’re willing to overlook that whole note-writing incident.
I never run a balance. Aside from my mortgage, I am debt free. If I could, I would pay off my mortgage in its entirety as well. But we just aren’t there yet. I did also have a car loan at one point. The only reason that I allowed that balance to exist was was because it was a 0% loan. (No, it’s not everyone’s ideal, but I loved buying a new car, and I’d do it again.) As far as consumer debt goes, though, I’m taking a hard pass. If I can’t cover it in cash, I don’t put it on my card. That way, my cards are paid in full every month.
I’m always on the hunt for more. Instead of waiting for credit card companies to notify me that I am eligible for an increase, I request them. I probably should have more of a system, but it is essentially whenever I’m on my account and am tempted to click the “request increase” link. If I had to guess, I would say I do this at least annually, perhaps twice annually, on each card that I use frequently.
I know I’m on my own. Here’s the thing. Credit card companies are out to make a buck. OK, lots of bucks. A flipping ton of bucks. They’re not here to play nice and dole out treats for no reason. They want me to get stuck in the consumer debt trap because let’s face it, charging 25% interest on a zero balance isn’t keeping the lights on anywhere. I know they aren’t looking out for me. I know that their rewards and bonuses are all part of a game. I just happen to spit game right back. All’s fair in love and shopping, I suppose.
(Pssst. I might pick up a few pennies from this widget.)
And Why I Still Care
There are plenty of good reasons to care about your credit score. In addition to pissing off Dave Ramsey (no, Bruh, it’s not an I-love-debt score; it’s an I-hate-paying-through-the-nose-on-insurance score), I am fiercely competitive with my husband. When we first started dating, his credit score was garbage. He had one store card and a few unpaid medical bills that were the result of misplaced mail more than exorbitant expense. (I know, it kills me, too.) Fast forward to almost a decade together, we are in the midst of a fierce battle via the Credit Karma apps and free Discover FICO scores on our phones. As he inches closer to 800, I am having too much fun showing off my 850.
As much as the perfectionist in me is thrilled to see those numbers, I love money even more. If the right cash back or airline miles promotion shows up in my mailbox, I will happily apply. Because while my perfect credit score may not be forever, this screenshot sure is.
So Tell Me…Do you care what your credit score is? Are you uber competitive over anything with your significant other?