Nurture Your Credit
A healthy credit history opens the door to the best interest rates on loans, lower insurance premiums, and the ability to rent an apartment or get a wireless phone plan. To help lenders evaluate your creditworthiness, companies such as FICO and Vantage Score calculate a credit score based on the information in your credit report. Generally, a credit score of about 750 (on the standard scale of 300 to 850) qualifies you for the best loan terms. You can push your credit score into the upper tier by following a few basic rules: Pay all of your bills on time, use a low percentage of the credit available to you on credit cards (the lower, the better; try to stay below about 20%) and don't apply for multiple credit cards at once. If you pay off the balance in full every month, a rewards credit card can be a smart way to earn cash back or points to put toward savings or travel or to cover credit card purchases.