Many people find themselves in financial trouble after the holidays. As a result, there are many companies that advertise they can fix or erase your credit problems. Often times, however, you can solve the problems yourself by calling whoever you owe money to and seeing if you can work out a payment plan, offering to pay X amount per month. Otherwise, find a local nonprofit credit counseling service in your area. If you end up talking to a credit repair company, you need to ask

-who much do you cost exactly?

-what do you do exactly? [Note: after the company tells you this information, ask yourself, can I do this myself?]

-what are your cancellation policies and refund rules?

-what kind of communication will you have with me and how often?

To protect your credit rating or score, get your free credit report once a year,, and correct any mistakes on it in writing, remember to always pay on time, don’t make new debt to pay old debt, don’t close old accounts because a longer credit history helps your score, keep your balances at less than 25% of your total debt, and don’t get any new lines of credit unless you absolutely need them.