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Devine's Credit Story—myFICO Credit Journeys

In our series myFICO Credit Journeys, we hear from regular people about how they build and maintain their credit. Today we're talking to someone who juggles being a mother at home and a vice president in the workplace with a FICO® Score of 752 whose mantra is "Live Below Your Means."

Do you have a credit journey that you'd like to share? Send an email to creditjourney@fico.com

Age: 36
Location: North Carolina
Profession: Mama Bear at Home, Executive Director in the Community and Vice-President in the Workplace
Starting FICO® Score: 612/617/620
Current FICO® Score: 749/752/755
Favorite TV show: Fixer Upper, Game of Thrones
Next credit goal: 800+

When did you realize you needed to start managing your credit?

Shortly after graduating from high school in 2002, it was time for me to purchase a car in order to have transportation for college. As a first-generation college student, there were many financial challenges that I needed to manage myself, including purchasing/leasing a vehicle. After meeting with a bank representative, I soon realized the power and purpose of having a healthy credit history and a solid score.

What did you do to start managing your credit?

In order to start managing my credit, awareness was key. Gaining a better understanding of my habits and alleviating the impacts of infrequent payment history, delinquencies and high balances became pivotal. Monitoring my credit, budgeting and taking key actions to become more disciplined by saving and spending wisely were the most beneficial changes to manage my credit better.

When did your hard work pay off?

In 2011, my husband and I began the initial process of building and better managing our credit. We had our eyes set on homeownership and were fortunate to be paired with an amazing financial counselor. Robin became the coach that took a genuine interest in our success and helped us become more accountable for the goals we desired to achieve. With basic steps such as negotiating, eliminating debt and removing delinquent or inaccurate remarks on our accounts made remarkable strides for our credit.

What did you do once you reached your goal?

Once I reached the goal of having a minimum score of 650, my husband and I began the homeownership journey and were able to build our first home in 2013.

What is your next credit goal?

Eliminate revolving debt, decrease high balances and achieve a score of 800+.

How will you reach your next credit goal?

Reaching my next credit goal will include the basic lessons I learned nearly ten years ago. Monitor, eliminate the heavy burden of high balances and remain disciplined by refraining from unnecessary spending.

Any special tips for managing your credit during the coronavirus or uncertain economic times?

The mantra "Live Below Your Means" has remained one of the best lessons we continue to practice in our home. Saving and spending wisely has helped us alleviate any impacts, and we are extremely grateful. Consistent budgeting and challenging the temptation to consume materialistic items have been extremely helpful and best prepared us for this current time in society.

Hear more about Devine's story and other real-life credit journeys through FICO's partnership with The Finance Bar on demystifying the FICO Score.

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.

myFICO Team