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Take a Break From Your Credit Score (Really!)

If there's one thing I've learned in my time as the Editor of Creditnet, it's that your credit score wasn't built in a day, nor will it jump 100 points in the matter of moments. Even if you start making all the right moves, it still takes time for those credit-related improvements to take effect on your credit score. Anyone whose ever attempted to eliminate something from their credit report knows that credit reporting agencies don't exactly move with Superman-like speed, and the consumer with the tortoise-approach often wins out over the hare.

OK, so bad analogies aside, here's what I'm trying to say: Give your credit score a break for a little while.

Here's what I'm not saying: Forget your credit score completely.

Because credit scores are slow-moving and at times hard to determine, it can make a consumer crazy once they start watching their score like boiling water. Sure, consumers in the credit-building process have a bit more arduous and high maintenance a task than other consumers, and it requires them becoming a bit of a watchdog in terms of their report and ultimately their score.

But for the good-to-excellent credit consumers sweating out a point here or there when their monthly monitoring score comes in, I can say that a lot of that worrying is unwarranted, especially if you're maintaining the same spending habits as always.

I took a break from checking my score a few months ago once I noticed I had started to obsess over it. At first it was fascinating, but over time it became a disappointment when my score didn't jump a mile each month, or even worse when it dropped a few points after a hard pull. So with no mortgage application on the horizon or bad debts hanging over my head, I put the score monitoring aside for a few months, confident that if I just kept putting  the very same good credit tips I write about each day in place, that my credit score would be better for it.

A few days ago, I couldn't resist any longer and checked my score. I was floored to see that my score had jumped up 30 points! This was largely because two hard pulls of my profile had fallen off, and something that I had forgotten was affecting my score in the first place.

Look - I'm not saying ignore your credit for an extended period of time, nor am I saying that simply avoiding the issue in any way helped or hurt my score. I'm just saying that the time off left me to concentrate on the things that improve my score in the first place - paying down debt, making on-time payments and (mostly) staying out of the mall - without worrying about the short term effects they might have.

There are enough things to stress about on a daily basis in this world. If your credit score doesn't have to be one of them, don't let it be. Take a break from your score - you might be pleasantly surprised when you return, so long as you're doing the things you know you should be doing when it comes to building your credit score.

on Fri, 2013-05-10 14:54