The credit tips everyone should know before 40

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Turning 40 is an exciting milestone. It means crossing the threshold of middle age and hopefully reaching a point where you can take ownership of your choices. Though inching close to the big 5-0 may feel terrifying, there's something incredibly freeing about knowing how to deal with whatever life throws your way, especially when it comes to your credit. To that end, here are some skills to master.

1. The Meaning of 'Good Credit'

At this point in life, you should be familiar with the concept of a bad and good credit score. That's because knowing the latter, be it a FICO score or VantageScore, means knowing what challenges you'll face when it comes to borrowing money — and what type of rate you'll receive when you do. Many scores are available to lenders, so study up on the various models. (You can see where your credit scores stand for free on

2. How to Dispute Errors on Credit Reports

You're an adult now, so you'll need to handle your credit reports like one. Fortunately, it isn't too hard: Go through every section of your credit reports with a fine-tooth comb and get in touch with the issuing credit bureau if something's amiss. Spot more than one issue? You'll have to file separate disputes for each item. And if you have a lot of errors or just don't want to DIY, you can hire a credit repair company.

View 20 unusual ways to make quick money:

20 unusual ways to make quick money
See Gallery
The credit tips everyone should know before 40

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

Photo via Getty

Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

Photo via AOL

Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

Photo via Getty

Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

Photo via Getty

Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

Photo via Getty

Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

Photo via Getty

Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

Photo via Getty

Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

Photo via Getty

Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like, and see the cash pile up.

Photo via Getty

Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

Photo via Getty

Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

Photo via Getty

Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

Photo via Getty

You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

Photo via Getty

Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

Photo via Getty

Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

Photo via Getty

Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

Photo via Getty

Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

Photo via Getty

Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

Photo via Getty

Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

Photo via Getty


3. How to Spot Identity Theft

Identity theft is rampant, so you need to know when to act. That means paying attention when your credit card is declined, monitoring your credit score for any unexplained drops and checking credit card statements regularly to catch any unfamiliar charges or increase in balances.

4. How to Avoid Overdraft or Bounced Check Fees

Gone are the days when your spending was limited to the actual amount of money in your account. Today, if you opt in your bank will let a transaction go through even if you don't have enough cash for that ATM withdrawal or debit card purchase. And then you'll face an overdraft fee — as much as $35 per overdraft. Some banks even charge $2 to $5 per day until the account regains a positive balance. And if your balance stays in the red, your account could be closed and sent to collections (and that will ding your credit scores too).

5. How to Manage Medical Debt

Growing older means more doctor visits for you and your kids — and medical bills as a result. But lest you think ignoring those bills won't hurt your credit, think again: Though doctors or hospitals don't usually report such debt to credit reporting agencies, they do turn over unpaid debts to debt collectors, who will report them. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, roughly half of all collection accounts on credit reports are due to medical debt.

6. How Your Spouse Affects Your Credit

Whether you just took the plunge or have been married for years, it pays to know how your spouse impacts your credit. Will his negative credit history come back to haunt yours? Are you automatically a co-signer on her accounts? Debunk the myths now to avoid some tough conversations later.

RELATED: 8 money-saving online shopping hacks

Money-saving online shopping hacks
See Gallery
The credit tips everyone should know before 40

1. Clear your browser history

Some retailers might sneakily increase prices based on your browsing patterns and demand - so make sure to always clear your history and cookies before shopping! 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

2. Use an alternate email address

When you log in to a retailer's site with a new email address, retailers will often welcome you as a new customer with exciting new promotions and discounts. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

3. Note price changes throughout the week

Another pro tip: Prices and deals can fluctuate based on the day of the week. For instance, if you're purchasing a flight, monitor prices for around a week to see if they take a dip on any particular day before purchasing. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

4. Let items linger in your cart

Here's a hack: Add items to your cart, but let them sit for 24 hours before purchasing. The retailer might attempt to lure you back with additional discounts.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

5. Check out multiple sites

Do some research! Don't settle for the first price you see - poke around on a search engine and find the best deal. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

6. Bargain with customer service

Use customer service to your advantage. If you ask (politely!) about an expired coupon, you'll often find yourself pleasantly surprised by an extension or new code! 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

7. Don't purchase impulsively

Try this shopping hack - don't buy that shiny, new toy right away. Step away for a few hours, and if you find yourself itching to go back and click 'purchase', then you know you won't regret your investment!

Photo credit: FogStock

8. Avoid shipping fees

Take advantage of free shipping! If you are a few dollars below the free shipping price point, add a low-cost filler item you need anyway (like socks!) and make the math work out in your favor. 

Photo credit: Alamy


Want to see the other six essential credit tips you should learn by the big 4-0? Check out the full article on

More from
A Quick Guide to Paying Off Credit Card Debt
How Selling Your Home Can Impact Your Credit
How to Protect Your Kid's Identity

This article originally appeared on

Read Full Story
Credit Card Compare

Credit Card Compare

Whether you're looking for great travel rewards or low annual fees, find the card that's right for you.

Compare Now

Want more news like this?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Large Numbers Of Horses Are Being Stuffed Into These Crates For A Despicable Reason Large Numbers Of Horses Are Being Stuffed Into These Crates For A Despicable Reason
13 People Recount Their First Kiss Horror Stories 13 People Recount Their First Kiss Horror Stories
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going