1. Consider opening a checking and savings account. Some lenders look at this to determine if you can responsibly handle money. Being able to pay bills from a checking account is also much more convenient than paying with money orders.
2. Consider applying for applying for store and gas credit cards for purchases for which you would normally pay cash. These cards usually have small limits and can help you restore you credit, but only if you have the discipline to set aside the money to pay the bill each month.
3. Consider applying for a secured card where you deposit cash and charge against it. If you borrow money for short periods of time and pay it back, this will reflect positively on your credit report.
4. You MUST pay your utility bills and rent on time for at least a year.
5. If possible, find a friend or relative to cosign for you on a loan and pay it on time.
6. Look for car dealers and mortgage brokers that attest to being "bankruptcy friendly". Buy a used car on credit so you do not get hit with the depreciation that occurs during the first two years of a new car purchase.
7. Stay away from payday loans that are at high interest rates and are a bad credit trap.
8. Write a letter to each credit reporting agency explaining the circumstances that lead to your bankruptcy filing.
9. Live within your means. Do not unnecessarily increase your debt-to-income ratio by taking on credit to purchase luxury items that you DO NOT NEED. Your payments on consumer debt should equal no more than 20% of your expendable income after costs for housing and a vehicle.
10. Pay your reaffirmed, pre-bankruptcy debts on time.
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About the Author: Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.