Hello folks, I'm still a newb so if you can help me puzzle this out, I'd appreciate it :-)
When applying fresh (for me post-bk, but could be anyone with no cards) is it better to get all 3 that you need right away? Or get 1-2, wait 1yr until the INQ doesn't matter, then get the other 1-2? (I don't intend to have more than 3.)
I'm not checking any more prequals until my discharge, but I'm planning on trying for cap1, disco and "if I'm feeling lucky," BoA (burned). I'm still gonna research some backup plans for that last one if the prequal site doesn't come thru after discharge. Any particular order that's better (like, is one of them more inq sensitive than others)?
I know this one is more of a theoretical question for now, since I am basically going to be taking what I can get post-dc.
For util purposes, and really for my own financial safety, I am trying to figure out how to calculate where to draw the line re: total available CL across all TL's.
I realize that just because you have it doesn't mean you have to use it. And I've been very disciplined wrt being on a "cash diet" for nearly the past year, even when my credit cards were available to me (obviously since June they have not been), so I'm pretty confident in myself. However, I want to create failsafes for myself - you know? I don't want to get more credit than I actually need.
Is there a calculator out there that will do this for you? Figure out how much you can actually pay, based on your inc/exp?
I intend to stay on the cash diet pretty much forever, and only use cards maybe set up each with one autopay for a utility. That way it gets utilized, I pay it off after statement hits, and util stays relatively low, and I'm not living beyond my means. I mean it on the cash diet. I am NOT getting in this mess again.
So I guess my question is - is it better to keep to a total avail. CL that you can actually pay in the event of an absolute emergency (like, you get in an accident, run up medical bills and attorney bills and get stuck filing bk) or better to take a CL that is higher, so that your UTIL will be lower in case you ever have to make actual use of the card. If that makes sense.
Obviously I am leaning toward only really trusting myself for the former, but not quite sure how to figure out what that might actually be.
BOA is not BK friendly at this stage . . . don't bother with them
It'd be great to get 3 cards all at once and let them age together, but if you're going unsecured, you may find that just one card wants to approve you for now, while the others want to wait and see a little positive history before doing so. Secured cards offer more flexibility here. But it's up to you whether or not you want to rebuild with them. (I didn't.)
Credit lines are going to be personal preference. Regardless of the limit, it's going to be you personally that keeps yourself from getting in trouble. If you don't trust yourself with large limits, by all means don't get them. But you can have poor financial habits regardless of your limits.
In my experience, once you get the first card and it starts reporting, your scores should take a jump. I would get three as soon as possible, but would avoid Credit One, First Premier, etc. Merrick is okay to start with. And Discover Secured if you can't get the Discover It. Cap1 should be fairly easy. But I would seriously use and pay those three for close to 12 months, then you should be in good shape to start getting better cards and, when you do, you can start weeding out the not so great ones.
You will also learn over time which cards will truly meet your needs, and then will be able to focus on those. I am speaking from experience because I went the fast and furious route. I haven't gone more than 2 or 3 months without applying for another card, and my BK will be two years old in November. I think I would be much further along score-wise if I had gotten 3 good cards and then just stayed in the Garden. Definitely check out the Garden thread for encouragement once you have your cards in place. It's a place where you commit to not applying for anything new so that your accounts can age and grow. And then you can get the cards you really want, not just the ones you can get now.
Almost forgot, it is crucial to start routing money into a savings account for emergencies so you don't have to rely on credit cards should something happen. I started and online savings that get fairly high interest. I find that it is much easier to save and not touch it when part of my paycheck is direct deposited into that online account.