Credit score in the dumps? Trying to get a low-interest loan for a car but can’t? Don’t worry—here are some tips to get you back on track. 

Budget ruthlessly. People talk about budgets all the time, but how many people actually live by them? The question you have to ask yourself is, do you want to have fun now and worry about debt or be responsible now and have fewer worries later? Not spending money you don’t have may sound trite, but it’s the first step.

Consolidate debt. If your credit score is suffering from an excess of credit card debt, consider a lower-interest consolidation loan (many services offer up to $50,000) that can slash your interest payments and help you pay off your debt much faster.

Watch your debt utilization. Using more than 30 percent of your available credit is a sure-fire way to shoot your credit score in the foot. Don’t let credit card debts carry over month to month; but if you do, make sure the total debt stays as low under that 30-percent threshold as you can.

Make a phone call. Are there errors on your credit report dragging down your score? A simple call to the credit bureaus can clear up any discrepancies in what you’ve done and what they show. In fact, as many as one in five credit reports has an error that could be costing you valuable points.