Credit and debt toolkit

Improve your credit and debt ratings and get problems under control with these hands-on tools from Oregon State Credit Union. These resources give you practical money management options, including worksheets and tips which have helped many students in our adult financial education classes.

Debt: how to deal with collectors

Step one is to know your rights and what to do if debt collectors call you. Start with these resources.

  1. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

  2. General tips from the FTC's debt collection FAQs include:

  • Debt collectors can't use abusive, unfair or deceptive practices. They can't contact you at inconvenient times or places.

  • To stop a debt collector from contacting you: Send a certified letter with a return receipt. Ask for contact to stop. If you talk to a collector, be careful about sharing personal information.

Credit: Repair and rebuild

Improve your credit by taking steps to fix errors and improve your credit score. Good general steps for taking action include these best practices.

  1. Review your credit reports at

  2. Use this bill calendar worksheet to pay your bills on time.

    • Be aware: 35% of your credit score is based on payment history. Tracking your bills with a bill calendar helps you see how monthly bills and income add up.

  3. Reduce your overall credit use.


Build a budget: set goals, track progress

Create your budget

If you've never budgeted, or if you haven't budgeted in a while, use our worksheet to organize and focus your thinking.

Click here for your budget worksheet

  1. Start by budgeting an amount for each category on the worksheet. Not all categories will apply to you; add or adapt categories to suit your needs.

  2. Note the difference between actual and budgeted amounts.

    • Does the difference free up cash? Decide ahead of time where the extra cash will do you and your budget the most good.

    • Did you spend more than planned? Adjust something, reduce spending elsewhere, to keep your budget balanced.


Be strategic: use goals. Goals help you build new financial habits and move toward doing what you have dreamed about, such as buying a home, paying for education, saving for retirement, and many other desires.

  • Try the approach called goal setting to the "now," a method of breaking down large goals into smaller goals you can start now.

Click here for your goal setting worksheet

Track your weekly expenses

You'll see how this is a key to money management success. This simple worksheet will enable you to record, organize and know exactly what you're spending each week to make better decisions. That's power that you'll gain when you use this helpful tool.

Click here for your expense tracking worksheet

How much can you save?

As you budget and track your expenses you might find areas in your life where expenses can be trimmed back. This worksheet can help.

Click here for the how much can you save worksheet

Tips for smarter, quicker success:

  • Look for long-term savings that won’t require daily will power.

    • For example: shopping for discounts on your insurance takes less situational will power than giving up your daily coffee. Of course, cutting both expenses will add up to more savings. Think it through — be aware of the kind of opportunities you have and be honest with yourself about what you'll actually follow through on.

  • Just saving isn’t enough: direct the saving to a new purpose.

    • After you cut expenses, if you don’t funnel new-found, hard-earned savings toward paying off debt or into a savings goal, savings will get absorbed back into your general fund. Designate what you will do with savings on expenses and put your plan into action.

Need help with money management?

Oregon State Credit Union has a long track record of serving members and the community and helping others manage their money.



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