It’s always frustrating and unfair that the people who need credit the most are the ones with bad credit from past mistakes. Once you’ve got a lower than average credit score, life becomes a lot more complicated when you need things like car insurance, credit cards, or car loans. It’s a rough road ahead with bad credit, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel if you can remember a few simple things in the fight against a bad credit score.

Car Insurance

Car insurance companies base their pricing on risk assessment. Since people with poor credit are statistically more likely to file an insurance claim than those whose credit is good, they end up paying more for their premiums to balance it out. But if you take the time to really compare policies for car insurance when you have bad credit, you can find the lowest rate available. Don’t ever settle for the first quote you get. Shop around.

Mortgage

A mortgage loan can be one of the most difficult of all things to get, especially for someone with below-average and especially poor credit. Thankfully, co-signers can help you qualify for home loans even when all hope seems lost. If you have someone willing to be a co-signer on the loan who has a good or excellent credit score, it can increase your chances of being approved for the loan. This is because the person co-signing agrees to assume responsibility for the loan if you fail to pay.

Car Loans

Car loans can be a nightmare to qualify for if you have bad credit. Here’s where fixed-rate loans can save you some money. Fixed-rate loans are what they say they are. The rate doesn’t go up or down for the duration of the loan. For bad credit borrowers, this can mean you shell out less money over the lifetime of the loan.

Credit Cards

Credit card interest rates can be sky-high for bad credit borrowers. It’s an almost universal rule that you’re going to pay higher interest rates on credit cards when you have bad credit. That doesn’t mean you have to accept exceptionally unfair rates. Shop around before you agree to that brand new credit card. Always ask friends or family with bad credit what credit cards have better rates for them. And do your research.

All Borrowing Situations

If there’s a down payment involved, such as a down payment on a house or a car, you should always save money for a bigger down payment. Sometimes when you can make a larger down payment, you can save money on your rates. This isn’t a universal rule in borrowing, but it’s often true in situations where a down payment will affect how much more you’ll be paying over the years. And of course, the more you pay now, the less you’ll need to pay later on down the road.

Having bad credit is never a fun situation, but it doesn’t have to be an eternal curse as you navigate your way through life. There are simple things you can do that will help you save money on interest over the years, and the more money you save, the more you have to spend on the things you really want in life. Borrowing doesn’t always have to be a terrible decision or situation even when you have bad credit. Shop around for better rates, have a co-signer lined up, pay a large down payment, look at fixed-rate loans, and never give up.