<p>They say, &#34;You never miss a good thing until it&#39;s gone.&#34; Before you got bad credit, you probably didn’t realize the impact credit could have on your life. Unfortunately, you&#39;ve found out the hard way that credit influences where you live, what you drive, how much you pay for certain services, and even where you work. Would you have known this much about credit if you&#39;d never had bad credit?</p><p>If you have bad credit, chances are you won’t be borrowing more money because credit cards and new loans are off limits. So, the good news is the debt you have won’t grow by much more.</p><p>Of course, the bad news is that you have to deal with the debt you have. Fortunately, paying off your debt can bode well for your credit score. Taking care of your past due debts will put you on the way to <a href="https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-rebuild-bad-credit-960374" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">rebuilding your credit score</a>.</p><p>You might work your way to a better credit score or you could get one by chance as old, negative information falls off your credit report. Either way, you have to protect your good credit score unless you want to be back in this situation again. That means paying your accounts on time and not taking on more debt than you can handle.</p><p>It takes some really big mistakes to ruin your credit score – charging more debt than you can afford to pay and then not paying it. Once you hit rock bottom with credit, you have to learn to live on what you earn, no more borrowing your way to a better life. The good thing is that this lesson is necessary to protect your credit score in the future. Not only that, living with your means is one of the most basic and critical financial skills. You&#39;ll have far fewer financial problems when you master this one.</p>When your credit hits rock bottom, it can’t get any worse, even if you tried to make it worse. If you start paying off your debt, paying your bills on time, and taking on new credit carefully, you can work your way to a better credit score. As you start raising your credit score, be careful about mistakes that can bring it back down again.