The first step in keeping your credit clean is knowing what your credit looks like. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report each year. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com or Credit.com to sign up for a free credit report. You will not receive your actual FICO score, but you will receive a comprehensive look at your credit history. To find out your FICO score, you can pay for that at MyFICO.com for about $15. Some of these sites also provide some advice on how to improve your credit from where it currently stands.
The primary way to ensure you have good credit is to pay off your debt on time. If you use a credit card, pay the full monthly balance before the due date each month. If you have a mortgage, make sure your monthly payments are made on time for the full amount. If you have a large purchase or payout to make coming up, use a budgeting strategy to save for it rather than borrowing more money for it. Excessive debt will hurt your credit rating as well as your financial foundation. The same strategies that can be used to pay down your debt will also help you increase your credit rating and, in turn, strengthen your financial foundation.