Things You'll Need
Correct Errors on Your Credit Report
Ensure that your credit report is accurate. Many debts are wiped clean in a bankruptcy, and you need to make sure that your credit report reflects this. It can take a few months to get your credit report in order, so be sure to pull your credit report every 30 days following your filing. Make sure that any debts that should've been taken care of with your bankruptcy filing are marked as such. You do not want a debt to be reflected as "Open" or "Late" when it should've been taken care of with the bankruptcy. Be prepared to call your debtors and provide documentation of your filing. Keep good records of who you spoke with and what time the conversation was held. Follow up each phone call with a certified letter if you feel necessary.
Get a Credit Card
It seems counter-intuitive to open credit since credit card debt could've been what got you into trouble in the first place. However, in order to rebuild your credit score you have to have some credit. After a bankruptcy, it may be difficult to get a typical, unsecured credit card. A secured credit card typically has a very low credit limit and is issued to those who are first starting out with credit. Because these limits are so low, you can easily charge a good percentage on the card with a single swipe, which will negatively affect your credit. Use credit cards - especially unsecured credit cards - sparingly. Pay off the balance in full on time every month. This is not a tool to go out and spend with. Consider it a tool to help rebuild your future and eventually get another home mortgage.
Pay All Debts on Time
Pay all of your debts on time, including utilities. Utilities are inevitable, as are student loans in most cases (students loans usually cannot be forgiven in a bankruptcy). Paying your utilities on time not only keeps your lights and water on, but establishes a pattern of responsible credit usage. Since a student loan cannot usually be erased, focus on paying these payments on time, if not early. Try to put more towards this loan each month.
Whenever anyone applies for a mortgage - whether they've filed for bankruptcy in the past or not - their employment history is scrutinized. With tighter lending precautions, a stable employment history has become more important than it has been in the past. If at all possible, try to stay in your current job (at least with the same employer) for the long run.
Now that you don't have as many debts to pay, try to save a good percentage of your take-home pay. If you want to get a home mortgage eventually, you will more than likely have to put forth a sizeable down payment. A down payment of 20% is the norm; however, you will probably need at least 5% of the purchase price of your future home set aside. Get in the habit of saving as much money as possible as early as you can, particularly if you don't have any other debts (such as a lingering student loan) to pay.
Stay on Track
Stay on course with your progress and remain optimistic. If you feel it necessary, meet with a credit counselor to ensure that you don't go into debt again. Being debt-free is the ultimate freedom: with no debt collectors to answer to you can focus on rebuilding your credit score and financial future.