When you’re a young mom who’s just starting a family, you might not know exactly how to start establishing credit. You probably know that you need to build good credit and maintain it if you want to buy a house for your family, finance a vehicle, or get a loan to make a large purchase. But you might be wondering how you can go from no credit at all to establishing a good credit history.

These tips will help you along the way.

Look Into Getting a Small Installment Loan

There are financial institutions that offer small loans to build credit, known as starter loans. These loans are installment loans, which means you pay a fixed amount each month towards your loan balance until it’s paid off. When you make your monthly loan payments on time each month, you start to establish a good credit history, which shows lenders you’re responsible with your money. As long as you continue to make on-time payments for the duration of your loan, you’ll build a high credit score, which will help you secure other loans in the future.

Stay On Top of Your Finances

Improving your financial situation is something you’ll continually work on throughout your life — and it’s something that’s a lot easier to do if you start early. To stay on top of your finances, you need to create a household budget and be sure to pay all of your bills on time.

Remember, it’s not only your loan and credit card bills that affect your credit. Every bill you have matters, even if it doesn’t directly impact your credit report. For example, if you pay your rent on time every month, your landlord becomes a good credit reference. Also, many people don’t realize it, but their utility bills, cable bill, and cellphone bills all impact your credit negatively if they aren’t paid on time.

Build Credit with Credit Cards

When you don’t have any credit, it can be hard to get approved for a major credit card, but you might be able to get a secured credit card. Secured credit cards are credit cards that require you to put down a deposit in order to use them. After you’re approved for a secured credit card, you’re asked to pay a deposit up front. The deposit you pay becomes the credit limit for the account. It’s placed into savings and, when you pay the card off and close the account, you get your original deposit back. These cards typically have high interest rates, though, so once you’ve used the card to build a good credit history, you might want to avoid using it.

You can also use store credit cards to build credit because many of them are easier to obtain than an unsecured major credit card. To make sure you don’t overspend, consider obtaining a store credit card from a retailer you regularly use to shop for household goods. Then, use the card to pay for your groceries and when the monthly bill comes, pay it off completely.

Find a Co-Signer

If you aren’t able to obtain a loan, line of credit, or credit card on your own, consider asking someone who has already established good credit to be your co-signer. You can have a co-signer on most loans and credit cards, but remember, if you default on your payments it reflects on your co-signer’s credit report too. So if you have a co-signer, it’s extremely important to make all of your payments on time.

Remember, establishing credit takes time. However, if you remain patient and continue to pay your monthly bills on time each month, it’s easy to establish credit and build a good credit history.