1. Not paying off accounts
My first year of college I opened a credit card. It had a limit of $500 which I maxed out fairly quick. I would like to think that I made a few payments on it, but cannot be sure. So I saved up $500 to pay it off finally and was going to charge a plane ticket on it immediately. When I called them to pay it off they said they had closed the account, and I figured "to hell with you!". So I went out and spent my saved $500 on a plane ticket without charging it and just kind of forgot about the account. So began my career with payments. As the years went on multiple little accounts cropped up that I didn't pay off; dentist here, old phone bill here, sears card, jcpenny card. I was moving around a lot at the time and creditors could never find me, but when I finally wanted to set up lines of credit for a possible land purchase, and other things, my credit was ruined.
So I set off on my quest of finally repaying all my past debts and I must say when all the collections were finally paid off I had a great sense of peace.
1. Setting up automatic withdrawals
I realize this is not a new or amazing idea, but it is something that is easy to do and doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I will admit that I only have this set up for my sharebuilder and ING IRA account. Due to the fact that I work hourly not salary, my paychecks vary, so larger sums are a bit harder to set up at this time but I plan on setting up a more permanent AW in the future for savings. By doing this money is taken out of my account with no effort on my part as long as I remember to count it in my balance. It has allowed me to get in the habit of setting aside money in small yet diversified accounts. It goes along with David Bachs theory of pay yourself first.
So the key things to remember are to keep all payments up to date and on time, and set up regular monthly automatic investments. It is all so basic and easy, now just make it a habit!