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How quickly will it take for my credit to improve?
So I am 19 and have been building my credit since the day i turned 18. I had it at an all time high of 630 but i am now at a depressing sub 500. I have one past due payment and everything else has been on time. I recently paid off a credit card I had with a store but read it is also a good idea to keep accounts open, so shortly after paying off my account I went to make another purchase. I got accepted for the item I chose without any downpayment and very low payments. After a couple days I checked back with Credit Karma and realized it dropped my credit tremendously. My question is should I make the minimum amount due every month to help with my payment history and slowly decrease my balances or should I make it a priority to lower my utilization on my account? I don't plan on taking on anymore debt for a while but definitely want to look into a credit card to make small payments on, but i am hesitant cause I don't want to be denied. Thank you in advance for your help!

P.S. My goal is to be as close to 700 as possible by the end of this year!

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Plan on a 2 year battle to get to 700 and thats just with your Vantage Score here.

*  NEVER EVER BE LATE ON A PAYMENT,  No matter what you do never be late.

*  Having a Credit Card does not mean you have to use it.  Take all your Credit cards and tuck them away,  never to be in your wallet. 

*  NEVER Ever Carry a Balance on a Credit card.   If you Don't have the Cash to buy something then you don't need to charge it.  Learn the difference between needs and wants.  If you have CC's with a balance then pay them off as quickly as you can.  

* for your CC's that are paid off,  send them 1.25 a month to Help with your payment history.  You will end up having a Credit and they will send it back to you.  Repeat the process.   ( You DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE PURCHASES TO MAKE PAYMENT's  )

* Never elect for Paperless statements, You want those Paper Statements in your hand.  You want to Read them top to bottom front and back each month when you get them. 

* Credit History and your Credit Score Takes Time,  a Long time,   Years,   give it time you are Young,  you have your whole life ahead.

* Create a Budget for each month,  if you don't have one now,  START!

* Make sure you have an Emergency Fund in place,  if you don't START!  

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