The other day, Credit Karma sent me my monthly reminder to update my credit score. Credit Karma is a nifty little free online service that utilizes soft queries on your TransUnion credit report (that's the kind that doesn't impact the score to do) on a monthly basis, to keep you updated on what the credit agencies think about you. It's not a perfect system, and the other two reporting companies probably have slightly different reports, but it's a nice little tool.
I've been subscribed to the system for quite a while, but hadn't thoroughly investigated its functionality. I updated my score (up two whole points since last month. Woo.), and also spent some time poking around a bit. In addition to showing you a glimpse at your credit score, the system also provides a 'report card' that explains why your score is what it is. It grades based on on-time payments, utilization, age of credit lines, etc. I don't agree with all of it (it gives me a D on number of credit lines. Apparently if I opened a bunch more cards and took out more loans, it would show that I'm a more responsible citizen. Right.), but it's certainly interesting to know about, as these are the metrics that will be used to judge you when you go to buy a car or get a mortgage or such.
In my investigation of the resources offered, I came across various debt-over-time plots. I was recently lamenting that I hadn't been tracking my exact debt levels over the course of my repayment mission. Tracking things is fun, and yields pretty plots. Sure, I can back-calculate based on my known payments, but this is easier. Apparently Credit Karma was already tracking that for me! Above is a plot of my total debt level over time.
As you can see, I had an annoying level of debt to my name already, as of July 2011. My student loans are part of that, but I'd put far too much on various credit cards during school. In November, I bought my car, so the car loan explains that huge jump. In the following October, I got married, so there was a bit of ramped-up spending leading up to that.
Finally, in January of this year, we've got the launch of Operation Debt Freedom! Just look at that gorgeous negative slope. Progress is beautiful.