Everybody has a credit score—several, in fact. These scores derive from your credit history, which is the full account of your borrowing habits. In most cases, the score is a three-digit number between 300 and 850. But what does that number mean? If you’re considering borrowing money or refinancing, it’s important to learn more about credit scores before you compare loans.

The information on your credit report plays a major role in obtaining a loan, insurance rates, the ability to rent an apartment, and a number of other aspects of your life. As such, it’s important to know what’s on the report. If something is inaccurately reported or someone has accessed and used your personal information fraudulently, you want to alert the credit bureau right away. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay to access this information. You can request one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every 12 months. Use these steps to get yours.

There are times when opening a new credit card can be quite beneficial to your overall credit score. If you have a mortgage or car loan, but no credit card, applying for a new card will help to diversify your credit history, which is a good thing. Or, if you have been dutifully paying off a high-interest card, opening a new card after a year is also a great way to build credit. But there are times when you should avoid applying for credit. Here are four to consider.

It can be stressful when you fall behind on your credit card payments because money was tight. But when your credit score drops as a result, you need to take action. FICO uses your payment history as part of how they determine your credit score. In fact, whether you pay your bills on time accounts for 35 percent of that number. While there isn’t an overnight solution, there are ways to fix your credit score.

If you’re up to your eyeballs in credit card debt, you might feel like there’s no way out. You’ve probably heard a lot of advice about all the things you’re supposed to do, but what about tips for things to avoid? Here are some of the things you should not do if you have credit card debt.

Your credit score doesn’t drop overnight, so you can’t fix it overnight either. It’s important to recognize that it will take determination, discipline, and likely some hard decisions as you work to get out of debt and improve your credit score. Here are four things you can do to start right away.

In the past, homeowners who were married filing jointly  could deduct the mortgage interest on up to $1 million of the amount they used to buy or improve their home. For married couples who filed separately, this limit was $500,000. With the new tax laws, these limits have changed when it comes to a home mortgage.

Home ownership is an investment, but when it pays off may be up to you. If you own your own home, you have been paying into a long-term investment in real estate. It’s smart in many communities to have a mortgage rather than pay rent to a landlord every month. Your mortgage may take up to 30 years or more to pay off, but you don’t have to wait that long to see the benefits. If the value of your home is more than what you currently owe, you may be eligible for a home equity loan. This can result in a cash-out refi, giving you cash that you can use for other things.

There are plenty of tricks to save money. You can skip the morning coffee at the corner café. You can put extra change in a jar, or use an online app that rounds all your purchases up and puts the change in a savings account. You can plan your meals and buy only ingredients to make food at home. But can you get rewarded for good credit? Yes! Having a good credit score and history can help you save money in a number of ways. Check out these examples.

When you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to pay off your debts, saving money can feel like an impossible pipe dream. But you’d be surprised how the small act of getting creative in finding ways to save money can pay off. Commit to better financial health with these five easy-to-follow habits: