While a little retail therapy is OK, overindulging can send your credit card balances soaring. Once you’ve got all the self-care shopping out of your system, make sure to pay off as much of your credit card bill as you can.

Why? Besides the high interest rate on most credit cards, your credit utilization — the amount of credit you’re using at any given time — has a direct impact on your credit score.

A low credit score will make it harder for you to qualify for new credit cards in the future and also increase the amount of interest you’ll have to pay on a car loan or mortgage.

If you haven’t checked your credit score in a while (or ever), you can easily view it for free online.

It takes only a few minutes to check your score, and if it’s lower than average you’ll get personalized recommendations on how to pump it up.



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