You’re not born knowing the Ins and Outs of personal finance. Your parents might not have figured it out themselves, and you surely didn’t learn everything you need to know in school.

Women who want to eliminate debt, increase their wealth, and live a better standard of life, need to know the nuts and bolts of personal finance. Blogs like us spend a lot of time on basic personal finance practices, like budgeting, debt reduction, and savings.

But there is a secret sauce the binds them all up together, and has a big impact on the way your personal finance journey goes. This is your credit history, and the fruit it bears: your credit score.

Basically every adult has a credit score. It’s a three digit number that sums up how good or bad your credit history is. Actually, you have three credit scores. There are three credit reporting agencies, and they each use different criteria to determine the quality of your credit.

Why do these companies do this thing? Because lenders, like banks, need to know if you are responsible with your money. If they’re going to give you money, they need to know if you’re going to pay it back. Your lenders can’t look directly into your personal accounts, so they have to rely on certain records of your spending and credit behaviors over the years.

These behaviors are recorded in your credit history, and summed up in a simple number: your credit score.

If your credit score is high, a lender understands that you’re probably responsible with your money. They’ll know that if they give you money, you’ll probably pay it back.

You won’t be likely to default on the loan, or catch a plane to Senegal and never pay the loan back. Knowing they will probably get their money back without having to chase you around for it, the company that’s acting as your lender will only charge you a small, reasonable amount of interest (if you’re dealing with a reasonable lender).

For people with bad credit, the situation is not so simple. The lender knows that the person is likely NOT to pay the loan back as directed. So they charge more interest and fees – sometimes A LOT more. Sometimes, the lender won’t grant you a loan at all. That sucks, but it’s true.

One of the main problems, though, is that if the lender DOES give you a loan, you’ll be paying a lot more for it than your friend with good credit.

And you’ll be paying more for many years. In the case of a mortgage, you might pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars more than someone with good credit, over the 30 year term of your loan.

That’s money that could be invested or saved on your end, or just spent on whatever.

To repair your credit, practice responsible credit, saving, and spending. Don’t rely too much on credit, and pay your bills on time.

Lexington Law review is a company that can help you with the trickier parts of pulling your credit history out of the mud. It doesn’t take as long as you might think to repair your credit. But from what you know now from reading this post, it’s definitely worth it.