NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — We are continuing our week of saving you money. Having a good credit score can get you lower interest rates when you’re looking to make a big purchase. We are helping you stretch your dollar with ways to improve your credit score in the New Year.

Keeping a good credit score is the secret to stretching your dollar so knowing what helps and hurts it is great information to have in the New Year. If your resolution is to buy a new car or simply improve your finances, it all starts with your credit score. Hartford Attorney Sarah Poriss says the best thing you can do if you’re young, is start building your credit history. If you’ve already started, keep those credit cards open that you’ve had the longest.

“If you opened a Sears account when you were 30 and now you’re 50, you may want to keep that account open and active because that will show a 20 year credit history,” Poriss said.

Paying your bills on time and maintaining different type of credit is another way to improve your score. But don’t get too carried away building up that credit. You want to keep you balances low.

“If you have a credit card that has a $1,000 limit and you have $950 charged on that card, you are going to be scored more negatively than if you have $250 charged on that card,” she added.

Keeping a good credit score will not only enable you to buy some of life’s bigger purchases, it’ll also save you money on things like auto insurance and low interest rates when you go to buy a car.

“At least know what your score is and what you could get for interest rates at your own bank when you do go into the dealership. Then when the dealership says, oh no, I have to charge you 12%, you know whether that’s true or not.”

Knowledge is power! In order to have your score work for you, you have to check it! Even if you’re afraid of what it looks like. You need to ensure everything there is accurate and that you correct anything that’s not. You are entitled to a free report from each of the three nationwide reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion.