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Back-to-School Strategies for Staying Out of Debt

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

Tax filing options to consider

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Celebrating Valentine's Day on a budget

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Strategies for Financially Surviving the Holidays

Creating a fun and memorable holiday on a budget

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

Tax Refund Delays for some in 2017

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

Making the holidays memorable for families on a tight budget.

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

Should Consumers Use the New EMV Cards?

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Q. Last year, I moved in with my boyfriend to save money.  I thought this would be a great move, since we could share expenses and my cost of living would go down.  But I’m not saving any money, and now I’m in debt.  I don’t know what to do.

A.  As I see it, you have three choices. You can accept the situation and live with it. You can change the situation by changing how you respond to it. Or you can leave this situation.  If you choose to accept the situation, you need to realize that you give up the right to complain.  In addition, if no changes are made the situation will more than likely deteriorate and you will probably end up with even more debt.   If you choose the second or third options, you need to look closely at your personal circumstances.  Why have you gone into debt, and what can you do to keep it from happening again? No one is going to fix this situation for you; you need to make a choice.   

You may have expected to save money when you moved in with your boyfriend, but your boyfriend probably had expectations about the financial arrangements, too.  Beyond agreeing to divide the rent and utilities, however, I’m guessing that the two of you did not discuss your expectations. The truth is that our expectations can often cloud reality.

As for the debt you have accrued, you need to take a closer look at what is happening.  Have you experienced unusual circumstances that have caused the debt? Or is your debt owing to a decision you have made, such as buying a car? Are you spending money on things you don’t need?  Have you equitably divided your other expenses?  Or are you paying for things your boyfriend should be responsible for?  Is it possible that he is already paying his share of the expenses, but that you simply expected him to pay more? 

In addition to considering why you are debt, it is important to get a handle on what you owe. Gather all your information and record what you owe and to whom.  What are your monthly expenses:  rent, utilities, phone, gas, insurance, groceries, clothing, hair care, medical, donations, entertainment, hobbies, etc.?  What debts do you have?  How much do you owe, what is the monthly payment, and what interest is accruing on your debt? 

This information should give you insight into what is happening each month.  Perhaps you are paying for the groceries and didn’t realize how much it would cost to buy food for both of you. Or maybe the two of you need to discuss a more equitable division of all the other expenses.  If you are paying for things your boyfriend should be responsible for, then you need to stop. Whatever the case, it’s time to have an honest conversation with your boyfriend about the state of your finances and any changes that you may need to make.

If, after gathering all of your information, you are still at a loss as to why you have the debt you have, see if you can get your boyfriend to come with you to an appointment with a non-profit credit counselor who will review your budget and debts and develop a plan of action that will work for you.

I encourage you to do the hard work of evaluating your situation. Then you need to be prepared to make some changes. This isn’t a situation where things will shake out on their own; nothing will improve until you decide to do something about it. 

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email acce@acce-online.com.

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.