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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

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?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

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

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

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

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

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

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

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

How to save for a home

Q. We have been working on getting our credit in order so that we can buy a new home.  Now credit ready, we’re struggling to come up with enough money for our down payment and closing costs.  We’ve come so far, and now it feels like our lack of savings is going to keep us from buying a home.

A.Saving for a down payment and closing costs is an achievable goal. In fact, saving is often easier than you think when you are trying to reach a specific goal. Perhaps the best place to start saving is to reduce your expenses and sock away what you save. It doesn’t seem such a sacrifice to cut down on entertainment, meals out, or other miscellaneous expenses when you are saving for what you want.

Another great way to save what you need is a payroll deduction that gets directly deposited into your savings account. You will not spend money you don’t see, nor will you miss it. If a payroll deduction isn’t possible, consider having money taken out of your checking account and automatically deposited into your savings account each month. 

Have you considered a short-term, part-time job?  Summer is an especially good time to find a part- time job to help build your savings account. Do you have any items you can sell online?  Can you hold a rummage sale and save the money?

Do you normally get a tax refund?  Rather than spending this money, save it so you can build your home fund.  Save any gifts of money, too. While you cannot borrow money from a relative for a down payment, you can use any gifts of money you receive toward your home expenses.

Some special loan programs offer down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified buyers.  These programs often come with income limits, so these programs are not available to everyone.  Still, it might pay to check with your nearest HUD approved housing counseling agency for more information.

In the meantime, don’t take on debt in order to get the cash you need for a down payment costs. Taking a cash advance on your credit card, for example, will increase your debt ratio. It could even increase to the point you no longer qualify for a home. Tapping a retirement account isn’t a good idea either, since you will pay a penalty and taxes on any early withdrawals. What’s more, if you withdraw the money as a loan, you have now incurred more debt.

With a little ingenuity and patience, you can save what you need to buy your new home. When you set your mind to it and sock away even the smallest amounts of money, you will be surprised by how quickly you will reach your goals.

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

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.