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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

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

Q. My wife and I just purchased our first home, and we are excited to put our personal stamp on it. Any suggestions on how we can do this without going too far in debt?

A. Buying a new home is an exciting adventure, so exciting, in fact, that it’s easy to get swept away with your future plans for making it your own.  Instead of rushing out to buy all-new appliances and furniture, however, I encourage you to take a slower, more thoughtful approach to furnishing your new house.

Homeownership will come with new and different kinds of expenses, and it can take some time for you to become accustomed to these changes in your budget. The last thing you want to do is to take on more debt as soon as you move into your home. New drapes are lovely, but a high-interest credit payment is not.  

The slow approach to decorating starts with you considering what will bring you joy.  How do you envision you spending your time in your new home? What purchases can you make that will help you achieve the kind of life you desire?  Do you envision gathering people around your table, or maybe you want to create a comfortable media space for your family.  Will having a well-equipped mudroom make it easier to deal with muddy feet and paws?  Or maybe you’re dreaming about a bistro set to enjoy your morning coffee on the front porch.

With this vision in mind, make a list of the items you would like to have for each room in your home. Think about what you want or need for outside living, too, including things such as a lawn mower and patio furniture.  Next, prioritize your list. What do you want or need to buy first? 

With your list in hand, you can start sourcing your wants and needs, but you don’t necessarily have to start at a retail store to do this. You might consider getting in touch with your family members first to see if they have unwanted items sitting around.  You can solve their storage problem while getting something you need in the process.

You can also check Craigslist, garage sales and second hand stores for the things you need. With a clear vision, and a little persistence, you can net some fabulous items for your home, including like-new appliances, rugs and furniture at a fraction of the price of new items.

Regardless of where you choose to shop, I suggest you set a budget for each item you wish to buy. I also suggest that you institute a short waiting period if you plan to spend more than $200 on any given item. If you feel rushed into buying something, you could end up with a case of buyer’s remorse.  If you buy something on impulse, you may find that it isn’t something you want or need. It’s better to wait for precisely what you want than to rush out and buy something just for the sake of furnishing your home.

Review your prioritized list often and determine which things you need to buy next.  After living in your home for a while, you’ll have a better sense of how you use each room, and you may find that your priorities change. Taking your time and filling your home with things you love will help to keep your budget intact and let you create a space that is uniquely your own.

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.