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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

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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

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Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

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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?

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Stressed by Finances

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Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

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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

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How your credit is affected by various debt options

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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

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How to get ahead of late fees

Q. Some of my creditors are charging me late fees on my accounts. I’m frustrated that most of what I pay gets eaten up by fees and that I fall further behind as a result. What can I do to get out of this cycle?

A. All creditors have their own policies and procedures that govern how they handle late fees and payments. Some creditors have special programs that can help you bring your payment current. These programs come with specific guidelines, so not everyone will qualify for them.

At the very least, you will need to explain why you have been late on your payments. You may also have to fill out a new financial statement and provide your creditors with additional information before you qualify for assistance. You won’t know what’s available to you, however, unless you take the time to contact your creditors.

If it turns out that your creditors don’t have a relief program, you need to develop a plan to bring your accounts current on your own. Start by pulling out all of your statements and recording how much you are past due on each of your accounts. Make a list of each account, the amount you are past due and the date that you will need to pay the balance owing. Sometimes, seeing everything laid out in front of you can make a task seem less daunting.

As you consider how to resolve your past due debts, resist the urge to reallocate money you usually use to make other payments; to do so is to trade one set of problems for another. Instead, you need to find a way to increase your income or reduce your expenses.

This might involve using part of your tax refund, getting a part-time job, working some overtime hours or selling something that you no longer need or use. Cutting out unnecessary spending on incidentals, consolidating your errands and sticking to a menu can help free up cash, too. While you’re working on getting your accounts current, refuse to be complacent about your spending—even small amounts of cash add up.

While it’s frustrating to see most or all of your payment going to fees, you must resolve to bring your accounts current by all means possible. If you don’t, you will fall further behind and your fees will continue to mount, making it even more difficult for you to dig yourself out of debt.

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.