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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

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Q. My husband experienced a mild stroke and has been unable to return to his regular job. In the meantime, he has found part-time work, but our income is significantly lower than it once was.  To make matters worse, all of his medical bills are pouring in. I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do next.  Can you help?

A. Life is full of many unexpected trials.  Like your husband, many people who experience health problems end up taking a different job or retiring early.  Thankfully, your husband is doing well enough to work part-time.

It can be overwhelming when you’re dealing with a budget shortfall, especially when you’re grappling with the fallout from a health issue at the same time.  It’s important, however, that you don’t let your feelings keep you from taking action. I encourage you to meet your financial problems head on with the steps outlined below.

Start by gathering all of your medical bills and make a list of them.  Include the name of the medical provider, the original balance, and the balance owing after insurance has paid. If insurance hasn’t paid on the account, check with your medical provider to ensure they have filed a claim with your insurance company. 

Next, make a list of all the other debts you have, the name of the creditor, the balance owing and the monthly payment.  Include car payments, as well as all other debts.

What is your monthly income now that you husband is working part-time?  Consider income from all other sources, too.  But count only what you know will be coming in every month.

Now review your monthly expenses.  How much is your rent or mortgage payment, your electricity, gas, and water/garbage each month?  How much do you pay for Internet, cable television, phone/cell phones, gasoline, car insurance prescriptions, groceries, etc.?

Add up your monthly expenses and your current debt payments and subtract them from your income.  If you have money left over, great – now you have money to pay your medical providers. 

If you don’t have money left over, you need to look at areas you can cut.  Can you cut cable, Internet or cell phone costs?  Do you have items you can sell? Could you get a part-time job?  The goal is to come up with money to pay all your debts, including your medical providers.  Depending on your income, you may be able to qualify for food stamps or other assistance.  Now is the time to consider all of your options.  

Once you know how much money you have available to pay your medical providers, call them and ask them if they will accept a monthly payment.  Most medical providers will accept a reasonable payment, as long as you make the payment every month.  If you miss payments, your account could get sent to collections, which you want to avoid if at all possible.

If you continue to feel overwhelmed or struggle with this process, contact your local non-profit accredited credit counseling agency.  They work with many families facing similar kinds of circumstances and may be able to help you consider additional options.

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.