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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

Valentine's Day On A Budget

What Will You do With Your Tax Cut?

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Setting Financial Goals for the Year Ahead

Financing last-minute Christmas gifts

Your Credit and the Holidays

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

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

Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

Q. Back-to-school expenses always ends up costing us more than we anticipate. Sometimes, it takes us months to pay off what we charge. How can we get our kids what they need without going into debt?

A. Back-to-school purchases can easily sabotage any budget. To avoid overspending, you need a plan. Start by printing the supply list for each of your children so you know exactly what they will need. Next, make a second list that details the clothing items that your children may need, including things like new shoes and winter coats.  

With your lists in hand, take an inventory of the school supplies you have left from last year. Remember when you purchased two dozen notebooks because they were on sale? Chances are you still have a few unused notebooks floating around. Are the binders and backpacks still in good condition? Some school supplies can be handed down from one child to the next. Protractors don’t wear out, nor do rulers. 

Cross off the supplies you have on hand. There’s no need to buy a new backpack if the old one will do. Now you know what specific supplies you need to buy.

Next, take an inventory of the clothing your kids already have. What still fits and what doesn’t? If clothes still fit and are in good condition, then you don’t need to replace them. Whittle down your list so that it reflects your child’s true needs.   

Combine your child’s clothing and school supply needs and make one master list. Start looking for the best deals on school supplies, but shop only for what is on the list. Do not deviate—remember your goal is to avoid going into debt. When you have finished buying what’s on your supply list, stay out of the school supply area.  Don’t continue to browse. A good deal isn’t a good deal if no one needs what you’re buying.

Before you take your kids shopping for school clothes, have a conversation with them and find out what items on their list are most important to them. As parents, we can be our own worst enemy, buying things that kids don’t want or that they won’t wear or use. It doesn’t matter how much money you save on an item if it sits in the closet. It isn’t necessary for your kids to start the school year with a whole new wardrobe when a few items can freshen up any closet. Pare down the clothing list down to reflect each child’s top priorities. 

Now that you have a clothing list, shop with one child at a time, if you can. All of us are influenced by other people at different times. If you try shopping with everyone at once, your daughter may decide she needs new shoes like her brother, when all she really needs is a new pair of jeans. Again, keep your list on hand and don’t deviate from it. 

To get the best deals, wait for sales and consider shopping at outlet stores. In the meantime, remember that you don’t necessarily have to purchase everything in a single trip. If your son or daughter has something new to start the year, the rest may be able to wait. By waiting, your kids may find out that they refine their clothing priorities.

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to wreck your finances. With a little planning and discipline, you will be surprised how you can stretch your dollar.

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.