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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

Creating a fun and memorable holiday on a budget

Q. I’ve been working hard to get ahead this year, but I’ve hit a few financial roadblocks. Money is tight, and I don’t know what I’m going to do to make the holidays special for my children this year.  Do you have any suggestions for me?  

A. You can make the holidays special for your children in a variety of simple and affordable ways. Start by holding a family meeting, prepared to ask them questions about what might bring them delight. Write down their answers to the questions that follow, since they will be instrumental in helping you plan for the season ahead. 

Start by asking them what activity they most want to do for the holidays. Host a family movie night?  Go ice-skating?  Caroling?  Do they want to bake holiday goodies together?  Make holiday decorations?  Do they want to go to a parade?  Hit the local sledding hill? Host a neighborhood bonfire and hot dog roast? 

Next, ask your children what food or treat would they want for the holidays. Are you looking forward to pumpkin pie?  Roll-out sugar cookies?  Some families have a tradition of a particular food on a particular night. For some, the holidays are special as long as there are homemade chocolate covered peanut butter balls or turkey and stuffing for dinner. You might be surprised at how your kids respond to this question.

Next, set a gift budget for each child and then ask each of them what gift they would choose if they could only choose one in the price range you’ve established. Since your children may gravitate toward more expensive gift options, you may need to explain that you are working within a specific budget this year and then help them choose options that fit in your price range.

Finally, use the holiday season as a way to help teach your children about the value of giving to others.   Ask them what volunteer activity they would like to do this year in service to others.  Would they like to go caroling at the senior citizen’s center?  Could they help a neighbor clear her sidewalk?  Would a homemade decoration cheer a lonely friend or neighbor?  Does the local hospital or food bank need volunteers?  Is there someone you know that has lost a loved one this year?  Perhaps you can work together to create a special meal or small gift for this person.

You don’t have to overspend to have a meaningful holiday. As parents, we are sometimes our own worst enemies, getting caught up in the busyness and hyper-consumerism of the season.  We can use the holiday as a way to teach our kids about the value of celebrating little things, and we, too, can learn that intentional choices can go a long way toward creating a fun and memorable holiday season.  

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.