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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

Celebrating Valentine's Day on a budget

Q. My husband and I recently purchased our first home, and we are running on a tight budget.  We want to celebrate Valentine’s Day together, but we need some budget friendly ideas. Any suggestions?

A. We all want those we love to remember and appreciate us, and Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to do exactly this.  Still, it’s possible for you to acknowledge the special people in your life without overspending; it just takes a little ingenuity and planning. In fact, no matter what day or event you are celebrating, a little creativity can go a long way. 

To stay within budget, you must first agree on what you can afford to spend. While it may seem counterintuitive to talk about what you want to spend on each other on a day devoted to love, nothing is as unromantic as debt. Stick with cash so that you can fully enjoy your gifts to one another without worrying about making payments for months down the road.

With your budget in mind, consider what the gift recipient likes or appreciates. It’s easy to get swept away by the idea of grand gestures, but gifts that quietly proclaim, “I know you” are often more memorable than their showy counterparts.  It’s also easy to default to a bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates, but if these gifts won’t appeal to your special someone, you’d be better off spending your money elsewhere.

If your special someone enjoys the outdoors, consider scheduling an activity such as sledding, ice skating, hiking, star gazing, or ice fishing that the two of you can do together. If he or she loves gardening, how about a new pair of gloves, with a few packets of seeds tucked inside? If you have a bird lover in your life, a new field guide or feeder may be just the right gift. An avid hunter might appreciate a gas-powered hand warmer that fits in his coat pocket or a new pair of wool socks to keep his feet warm.

Does your special person like treats?  Consider a date for coffee or dessert at your favorite restaurant or be bold and make dessert yourself.  Even buying a favorite kind of candy and including a handwritten note can go a long way toward making your partner feel loved and appreciated.

If the one you love is sentimental, write about a favorite memory you share, make a photo book of cherished moments, or frame a special treasure in a shadow box. Have an engineering print (a giant black and white poster) made of a photo that recalls happy memories—a childhood home, a favorite place in nature, or a beloved pet.

A stay-at-home parent might appreciate a day away from the house all to him or herself.  An antique-lover may enjoy a free afternoon to peruse all of his or her favorite shops. A sports fan may appreciate an uninterrupted evening to watch a game. Get a writer a box of his favorite pens and a new notebook, an avid reader a book she has on her wish list, or the chef of the house a set of gourmet salts.

Mother Teresa once quipped, “Do small things with great love.”  You don’t need a big budget to follow this sage advice. With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can express your love and appreciation in a simple, yet memorable way.

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.