Life has a way of surprising us. As a family grows from one to three children, you suddenly need more space - this means a new house. Life rolls merrily along until you stop short and realize those three children are now all in high school. This means they'll be heading off to college soon. These life-changing events are the catalysts for some of life's major purchases.

When you need to access money for these large commitments, you need to do your homework to understand what you're getting into prior to signing on the dotted line of a house mortgage or a student loan.

The Accessing Money building block covers shopping for mortgages and college financing. But it also takes a look at possible tax credits for which you may be eligible and other tax programs that give you back money or reduce your taxes, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).