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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

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What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

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Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

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Homeownership is possible

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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

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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

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What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

Q. Is skipping a payment during the holidays to free up cash a good idea, or is this something I should avoid?

A. The answer to your question depends on your creditors and their policies.  If one of your creditors offers you the option of skipping a payment, you need to do a little extra work to get a handle on how the process works.  You also need to understand how skipping a payment will influence you in the long run.

When you receive a “skip a payment” offer from one of your creditors, you need to understand that you aren’t really skipping a payment, but deferring it until a later date—all the way to the end of your loan, in fact.  This means you’ll pay extra interest over the life of your loan and will add extra time to your repayment period.

Assuming you’re eligible, skipping a payment can be a way to free up cash, but I encourage you to think beyond the Christmas shopping season before you decide if this is the right decision for you.  Do you really need to skip a payment?  Have you looked at your budget and made a detailed gift list? Would it be wiser to curb your spending if your budget is tight?  

It would be nice to have a crystal ball that could foretell your financial future.  But since none of us have one, you need to consider what would happen if you have a medical emergency or are out of work for a short time.  Given that none of us knows what the future holds, it might be prudent to wait until you really need to miss a payment with your creditor’s approval, rather than to use the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts. 

You should know, too, that you can’t simply skip any payment you want during the holidays. Creditors create special programs for people looking for a little extra cash. If you are 30 days late or more to any creditor that reports on your credit report, your credit score will take a hit. If you miss a payment and your account goes into collections, your credit score will suffer, too. In this case, not making a payment has long-term negative consequences. 

If you skip a payment without permission, but aren’t 30 days late, you could still end up with late fees and additional interest.  If you skip a utility payment, you could end up with your utilities being disconnected.  Then those Christmas presents become even more costly. 

Skipping a payment that you have to make up is difficult to do.  How large is the payment that has to be made up?  Where is the money going to come from?  How many extra fees will you pay?

Think back to your childhood. Out of all the years you were growing up, you may remember a gift or two. You’re more likely to remember who you spent Christmas with and what you did during the holidays.

Don’t start the New Year off trying to catch up on payments and late fees.  Use the holidays to create memories rather than debt.

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.