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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

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

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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

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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

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

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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The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Q. My wife and I disagree on this year’s holiday budget. We’ve had some unexpected expenses pop up and don’t have the same funds we’ve had in the past to buy gifts. I suggested we could find some cash by skipping a payment on our two cars, but my wife is totally opposed to the idea. Could you help us reach a decision by explaining some of the pros and cons of skipping a payment?

A. When it comes to personal finance, how you choose to spend and save depends on what you want to accomplish with your money.  So you are wise to consider both the drawbacks and advantages of skipping your car payments to free up cash.  Here’s how I suggest you proceed.

First, check with your lender to ensure that you have the “skip-a-payment” option on your car loans.  Some lenders do, but not necessarily all of them will give you this option. You cannot choose to skip a payment without lender approval, since to do so would cause your account to go 30 days delinquent, harm your credit, and put your cars at risk of being repossessed.

You also need to consider your loans as a whole, including what you borrowed, the length of your loans, and what your cars are worth. You don’t want to end up owing more money on your cars than they are worth.  

Assuming you have the option to skip a payment, the next thing I suggest you do is to sit down together and talk about what you both want for the holidays. If you have children, then include them in the discussion. Talk about what each person remembers about the last few holidays. Do you want to spend extra money on gifts if no one can remember what they received?

We often remember how we spend our time together, rather than the gifts we get. Could you consider how you approach gifts this year to save money? Could you buy a family gift instead of individual presents? Could you challenge each other to make gifts?  Would an experience gift—a hockey game enjoyed together, a night in a hotel or a concert—help you make memories and save money? Compromise is not a bad word. Be honest about how you envision the holiday and then work to develop a solution that appeals to the whole family. Outline a specific budget that you can all live with.

If you decide you still want to skip a payment on your car loans, this does have some advantages for you. One of them is that you can use the money you would have spent on car payments and allocate it to the holidays instead-without going into further debt. Of course, you should consider if skipping a payment will provide you with all the extra money you need for the holidays. Or will you still go into debt, regardless of the extra funds? 

On the other hand, when you skip a payment, you will still be charged the interest on your loans. This means it will take you a little longer to pay them off. What’s more, you never know what the future holds. If you skip a payment for the holidays, then you may not have this option available to you when you need it for expenses related to your home, car, or health. 

Ultimately, I encourage you to consider how you can make the holidays memorable without going into debt. The best and most beautiful holiday moments are usually a result of making intentional choices, and not necessarily based on how much you do or do not spend.

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.