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How to Skip a Car Payment the Smart Way

As the holiday season gets closer, money gets tighter for a lot of folks. It’s not uncommon for people to get a little bit behind on their bills, and find themselves facing a January that’s not too pleasant. (This is something to consider when you’re looking at a new vehicle and plugging numbers into that car payment calculator, by the way.) Unfortunately, while you might be able to financially get back on track by March or April, the fact of the matter is that holiday season indiscretions can really hurt your credit score.

The good news is that you may be able to find a way to squeeze a little bit more money out of the holiday season by skipping a car payment. Understand, however, that you need to go about it the smart way, otherwise it will be just another late payment that’s dragging down your credit score. Here are some ways to get started exploring this unique solution:

  1. Take advantage of an existing program from your lender. Many lenders, especially local credit unions, may offer a payment holiday during the month of December. If it’s available to you and you need it, take advantage of it. Just realize you’re going to be putting your loan out that much farther, of course.
  2. Talk to your bank about missing a payment. In some cases, banks have a policy in place that would forgive you a single payment if you ask. Usually these are available only if your accounts with that bank are in good standing. The bottom line with this one is that you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
  3. Take a seasonal job. OK, this won’t let you skip a payment, but it will help you to make the payment. There are many retailers that need extra help during the holidays, and if you can work a couple of hours a night for a few weeks, you’ll find that the car payment will be paid. You might even have a few bucks left over to put a little something extra in your stocking this year.

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