Consider several alternatives rather than putting your home at risk
Atlanta, GA – December 4, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Homeowners seeking to take a “payment holiday” from their mortgage need to consider other alternatives to make certain they do not become delinquent on their most important asset – their home.
“Some homeowners call us in December asking if they can take a “payment holiday,” but we advise them to consider other options,” said Mechel Glass, director of education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Atlanta. “We know many people are stretching their budgets to pay for gifts and other holiday expenses, but it’s important that they make their mortgage payment and look elsewhere to cut expenses.”
Here are some potential options to consider:
Tap into your emergency savings account. It’s okay to tap into your emergency savings to help fill the gaps in your expenses during the holidays. But realize that it may have taken you months or even years to build this account and you should not drain it in one month to make purchases that you really can’t afford. If you do utilize a portion of your emergency savings to make a holiday purchase, your number one priority should be to replenish your savings account as soon as possible.
Make certain your regular expenses are under control. Be realistic about your holiday expenses and understand the consequences of spending money on gifts that should be used for your mortgage payment. Despite reduced prices on many items, this is not the time to spend money on non-essential items. Even though there are discounted prices on clothes, electronics and other goods, resist the temptation to make these purchases.
Revisit your gift giving list. Look for ways to reduce the number of gifts you have to buy or the amount you need to spend. Approach your family and friends about drawing names for adults so that only one gift purchase is required.
Realize that you aren’t the only person who has less money. Don’t be afraid to mention to family and friends that money is tight; you’ll often be relieved by their reaction. Set expectations about what you plan to spend. Also keep in mind that most people remember the holidays for reasons other than gifts, such as visiting with friends and relatives, traditions that were celebrated and the dinner that was served.
Be creative. Framed photographs or inexpensive scrapbooks that you put together or have done online are always a hit. Spend a weekend baking and give containers of goodies to neighbors and coworkers. Maybe the people on your gift list would prefer a service to a tangible item. Who wouldn’t like a commitment for getting the car washed, a free night of babysitting, the garage or gutters cleaned, the lawn mowed, the dog walked or even the dinner cooked? Write your gift of service out on a nice card or print it up on your computer. Sign, seal, wrap and deliver. Remember that some of the most appreciated gifts don’t cost a thing.
Speak to a nonprofit housing counselor. If you implement these ideas and there isn’t enough money to make the mortgage payment, call a nonprofit credit counseling agency and schedule an appointment to speak with a housing counselor. A counselor can make recommendations to help reduce your spending and can also provide some options that may lead to a reduce mortgage payment, such as a loan modification.
About CCCS of Greater Atlanta
CCCS of Greater Atlanta serves clients in all 50 states and has 33 offices in four states. It is the headquarters for the CredAbility Network, a family of nonprofit agencies serving consumers in north Georgia, south and central Florida, middle Mississippi and east Tennessee as well as nationally via telephone and Internet.
CCCS is accredited by the Council on Accreditation and is a member of the Better Business Bureau and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Governed by a community-based board of directors, CCCS is funded by creditors, clients, contributors and grants from foundations, businesses and government agencies. CCCS offers around the-clock help by phone at 1-800-251-CCCS or at its Web sites, www.cccsinc.org and www.cccsenespanol.org.
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CCCS of Greater Atlanta
Scott Scredon (404) 653-8833 /
John McCosh (404) 260-3108 /