Which Ones Do We Pay?

Amy and her husband need to let some bills go late, and Amy wants to know if they should let one go and keep current on the rest or let them all go and work on settling later.

QUESTION: Amy in Orlando and her husband are struggling to pay their bills due to some employment issues. They need to let some things go late, and Amy wants to know if they should let one go and keep current on the rest or let them all go and work on settling later. Dave advises Amy to stick with the four walls until they can get back on their feet again.

ANSWER: Until we get his income back up, you will have to be on absolute emergency mode, which amounts to food, clothing, transportation, shelter and utilities. Nothing else gets paid. I wouldn’t pay any credit cards or unsecured debts. If you have any student loans, I’d put them on hardship deferral.

That’s going to damage your credit, but you’ve got to feed the family, keep the lights and the water on, and keep the house payment paid before anything else. Also, make the car payment. As for the rest of it, if you have a little extra money this month, you might not next month. So the rest of the bills sit until he does something to get his income back up.

What you are facing, more than a financial crisis, is a career crisis. I would really study what he’s doing to look for a job and what he’s doing in that process, because that’s the most concerning part of this.