Payday loans are an option that can help you get past a minor crisis or unforeseen expense. But before you take advantage of this option, take a look at the long-term cost, conditions and other options.
First, keep in mind that payday loans shouldn’t be used to supplement your income. It won’t work as a long-term cure. If you find that you’re looking for a payday loan before every payday, you need to evaluate your spending habits. Start by creating a family budget and stick with it. Include as much as possible for savings so that you’ll have a buffer when those minor emergencies crop up.
Carefully consider the reason you’re looking at a payday loan. Is it something that can wait? It is a need? or a want? There is an important difference here. If you simply want something, can’t it be put off until you can afford it?
Remember that these are loans. They have to be repaid. Often, you write a check for the amount of the loan plus any interest and fees with the agreement that the check will be cashed on a specific date. That means that you have to be able to cover the check at that time or you’ll be faced with overdraft charges on top of the interest you’re going to pay for the loan. If you aren’t careful, a loan of $50 can cost you several hundred.
Even if you think you’re desperate for the money, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay it back at the appointed time. It might be easier to deal with a shortage of money now than to face the cost and penalties of the long-term.
Pay attention to the details of the loan. You should have everything in writing. Carefully read the contract before you sign. If the terms aren’t agreeable to you, say so. You may have some negotiation room. If you consider the fees and interest worth the cost and you’re sure you have the ability to pay the loan back on time, there’s nothing wrong with taking out an occasional payday loan.
Payday loans are sometimes good answers to short-term and occasional problems. But keep in mind that there’s no substitute for living within your means, managing your money wisely, and keeping track of your financial resources.