It is a week until payday, your last paycheck covered all of your major monthly expenses but little was left behind in case of an emergency. And then it happens: the car breaks down on your way to work. It will only cost you a few hundred dollars for the repair, but your credit cards are maxed and you barely have enough money in your checking account to live off of, let alone fix the car. Many people face this same scenario, and in their desperation they begin to look at alternative financing to cover this immediate need, including:
· Payday Lenders
· Car Title Lenders
· Pawn Shops
While these nonbank lenders may offer quick and easy access to cash, there is a steep price attached. For instance, a Payday Loan where you receive $200 and have 2 weeks to repay would charge a $30 fee. This is the equivalent of paying 391% interest on a loan or credit card.So what are the alternatives?
1. Obtain a small loan from a local credit union or bank to consolidate the debts that are spreading you thin each month. This could potentially lower the amount of interest you are paying to creditors and offer flexible repayment options.
2. Negotiate with your creditors. Contact your credit card or utility companies and request an extension until your next payday. Often they are willing to work with you if you simply ask for help, and if you do not wait until the bill is past due.
3. Borrow from yourself. The best way to avoid the stress created when you have unexpected expenses is to prepare for them. Begin to set money aside into an emergency savings account that you use to pay for the unexpected. This could be something as simple as setting aside a small amount from each paycheck to deposit to your savings, or having it direct deposited there from your paycheck so this occurs automatically. Another suggestion is to take a portion of your tax refund and set it aside to fund this emergency account.
If you do need to borrow money, it pays to comparison shop. Take the time to sit down with a representative at a bank or credit union to review the options available to you and the costs associated with the options before making a decision. Doing so could very well save you a tremendous amount of interest, money and also alleviate the stress that comes along with financial emergencies.