Payday loans can be a real pain in the behind. You take one out to meet an immediate financial need, but by the time payday rolls around there isn’t enough cash in the old checking account to cover it. So, you wind up taking another payday loan, and then another, and then another. In fact, the average consumer does at least three of these before she pays it off. By that time, she’s paid a bunch of money in interest.
The best choice, of course, is to either wait until you have the cash or borrow money from somewhere else. That’s not always an option, though. There are times when you can’t wait, or when borrowing from friends and family isn’t possible.
So, if you have to do it, here are some things you should keep in mind so that your payday loan doesn’t wind up biting you in the end:
- Only borrow what you need and when you need it. Payday loans aren’t for taking out that girl you met at the bar last night. They’re for fixing your car when you can’t get to work. Don’t take out money from a payday lender in order to buy the latest Justin Bieber album.
- Choose a reputable payday lender. Yes, we know. It seems like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? Still, there are plenty of payday lenders out there who are truly predatory. Some of them are even operating illegally. Yes, you’re in a hurry, but you should still check out the lender to make sure they operate on the up and up.
- Don’t borrow what you can’t pay back. It seems basic, but you need to borrow within your means. Be certain that you can pay back the payday loan as soon as it’s due, or you’re just asking for long-term financial trouble.
- Don’t borrow to pay a different loan. Many people wind up in trouble because they borrow from one payday lender to pay another. Don’t do this. Your debt will spiral out of control.
Payday loans are, in some cases, a necessary evil. If you follow these principles, however, you’ll find it a much easier pill to swallow.