For those of us who don’t have great credit, a large savings account, or a card with a sky-high limit, payday loans are one of the few options we have when we need to borrow money.
Payday loans are not to be used lightly. They are an important tool in your financial toolbox, but must be handled with care. Like many other tools, they are perfectly safe if you use them correctly, but you don’t want to fool around with them for no good reason!
In other words, don’t juggle chainsaws, and don’t play with payday loans.
That said, these loans can be remarkably helpful if you know how to use them.
Borrow What You Need, Not What You Want
Payday lenders charge higher rates of interest (or APR) than banks and most credit cards. The rate will be the same regardless of how much you borrow, but some simple math will demonstrate how important it is to keep your loan as small as possible:
Paying 30% interest on $100 loan costs you $30. Total repayment amount: $130
Not too bad, right? You can handle $30.
This is just an example, but it proves the point – the more you borrow, the more you pay. So don’t borrow any more than the bare minimum of what you need.
Borrow it Fast, Repay it Fast
One of the big advantages to a payday loan is how quickly you receive your funds. Often times you can get the money put into your account the same day!
But there is a flip side to that. These loans don’t operate like bank loans. The APR seems quite high, because that is calculated annually, and payday loans are calculated by your payday. Hence the name!
Using our previous example…
You are paying 30% on your $100 loan. Now you owe $130. But if you don’t pay it back out of your next paycheck, then you will owe $160. If you put off paying again, then it will be $190.
So when you borrow, have a plan to pay it back fast.
If you follow the two previous tips, it means you borrowed only what you absolutely needed, and you paid it back as quickly as possible. Congratulations! You are now free and clear of your loan.
But wait, there’s a bonus!
Because the lender didn’t have to ask you to pay them back, because you were such an easy costumer, and because your information is already on file – it will be even easier next time you need to borrow!
A lender is a business. Businesses thrive on repeat customers. You will find if you return to that same lender, your subsequent borrowing experiences will be even faster and easier than they were the first time.
Hopefully you don’t need to borrow money, but it sure is nice to have that option!