If you’re on the lower end of the income spectrum, chances are you know what it means to have a need and not have the ability to pay for it. For many people, payday loans bridge that gap between when they need money and when they will have money. Used sparingly and paid off promptly, they can be a useful enough tool. The problem comes in when people borrow more than they can afford to repay, putting themselves into an endless cycle of reloaning.
Back in the day, many of us who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks watching our parents struggle to make ends meet had a wonderful opportunity to observe better ways of dealing with our financial situations. We’re not saying you should never take payday loans if you need them. What we are saying is that there are other things you can do to cut some corners and save some of your cash so that you will have some when an emergency hits. Here are some of the things our parents did before payday loans were commonly available:
- Clip coupons. You can literally save thousands of dollars per year by going through the Sunday newspaper and your daily mail and clipping coupons. Two things you do need to look out for, though: Coupons are an advertisement designed to get you to buy a particular product. Sometimes you can get an off brand product cheaper without a coupon. Also, make sure that you’re not buying products you don’t need just because you have a coupon.
- Garage and Yard Sales. Your kids might not like wearing hand me downs, but if you buy them in a different neighborhood, no one else is going to know the difference. We grew up wearing fairly stylish clothes that my parents never could have afforded new because our mom had the sense to buy them at garage sales, saving hundreds of dollars every school year.
- Farmers Markets. Not only can you get a lot of your groceries much cheaper, but you’ll be buying fresh produce, which is much healthier than the canned or boxed foods most of us buy.
- Save. Here’s the thing. We know you don’t have much money left after you pay the bills. We also know you want to have at least a little bit of fun with it. But it’s no fun being stuck repaying cash advances for months at a time. So, instead of spending every extra penny that you have, save half of them. You’d be surprised how fast it adds up, and you can still use the other half to have a good time.