In the more recent innovation of online payday loans, consumers complete the loan application online (or in some instances via fax, especially where documentation is required). The funds are then transferred by direct deposit to the borrower's account, and the loan repayment and/or the finance charge is electronically withdrawn on the borrower's next payday.
A 2012 report produced by the Cato Institute found that the cost of the loans is overstated, and that payday lenders offer a product traditional lenders simply refuse to offer. However, the report is based on 40 survey responses collected at a payday storefront location. The report's author, Victor Stango, was on the board of the Consumer Credit Research Foundation (CCRF) until 2015, an organization funded by payday lenders, and received $18,000 in payments from CCRF in 2013.
We've all heard those terrible capitalism-will-eat-you-alive urban legends about people who loose their footing on the corporate ladder and wind up homeless on the street. The message here is always to work harder and be smarter about what you do. That is good advice, but what about in extreme situations, where the odds are against you? What should you do if you are short just a little cash, and it might mean the difference between a big lose and a big win? In this situation, wouldn't it be better to get a cash advance, rather than risk a downward swing in fortune?
When you receive a raise, it's tempting to spend more money on things and experiences that make you happy. However, the "hedonic treadmill" theory suggests that even though an income boost can make us feel like we've earned an uptick in spending, our newfound windfall will eventually leave us as unsatisfied as we were prior to the raise because our needs don't disappear – they just get grander. Savvy savers know to avoid lifestyle inflation during periods of income growth and invest in themselves instead. This can mean upping retirement contributions or diverting the difference into a savings account, emergency fund or toward some other financial goal.
Ask yourself if it really is an emergency. Payday loans can be helpful for one-time emergency costs such as medical fees, but are not a good idea for funding unnecessary expenses. Is it possible to wait to repair your car or pay your bills until you receive your next paycheck? A late fee on a bill may be cheaper than a finance charge for a payday loan. Think about other ways to borrow money, keeping in mind they’ll have different fees and pros and cons.
Spending less than you earn is key to staying afloat financially, yet many of us rely on credit cards to fund our lifestyles. With more than $16,000 in credit card debt per household in America, many of us struggle to understand what we can and cannot afford. Successful savers are very clear on that point and often live a frugal lifestyle despite having an income that can afford some luxuries. Warren Buffett, for example, still resides in the home he purchased for just $31,500 nearly 60 years ago, despite being one of the wealthiest people on the planet. Take it from Buffett: Maintaining a frugal lifestyle while your income continues to grow will help you reach your financial goals sooner.
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