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.
Find out if you have — or if your bank will offer you — overdraft protection on your checking account. If you are using most or all the funds in your account regularly and you make a mistake in your account records, overdraft protection can help protect you from further credit problems. Find out the terms of the overdraft protection available to you — both what it costs and what it covers. Some banks offer “bounce protection,” which may cover individual overdrafts from checks or electronic withdrawals, generally for a fee. It can be costly, and may not guarantee that the bank automatically will pay the overdraft.
Consider a small loan from your credit union or a small loan company. Some banks may offer short-term loans for small amounts at competitive rates. A local community-based organization may make small business loans to people. A cash advance on a credit card also may be possible, but it may have a higher interest rate than other sources of funds: find out the terms before you decide. In any case, shop first and compare all available offers.
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