When faced with a bottomless well of bills and an empty bank account, a credit card cash advance or payday loan may begin to look like a beacon of light in the dark shadow of debt. The convenience of these advances make them easy to access, providing a proverbial financial light at the end of the tunnel.
However, more often than not this light is an illusion-a flickering, energy inefficient strobe that fades before it fully illuminates, leaving the borrower in a darker place than where he started. Credit card companies often charge convenience fees and high interest rates for these services; thus, utilizing credit card advances to lighten the load will only temporarily brighten the borrower's financial situation. At the end of the day, the borrower pays significantly more money than the cost of the original bill, further obscuring the possibility of reaching financial enlightenment.
Don't be blinded by the temptation of convenience. Though a credit card cash advance may be the necessary flash light to get you through an emergency situation, the batteries will die out long before your debt does. Instead of relying on such services, examine your finances with magnifying glass like closeness and create a reasonable budget.
*When creating a budget, the most important characteristic is honesty: be honest with yourself, with what you spend, and with what you need. How much do you really spend on shoes? Do you really need a new iPod, or do you simply want one? Distinguishing between needs and wants is the first step to financial enlightenment.
*Before you can start an honest budget, you need to know how much you spend and what you spend it on. Shine a light on your finances by calculating all your recurrent, monthly bills, such as mortgages and loans, utilities, insurance, etc. Then filter through your bank statements to see how much you spend on fluctuating bills, such as eating out, shopping, gas, and groceries. Having a sense of where your money actually goes will help you to more clearly see you budgeting needs.
*After exposing the distribution of your funds, cut out unnecessary expenses. This doesn't mean that you cannot go out to eat or shop ever again; that would be a dishonest evaluation of your finances and self and possibly lead to impulsive over spending when the lack becomes too much to endure. Social interaction is a necessity, in moderation. Prioritize your spending so that you have a reasonable amount of money allotted for fun and friends. But, again, honestly ask yourself how much you need. If you are going out or shopping in excess, make the necessary adjustments.
*Put a little bit of money into a savings account every month and start chipping away at your smaller debts. Pay off credit cards, payday loans, and cash advances as quickly as possible, freeing up more money to save or spend.
While a payday loan can lighten the burden of debt temporarily, it is not a long term solution for financial problems. For this reason, such advances should be used sparingly and responsibly. Examining one's budget and making the necessary adjustments is a much more productive and enlightening task. Expose your financial mistakes for what they are, correct them, and escape the dark well of debt. Your life will be brighter for it.
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