Payday loans are a huge financial burden—and actually illegal in most states because of their predatory lending practices. If you’ve ever gone to a payday lender online or at a local store, you may now find yourself in a cycle that seems nearly impossible to break. But it is possible to eliminate those payday loans and get yourself back on track financially.
Here are 7 ways to get rid of your payday loans—and hopefully banish those payday lenders from your life forever.
1. Sell stuff to raise cash
Anything you have is fair game: appliances, furniture, clothes, toys, etc. Just unload whatever you can to raise money quickly. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll relieve yourself of the burden of those nasty payday loans.
How you sell your stuff is up to you. Offer items on eBay or Craigslist, have a garage sale, or use a site like Gazelle.com, which will quickly buy items like video games, cameras, phones, laptops, desktops and other electronics from you at a fair price.
2. Adjust your withholding at work
If you’re a person who typically gets a big tax refund check, stop that immediately. Get your money now, instead of giving the government an interest-free loan.
The IRS says the average tax refund check is more than $3,000. That means a whole lot of people are over-paying their taxes year after year. Are you one of them? If so, put that money to good use now by getting a bigger paycheck every pay period.
Here’s how to do it: Simply go to your HR office at work and fill out a new W4. This is the form that will let you increase the number of allowances you’re claiming. By adjusting your withholdings, this will result is fewer taxes being taken out of your paycheck.
If you do get a $3,000 refund each year, you can expect to see about $250 a month in your paycheck after you adjust your withholdings. Use the money to eliminate your payday loans.
3. Get a part-time/second job
This is not a fun or easy idea. I know. But don’t roll your eyes. Just do it. Find whatever gig you can and scrape up some extra cash. Even if it’s a job you don’t like, just keep reminding yourself that it’s only temporary – just long enough for you to drum up additional money and get rid of your payday loans.
4. Request a cash advance/loan from your employer
Lots of companies nowadays will front you money ahead of your normal paycheck. The only way to know if your employer will is to ask.
If your company won’t front you the money in the form of an advanced paycheck, a loan from your 401(k) plan is also one way to get your hands on the money you need to banish those payday loans. If you absolutely must tap your retirement money, a 401(k) loan is preferable to a straight withdrawal from your 401(k).
But even a 401(k) withdrawal is worth considering. Yes, you’ll have to pay ordinary income taxes and a 10% penalty on the money, but that’s far less money than you’d give to a payday lender. When people “roll over” payday loans, and keep the cycle of payday lending going, those loans usually average interest rates of about 400%.
5. Borrow money from a relative or close friend
Some people go to a payday lender when they have no other options, and even their family members and friends are broke too. But some people never even ask a relative or friend out of embarrassment. Don’t let pride get in the way.
If those payday loans are driving you crazy, do consider whether someone close to you might be able to loan you the money to repay the payday lender. Then you repay your nice family member or friend. And do pay them on time – according to whatever payment schedule you agree upon!
6. Get a cash advance from a credit card
I don’t typically advise anyone to take a cash advance from a credit card, because the rates can be 20% to 30% or higher. But again, when considering the triple-digit payday loan rates you’re paying, and the problems payday loans create with your budgeting and cash flow, then a credit card cash advance could be a relative bargain.
So if you have access to this form of credit, and you don’t have other, better options, use a cash advance from your credit card(s) to eliminate those dreaded high-cost payday loans.
7. File for bankruptcy protection
It almost goes without saying, but seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection should be a last ditch option to get rid of your payday loans, and this drastic step should only be taken if you have other big financial obligations to get rid of too, like credit card debts or medical bills.