Author - money4u

How to Vacation on a Small Budget

Money-4-You-Budget-VacationThe high cost of traveling had many families resigned to the “stay-cation” in recent years. But not leaving home tends to leave you with a lot of the day-to-day issues you’d like a vacation away from, like cleaning the house, running kids around, and the in-laws dropping by unannounced. You need to get away, but you don’t have a lot of money to spend. So figure out what you can afford and look into getting some advance cash from Money 4 You Payday Loans before you trek that first mile.

How to Vacation on a Budget

The price of gas at the pump has plummeted from more than $4 per gallon to around $2 and that opens the door for the open road. Remember Chevy Chase and the Griswold’s in the ’80s movies National Lampoon’s Vacation? Yes, we’re talking about reviving the great American tradition of the family road trip.

Loading up the family and driving from one stunning destination to another can be a lot of fun. There is a sense of freedom when you’re cruising down the highway and enjoying quiet off the beaten path hamlets and awe-inspiring sights like the Grand Canyon. One of the great things about a family road trip is that you’ve slashed your travel costs before stepping out the door.

Airfare for a family of four traveling from say Salt Lake City to San Diego would cost about $200 per person or about $800. Plus, you now have to rent a car when you arrive or pony up for inconvenient cab rides. If you vacation for 10 days, you’ll either be stranded at the hotel or pay another $400 in car rental fees. It adds up quickly. On the other hand, a family drive would run about $600 total, or about half the cost if you get as little as 25 miles to the gallon on the highway. Plus, you’re not restricted to one stop. Road tripping gives you an opportunity to see other points of interest along the way.

Maximize Your Food Budget

Another terrific cost-saving aspect of the road trip is the lower cost of food. We all know how pricey meals and snacks are at the airport. But traveling in the family ride means stocking a cooler full of goodies or keeping a portable grill in the trunk. Either way, you’ll be reducing food costs considerably.

This doesn’t mean you have to eat every meal at a park, beach or national monument. What it does mean is that you can take some of those saving and apply them to doing things you’d most enjoy, or popping into a really fancy restaurant or an extraordinary meal. That strategy beats 30 meals at national chains.

Things to Avoid When Vacationing On a Budget

It’s no secret that small town prices beat those downtown fees any day of the week. Save money by staying at hotels or motels outside of major cities. You’ll get greater bang for your buck staying in the suburbs and get all the same amenities. Think about it: You didn’t go on vacation to see the hotel, just relax there.

Don’t travel during the tourist season. If you look at the scale of rates, in some areas the cost of a room can be as much as 50 percent lower during the off-season. This doesn’t mean traveling to Florida in August or Alaska in the dead of winter. Look at rates just a few weeks off the busy season, and you may find some extraordinary deals.

Avoid pay full price for dinners. If you don’t want to carry food for major meals, another cost-saving trick is to eat late lunches instead of dinners at nice, seasonal restaurants. In places like Mystic, Connecticut, some fine dining establishments use the same menu for both sittings. The lunch prices are lower and the entrées are a little smaller, but frankly, the dinner portions can be too large for one sitting, while the “lunch” plate fills you up nicely. This is a wonderful way to try the best restaurants for a fraction of the cost.

Have Enough Cash On Hand

Regardless of how much you save by taking a road trip versus air travel, you’ll feel better with ample money in your pocket to spend. That’s why Money 4 You Payday Loans makes good sense. If you find yourself a little short on cash, you can always contact them to add some fun stay-overs or attractions on your well-deserved holiday. Start by filling out the online application, or calling 855-MY-MRMONEY and see what we can do for you.

Download a PDF Version of This Page Here

Back To School Money Saving Tips

Money-4-You-Back-To-SchoolAs the long days of summer wind down, parents roll up their sleeves in preparation for back-to-school shopping. Although school supply lists seem to grow longer every year, you can get everything you need without breaking the bank. Following practical spending tips and knowing what to avoid will help you obtain all those classroom essentials for less. If all the end-of-summer shopping has been especially hard on your wallet, Money 4 You Payday Loans can help you get your budget back on track.

Back To School Money-Saving Tips

According to a National Retail Federation Survey, parents will spend up to $670 on back-to-school items for one child. You don’t have to be one of them.

  • Take inventory of your child’s wardrobe. Get rid of anything that can no longer be worn. Make a list of what you need to replace. Keep it simple. Your child doesn’t need a different outfit for every day of the week.
  • Look at what you spent last year and challenge yourself to spend less this year. Decide on a budget and put the allotted amount of cash in an envelope for each child. You’ll likely be more cautious with limited resources.
  • Pay attention to timing. August is the best time to “cash in” on back-to-school sales.
  • Comparison shop online beforehand so you know what you can expect to spend.
  • Take your frugal spending habits a step further by using coupons and buying items on clearance at end-of-season sales. Look for resale bargains at garage sales and thrift shops. You can find many school supplies at the dollar store. Check social media for promotions and sign up for email alerts from your favorite retailers so you can take advantage of back-to-school deals.
  • Purchase frequently-used items in bulk to save money and have supplies on hand at all times. Children go through an amazing amount of pens, pencils, and paper, so buy them in large quantities.
  • Host a clothing-exchange party. Ask each parent on your guest list to bring a minimum number of clean, gently-used apparel items.
  • Plan your child’s lunches. Not only does this put you in charge of what they’re eating, but you can plan your menu around what’s on sale at the grocery store.

What Not To Do

Avoiding common shopping pitfalls prevents you from overspending during back-to-school season.

  • Don’t shop without a list. Stores offer sales to entice you to buy more than what you came in for. You’re less likely to “buy into” their strategy if you have your inventory with you.
  • Don’t purchase the trendiest items. When styles change, your kids will want new clothes and backpacks to keep up with what’s “in.” Overly-stylish articles usually aren’t designed to last long anyway.
  • Don’t let your kids be completely in charge of what they need. Set limits, and use this as an opportunity to teach them about budgeting.
  • Don’t use credit cards. It’s harder to stay disciplined and stick to a budget when all you have to do is swipe a card.

Back to School Smart with Money 4 You Payday Loans

If you’re looking for extra funds for school supplies, or your back-to-school shopping has left you with little to spend on other things you need, Money 4 You Payday Loans can help tide you over until you get back on your feet. Serving Utah and Idaho, we offer unparalleled customer service. Locally-owned and operated, we have been providing professional, confidential lending services for over 20 years. Stop by one of our 22 locations, call us at 855-MY-MONEY, or contact us online for same-day loan approval!

Download a PDF Version of This Web Page Here

When Should I Choose a Loan Instead of Credit?

You don’t like getting into debt, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Perhaps you have medical bills you need to pay, or maybe you need funds to pay your school tuition or start a business.

When you must borrow money, your first instinct is probably to charge your credit card. But there are several reasons why you should take out a loan instead.

Lets You Borrow More Money

If you need a large sum of money right away, you might not be able to obtain it with a credit card. Most credit cards have a credit limit of less than $5,000. If you don’t yet have an established credit history, your credit limit is even lower.

In this case, you may still qualify to borrow a large sum with a loan.

Provides Fixed Interest Rates

Loans have interest rates, but those rates are often lower than credit card interest rates. And while credit card interest rates can fluctuate, loan interest rates are fixed. That way, you know exactly how much you can expect to pay each month. You won’t suddenly get uprooted by an unexpectedly high interest rate.

Gives You More Time to Pay

If you charge a credit card, ideally you’ll pay the balance by the end of the month. You can carry over part of the balance to the next month, but you’ll then need to pay more interest. As you carry over the balance, your credit score will decrease as well.

You can find loans that offer a longer period of time to pay what you borrowed-without additional interest. Some loans give you up to five years to pay back your loan without extra interest charges.

Does Not Impact Credit Utilization

To keep the best credit score, you should use ten percent or less of your credit line. If you suddenly use more of your card’s credit line, you raise what’s known as credit utilization and thereby lower your credit score.

Fortunately, most loans are different. In most cases, taking out a loan will not hurt your credit utilization. But keep in mind that applying for a loan can hurt your credit score. Thus, don’t apply for more than one loan at the same time.

Provides an End Date to Your Debt

With credit cards, you can continue to borrow money and stay perpetually in debt. With a loan, though, you know exactly how much you’re borrowing and when you need to pay it off. After you pay the loan, you’re no longer in debt.

When Should You Use a Credit Card?

There are some instances where you should stick to the plastic. If the amount you need is small, and you’ll be able to pay it off quickly, use a lowinterest (preferably 0% interest) credit card. If you pay the debt in time, you may pay less than you would on a loan.

But, if you need a larger loan and a longer time period to pay it off, a loan is your best bet.

How a Loan Works

To take out a loan, first talk to a lender. The amount you can borrow depends on several factors, including your income and your credit score. In exchange for giving you the money you need right away, your lender will charge an APR (annual percentage rate) based on the amount you borrow. However, some lenders offer your first loan free.

When you take out the loan, your lender gives you a check of the amount you need, which you can use right away. Each month, you pay your lender back a portion of the loan. Make sure to talk to your provider about the best way to make payments. For example, some providers will help you set up an online account so you can make payments more conveniently.

If you find yourself in a tough financial situation, talk to a lender about taking out a loan. Make sure you ask them about their APR and whether they charge any other fees. Some lenders charge what’s known as an origination fee; it’s usually between one and five percent of the loan amount.

Paying off more of your loan early might save you on interest costs. But if you want to pay off a big chunk of your loan early, make sure you check with your lender first. Some lenders charge a fee for early repayment.

Remember, a lender looks into your credit before they approve you for a loan, and these reviews can hurt your credit score. To avoid applying for multiple loans-and thus lowering your credit score-ask your lender what credit score they require. Only apply for a loan from them if you have confidence your score is good enough to meet their requirements.

Once you’ve found the right lender, you and your lender will agree on a repayment plan. Make sure you can meet the requirements before you agree on the loan.

Don’t worry if you need a sum of money right away. Turn to a reliable lender for a loan that meets your financial obligations.

Save Thousands: Couponing for Beginners

You usually throw out the big stack of coupons that comes in the mail every week. But did you know that you’re throwing out thousands of dollars when you toss those coupons?

It’s true. People who learn how to coupon effectively can save money on nearly everything. And when you’re pinching every penny, long-term couponing can be just what you need to make ends meet.

New to couponing? Keep reading! We’ve got everything you need to know about couponing basics, as well as tips about how to avoid couponing burnout.

Beginning Couponers: What You Need to Know

Tip 1: Change Your Mind

Ready to save hundreds of dollars each month on your groceries, clothes, and other necessities? It all starts with changing the way you think about shopping.

Many people shop at the last minute and end up making hasty, spontaneous decisions. We’ve all been there-the late night grocery store runs, the emotional wardrobe compromises, and the post-shopping regret.

There’s a better way. Couponing will help you save money, but it takes careful planning and a little commitment. Change the way you think about shopping, put yourself in the driver’s seat, and get ready to save.

Tip 2: Start Collecting

You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find and collect coupons. You can find them pretty much anywhere, including:

Websites. E-coupons are available to print or scan on store’s websites. There are also great websites that compile the coupons for you-all you have to do is type what you’re looking for into the search bar.

Newspaper inserts. You’ll find these coupons in your mailbox and tucked inside your newspaper. Mobile coupons. Many stores offer unique coupons available only on your smartphone.

Collect coupons from your favorite stores, but don’t be afraid to branch out. You might be used to shopping for shampoo and soap at Walmart, but you could find great deals on those items at Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and other drug stores.

Tip 3: Organize Your Coupons

Because coupons are time-sensitive, you need a way to organize your coupons so you don’t forget about them and miss great deals.

Some couponers use a binder to organize their coupons by date or category-others use a folder system, or make a list on their phone. Pick a method that works for you and your family.

Some people get overwhelmed by trying to find and save every single coupon they might use later. Doing so will only waste your time and your energy. Clip a coupon if you’re pretty sure you’ll use it. And if you won’t, then don’t.

Organize to help you capitalize on timing. Don’t just buy an item when you have a coupon for it. Wait until that item is also on sale or until the store offers an additional promotion. Your coupon plus other deals can help you save tons of money.

Tip 4: Master One Store at a Time

Each store has a different policy with unique coupons, rewards, sales, restrictions, and more. Pick a large store that you frequently shop at, and make sure you know the store’s policy well. You may even want to print the policy out and carry it with you.

Get to know the store’s management and employees. Develop good relationships with people early so that if you need to discuss the store’s policy, you can do so with people who know, like, and respect you.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Become an expert one store at a time.

Tip 5: Read the Fine Print

Coupons use the big print to lure in customers-after all, who can resist “10 for 1” in big, red print? But don’t just read the big print. The fine print will explain any restrictions or time limits you need to be aware of.

The fine print will explain exactly what the coupon can be used for. Know what the coupon actually says so you don’t accidentally spend more money than you need to.

Tip 6: Stock Up

When you hit upon a really great deal, stock up! Non-perishables like paper products will last forever, and buying in bulk while something is practically free can save you hundreds.

Buy clothing in larger quantities when they’re off-season and less expensive, and buy food products that have a long shelf life and that your family will use quickly. Stockpiling can help you when you run out of a product and would normally have to buy it at full price.

Tip 7: Have Fun

Couponing takes organization, planning, and a lot of work, but it can be a lot of fun too! Finding great deals and saving money can be exhilarating and fulfilling.

When you first begin couponing, relax and enjoy yourself. Memorize that sales cycle, but also remember that if you miss a coupon opportunity, it’s not the end of the world. Couponing should be a positive experience, not one that turns you into a frantic mess.

 

Use these tips to help you become a successful couponer who saves big. There’s no shame in using creative strategies to save money each month. And remember: payday loans are available if you need something extra to tide you over. Coupon, save money, and watch your bank account grow!

Starving Student? 10 Ways to Save at School

Your ramen noodles stare up at you glumly. You stare back. If you hadn’t had an $800 bill for textbooks this semester, you wouldn’t be eating instant noodles with the nutritional value of a Styrofoam plate.

Education can be really expensive, and sometimes the thought of eating ramen for the rest of your life-just so you can pay off all of your school-related debt-can be overwhelming. Go to school without becoming a starving student. We’ve got the tips and tricks for surviving school without breaking the bank.

10 Tips for Student Savings

  1. Get a student loan. Many students need student loans in order to complete their education, especially if they’re going to an out-of-state school. Know that you’re not alone, and know that you’ve got options (and even benefits) for repaying your student debt quickly. Compare your offers-when you apply for student loans, you’ll have lots of options. Consider what you actually need, and don’t borrow more than that.
  2. Get scholarships and grants. You wouldn’t believe how much money schools are willing to give to students who work hard and do well. Keep your grades up, befriend professors and others in your department, and apply for as many grants and scholarships as possible. The cool thing about this kind of financial aid? It doesn’t have to be repaid.
  3. Decide how much you need to spend each month (tuition payments, room and board, transportation, books, etc.), and don’t forget extra expenses, like going out with friends and saving for your spring break vacation. Try to put aside a little money each month, and consider how you’ll begin to pay off your student debt. Stick with your budget-it will help you keep spending under control and save as much as possible. Also consider these money-saving hacks when you budget:
  • Walk, use public transportation, or bike before you drive
  • Cut out smoking and binge drinking
  • Don’t go grocery shopping while you’re hungry
  • Live with friends and split the costs of rent and amenities
  • Shop where you can get student discounts
  • Use a basic phone package
  • Cook with friends and split the costs of groceries
  • Become a resident assistant (RA) and get rent paid for you
  1. Work a part-time job. Schools usually limit the amount of hours that students are allowed to work on-campus, so you won’t get stuck with a bunch of extra hours (which cut into homework time). A part-time job will take the edge off of your bills and keep your student debt low.
  2. Buy used books. We weren’t kidding about that $800 book bill, so buy your books and other school supplies used and save a ton of money. Amazon.com and other companies offer great discounts and shipping costs for students, and keep an eye out for older students selling their books at a discounted price. Resell your own books at the end of the semester.
  3. Pay bills on time. Late bills equal extra fees and a damaged credit score. Contact your local loan center if you need extra cash to carry you over to paycheck time. Short-term cash advance loans are easy to get and easy to pay off, and they’ll help you avoid enormous late fees.
  4. Pay interest. Student loans are close to inevitable in today’s economy, but the interest rates can be really high. Try to begin paying off your student debt as soon as you incur it, even if you can only make very small payments at first. Paying off your interest early will keep your student debt manageable.
  5. Avoid using your credit card. Students can leave college with thousands of dollars of credit card debt-that’s thousands of dollars on top of your student debt. Prevent your spending from spiraling out of control. Use cash! Ensure a good credit score and only use your credit card when you are certain that you can pay off the debt you incur.
  6. Get help from your school’s financial aid center. If disaster strikes-like a death in the family, a sudden illness and consequent hospital bills, a car accident-you’d be surprised how understanding your school’s financial center can be. Talk to a financial aid counselor if you have an emergency.
  7. Do an internship. Did you know that 2 out of every 5 interns is offered a full-time position when they finish their internship? If you’ve got student debt, you don’t want to spend your first six months out of college looking for a job. Take internships, get real-time job experience, and prepare yourself to begin working immediately after graduation. Your school’s career center might also help you find the right post-grad job.

College is a time to make great friends and memories, explore new ideas, and develop your mind and talents. It shouldn’t be a time to starve slowly while fretting over your thousands of dollars of student debt. Take advantage of these money-saving tips, throw out the ramen, and enjoy your college experience.

5 Creative Ways to Pay Your Loan Early

As you count the days until your next payday, you probably follow a routine something like this:

  1. You send bill payments at the last possible minute.
  2. If you use checks, you post-date your checks, hoping the bank will deposit them late.
  3. You pay the minimum-due amount on a regular basis.
  4. You take out a payday loan to tide you over until your bank account deposits your paycheck.
  5. You cross your fingers, hoping that all the above strategies will help you get by.

People who struggle to make ends meet might recognize themselves in the above scenario. You may wonder if your situation will ever change. You work as much as you can, but those paychecks never seem to cover all your expenses.

If someone told you that you could pay off your loans early, you might not believe such a statement. After stretching your dollars as far as they could go, paying off loans early might seem like an impossibility.

But don’t lose hope. You can move toward an early payoff by following these creative tips:

1. Round up Your Minimum-Due Amount

Even if you think you can’t possibly spare one extra dime, remember: it doesn’t take much effort to round up your payment, even slightly. For example, if your minimum loan payment is $27.50, round up to $30. The extra two dollars and fifty cents probably won’t stress your reserves too much, and you’ll move up beyond the minimum due.

Think what would happen on a regular car payment if you paid twenty-some extra dollars on your $278.15 monthly payment. After twelve months, you’d move ahead by nearly two whole car payments.

When you round up your payday loan payment, you operate the same way. You’ll cut further into your interest charges as well. Even little adjustments can make a big difference.

2. Make Multiple Payments per Billing Cycle

Most people pay multiple debts each month in addition to basic living expenses. For example, you may have a regular credit card bill, a store or gas credit card, and a payday loan.

Although you might think it’s impossible to pay more than one bill each billing period, think again. Take a tip from the pros:

Split monthly bill payments into bi-weekly payments instead.

For adjustable-interest loans that accumulate higher interest daily, pay twice a week instead of once a week.

If you can’t pay extra payments every two weeks (or twice weekly), make a one-time extra payment instead.

You may also divide your regular payment amount by 12 bill cycles and then add the result to each payment. If you have a $50 regular payment, your extra amount would be $4.16, for a total payment of $54.16. For a longerterm loan, this added amount would add up to one extra payment after a year.

3. Hold a Garage Sale

No matter your financial situation, chances are that you own items someone else wants. During garage-sale season, pool your goods and sell them at a neighborhood yard sale. You can easily find simple online tips for pricing your goods, bundling items together at a discount, and other strategies.

Set aside your earnings towards your early-payment fund. Keep a glass jar or other container in a visible place where you can see your progress. Then, when a payment comes due, use part of your fund to pay more than you normally would.

4. Advertise a Services Auction

Do you have an untapped skill or talent that could benefit others? If so, monetize it during a one-time services auction.

First, think about what service you might auction. Do you make designer-level clothing? Are you a first-rate cook? Consider your work associates, neighbors, and social group. Invite any and all to participate in your “first annual service auction” by pledging an amount for your intended service or product. Social media gives you the perfect venue for your promotion.

You can even offer smaller rewards or gifts (things you already have at home) for those who donate above a certain amount ($20, $50, $100, and so on).

5. Sell Collectibles, Books, or Crafts Online

Most people have plenty of books and recordings around the house. Don’t assume that just because you no longer use these items, no one else will. Some recordings and books may be collectors’ items. Even if they’re not collectibles, online buyers may desire them for sentimental reasons.

If you sell online, take time to factor in your costs (shipping, time and preparation, gas money for going to the postal service, etc.) before you set your prices. Amazon, eBay, and Etsy are all great online venues for selling your goods and craft products. Just read the fine print before you sell so you know what fees each vendor charges.

Set aside all earnings in your early-payment fund for high-interest loans.

 

Remember, even intimidating debts can give way after small-but-persistent payment efforts. Go ahead. Round up your bill by a few dollars. Make an extra payment if possible. Sell used items at a garage sale or online. Benefit othersand yourself-with a service auction.

Need further help? Talk to your payday loan vendor for further loan payment tips.

7 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Get Out of Debt

When medical bills overflow from your mailbox or the credit card company bombards you with calls, you might feel like there’s no way to get out of your debt. Maybe you took out a pay-day loan to cover your bills, but now you can’t cover the interest charges. You don’t want to get caught in the vicious cycle of debt, but you can’t see a solution.

When debt takes over your life, you lose control of your financial situation. You also lose the freedom to do what you want with your money or to save for your future. To get out of debt, you’ll need the courage and motivation to persevere. With these seven motivational tricks, you can do just that.

1. Commit

The journey to freedom from debt starts with your decision to act. You have the power to choose what to do with your future, and no one can make up your mind for you. Choose today to eliminate your debt, and don’t go back on your decision.

Additionally, write down your commitment and place it somewhere you’ll see it every day. This tip will inspire you to stay on track.

2. Set Goals

Once you know what you want, goals will help you determine how you’ll succeed. Specific and concrete goals can help you accomplish your commitment faster, so establish a time frame to get rid of your debt. You could aim to pay off one credit card by the end of the year, or to double the payments on your payday loan each month to cut back on interest.

  1. Plan Measurable Steps

As badly as you’d like to, don’t try to accomplish everything at once. Plan and take baby steps as you try to reduce your debt. What regular things do you do each day that cost money? Do you go out to eat with coworkers or spend change in vending machines? Cut back on small expenses like these. Over time, you’ll see that extra money add up. You can then use this “additional income” to pay off debts.

Small actions every day will stop you from losing motivation when it gets tough.

4. Find a Partner

When you have someone you can rely on, you can accomplish anything. Talk to a spouse, friend, or family member and inform them of your efforts to wipe out your debt. Your teammate can give you encouragement and remind you of your goals.

5. Make New Habits

You can’t simply change your finances with good intentions. You need to act as well. If you want to transform your budget, you’ll have to change the way you think about money. Stop bad spending habits and replace them with positive, money-saving options.

Try some of the following tips:

  • Cut your expenses. Stop eating out, invest in couponing, or take the bus to work. Every penny you save means a penny you won’t have to pay interest on later.
  • Start a spending fast. For people who prefer to go cold turkey instead of taking a more moderate approach, set apart a week (or maybe a whole month) of no spending. And if you really want to see how much money you can save, take the money you would have spent and place it in a savings jar or apply it to your loans.
  • Sell rather than buy. If retail therapy put you into debt in the first place, consider selling some of your clothing or furniture to a consignment or second-hand shop. You’ll still enjoy the sensation of shopping-but this time you’ll make money rather than lose it.

It can take several weeks to make a new habit permanent, so don’t feel discouraged if your first attempts don’t work out. Remind yourself that change takes time, and reevaluate your goals as necessary.

6. Track Your Progress

Keep a record of the money you save and the payments you make. A careful financial record will help you directly confront your spending habits. In the process, you might even notice bookkeeping errors you’ve made in the past.

When you track your finances, you’ll also notice changes in your personal life. Over time, you’ll find it easier to save money and make loan payments on time.

7. Treat Yourself-Responsibly

No matter how long it takes you to accomplish your goals, you deserve congratulations. Once you reach your objective, take the time to celebrate your victory. Buy yourself a modest prize, take your significant other out to dinner, or treat yourself to a day of relaxation. But don’t splurge too much, otherwise you could reverse all of your hard work.

The next time you want to get out of debt but don’t know where to start, remember these seven tips. Give yourself the motivation you need, and you’ll gain the discipline to earn freedom from debt.

15 Ways to Make a Little Money Until Your Next Loan Payout

When you’re strapped for cash in an emergency, you take out a payday loan. You make an agreement with the loan company that you will repay the loan when you receive your paycheck next month. But what if you want to pay off your loan earlier than that? What happens if you still don’t have enough money for groceries, bills, or even that night out you planned three weeks ago?

Don’t assume that your only option is to wait for the remainder of your next pay period. You have plenty of paying possibilities outside your current workplace. Below, you’ll find 15 easy ways to make money until your next loan payout.

1.  Babysitting or nannying: If your neighbors or close relatives need a night away from their kids, offer to babysit them for a few hours. Offer to nanny for the weekend. You can make a fair bit of money to make pizza, watch movies, and play games with your nieces, nephews, or the cute toddler next door.

2.  Cell phone recycling: You can make quite a bit of money when you recycle your old cell phones. You also help the environment when you give your old devices to recycling companies. Look online for sell-back options. You never know how much your old phone is worth until you put it on the market.

3.  Dog walking or pet sitting: Do you miss you childhood pets? Talk to your neighbors or look online for dog walking or pet sitting opportunities. You can earn up to $20 for each dog you walk. Some people also pay pet sitters $50-75 a day. In the meantime, you’ll get to make a fluffy new friend.

4.  Farmer’s market: If you make the world’s best oven-roasted tomato salsa, consider selling it at the next local farmer’s market. You set the prices and can make quite a bit of money for your zesty salsa. Or, if you simply grow produce, you also have the option to market that.

5.  Give music lessons: Put all of those piano lessons to work. Parents regularly look for music instructors for their children. Adults even want to learn how to play piano, guitar, and many other instruments. If you play an instrument proficiently, place an ad online or distribute flyers for music lessons.

6.  Lawn care: You mowed lawns and trimmed hedges in high school, so why throw those skills away? It’s summer, which means that people want help keeping their property well-groomed. You can earn up to $50 depending on the service you provide.

7.  Marketing research: Companies regularly need people to test their products. Most will pay you to try out certain items and give feedback.

8.  Online surveys: Fill out online surveys in your spare time. Like marketing research, companies value your opinion about their products. Companies create surveys and often pay you for answering a few questions about a specific item.

9.  Plasma: You can sell plasma up to two times per week. Donors usually earn up to $50 per donation. Visit your local plasma center for more information.

10.  Sell hair to wig-making companies: Wig-making companies pay you for your hair. You need to sell at least ten inches of hair at a time. Your hair will fetch more if you have never colored or relaxed it. Try out a new hair style and sell your hair for cash.

11.  Sell metal drink cans: Visit your local scrap metal shop and sell all of those metal drink cans in your home. You can earn more than 50 cents per pound of metal.

12.  Sell unwanted items: Hold a garage/yard sale if weather permits. Market any unwanted items online through eBay, KSL, or Amazon Marketplace. You don’t use everything in your home, so why let those items sit there forever? Sell them for fast cash. Items you can sell include:

  • Art
  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Extra furniture
  • Movies
  • Shoes
  • Small appliances
  • Toys
  • Video games and gaming consoles

13.  Summer fair booths: If you make jewelry, draw caricatures, paint, or create amazing and unique crafts, sell them at a booth during the next summer fair. Like a farmer’s market, you control the prices, and can earn quite a bit of money for your talents.

14.  Translate: Do you speak a second language? Contact your local police department or courthouse to see if they need any translators in your secondary language. You can also teach classes in your foreign language if community centers or other organizations have a demand for them.

15.  Tutor: Put your degree or mad math skills to work. Hand out flyers or post ads online for tutoring services in your expert educational field. You can make $20-80 an hour depending on your experience.

Try out some of these quick money-making tips while you wait for your next loan payout. Those old clothes in your closet could pay your loan off early or pay for that new movie you have to see-popcorn and drinks included.

6 Ways to Save Money on Your Night Out

When you’re going through a difficult financial time, you might not think you have money to spare on luxuries like nights out. But the opposite can actually be true-when you’re under a huge amount of pressure and stress, you need an outlet more than ever.

For many people, the best way to relax is to spend a night out with their friends or partner. However, buying drinks and paying for cab fare takes its toll, and you could end the evening with a substantially lighter wallet. If you’re not careful, your night on the town might become another financial stressor instead of providing some much-needed relief.

To enjoy time with your friends without losing your hard-earned cash, follow our tips below. We’ll let you know how you can take a break from the daily grind, get the most out of your night, and hang on to your money at the same time.

1. Plan Ahead

Budgets are often the best help for saving money, and budgeting for a night out is no exception. Before you leave the house, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then, decide how you want to spend that money. Relegate a certain amount of money to drinks and cover charges and a certain amount to cab fare.

Make sure you have a little wiggle room. You might end up needing to spend more on a friend’s cab, or prices may have recently gone up at your favorite bar. At the same time, do whatever you can to stick to your budget. The better you adhere to your plan, the less likely you are to overspend.

You can also leave your credit cards at home and take only cash. That way, you won’t be able to spend more than you can afford, even if you want to.

2. Use a Designated Driver

If at all possible, use a designated driver rather than a cab. Even in small towns, cab fare can be expensive-much more expensive than chipping in to pay for your friends’ gas as a group. Plus, local bus routes might not run late at night or cabs could be hard to find, depending on your area.

Of course, if you need to use a cab, you should always call one rather than drive after drinking. But whenever you can, have one friend act as the designated driver. Apart from saving you money, a designated driver will keep you and others on the road safe.

3. Don’t Bar Hop

Staying in one location cuts down on your costs by eliminating gas money or cab fare. Each bar also has a different menu with different marketing strategies. While you might be immune to your favorite bar’s tactics, other bars can have colorful new ads for expensive drinks that you won’t be able to resist. And after you start drinking, you’ll be less aware of how much your additional drinks cost. To avoid impulse purchases, stay put.

Bar hopping also saves you money on cover charges. Of course, your best money-saving option is to choose a bar without a cover. Still, if your favorite bar charges a cover, staying there means you only have to pay once instead of racking up fees across the city.

4. Eat Before You Go

Most people get hungry midway through their nights out, which usually leads to buying expensive pub food. Instead of spending your money on spur-of-the-moment food purchases, eat a large, carb-heavy meal at home before you leave. Cooking at home is much less expensive than eating out.

If you don’t have time to cook before you leave or simply aren’t hungry, prepare some snacks that you can eat as soon as you get home. When you know you have something tasty to look forward to, you’ll be less likely to splurge on an expensive snack right before leaving the bar.

5. Drink During Happy Hour

If you’re worried about spending money on food, happy hour offers a useful solution: many bars offer food discounts during happy hour, and some even put out free food for the occasion. With these discounts, happy hour can save you more money on drinks than any other budgeting tactic. If you’d rather not meet up for drinks immediately after work, try to find bars that offer late-night happy hours in your area.

Some bars offer specials apart from happy hour. For instance, some places might give you discounts if you order a pitcher for a large group, while others accept Groupons. Do your research ahead of time to find a bar with good deals on drinks.

6. Stay Home

If you decide you can’t afford to leave the house, simply bring the party to you. Invite friends over for a night of games or movies and pick up some drinks early from your local liquor store. Store-bought drinks and homemade cocktails cost much less than bar drinks, and you won’t have to worry about a cab (though your friends might).

Don’t let financial strain rob you of a much-needed break. Instead, simply make some adjustments to your usual schedule and spending habits. Apply the tips here to have an enjoyable, less expensive night out.

The 10 Best Apps for Saving Money

We live in an increasingly digitized world. Handheld devices like smartphones and tablets have become staples in many households, and users rely on them to act as their calendars, their alarm clocks, their fitness trackers, their social media outlets, and more. However, you can also use them as another tool: a budget tracker.

Smartphone or tablet apps make budgeting easier than ever. Some allow you to find and save coupons, while others alert you about special deals. Some even link to your bank account so you can track your spending’s every detail.

Start budgeting smartly today by downloading one or several finance apps. We’ve given you an overview of some of the most popular apps below.

1. Mint Bills

Most people have heard of an app called Mint, but most people don’t know that it comes with an extension. The extension allows you to link your bank accounts, bills, and credit cards to the same app, helping you see your expenses and budget in real time. The app also sends you reminders when a bill comes due, ensuring that you never have to deal with late payments.

Additionally, if you like graphs and other visual aids, Mint and Mint Bills can translate your financial data into graphical representations. And you get all these benefits for free.

2. YNAB-“You Need a Budget”

Some people really hate (or even fear) making budgets. If you’re one of those people, you may find that this app helps. You simply set your ideal budget amount, and you take track of everything you spend as you go. The app tells you how close you’ve gotten to your goal. Simply seeing how much you spend often inspires you to spend less.

3. DebtTracker Pro

If you already have a lot of debt, this app can help you get out of it. The app creates a payoff plan and gives you a visual representation of your financial recovery, including how close you’ve come to your goals. It suggest strategies you can use to reduce your debt, and it sends you reminders when your bills’ due dates arrive.

4. Grocery iQ

Once you’ve made your house payment and paid for utilities and insurance, much of your budget goes toward groceries. And if you just grab food without paying attention to price or brand, you could spend a lot of money unnecessarily. This app helps you find the cheapest groceries at the stores in your area by giving you coupons. Grocery iQ also helps you create a cost-effective shopping list.

5. GasBuddy

After groceries, fuel represents a significant portion of what consumers pay every month. This app ensures you pay as little as possible by helping you find the cheapest gas station in your area. Even a difference of 10 cents per gallon can make a huge difference on your gas expenditures.

6. SnipSnap

Nobody wants to cart giant boxes of coupons around. However, unless they carry their coupons with them, they forget which ones they have and end up spending more money. This app solves that problem by allowing you to scan coupons into your phone or tablet. When you need the coupon, you simply go to the app’s archives and select them.

You can also search other coupons that users have posted and save them to your archive.

7. Campus Special

College and university students struggle with more debt than most demographics. However, they can ease their financial burdens with this app. It helps students save on food by telling them about the best deals on restaurants and other eateries around their campus. It also allows them to order pick-up or takeout right from their phones. And the more use the app receives, the better deals it dishes out.

8. Yowza

Do you kick yourself every time a deal happens at your favorite store and you didn’t know about it? You’ll never have that problem again with the Yowza app. It will keep you up-to-date about special deals and coupons in your area.

9. Groupon

Just because you’ve experienced some financial difficulty doesn’t mean you can’t do anything fun. With the Groupon app, you can find huge deals (as much as 50%-90% off) on restaurants, shops, hotels, spas, and more. Go on adventures again by taking advantage of this app.

10. Cosign

You like to shop, but right now your budget doesn’t give you enough spending money to do so. Luckily, Cosign can give you some extra cash. You just have to take selfies.

Every time you take a picture of the clothes you wear or a product you like, you can post it on this app with a link to the website the product comes from. If another user clicks on your picture and buys the product, you receive a commission check between 3% and 35% of the purchase price. Take as many selfies as you can to pad your bank account.

Apps can make all the difference when you want to save money. And if you need additional help making ends meet, take out a payday loan until you get your budget under control.