Sometimes, you find yourself in a bind when your paycheck isn’t quite enough to cover expenses – especially if you’ve had a drop in income because your pay or hours have been cut. We know it’s a difficult situation to be in, but we don’t want you to be forced to take a payday loan. The true cost of payday loans is high, and they can have negative effects on your finances.

Because we care about your financial wellness, we’re here to offer solutions. Check out these 7 alternatives that will help you cover expenses when you’re facing a cash crunch.

1. Your savings

Even a short-term payday loan can easily cost you the equivalent of 200% or 300% in interest charges, so if you have an emergency savings fund, tap that first. If you have other savings that’s not specifically for emergencies, consider that first before taking out a payday loan. If you do choose to take money out from your other savings, the good news is that it’s easier and cheaper for you to pay back your own savings versus paying a lender.

2. A negotiated repayment

If you’re having trouble with covering your monthly bills and need an extension, call your creditor, landlord or utility company and try to negotiate new repayment terms or a longer timeline. Check out our article on how to negotiate rent, which has great tips you can use for negotiating many different kinds of bills. You’ll be surprised how many creditors and billers are willing to work with you and offer an extension.

3. Help from family and friends

Turning to your family and friends is another option, but be cautious because relationships are involved. It’s wonderful if a friend or relative is willing to lend you cash, so make it a point to pay them back as quickly as possible. Taking a longer time to repay can take a toll on the relationship.

4. An advance from your employer

Financial emergencies hit everyone at some point – and chances are, your employer knows what it’s like to be short on cash. Consider talking to your employer for an advance on your salary. Your results may vary according to your type of work and whether you work for a small business or a large corporation, but the worst your employer can do is say no. It may be a little bit awkward to ask, but it’s a reasonable request.

5. A personal loan from your credit union

A personal loan can be used to cover just about anything – and interest rates on personal loans are much lower than on payday loans and online loans. Patelco has several short-term loan options.

6. Gig work or earning money from home

If you’re short money one month, consider picking up some extra gig work, like doing deliveries to help raise the needed cash. You should also check out our ideas for how to make money from home.

7. Local nonprofits and charities

There are local nonprofits in many areas of the country that will provide financial assistance. Reach out to nonprofits you know of, or do an internet search for nonprofits in your area. If you’re $200 short on your rent, see if there is a food pantry in your area that can help with groceries – which could free up that $200 to cover your car repair bill and help you avoid a costly payday loan.

Still have questions?

We’re here to talk. If you have an emergency and are not sure how to proceed, visit patelco.org/FinancialJourney to set up a confidential one-on-one call with one of our Certified Financial Specialists. Our specialists can help you figure out the best path forward with your emergency – and help you avoid the predatory lending practices of a payday loan.