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Confessions of a Payday Loan Borrower: My Unexpected Experience

Despite their seedy reputations, payday loans are not as sinister as you may think.

I’m Anne Walker and this is the story of how I took out a gasp payday loan and paid it back.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘You took out a payday loan? Aren’t payday loans a trap designed to keep you eternally in debt?’

Despite their seedy reputations, payday loans are not as sinister as you may think. In fact, I found my payday loan to be especially helpful when I needed it the most. 

Although there are a fair amount of unscrupulous payday lenders out there, there are also many trustworthy ones. It all depends on the choices you make.

This is a tale of how some unexpected car trouble opened my eyes to payday lending and how it helped me get out of a tough situation.

When Tragedy Strikes 

It all started in late January. It was a Monday morning, and I was supposed to be on my way to work. 

I got into my car, the way I always do and put the keys into the ignition, only for nothing to happen; my car wouldn’t start. I was thoroughly chuffed and a bit in denial, I must confess. Out of sheer frustration, I had attempted restarting it multiple times to no avail. My car was completely dead.

Looking back, I should’ve seen the signs. Just the previous night, I had noticed my dashboard lights looking a bit dim. Not only that but on the way back from my friend’s place, my tail lights had also begun to flicker. 

But hey, I’m no car expert by any means and I simply chalked it up to the poor weather and my clunker of a car being almost five years old. 

After calling my workplace and informing them of my current circumstances, I called in an expert to evaluate my car and let me know how bad the situation was. Turns out, my car battery was the issue and the cherry on top of my misery Monday sundae was that it would cost about £400 to replace it.

Now, not to sound boastful, but my job does pay rather well and I’m quite responsible with my money. However, I had just blown through the last bits of my emergency fund a few weeks ago during a family emergency, and I had no additional money to spare. 

I was in quite a conundrum.

How I Got Out Of This Mess

After endlessly going over my accounts and balances, I concluded that I was completely and utterly doomed. I will admit I may have been a bit overdramatic, but I was at a complete loss as to what to do.

Suddenly, I had an ‘aha’ moment; my close friend Jess had gone through a similar situation a few months ago with her car and its engine. Not wanting to waste another minute, I gave her a quick ring, and luckily enough, she answered. 

She gave me a quick rundown of what had happened with her car and how she had no emergency fund at the time as well. With rather limited options, she told me that she finally turned to payday loans

I was a bit apprehensive when she initially brought up payday loans and how they helped her. After all, I’d always heard the stories of people falling into even more debt after taking them. However, she understood where I was coming from, and admitted to feeling the same way herself. She also told me that her experience was quite pleasant and they helped her out.

I’ve known Jess for about seven years and she’s not a risk taker. So, if she believed that payday loans could help me, I was willing to take a leap of faith and look into them.

My Experience With Payday Loans

To start with, I decided to hop online and look up exactly what payday loans are and how they work. After I got a clear understanding of that, I decided to look at my options when it came to online lenders.

Along with my own findings, Jess also shared the information for the lender she had partnered with. She also mentioned that working with mentors online proved very helpful and sent me the websites of other reputable options she had come across while researching. 

After narrowing down my list to two trustworthy lenders, I looked into the terms and conditions of both their loans. I found that one of the two lenders was more flexible with their loan conditions and had better interest rates. Based on this, I made my choice and sent in my final application and it got approved!

What I Learnt From Taking A Payday Loan

1) Making A Budget Is A Game-changer

I've always been a meticulous person, so making a budget was something that I found relatively easy. Following it, however, was an entirely different thing.

I began by setting aside the amount I would need for repayment and divided up the rest of my income amongst utilities, groceries and other necessities. It was tough, but I bravely fought against the urge to spend on things that I wanted yet did not need and was able to keep my finances under control.

2) Make Your Payments On Time

The amount of times Jess emphasised this was frankly a bit annoying, but it came from a good place. 

Back when she had taken out her payday loan, she missed paying it on time and instead of paying £496, she wound up paying £610 instead. Thoroughly aghast upon hearing that, I vowed that come hell or high water, I would make my loan repayments on time no matter what.

Tips To Remember 

If you’re facing a financial emergency yourself and are considering taking out a payday loan, here are some tips I found to be particularly helpful:

1) Do Your Research

You can never be too careful when applying for payday loans online. That’s why, you ought to carefully examine your lender options, their websites and customer reviews to make the right choice. 

2) Choose a Trustworthy Lender

There is no shortage of predatory lenders out there looking to take advantage of vulnerable individuals. As such, when choosing a payday loan, always ensure your lender is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

3) Read the Fine Print

For every offer that seems too good to be true, there’s likely a catch that you need to watch out for. Never sign any loan agreement until you completely understand all the terms and conditions you’re agreeing to.

Thankfully Everything Worked Out

I’m glad to say that despite this whole debacle, everything sorted itself out and I was able to come out of it on top. Not only was I able to repair my car, but I also had my eyes opened to frugal living and was able to pay off my payday loan by the end of the loan term.

While I wouldn’t wish to end up in a similar situation again, I will say the whole experience was very enlightening. Not only did it change my perspective towards payday lending, but it also taught me how to budget and manage my finances better. 

By creating budgets regularly, maintaining my emergency fund and learning more financial wellness tricks every day, I now hope to work towards a brighter financial future.


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