(BPT) - About 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, often struggling between paydays. If this is a challenge for you, here are three easy ways that can help you get from one paycheck to the next with ease, avoid financial pitfalls, and even come out ahead.
Avoid overdrafts and late fees
Since most people are paid bi-weekly, money you've already earned is being held up, often right when you need to pay bills. Instead of overdrawing your bank account and getting hit with fees or using high-interest credit cards to bridge the gap to payday, there are apps you can use to get your pay when you need it.
With Earnin, community members can use Cash Out to access pay they've already earned with no fees, loans or hidden costs. Community members pay what they choose for the service (even $0) and can access up to $100 per day or $500 per pay period. Once your paycheck is deposited, the money is automatically paid back to Earnin.
Avoiding overdrafts can be challenging, especially if you have automatic withdrawals. Earnin also offers members a Balance Shield feature, which sends out push notifications anytime your account falls below a certain amount. While most banks send low balance alerts to customers, Earnin allows members to choose to link to Cash Out, so that up to $100 will automatically be transferred into your account if it falls below $100 — and that's money from your own upcoming paycheck, with no fee.
Paying for everyday essentials like food, rent, bills and transportation are among the top reasons the Earnin community accesses their pay before their pay period. An internal Earnin analysis found that if community members made the same purchases but hadn't used Earnin, they would have incurred over $100 million in overdraft fees in June 2019 alone.
Look for alternative services to help manage your money
A new crop of innovative apps, services and resources can help you get into a better financial mindset when it comes to saving and investing for your future. Before you refinance your student loan, commit to new health insurance or take a loan out, educate yourself on the options available to you.
To start, Credit Karma gives you free access to your credit score and can help you compare the best offers for credit cards and loans that won’t hurt your credit. If you are looking to incorporate investing as part of your savings strategy, apps like Stash, Acorns and Robinhood can be great beginners' tools to help you save money but ease you into the world of investing. Or if you're in the market for renter’s insurance, which can help protect your personal property in case of theft, fire, vandalism or water loss like from burst pipes, Lemonade is a low-cost option to pay claims faster, and any leftover money goes to a charity of your choosing. Did you know renter’s insurance can also help pay for temporary living expenses and even personal liability and medical bills?
Consider investing your personal time to call service providers — cable, cell phone, car insurance or creditors — it can pay off. Many companies and utilities will negotiate a better deal or help you organize a payment plan so you can pay a portion of your balance each month. It helps to contact them proactively, rather than waiting until bills are past due.
If you, your spouse or child has outstanding medical, dental, vision or mental health bills, Earnin may be able to help with its new product Health Aid. Members simply send a photo of an unpaid medical bill through the app, and Earnin community advocates work to negotiate the bill on their behalf to get a more favorable payment plan, find financial aid options or even get the bill reduced. Results are delivered within two business days, and members pay what they choose for the service after they’re presented with their savings options. Currently, this service is only available to Earnin members who use Cash Out, and will be rolled out to others in the future.
Using these tips may help you breathe again, knowing you aren’t paying high-interest loans, getting hit with exorbitant fees or asking friends and family to spot you money to get you through until payday. You can have more peace of mind and more control over your financial future by avoiding the damage caused by the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.