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1 payday loan shouldn't lead to bankruptcy

A consumer wrote to Bankrate's Debt Adviser, wanting to know if her failure to pay off a $1,500 payday loan was enough debt to consider filing for bankruptcy. The woman had taken out the high interest rate loan to cover emergency medical expenses, but was unable to repay it.

The site's Debt Adviser wisely counseled the consumer that her situation wasn't one that normally led to a bankruptcy filing. For one, her indebtedness was not very great, and bankruptcy is more of a nuclear option that a go-to solution to temporary insolvency.

Instead, he presented other options she could pursue that would cause less of a ding to her credit score. Cutting way back on monthly expenses should create more of an income stream to be diverted to paying off that payday loan. Others in similar circumstances can self-impose Draconian measures on spending habits like vetoing any extras like cable TV, entertainment dollars, new outfits and eating out in restaurants and coffee shops — goodbye, Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks.

He also suggested the consumer moonlight at a part-time job or seek out overtime in order to bring home more revenue. In situations where that's not feasible, funds can be generated through yard sale proceeds or the sale of one or two higher priced possessions, like a 4-wheeler or a boat.

It can be a slippery slope to pay off debt using credit cards, because it was credit that got you into debt in the first place. But because the fees charged by payday loan companies are usurious, even credit cards with high interest rates will generally cost less to pay off than payday loans.

Others in similar circumstances may wish to implement these financial tips to pay down a relatively insignificant debt. However, if your debt load is truly staggering, then filing for bankruptcy can be a viable option.

Source: bankrate.com, "Is bankruptcy the way out of payday loan?," Steve Bucci, accessed Sep. 30, 2016

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At the law offices of William H. Oliver, Jr. & Associates in Toms River and Lakewood, New Jersey, we represent clients in Toms River, Neptune, Trenton, Middletown, Red Bank, Wall, Lakewood, Lakehurst, Manchester, Asbury Park, Old Bridge, Jamesburg, Barnegat, Forked River, Manahawkin, Ocean Township, Brick, Manasquan, Howell, Freehold, Hazlet, Bradley Beach, Brown Mills, Long Branch, Keansburg, Marlboro, Bayville, Beachwood, Whiting, Sayreville, South River, East Brunswick, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Burlington County and Mercer County.