Life can come at you fast and in today’s unstable economic environment, we may not be as financially prepared as we would like to be. It seems like as soon as you put out one fire, two or three others start burning out of control. Fortunately, there is a source of immediate relief in the form of Cash Advances, also known as Pay Day Loans. This loan can usually be made within one to two business days, which can be very appealing to those in an urgent situation.

If you find yourself faced with an unexpected emergency like car repairs, an unplanned trip to the doctor, or the air conditioner going out, a cash advance can come in handy. Keep in mind that a cash advance is an agreement where the lender agrees to loan you a certain amount of money with the understanding, that you will be paying it back when you get your paycheck. This type of loan is considered a short-term loan and it usually has to be paid back within a month.

When you decide that this is a good option for your situation, then you have several decisions to make. First of all, you have to decide exactly how much you’re going to borrow. Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of borrowing much more than they need. This can make a bad situation worse, if you’re not careful. The rule of thumb should always be - to borrow what you need, meaning what is needed for the emergency and in some cases, what it will take for a little cushion until Pay Day.

Always take into consideration the estimated amount of your future check and remember that this money has to be paid back and soon. Never borrow more than you’re anticipating your paycheck to be. For instance, if you get a loan for $800 and your check will only be $500 and you don’t have the other $300 in the bank, that just made your mole hill into a mountain – literally. Plus, there will be interest or fees that have to be addressed because if you borrow $800, you’ll have to pay back more than $800.

The next step will be to decide what lender to use. There are many available and you have to choose the one that best suits your needs. Some have lower interest rates that will allow your dollar to go farther, while others may have another attractive incentive like, for your first loan, there’s just a flat fee instead of an interest rate. For example, the fee could just be $20 on your first loan, no matter how much you borrow.

You should also take into consideration the amount of paper work and documentation that has to be presented. In most cases, you’ll want the process as quick and painless as possible. You should also look for a quick approval time or a short time to get an answer from them. This means that you’ll get the money that you need even faster.

The next step after approval is to get the money and take care of your emergency. If you had to borrow money from a friend or relative to cover the expenses until you could get the Cash Advance, pay them immediately. This will strengthen your relationship and prove to them that you can be trusted. There is nothing worse than having someone owe you money, you find out that they have it to pay you back, and they won’t or they’re waiting for some reason. Trust me, many friendships have ended over borrowing and lending money. That’s not fair to the other person and it will make them slow to help you out of a jam the next time. Always think about how you would want to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot.

Once the fire has been put out, your goal should be to pay the money back either on time or early. This will show the lender that you are not a high-risk borrower and that they made a good business decision when they loaned money to you. In the future, they’ll have no problems doing it again, if needed. It will also prevent you from having to pay additional fees. Plus, there are all types of perks for paying on time, which can include a lower interest rate the next time you may have to borrow, as well as lower fees, or less paper work.

The key in obtaining a Cash Advance or Pay Day Loan is to know the basics before you apply. For instance, in most cases, you’ll need to have an active checking account and a job because you’ll have to show your pay stubs. With a checking account, the lender may ask you to write them a check for the amount that includes what you borrowed and their fees, which is the total amount that you will owe them and date it for some time in the future, usually in two to four weeks.

One lender may offer you the option to cash your check on that future date or to allow you to bring them the cash and pick up your check, while another lender will let you make the payments in increments. That’s why the payback schedule is so important and could be a major factor in deciding on what lender you choose.

In closing, I hope that this information will help you make the best decision. Remember, that we all get into financial binds and it’s nothing to get bent out of shape over. If you need to get some quick money to hold you over for a little while, a Cash Advance is a great option. Just use it wisely. With a little planning and preparation, a Cash Advance can help turn your situation around and get you back on track.