Is your lifestyle keeping pace with your income, or is your lifestyle growing more quickly than your income? If you have plenty of cash loans, personal loans, credit card balances, and other types of unsecured loans, your income may be growing more slowly than your lifestyle. In other words, you may be spending more than your income justifies. Over the long term, this can lead to even more personal loans and even bankruptcy.

Terms of Your IncomeIt is vital to start living below your means. Don’t make the mistake of living a lifestyle that does not reflect your income. Even living right at your means and income can mean trouble if your hours are suddenly cut back or if you lose your job. Living below your means lets you build a healthy emergency fund, lets you avoid debt, and ensures that you can live on less if you have to.

In addition to living below your means, start working on your job skills so that you can develop your income and your lifestyle. If you do get a small raise, invest or save those small changes in income rather than upgrading your lifestyle. You won’t miss the money and the cash will add up nicely for you.

Should You Take Out a Refund Advance Loan During Tax Time?

A refund advance loan or a refund anticipation loan, as it is sometimes known, allows you to borrow money against your income tax refund. This type of loan is an emergency loan offered by tax preparers and it is often very attractive to taxpayers at this time of year. If you know that you will be getting a tax refund soon but need the cash now, a refund anticipation loan can seem very attractive. As well, these cash advance loans are offered by tax preparers and are often heavily marketed, which can make them seem appealing.

However, like all cash loans, refund anticipation loans are not free. You will have to pay a fee above and beyond what you pay your tax preparer for filing your taxes. The fees for refund anticipation loans vary widely and while in some cases these loans are less expensive than payday loans, this is not always the case. In general, if there is no emergency, avoid refund anticipation loans and wait until you get all your refund cash. However, if you need to take out a payday loan during tax season, look for a low-cost refund anticipation loan. This type of loan typically allows you to borrow more and may cost less than a payday loan (depending on your tax preparer).…