SeedFi Lets You Get the Money You Need — Without a Payday Loan

If you’re like most of us, you know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. You do your best to make the most of your money, but inevitably, the unexpected happens. Maybe your car breaks down, or you need an appliance repaired. Maybe you’re just a little short this month.

But you’ve got bills to pay. What are your options? For many people, it’s a payday loan with sky-high interest rates that just lock you into a cycle of debt.

Luckily there’s a better option to get the money you need — without taking a payday loan. A company called SeedFi offers loans with low interest rates and longer repayment terms that’ll keep your payments low and give you the time needed to catch up.

Even better — they can help you get ahead and build an emergency savings fund in the process, so you’re better prepared next time.

How to Get the Money You Need — Without a Payday Loan

If you’ve mulled the idea of a payday loan, it’s probably because you feel like you don’t have a lot of options getting your hands on money fast.

But if you’re looking to get the money you need now — and break the vicious payday loan cycle — SeedFi’s Borrow &Grow Plan¹ is a great option. SeedFi’s APR typically ranges from 14.99% to 29.99%, which is on par with prime loans you might not normally qualify for. Compare that to personal loans, which charge as much as 400% APR.

How This Loan Sets You up For Future Success

Not only will SeedFi get you the money you need as soon as possible — and for less — it will also set you up for success in the future.

Here’s how it works:

SeedFi offers a special type of loan. You’ll borrow the amount you need now, plus a little extra for later. They’ll safely lock away the extra money in a SeedFi savings account, and once you repay your loan, it’s yours to keep. When you repay your loan on time each month, your payments are reported to the major credit bureaus, so you could even build your credit in the process.

Borrowing $3,000 might look something like this: $3,000 goes into your checking account, and $1,500 is locked in a savings account until you repay the full loan. In this example, you’d pay $80 every two weeks over the course of 34 months, at 19.99% APR. Afterward, you’ll have a $1,500 emergency savings already built up.

SeedFi offers a long-term solution, with a healthy amount of money in your emergency savings account. Are you ready to break the cycle of debt and stop living paycheck to paycheck?

Answer a few quick questions here to see if you qualify for a Borrow & Grow Plan.

¹Borrow & Grow Plan loans for first-time borrowers range from $1,200 to $7,000 with $300 to $4,000 accessible immediately and the rest of the loan locked in a savings account until you repay in full. Repayment periods range from 8 months to 44 months, and APRs range from 6.95% to 29.99% Advertised rates and terms will be subject to change without notice. Your actual APR and other loan terms will be shown to you as part of the online application process. 

 ² For a typical Borrow & Grow Plan, in which the consumer accesses $3,000 in cash now and places $1,500 in savings, the Amount Financed would $4,500, the APR would be 19.99%, the Finance Charge would be $1,417, the Total of Payments would be $5,917, the Payment Schedule would be 73 biweekly payments of $80 and one final payment of $77, and the Payment Schedule would span 34 months.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

5 Bill Pay Services — Plus Other Options for Automating Bill Payments

Staying on top of all your monthly bills takes more than just having enough money in your bank account. You also need the organizational skills so everything is paid on time.

No one wants to get hit with a late fee — or worse, have their service turned off or cancelled — because they forgot to pay a bill on time.

One way to keep up with multiple bill payments is to enlist help from a bill pay service and let it do all the hard work for you.

What Are Bill Pay Services?

It’s pretty self explanatory: They’re automated online services that facilitate paying your bills via website or app.

The money, of course, is still coming from your account. However, you give the service permission to pull funds from your checking account and send it to your landlord, mortgage company, utility company or other service provider on or ahead of the bill’s due date.

You provide the bill pay company with your bank account information and all the information for the account you want paid, and it will ensure the bill is paid on your behalf — like your own person bill paying secretary.

You set it up once and don’t have to worry about remembering multiple due dates anymore.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Bill Pay Service?

Bill paying services can be a great tool, but that doesn’t mean they’re for everybody. Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of using a service to automatically pay your bills.


Pros
  • Keeps all your monthly payments organized in one place
  • Removes the hassle of having to remember multiple due dates
  • Saves time
  • Helps you avoid paying late fees or getting your service cut off

Cons
  • You’re giving a third party access to your bank account and/or service account(s)
  • Some bill pay services cost money
  • If you set it and forget it but don’t have enough money in your account, you’ll encounter overdraft fees

5 Bill Pay Services to Help You Budget

Bill Pay Service Cost Available as an App

Prism

Free

Yes

Quicken Bill Manager

Free, or $9.95/mo

Yes

MyCheckFree

Same-day payment fees

No

Paytrust

1st mo free, then $9.95

No

Silver Bills

$10-$99 a month

No

Prism

Best free app
Key Features
  • View bills as a list or on a calendar
  • Works with over 11,000 service providers
  • Sends reminders about due dates
Prism is a useful app that allows users to see their income, account balances and monthly bills all in one place — and schedule same-day or future bill payments. It eliminates the need to log into multiple websites to pay your bills throughout the month.
Prism
Cost
Free
Available as an app
Yes

Quicken Bill Manager

Best for Quicken users
Key Features
  • Pays bills digitally or by paper check
  • Can check the status of sent bills
  • Access to other Quicken features
You need a Quicken account to use Quicken Bill Manager, but if you have Quicken Premier or Quicken Home and Business, this service comes free. Use Quicken Bill Manager to not only send electronic payments but to pay your landlord or gardener who only accepts physical checks.
Quicken Bill Manager
Cost
Free with some Quicken accounts or $9.95 a month
Available as an app
Yes

MyCheckFree

Best for desktop users
Key Features
  • Works with hundreds of service providers
  • Sends email reminders for upcoming bills
  • Guarantees bills will be paid
MyCheckFree lets users receive and pay all their bills on one platform at no monthly cost. This service is only available for website use, but it’s a good option for desktop users who don’t mind the simple interface. Users must schedule payments a few days before the bill’s due date to ensure on-time payment, but if you’re hit with a late fee, the company will cover the cost up to $50.
MyCheckFree
Cost
Free, but fees may apply for same-day payments
Available as an app
No

Paytrust

Best for those overwhelmed with paper bills
Key Features
  • Processes electronic or paper bills
  • Sends alerts about upcoming bills
  • Give you reports of your bill payments
Paytrust consolidates all your bills in one place — even the ones you don’t have online accounts for. Just redirect your paper bills to Paytrust and reduce the clutter in your mailbox. You can set up one-time or recurring payments, and sync multiple bank accounts. You can even add personal comments to your bill payments for record keeping purposes.
Paytrust
Cost
First month free, then $9.95 a month after
Available as an app
No

Silver Bills

Best for seniors
Key Features
  • Developed to serve senior citizens
  • Can use without logging into a computer
  • Access to a dedicated account manager
You don’t have to be tech savvy to use this service. While SilverBills does offer an online portal, you could set everything up by phone, if desired. SilverBills processes both electronic and paper bills. The company assigns each customer to a dedicated account manager who reviews all incoming bills to spot any discrepancies.
Silver Bills
Cost
$10-$99 a month
Available as an app
No

4 Alternative Bill Payment Options

There are additional ways you can schedule an automatic bill payment without enrolling in a service. You may already be familiar with these options.

Your Bank or Credit Union

Many financial institutions allow their customers to set up automatic bill payments at no extra cost. When you log into your online banking platform, look for information about setting up online bill pay.

Setting up bill pay through your bank is a favorable option, because you don’t have to give your bank account information out to another company. You just provide your bank or credit union with your service account information, like the account number, the amount to pay and the due date or frequency of payments.

Your Credit Card Company

Major credit cards also have free automatic bill payment. If your credit card gives you points or cash back on transactions, it can be really beneficial to pay bills through your credit card.

Similar to setting up bill pay with your bank or credit union, you’ll provide your credit card company with the necessary information to schedule upcoming bill payments. One thing to be aware of is that your service provider might charge an extra fee to process credit card payments.

Make sure you factor that into your decision to use this option.

Also, know that if you’re using your credit card to pay bills, you’re taking on more debt. Paying your credit card bill in full each month will keep you from negatively impacting your credit score.

Prepaid Debit or Credit Cards

If you have a prepaid debit or credit card in your name, you may be able to set up automatic bill payments.

This will be similar to paying through your financial institution or credit card, except you have to be more cognizant that you have enough money loaded onto your prepaid card to cover all your upcoming bill payments.

Also, be aware that some prepaid cards may charge you a monthly fee.

Your Service Provider

Another popular option to pay bills is to set up auto payments directly through your service provider.

You’ll give your service provider — like Netflix, your student loan servicer or the electric company — your bank information, debit card number or credit card number, and you’ll authorize them to pull money to cover your bill by the due date.

Some service providers may even provide a discount to you if you enroll in their automatic bill pay services.

However, it’s important to stay on top of your bills and not just set it and forget it. If your bill runs super high one month or you’re mistakenly charged extra fees, your service provider will pull that money from your account. If you don’t have enough funds in your account to cover it, you’ll overdraft.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve got several bill payments with due dates spread out throughout the month and find it challenging to keep up with it all, using a bill pay service can improve your financial life.

There are several options to get the job done. You could opt for a company such as Prism, Quicken Bill Pay, MyCheckFree, Paytrust or SilverBills — or just set up auto payments through your bank, credit card, prepaid card or service provider.

Whatever route you choose, enjoy the assurance of knowing your monthly bills are covered.  No more stressing about late payments.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Dear Penny: How Can I Get Ahead When My Paycheck Is Just $358?

Dear Penny,

I have a small part-time role at a retail store and I earn roughly $358 biweekly. I’m 33 and I’ve been working in retail since I was a teenager. I’ve quit a lot of jobs and have also gotten fired unfairly. I don’t know what to do with my money.

I don’t know whether to buy a car or save for an apartment. Earning as much as I earn doesn’t give me the luxury of having both, therefore, I don’t know what to do. I was thinking of getting another part-time job, but I don’t know what it’ll do to my mental health. I am disabled. Or I don’t know whether to ask my boss for more hours since this job is extremely boring and not stimulating.

I was thinking of heading back to school to get an A.S. That way I’ll have a career, but I don’t know what I want to study. Two years ago I was studying my passion, which was to be a veterinary technician, but turns out I’m 60% allergic to dogs.

I don’t want to work with humans, though retail has helped me come out of my shell tremendously, so it should be something to consider.

Anyway I have no savings and no IRA. I’ve been wanting to open an IRA since I was 21, but I haven’t been able to with the on-and-off jobs.

I’m also indebted by a student loan. It was a sketchy school, so I’m trying to have the loan forgiven.

Anyway, should I save up for a car? Or an apartment? I don’t know what to do, and I’m tired of my family telling me what to do with my money. I just want an outsider’s perspective. 

Sincerely,

Confused

Dear Confused,

I’m assuming you live with your family. And as long as you live with your family, your family is going to tell you what to do with your money. So I think getting an apartment makes sense as a long-term goal.

The problem is that two $358 paychecks a week, or $704 a month, won’t begin to cover your expenses in an apartment, even if you got roommates. So if you want an apartment, making more money needs to be the goal.



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But how do you get there? If you could buy a car and use it to make more money, that may be a good shorter-term goal. Since you’re on the fence about getting a second part-time job, you could try a side hustle like driving for Uber or Lyft, or delivering food or groceries. You’d have the flexibility to only work when you want to, which could be a good thing since you’re worried about the toll on your mental health. Although it’s tough to find a job with zero human interaction, delivery would minimize the amount of time you have to spend with people.

However, a car is a big investment. Only go that route if you’re willing to commit to working enough so that you can cover vehicle expenses, plus add to your savings each month. If you do so, I’d suggest saving toward a cheap used car you can pay cash for. Budget part of every paycheck for reaching that goal.

Meanwhile, asking your boss for more hours is a good plan in the interim. I get that your current job is unfulfilling, but at least you know what it entails. You don’t have to make a lifelong commitment here. Simply ask your boss if he or she could give you a few more shifts in the next month and see how things go.

Employers across the country are dealing with worker shortages, so chances are good that your boss will be able to schedule you for extra hours. Also, look at a few hiring ads for businesses around you to see what starting pay they’re offering. Even for jobs that require little experience, wages have skyrocketed in recent months. If other businesses are paying new hires more, consider asking for a pay raise.

I’d hold off on returning to school until you know what you want to study. Make sure whatever degree you’re interested in has a clear career path that will help you earn more. Should you decide to further your education at some point, consider applying with an employer that offers tuition benefits. For example, you could use your retail experience to work at Walmart or Target, which recently announced they would pay 100% of costs for earning certain degrees and certifications.

You have a lot of goals, which is a good thing. But having so many goals can get overwhelming when you can’t stretch anymore from your paycheck. Focus on one goal at a time and finding ways to gradually increase your income. Even if the work you’re doing is boring, I suspect you’ll feel more motivated when you have a clear goal you’re working toward.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky questions to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

8 Hispanic Financial Influencers You Ought to Know

Our cultural background and upbringing often shapes how we navigate our lives — including our financial lives.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’d like to shine a spotlight on several personal finance experts from the Latinx community who are championing for more inclusivity within the financial industry and are doing their part to raise financial literacy in their communities and beyond.

8 Hispanic Personal Finance Influencers to Follow

From podcasters and bloggers to Certified Financial Planners and Accredited Financial Counselors, the money gurus on this list help both English and Spanish speakers alike learn to better their financial lives.

1. Jannese Torres-Rodriguez of Yo Quiero Dinero

Jannese Torres-Rodriguez is a Puerto Rican side hustle queen who runs the podcast “Yo Quiero Dinero.” With the success of her food blog, Delish D’Lites, and other entrepreneurial pursuits, Torres-Rodriguez was able to quit her day job in May 2021 at age 36.

On her podcast, she shares money stories from other Latinas and people of color. She educates and inspires others to gain control of their financial lives, build generational wealth and become financially independent.

2. Jen Hemphill of Her Dinero Matters

Hailing from humble beginnings in Colombia, Jen Hemphill is an Accredited Financial Counselor and author of the book Her Money Matters.

On her podcast, Her Dinero Matters, Hemphill chats with other members of the Latinx community about various personal finance topics from budgeting and goal setting to entrepreneurship and investing. She also discusses matters that specifically affect the Hispanic community, like how to overcome financial barriers as an immigrant and what Latinos need to know about retirement.

3. Luis F. Rosa of On My Way to Wealth

Luis F. Rosa moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic at age 11. Despite not learning much about money at home, Rosa grew up to become a Certified Financial Planner and runs the financial planning firm Build a Better Financial Future.

His podcast, On My Way to Wealth, offers financial tips to busy Gen X-ers — covering topics like buying a home in a hot real estate market and using a health savings account. Investopedia named Rosa among one of the top financial advisers of 2021.

4. Athena Valentine Lent of Money Smart Latina

Athena Valentine Lent has a mission to bring financial education to those in her community. Her blog, Money Smart Latina, strives to do just that. In 2020, Money Smart Latina earned a Plutus Award for Best Personal Finance Content for Underserved Communities.

Valentine Lent is also a public speaker and personal finance writer. She is Slate’s Pay Dirt columnist. Check out her inspirational money quotes on Instagram.

5. Beatriz Acevedo of SUMA Wealth

Beatriz Acevedo is an Emmy-award winning Latina media maven and entrepreneur. Her platform SUMA Wealth (which can be accessed completely in Spanish) is a financial inclusion company that aims to educate and empower the Latinx community.

SUMA features engaging personal finance advice and offers a “dinero toolkit” to help people tackle credit card debt, grow their savings and consider homeownership.

6. Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino of Wealth Para Todos

Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino is a former math teacher turned personal finance educator. Her platform, Wealth Para Todos, is dedicated to teaching those in underserved communities how to build wealth.

In addition to sharing financial advice on Instagram, Paulino has a bimonthly newsletter where she discusses money mindsets, financial goal setting and budgeting. She and her husband are on a path to retire before 50, and Paulino is studying to become a Certified Financial Planner.

7. Jully-Alma Taveras of Investing Latina

Born in the Dominican Republic, Jully-Alma Taveras is the woman behind Investing Latina, a platform that encourages others to grow their wealth through investing. She teaches investing workshops and has a YouTube channel where she explores topics such as getting started with investing and saving money with minimalism.

In 2020, Taveras earned a Plutus People’s Choice Award for Investing Latina.

8. Anna N’Jie-Konte of First-Gen Realness

Anna N’Jie-Konte is an Afro-Latina with Puerto Rican and West African roots who aims to help women of color build generational wealth. Her First-Gen Realness podcast explores culture, entrepreneurship and finance.

N’Jie-Konte is also a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Dare to Dream Financial Planning, where she consults with clients virtually. Investopedia named her among one of the top financial advisers of 2021.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

9 Finance Documentaries to Watch and Learn More About Money

When I was in my early twenties, my idea of a great Saturday night was hanging out in my apartment watching “The Suze Orman Show” and Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s “Til Debt Do Us Part” on TV while my boyfriend played video games in the other room.

Super nerdy, I know. It’s no wonder I ended up writing about personal finance for a living.

While I’m a big advocate of reading articles and books or taking courses to increase your financial knowledge, there’s value in watching shows and movies about money too — especially if you’re a visual learner, or television happens to be your medium of choice.

Some of the money-related content on TV and in the movies is definitely for entertainment purposes only, but the finance documentaries on this list are designed to inform and educate. They might even change the way you think about money.

So grab a bowl of popcorn — and a notepad to take notes. Happy watching!

9 Must-Watch Documentaries About Money and Finance

Add these financial documentaries to your streaming list.

1. Playing with FIRE

Retiring in your 30s or 40s may seem unrealistic to most, but it’s the goal for many who follow the FIRE movement. FIRE is an acronym for “financially independent retire early,” and it’s built on the premise that by investing aggressively in your early years, you can shave decades off your retirement date.

Playing with FIRE showcases one couple’s journey to understand what it’s like to reject societal norms and pursue financial independence. It features notable advocates of the FIRE movement, such as Vicki Robin, the author of “Your Money or Your Life” and Pete Adeney, creator of the website Mr. Money Mustache.

You can watch this 75-minute documentary on Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes or Vimeo or purchase the DVD.

A screen shot of Money, Explained: a documentary on Netflix.

2. Money, Explained

Money, Explained is a docuseries by Vox and Netflix that breaks down five different topics: financial scams, credit card debt, student loans, gambling and retirement. The episodes highlight how people’s financial lives are affected by each topic.

Narrated by celebrities including Tiffany Haddish, Bobby Cannavale and Jane Lynch, each episode includes a mix of interviews sprinkled with colorful infographics, making them both informative and entertaining. They are pretty succinct at about 22 minutes each, so you could watch the entire series in one sitting.

Looking for a good book about money? Here’s a list of the best personal finance books.

3. Thinking Money: The Psychology Behind Our Best and Worst Financial Decisions

Despite our best efforts, we all end up making mistakes with our finances. We indulge in retail therapy after a bad day, or we fall victim to impulse buying after coming to the store to get one thing.

We’re human after all, and we don’t always think rationally.

Thinking Money, a PBS documentary, gives us a look into behavioral economics — what drives us to make the financial decisions we do. Dave Coyne, the host of this hour-long documentary, talks to experts around the country to explore the psychology behind why we spend and save.

A screen shot for the documentary: The Minimalists: Less is Now.

4. The Minimalists: Less is Now

Minimalism is a lifestyle that embraces living with less — something Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus know a lot about. They’ve made a name for themselves as The Minimalists and are teaching others how to ditch consumerism for a more simple life with less financial stress.

The Minimalists: Less is Now shares how Millburn and Nicodemus got into minimalism and what the benefits are to this way of life. You can stream this hour-long documentary on Netflix.

Fun fact: Millburn and Nicodemus also star in another documentary on Netflix titled “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.”

5. LuLaRich

If you’ve ever had to block someone on social media after receiving one too many invites to “parties” disguised as opportunities to rope you into a multi-level marketing company, this docuseries is for you.

LuLaRich documents the rise and fall of LuLaRoe, a popular MLM famous for its subpar leggings. While the leaders of the business claimed LuLaRoe was an opportunity for women to be their own boss and work from home on their own terms, many found that it drained them of their savings and sank them into debt.

LuLaRich can be found on Prime Video. The story is broken into a four-part series, with each episode lasting roughly 45 minutes.

Watch this as a cautionary tale to avoid business opportunities that seem too good to be true.

6. Inside Job

Caution: This documentary may cause you to yell at the screen.

Inside Job centers on the 2008 financial crisis, exploring what led to the economic collapse and how it all could have been prevented. It highlights how the decisions of the wealthy and powerful financial industry titans on Wall Street led to the immense downfall of so many.

This nearly two-hour documentary is narrated by Matt Damon and won an Academy Award. It’s available to rent or purchase on Prime Video.

7. The American Nightmare

Excuse the self-promotion, but this documentary produced by The Penny Hoarder had to make it onto this list.

The American Nightmare gives a glimpse into the lives of families 10 years after the 2008 financial crisis. People who once believed in the American dream of homeownership found it to be a nightmare with long-lasting effects. This film shows what it’s like to rebuild after experiencing major financial downfall.

This 42-minute documentary was nominated for a regional Emmy Award and is available on YouTube.

8. Spent: Looking for Change

Spent: Looking for Change explores what it’s like to be unbanked, underemployed and relying on check cashing services and payday loans just to get by.

This 40-minute film narrated by Tyler Perry follows the lives of everyday people who find themselves struggling with the added costs of being excluded from traditional banking services. It also shows how one event — like a family member being diagnosed with a serious medical condition — can upend someone’s entire financial life.

This documentary, which is sponsored by American Express, can be viewed on YouTube.

9. The Most Important Class You’ve Never Had

Wish you would have learned about personal finance back when you were in school? You’re not alone.

Luckily, there are some educators and school districts out there that are making personal finance part of the curriculum. The Most Important Class You’ve Never Had, a 37-minute documentary from Next Gen Personal Finance, features eight high school teachers who are educating the next generation about money.

These teachers are raising awareness about making smart consumer choices, understanding key financial concepts and investing in the stock market. This documentary shows that teaching teens doesn’t just improve students’ relationship with money but it can have a positive impact on their parents’ financial situations too.

It’s available on YouTube.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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