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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Best options for a small, short-term loan

Q. I need a small, short-term loan, but I’m not sure how to choose the best option.  Any suggestions?

A. What may be a small loan to one person could be a large loan to another.  The same is true for what constitutes a short-term loan; this could mean anything from a month to half a year, depending on who you ask. For purposes of your situation, let’s assume you want to borrow $500 for a year or less. 

If you have reasonable or good credit, you will typically qualify for the best rates from banks and credit unions. Nevertheless, not all banks and credit unions offer such small loans. The only way to find out is to call and ask. If your bank or credit union can offer you the loan you’re seeking, you need to ask what fees will apply and the interest rate you can expect to pay. 

If you are unable to get a loan from a bank or credit union, but have a credit card, then a cash advance may be your next best option, assuming an advance won’t put you over your credit card limit. Be aware that a cash advance carries a higher interest rate than a typical credit card charge.

Payday loans are another option people often use when the need a little extra cash, but I do not recommend this kind of loan. That’s because payday loans carry an annual interest rate that can range between 200 to 400%. Unfortunately, many people who take out payday loans are unable to repay what they borrow within the two-week repayment period, and subsequently roll their loans over and over again. Rather than solving a financial problem, this can create a larger one.  

Since you need such a small amount, you could also consider selling something of value. With so many online selling communities available, you can list your item for free.

If none of the options I’ve offered will work for you, then I recommend that you look at your monthly expenses.  Are you overspending on small purchases?   Do you have any expenses that you can cut back on?  Alternatively, you may be able to free up a little cash if you’ve paid ahead on an account. Or if you have never skipped a car payment, you could contact your bank or credit union to see if this might be an option for you. You must gain approval to take advantage of this option; if you don’t, you can damage your credit.

With a little research and creativity, you should be able to get the money you need. I encourage you to consider all of your options and then choose the one that will work best for you. Most importantly, avoid making choices that can compound or create future financial problems.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.