If you were one of the customers that had your loan repayments refunded or halted last year, then you may consider yourself lucky. However, think again: if one particular same day loans lender thought that you couldn't repay, then their competitors are likely to be in agreement. The payday loans industry has cleaned up its act and become regular lending's newly-respectable branch.
The time to act is now; flex your idea muscle and find ways to put a little in the bank for when you really need it. Even if you can't add extra hours or are on a very low wage, there are ways and means to squeeze every penny until you've either saved it, or used it to earn another. Try these six ideas to make your money work smarter:
1. Earn It - even if you can't add extra hours, use paid phone apps, take surveys, or look for legitimate work online to boost your income.
2. Save It - take a leaf out of the book of the extreme couponers you see on TV by scouring the magazines, newspapers, and leaflets that come through the door.
3. Sell It - not used it in the last year? Sell it on eBay or Facebook.
4. Mend It - mend ripped seams and replace buttons instead of buying new clothes, and if you're bored, use machine dyes or replace fastenings.
5. Find It - need a new sofa? Check Freecycle before you spend money.
6. Double It - spotted a charity shop bargain that's worth much more? Buy it and sell it on. Of course, if you make a substantial profit, you may want to give a little extra back to the charity in question.
Of course, frugal living in itself won't make your savings stack up, but once you're freeing up your regular income to work harder for you, you'll find that it's going further and you can start to save for emergencies, instead of borrowing.
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk