My roommate used to work at a liquor store. He worked there for about a year before he quit for a more professional position. But there was one thing about the liquor store business that intrigued me for a long time. He told me that one of the most profitable areas of that particular location was check cashing. Yep, check cashing, not alcohol. Well, don’t get me wrong, that store probably made the bulk of the sales from alcohol but their check cashing business propelled them higher in profits than they probably ever imagined.

Check cashing, just like payday loans, work almost the same way. Vendors such as this liquor store would provide their customers with cash in advance but with very high interest or transaction fees. I never understood why people would even consider using such services. Cash advances, check cashing and payday loans are something I would never suggest to anyone for any occasion. There are so many other alternatives to get cash without breaking the bank with fees and interest rates.

  1. Ask a friend or a family member for a personal loan. You can pay them back with small nominal interest as opposed to paying 20-30% interest with cash advances and payday loans.
  2. Have a garage sale or put some of your old items you don’t use up for sale on craigslist or ebay. Save up this cash and use it for emergency purposes only.
  3. Sell your car and buy a cheaper one with the money. You’ll have instant cash available without having to pay any fees or interest.
  4. Build up cash availability by saving money. I know that’s obvious, but try to save up cash little by little every day, even if the rate is very low, it’s a start. Save up loose coins and put them in a piggy bank of some sort by eating smaller meals and portions and avoiding drinking sodas and drink more water. Once you have some cash saved up, you can use place them in a high-yield online savings account to accrue interest of your own.

Once you have some cash available, you won’t ever have to use a check cashing or cash advance vendor.