Avoid ‘PayDay Loan’ Hell

One of, if not the, biggest pet peeve of mine is the Payday Loan.

I live in Hamilton Ontario, and our city is the first in Canada to limit the number of these pop up loan sharks who feed on the desperation of our most vulnerable citizens. It’s a start, but barely. It. Makes. Me. Crazy.

You know the tactics: “$300 for $20,” “No credit record denied,” “Solve your money problems with a $1,500 loan today.” UGH!

The bottom line is, there is no way these bandaid solutions will help you. In fact, very quickly, they can make your life a living hell.

Without a deep-end math lesson here, let me throw a few numbers at you.

Let’s look at the $300 for $20 deal. It’s a 2-week loan. You go in, fill out some paperwork, give them your banking info, and walk out with $300 cash. Feels great. Easy peasy.

Two weeks later – at the end of the month – they have access to your bank, and promptly reclaim $320 from your account. This never feels good. Mostly because you likely can’t spare the extra $300 from your income, and will come up short again next month. Two weeks from now, you’ll be back borrowing another $300. Only this time, you don’t qualify for the New Customer Special, and it’ll cost you $50 for the loan.

Of course, if you can’t pay it back, they’ll roll the loan over into another two week loan, and charge you $50 on top of the $20 you already owe. Even if you’re able to pay back the loan a month later, you’ll be out almost $400. This gets ridiculous really fast. They just keep lending you the same $300 – money that, technically, you never pay back – and they keep collecting the $20-$50 from you every month. It’s actually better for them if you don’t pay it back.

If there was a way I could take $300 of my money, and invest it so that I make $50 a month off of it, I would sell my first child to come up with the cash.

(Okay, maybe not a kid, but seriously, I’d find the money!)

Over the course of a year, that’s a return of 200%!!!

A good investment planner will tell me that 5% is a solid return on the use of my money. 15% is stellar!

200% is black magic. Legally, 30% is considered Loan Sharking.

And the Payday Loan places get away with it because they call it an ‘administration fee,’ not ‘interest.’

If you’re already in to these guys, do everything in your power to pay them back. And never go near them again. Follow my budgeting and credit tips here on this blog to help get on track so that you don’t need to borrow.

Fact is, if you are in a position where you need to borrow from a Payday Loan outlet, you CANNOT AFFORD to borrow from a Payday Loan outlet.

This is probably the best advice I could ever give you. Ever.


Time To Get Back To Work

I am sitting here amidst all kinds of feelings – confusion, frustration, surprise, excitement – as I’ve just taken a peek through the entire Fight Back From Big Debt blog and realized how long it’s been since I last posted anything. About five years.

At first glance, that sounds like a ridiculously long time to let a blog sit and stew. But in reality, so much has happened in the last 1800 days. My husband of 19 years passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at Christmas time, 2012. I was left alone to forge a new path for myself, our five kids, while helping the thousands of people who called him friend grieve through a loss that left us all in shock. I suppose it’s no understatement to say that it’s been a really tough time for me.

But sitting here on the other side of tragedy, stronger and more confident than I’ve ever been, I’m ready to take things to the next level. There’s a plan for me, and there is no doubt in my mind that it involves helping all of you. There’s so much to do, so much to share, and I honestly can’t wait to get started.

Let’s join forces and create a life for ourselves that allows freedom to follow our dreams, reach our goals, and enjoy our passions, whatever and whomever they may be.

And thank you for your trust and loyalty all these years. It means the world to me.


(Those of you who may be confused at the name change, I actually made the change to using my middle name more than a dozen years ago. For ease of explanation, I continued to use my first name in any situation that coupled me with my husband. Since his passing, I have naturally lost all connection to my first name, and now only go by my second name, Alexandra. I did keep the Brown though. I like that one…)

How NIKE Ruined the Best Advice You’ll Ever Get

We all know the slogan, right under the NIKE swoosh.


Yeah. If you’re a runner or a swimmer or a climber. Whatever. Just do it.

There was some impact to this slogan when it first came out, along with some terrific visuals and intense encouragement. Sure, a lot of viewers felt a jolt of inspiration. Maybe a few were even sparked into doing something more than they thought possible.

But, as befalls all advertisers, overkill seems to be inevitable. And so, this particular phrase, while remaining one of the most recognized statements in modern history, has suffered the doom of a life sentence in the prison of cliche, without any chance of parole.

The words “JUST DO IT,” are now synonymous with NIKE.

And shame on NIKE for taking what is probably the best advice you’ll ever get, and draining all meaning and power from them with over use and commercialism.

I’ve recently lost a considerable amount of weight. Enough that I am constantly being hit with the question, “How?”

Not the “How do you lose weight?” question. We all know the answer to that: more output than intake. It’s all in the math.

No, the real question is “How did you get started?”

Those who need to lose more than a few stone know that we don’t need a new diet, a funky new exercise, a dreaded trainer, a doctor, an intervention. We know all the rules. In fact, no one knows more about nutrition that those of us who need to lose some weight.

What we need is a dose of magic – a pill, an event, a spark – that puts us in the right mindset to want to make the sacrifices necessary to successful weight loss. The fact is, losing weight is as easy as breathing. But only if and when your mind is in the game.

The big question is: How do I get into that mindset? How do I convince myself that I want/can/should do this? How do I get started when I just don’t want to do it, even when I know I should?

And the answer is obvious. JUST DO IT.

Yeah, yeah.

No. Think about the words. Not the cliche.

JUST. Keep it simple. Don’t plan. Don’t think. Don’t worry. Don’t add in a whole bunch of dreams and hopes and fears and emotions. JUST. One thing. One focus. One.

DO. Act. Go. Move. You know what to do. You don’t need to prepare and spend and organize and anticipate. Start. Now. Don’t listen to that whiny voice in your head.

IT. Lose weight. Attack your debt. Get that job. Meet that girl. Whatever your IT is. One thing. You know what IT is. You know how to do this. If IT is your obstacle, you know everything about IT. Make IT your bitch. Climb all over IT. Conquer IT.

JUST DO IT. Don’t think about it. Don’t wonder what if. Don’t waste time and energy with IT in your head. Get IT out there and face IT straight on. No feeling sorry for yourself. No regrets. Just IT. JUST. IT.

Until you feel some success. Until some little thing happens that makes you look up from your charge to realize, hey, this is working. I’m doing IT. I’m getting somewhere. I can do this. I can keep going. I am a god!

When you make the transition from the blind focus of JUST DO IT to, LOOK AT ME! I’M DOING IT, the energy and enthusiasm you gain from that success brings on a momentum you couldn’t have imagined. And you find yourself wondering why you didn’t JUST DO IT a long time ago.

If debt is your nemesis, fight back. Open the bills; read them. Call your creditors. Face the music. Add everything up. Take control. JUST DO IT. You know what IT is. JUST DO IT. And when IT starts to become a thing separate from you, instead of defining you, when you become the boss, when you take charge, when you realize that you’re DOING IT! life becomes a whole lot better!