Is your bank account hurting after the holidays? Does your budget, like your belt after all that holiday comfort food, stand to undergo a bit of tightening? If you answered yes to both, then the beginning of 2016 can be a financially fraught time for you and your family. Not knowing how you’ll pay upcoming bills and repairs can be stressful, but take solace in the fact that you aren’t the only one to over-spend during the holidays. Just like you, many of your fellow Americans have checking accounts that can’t cover the cost of scheduled payments, let alone those unexpected charges that can crop up from time to time.

Taking out a loan is an altogether terrifying – yet unavoidable – prospect. It can be disheartening to realize that you’ll be starting the New Year off with borrowed money, especially when you know that the wrong kind of loan can lead you down the wrong financial path. Luckily, with so many Americans choosing to take out a loan in 2016, you can benefit from their missteps – and their right ones, too! By doing a bit of research, you can avoid those loans that have been known to be extortionate, choosing instead responsible lending options guaranteed to lead the way to financial success.

Head online and see what other people are writing about the small dollar loans in your state. It’s important that you narrow your options to state licensed lenders as opposed to national brands. Licensing is only ever issued to those lenders that conform to state-wide regulations regarding moneylending, and those laws are in place to protect you – the borrower. This ensures your loan will offer appropriate rates, terms, and conditions that have been created to suit the particular economic environment of your state. You won’t have to conform to unrealistic terms that only benefit someone who lives across the country.

10570612286 0a8127f5b8 z - Get Back On Track After The Holidays

Other things to keep in mind when looking for a small dollar lender are the following:

Convenience – Simplicity and timing are two of your most important priorities, especially when you’re searching for a loan to help pay for a rapidly approaching bill. Limit your state licensed loans to those issued by direct online lenders. Without having brick and mortar locations, they conduct all of their business online, which means they can offer swift and easy application processes. As long as you can supply a valid email address and prove that you are an American citizen or permanent resident with both a bank account and a source of income, you’re good to go. When you get help with holiday expenses from MoneyKey (a licensed direct online lender in 9 states), applications only take 20 minutes to complete and you’ll know instantaneously if you qualify. Once approved, the money you need should arrive in your account within 24 hours. How’s that for speed?

Flexibility – You should expect to find a loan that’s appropriate for your needs, so the direct online lender you choose should offer multiple options regarding their loans. After all, you don’t want to get stuck with a loan that’s too big or a loan with too strict of terms for your current financial requirements or capabilities. Take the time to read about the loans on their website. At the very least, they should offer single-pay and installment loans ranging from $200 to $500. As their names suggest, installment loans have a repayment term that corresponds with multiple paydays, while single-pay loans are paid in full at one time (usually by your next paycheck).

Falling behind on bills happens can happen at any time of the year, but the holidays are especially hard to keep on financial track. Trying to get back on top of your finances shouldn’t be intimidating, and if you follow the above tips when looking for your loan, it won’t be. So start your search today, and join the other millions of Americans making smart choices about their finances.

Image Source