“Deprivation is the mother of poetry.” —Leonard Cohen
Sure, Leonard, whatever you say. I adore your music, but I’m guessing you never heard of Earned Wage Access (EWA).
For most people, deprivation is the source of anxiety, not poetry. It’s sitting in the dark until the electricity bill can be paid, stomach rumbling because there’s no money for more groceries this week, and feeling sick because medication isn’t affordable.
For many people, deprivation feels unavoidable as well because taking care of necessities eats a hole in their paycheck—as much as 85 percent of low-income workers’ earnings get swallowed up by the bare essentials such as housing, food, and transportation. There’s just not much left over for savings and no wiggle room at all if unexpected expenses come up.
Nobody should have to accept this kind of deprivation. Here are five ways hourly workers can reduce costs and set aside something for emergencies:
Paying with interest always costs more than buying with cash. While you may want to take on financing to purchase a home or car, try to stay away from revolving debt, such as credit card debt, which can consume your paycheck.
PayActiv offers an attractive alternative: EWA. With the PayActiv app, you can get access to already earned wages for less than the cost of some ATM machine transactions.
Your electricity bill is due on Monday, but you don’t get paid until Friday? If you wait until Friday, you will be hit with late fees. If the utility company tries to remove the money from your account before Friday, you could be hit with overdraft fees, which now average $33.36.
With the PayActiv Bill Pay feature, you can use your already earned wages to pay your bills right from the PayActiv app. You can also funnel close to $33 to your savings using the same app.
If you save on necessities, you can pocket the difference without feeling the pinch. At the grocery store, look at the bottom shelves. This is where the less expensive, generic-brand items are often stashed.
Use your phone to look for coupons when you shop and consider buying in bulk. If you need medication, use the PayActiv app to find discounts at pharmacies near you. You can also speak with your pharmacist and doctor about getting less costly generic versions of the medications you need.
The same item can have dramatically different price tags at different retailers. When you order with a company like Amazon, you can comparison shop online, and you can save even more by having an item delivered to your door rather than having to travel to pick up what you need.
With EWA and the PayActiv app, you can buy the essentials from Amazon, even if you don’t have a credit card.
Fintax refers to the unnecessary costs levied on customers by the financial industry, including payday loans, title loans, and other financial services that charge interest rates much higher than personal loans. Banks also charge extra fees monthly to clients who don’t maintain a minimum balance in their checking account.
The expenses add up fast—the average family pays $1200 in fintax yearly. By using EWA, you avoid this “tax” because you don’t have to borrow money or suffer overdraft fees. Also, if you don’t have a banking account, you can pay bills with the PayActiv app instead of resorting to a high-fee check-cashing service. With that savings in hand, you can watch your money grow.
In addition to offering EWA to help you avoid fintax, PayActiv empowers you to save and manage your money. The result? More cash in your pocket.
Now that’s poetry.
 Leonard Cohen, The Favourite Game (New York: Random House, 2000), 27.
 Derek Thompson, “Very Sad Graph: How Much Americans Have Left to Spend After Essentials, Today,” The Atlantic, August 1, 2012, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/08/very-sad-graph-how-much-americans-have-left-to-spend-after-essentials-today/260606/.
 Amanda Dixon, “Survey: Rising ATM and Overdraft Fees Leave Consumers Paying Much More Than They Did 20 Years Ago,” Bankrate, October 2, 2019, https://www.bankrate.com/banking/checking/checking-account-survey/.
 David Scott Carlick, “How FinTech Creates Fin-Tax on the Working Class,” PayActiv, November 22, 2016, https://www.payactiv.com/how-fintech-creates-fintax-on-the-working-class/.
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