Can I use Payday Loans to Buy Food?

There are many loans which only have a specific purpose. For example, a student loan can only be used by students to pay for their course and living expenses. However, there are also many loans which do not have a specific purpose. Payday loans fit into this category as you do not need to use them for buying specific things. However, It is important to still make sure that the purpose you need the money for is a good one.

Should I Borrow at all?

It is a good idea to start by thinking about whether borrowing is the right idea. Consider whether you can borrow, what loan options you have and whether you think it is the right solution to your problem. If you have savings, for example, it is probably better to use those than borrow money. This is because all borrowing costs money and if you use savings then you will not have to pay this. You will miss out on interest on your savings, but that will usually be less than you are paying in interest on the loan. It is worth checking but usually savings interest is significantly less than charges on loans.

You should also think about whether you really need the money that you are borrowing. Of course, if you are buying food then it could be really necessary. However, make sure that there are not ways you can cut back elsewhere so that you can more easily afford the food. Also make sure that you really need it, that you don’t have some food that you can use even if you do not like it so much, perhaps some tins in the cupboard or things in the freezer. You may be able to buy cheaper food too, which could mean that you will not need to borrow to afford it.

Can I Borrow Enough?

It is also good to make sure that you will be able to borrow enough money from a site such as to pay for the food that you need. With a payday loan you can borrow between £100 and £1,000 as a rule, but different lenders will have different amounts that they will lend. You may also find that payday lenders will want to be cautious when they lend to borrowers for the first time. It is a risk and so they may be keen to make sure that they will be able to trust the borrower. This means that they may only let them borrow a small amount to start with and this amount may not be enough to cover the cost of the food.

Can I Repay?

It is also a good idea to think about repayment. Obviously, you do not want to starve and so you really will need to borrow the money if you have no other way to buy food and eat. However, it is important to make sure that you know how you should be repaying it. With a payday loan you have to repay in a lump sum on the next day that you are paid. This means that you need to be sure that you are able to afford to do this. Of course, if you are being paid, then you will have money available to you. You may therefore feel that it is unnecessary to worry about it, but you should check carefully. Remember that you will have other things to pay for as well and therefore you will need to make sure that you have enough money for that as well. It might be that you will have a lot of things going out that day and you need to make sure that there will be enough to cover it all. You also need to think about the other things that you will also need to buy during the course of the month and whether you will have enough to cover those as well.

If you are not able to repay, you will be charged extra money. This is what will happen with any loan that you take out and miss a repayment for and so you need to be careful. No one will want to pay out more than necessary.

Do I Have Alternatives?

It is a good idea to also think about whether there are any alternative solutions which might work better for you. This will very much depend on your own personal circumstances. It might be that you will be able to take out different types of loans perhaps. It might also be that you will be able to fund things in a different way. Perhaps you will be able to reduce your spending in different areas, or earn more money somehow or sell things to raise some money. It is worth thinking about whether you might be able to do anything else or whether perhaps, even if you do borrow, whether you can do any of these to help it to be easier for you to repay the loan or manage you finances once it is repaid. 

Will Payday Loans be Better than an Overdraft?

Often, we may have a dilemma when it comes to borrowing money. We may have several options in front of us and not really know which will be the best. This may be because we do not know lots about the different loan types, but it could also be because we are not really sure how to compare them. It is wise to look at a selection of things such as the following:

  • Cost
  • Repayment
  • Lender

There are lots of things that you could compare but these are probably the main ones and a good place to start out.


It is not always that easy to work out the cost of some types of loans. With a payday loan, there is often a calculator on the website and you will be able to put in the details, such as how much you want to borrow and how long for and it will let you know how much it will cost in total to repay it. This is very useful and you will have a monetary cost that you can compare with other payday lenders and you will easily be able to see which lender will be the cheapest.

With an overdraft the costs are harder to compare. You will have an interest rate, which will tend to be between 35-40%. This is a yearly rate and so if you borrow £100 for a year at 40% interest you will have repay £140 if you keep the loan for a year. However, it is very hard to predict how much you will borrow and how long for. This is because an overdraft is automatically repaid when money goes into your account, but if spend money form the account it will increase. This means that you are unlikely to owe one specific amount of money. Also, there is no pressure to repay it so you could keep the overdraft for a long time.

The only way to really compare the cost is to assume you keep the overdraft for the same amount of time that you have the payday loan and calculate the cost. However, it only works as a comparison if you are sure that you will repay it then even though there will be no pressure to do so.


As was touched above repayments are different with the different loans. With a payday loan you will need to repay the loan on the next day that you get paid. This will mean that you will need to be completely sure that you will have the money available. The loan will not last long, perhaps weeks or even days and you will need to pay it in full or else you will have extra charges. This means that you will not really have a choice but to repay on this day. The lender will even set up a direct debit so that the payment goes ahead on the right day. This means that you will not forget, which is good and ensures that it is paid. However, if you do not have the money available then it could cause you to go overdrawn or if you have no overdraft facility it will mean that you could have problems.

With the overdraft it will just repay when you put money into the account. This means that it could be repaid really quickly, when you next get paid just like the payday loan. However, this depends on whether you have the overdraft on the account that you are paid into. Also, there may be other money also coming out of the account and so the income may not be enough to cover those things as well as the overdraft. It is therefore rather more complicated.


There are also differences between the different lender. Some people like to use a lender that they have used before or one that they have heard of. Some like one that has a good reputation or that has been recommended by someone they know. It might be more specific things like you want good customer service, a company that has been established for a good few years or something like that. It is a good idea to have a think about what you want from a lender and then you will be able to match up one with your requirements.

Therefore, it is not easy to say whether payday loans are better than an overdraft. It very much depends on what you are looking for in a loan and whether you can match that to one of these two loan types. It is also worth being aware that you may need a good credit record to get a current account that offers an overdraft facility but credit rating is not relevant for a payday loan, so that could be a big factor as well.