What do people always say? Budget well and you’ll always have the cash you need. In theory, they’re right. Following a spending plan will help you afford planned bills, but what about in real life, when you can’t always expect your next expense?

You know, like how your car breaks down out of the blue. Your dog falls ill and needs to see the vet. Or your wallet gets stolen just after you visited the ATM.

When your savings fall short in an emergency, it’s a relief knowing you may borrow cash online when you need it. An online personal line of credit is a quick and convenient way to cover these financial SNAFUs.

If you’re on the lookout for a personal line of credit, read up on the guide below. Borrowing can get expensive if you aren’t careful, but these tips will help you avoid spending any more than you have to.

1. Borrow for the Right Reasons

Why do you want to borrow money? Will it help you cover something urgent you can’t avoid, or could you reasonably put off the purchase until you can save up what you need?

If it’s the latter, think twice about your need to apply for a line of credit.

A personal line of credit is a safety net in unexpected financial emergencies. It’s not a piggybank to help cover everyday bills or shopping trips

2. Shop Around

It doesn’t matter whether you borrow online or in-person, from a national financial institution or a local one. With very few exceptions, financial institutions will apply finance charges, fees, and interest on your line of credit.

This is generally thought to be the cost of borrowing, so don’t worry; it’s a normal part of your loan agreement.

But these things will affect how affordable your line ends up being.

Shop around to make sure you get the best deal on these rates and terms. You may find these fees vary depending on your financial institution and credit score.

3. Read Your Terms and Conditions

Few people enjoy reading dense legalese. It doesn’t matter if it’s the updated security policy of your favorite app or the loan agreement of a future financial product.

These documents seem to be designed to put their readers to sleep. But don’t get caught dozing.

You’ll find any extra fees or responsibilities that aren’t immediately clear when you first start shopping. They might change the affordability of your LoC, so make sure you read every last word. Period.

And if you don’t understand something? Ask your financial institution’s rep. If they aren’t willing to explain your agreement in plain English, consider finding another one!

Bottom Line

A personal line of credit may give you some flexibility when an unexpected emergency stretches a tight budget to its snapping point.

But the last thing you want to do is replace your unaffordable expense with an unaffordable line of credit. Make sure you choose your options wisely. Following these tips may help you save money!