When the holiday season rolls around, money talks are bound to follow. But for many of us, the mere thought of holiday finances can send shivers down our spines — and be a real cause of stress.
According to a recent SoFi survey, nearly 50% of people in the U.S. feel nervous or stressed about their finances this holiday season. And believe it or not, one in three people say they’ve gone into debt in the past to pay for holiday gifts. No wonder this time of year can be a bit nerve-wracking.
All that said, there are a few key things you can do to avoid both spending more than you have and the pressure of trying to keep up with the Joneses — or your family and friends — when it comes to holiday spending.
Set Your Holiday Budget
First things first: One of the best things you can do to reduce holiday financial stress is to create a budget. Take some time to determine how much you have available to spend and what’s most important to you. This can help you feel in control again, instead of barreling blindly ahead.
Don’t just think about gifts. Consider all the extra things you might spend money on, such as travel, entertainment, and decorations. Even the cost of shipping packages can add up. Putting your whole holiday budget in one singular place, like a Vault within SoFi Checking & Savings, can help you easily track your spending.
A budget can be as simple as you need it to be, whether it’s written on paper or made in a budgeting tool, like SoFi Insights. The bottom line is to know how much you can spend without going into debt, which is essential for taming anxiety about money.
Stretch Your Dollar
Holiday money doesn’t just have to come out of your paycheck or savings. There are many ways to stretch your budget. For one, take advantage of rewards and windfalls. Whether it’s redeeming cash-back offers or points, setting aside a work bonus, or even digging up forgotten gift cards, every little bit helps. You can even sell unused items via online marketplaces to not only come up with extra cash but create some extra room for gifts coming your way.
And let’s not forget the importance of avoiding fees. Many people don’t realize how much they pay in service fees, late fees, or interest charges, but these really add up. Read the fine print before signing up for anything and review your bills to understand what you’re being charged every month.
And finally, start saving early. Setting aside a small amount of money each month in a high-yield savings account allows you to benefit from additional earnings when the holiday season arrives.
We all want to splurge now and then, right? Getting a loved one something incredible, like a shiny new laptop or a bicycle upgrade, can be tempting. But hold your reindeer; you don’t have to blow your budget to make the holidays special.
Some of the most memorable gifts are low-cost or even free — a train set passed down from generation to generation or a day-long adventure with family. One of the easiest ways to maximize your spending is by buying second-hand items. Most of the gifts my wife and I buy for our kids are used, and our kids have no clue we spend a fraction of the cost. Bonus dad tip, second-hand items also come assembled, which saves hours of stress the night before assembling things in your cold garage.
Budgeting isn’t just about understanding your financial limits, it’s also about understanding possibilities. So get creative! Ask yourself what you can really do for someone with $25. I know it might sound cheesy, but thinking about what you can do that’s meaningful rather than just checking a box on a list can help ease your stress and safeguard your financial well-being for the long haul.
Get extra cash for your holiday shopping with SoFi. Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $250 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!
Photo credit: iStock/LordHenriVoton
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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.
The following describes the terms that apply to participation in the SoFi Checking and Savings direct deposit promotion (the “Direct Deposit Promotion”) offered by SoFi Bank, N.A, Member FDIC (“SoFi”).
Eligible Participants: All new and existing members without any history of direct deposit transactions into their SoFi Checking and Savings account are eligible for the Direct Deposit Promotion. Members who previously enrolled in direct deposit into either SoFi Money or SoFi Checking and Savings, whether currently still enrolled or not, do not qualify for this Direct Deposit Promotion. Bonuses are limited to one per SoFi Checking and Savings account. In the case of a joint account, only the primary account holder (the member who signed up first) is eligible for a bonus.
Promotion Period: The Direct Deposit Promotion will begin on 01/01/2023 at 00:01AM ET and end on 12/31/23 at 11:59PM ET.
Bonus Terms: In order to qualify for eligibility for a bonus, SoFi must receive at least one Direct Deposit (as defined below) from an Eligible Participant before the end of the Promotion Period. Direct Deposits are defined as deposits of $1,000.00 or greater from an enrolled member’s employer, payroll, benefits provider, or government agency via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer, payroll, benefits provider, or government agency (such as check deposits; P2P transfers such as from PayPal or Venmo, etc.; merchant transactions such as from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.; and external bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify for this Direct Deposit Promotion. The amount of the bonus, if any, will be calculated during the Direct Deposit Bonus Period as described and defined below.
Direct Deposit Bonus Period: The Direct Deposit Bonus Period begins when SoFi receives a Direct Deposit within the Promotion Period and ends 25 calendar days later (the “Direct Deposit Bonus Period”). For the avoidance of doubt, the Direct Deposit Bonus Period shall not extend beyond the Promotion Period. The bonus amount will vary based on the total amount of Direct Deposits received during the Direct Deposit Bonus Period. Once the Direct Deposit Bonus Period has elapsed, SoFi will determine if you have met the offer requirements and will deposit any earned bonus into your checking account within seven (7) business days. For example, if SoFi receives between $1,000.00 and $4,999.99 in Direct Deposits during the Direct Deposit Bonus Period, you will receive a one-time cash bonus of $50. A member may only qualify for one bonus tier and will not be eligible for future bonus payments if Direct Deposits subsequently increase after the Direct Deposit Bonus Period.
Total Direct Deposit Amount in Direct Deposit Bonus Period
Cash Bonus Tier
$1,000.00 – $4,999.99
$5,000.00 or more
Bonus Payment Timeline: SoFi will credit members who meet qualification criteria within seven (7) business days of the end of the Direct Deposit Bonus Period.
Bonuses are considered miscellaneous income and may be reportable to the IRS on Form 1099-MISC (or Form 1042-S, if applicable). SoFi reserves the right to exclude any Members from participating in the Direct Deposit Promotion for any reason, including suspected fraud, misuse, or if suspicious activities are observed. SoFi also reserves the right to stop or change the Direct Deposit Promotion at any time.
SoFi members with Direct Deposit can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the 4.60% APY for savings (including Vaults). Members without Direct Deposit will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.
SoFi Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. The SoFi® Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
Our account fee policy is subject to change at any time.
SoFi Bank is a member FDIC and does not provide more than $250,000 of FDIC insurance per legal category of account ownership, as described in the FDIC’s regulations. Any additional FDIC insurance is provided by the SoFi Insured Deposit Program. Deposits may be insured up to $2M through participation in the program. See full terms at SoFi.com/banking/fdic/terms See list of participating banks at SoFi.com/banking/fdic/receivingbanks
SoFi’s Insights tool offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service and for SoFi to present to you data we have received from the credit bureau. The credit score and associated data provided to you is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.
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