What Is ChexSystems?

Understanding ChexSystems

ChexSystems is a nationwide credit reporting system that collects information about bank accounts that are now closed. It compiles data on red flags, such as whether a bank account was closed due to numerous overdrafts or suspicious financial transactions.

Many (but not all) financial institutions rely on ChexSystems data to decide whether or not to approve an application for a new checking or savings account. If you have a bank account or plan to open one, it’s helpful to understand what goes into a ChexSystems report and why it might matter to you.

What Is ChexSystems?

Authorized by provisions in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), ChexSystems is a risk-management tool for financial entities that are checking an individual’s banking history.

ChexSystems compiles information that can help financial institutions gauge whether a customer is creditworthy before granting them an account. The information that ChexSystems compiles is based only on closed accounts, not current ones, and can reveal whether past accounts were closed voluntarily or due to negative behavior, such as repeated overdrafts or suspected fraud.

Negative marks typically stay on a ChexSystems report for up to five years. If a financial institution sees any kind of negative activity on a ChexSystems report, the applicant may be denied a bank account.

The information in your ChexSystems report can also be used to generate a ChexSystems consumer credit score. This is separate from consumer credit scores generated using information from the three major credit reporting bureaus to help lenders decide who may qualify for a loan.

💡 Quick Tip: An online bank account with SoFi can help your money earn more — up to 4.60% APY, with no minimum balance required.

What Is In a ChexSystems Report?

Not everyone will have a file with ChexSystems. Those who have a clean banking record may not be listed. However, those who have had bank accounts closed in the past for negative reasons will likely have a report with ChexSystems.

A report will usually include basic identifying information, such as name, address, phone number, and date of birth. It will also include details about your banking history, such as:

•   Suspected fraudulent activity

•   Non-sufficient funds (NSF) or overdraft activity

•   Inquiries (when someone has viewed your ChexSystems report)

•   Check cashing inquiries

•   Returned checks reported by retailers

•   History of checks ordered

•   Checking account closures

ChexSystems only collects information for closed accounts, and negative behaviors typically stay on file for five years, as noted above. Current checking accounts do not show up on a ChexSystems report.

Worth noting: If you’ve ever had a security freeze in place, that will usually show up on your ChexSystems report, as will identity theft alerts.

Recommended: Why Is Having a Good Credit Score Important?

How to Get a Copy of Your ChexSystems Report

You can get a copy of your ChexSystems report for free once every 12 months under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), similar to the way you can request a free copy of your credit reports once a year from the three main credit bureaus.

You can request your ChexSystems report online, by phone, or by mail:

•   You can complete and submit the Consumer Request for Disclosure Form online.

•   You can call 1-800-428-9623 Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 7:00 pm CST.

•   You can mail a Consumer Request for Disclosure Form to ChexSystems, Inc., Attn: Consumer Relations, PO Box 583399, Minneapolis, MN 55458.

ChexSystems also offers options for people with visual or hearing impairments. In addition, the ChexSystems website details ways to obtain a report for those under age 18 or for an adult for whom you have power of attorney.

There is an exception to this “once a year” free report rule: If you’ve been denied a bank account, you can request a copy of your ChexSystems report to understand the factors behind the bank’s decision, even if less than a year has passed since the last time you pulled a report. The bank is required to specify the reason for the denial, too.

How to Clean Up Your ChexSystems Report

To clean up your ChexSystems report, you’ll first need to get a copy of it, if you haven’t done so already. You can then dispute any negative information you may find. This can help improve your ChexSystems profile if you can get the information removed.

You can reach out to the bank that shared any negative information about your past account and offer to make good on any outstanding obligations. The bank could agree to remove the negative information.

Going forward, you can prevent any further negative information from being reported by practicing good banking habits, such as:

•   Maintaining positive balances across accounts so you don’t land in overdraft

•   Keeping of checks and deposits to avoid bounced checks

•   Protecting your banking information to prevent fraud

•   Reporting any suspected fraud to your bank right away

Those actions won’t erase a negative ChexSystems file. But they can help you to stay on your bank’s good side.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Does a ChexSystems Report Affect Your Credit Score?

Your ChexSystems report doesn’t affect your consumer credit scores directly. FICO® credit scores, for example, are based on how responsibly you manage credit and debt. For example, it can reveal how often you pay bills late, how much of your available credit you’re using, and how often a hard credit inquiry shows up on your report.

Those are some of the main factors that affect credit scores.

But there could be a ripple effect. If your ChexSystems report makes it difficult or impossible to open a bank account, you might have a hard time paying bills when they are due. If, as a result, you send payments late, that could lower your credit score.

Options if You’ve Been Denied a Bank Account Due to ChexSystems

If you’ve been denied a checking account because of a negative ChexSystems report, it helps to know what to do next. You have a few options:

•   Clean up your ChexSystems file. Request a copy of your ChexSystems report to understand why you were denied. Review your report for any errors or inaccuracies, and dispute any errors you find. Or, if you owe a debt to your previous bank, you could pay it off and request that the bank remove the mark against you.

If successful in cleaning up your report, you can ask the financial institution you recently applied to if they would reconsider the denial. You might also try opening a savings account with the new bank first, see if you can build a relationship, and then add a checking account.

•   Try another bank. Find a bank that doesn’t rely on ChexSystems reports to evaluate potential clients. They are out there and can be found with a little research.

•   Consider a second chance bank account. These are designed for people who have been denied a checking account previously. These accounts may have higher fees or more restrictions than regular bank accounts. They can, however, help you establish a positive banking history and, if managed well, transition to a standard checking account in the future.

•   Use prepaid debit cards in the short term for spending and bill payment. You can load funds onto these cards (which typically charge fees) and then take care of daily needs with that money.

The Takeaway

ChexSystems is a nationwide reporting system for closed bank accounts. Qualified institutions may access ChexSystems reports to evaluate individuals who are applying for new checking or savings accounts. Being listed in ChexSystems means you likely have negative incidents on your closed accounts (e.g., overdrafts, fraud, unpaid negative balances). This can prevent you from opening new accounts. In this situation, you can focus on cleaning up your ChexSystems report or try some workarounds so you can manage daily financial transactions.

SoFi is among the banks that do not rely on ChexSystems when reviewing account applications.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What happens if you are on ChexSystems?

If you have a file on ChexSystems, you may find it hard to open a bank account. ChexSystems gathers negative information about past bank accounts, such as past overdrafts or involuntary account closings.

Can you remove yourself from ChexSystems?

It may be possible to remove yourself from ChexSystems if your report includes information that’s inaccurate or reported in error. You’ll need to dispute the information through ChexSystems in order to have it corrected or removed from your file. Or if, say, you owe overdraft charges on a now-closed account, you could contact your former bank, pay what you owe, and see if they would remove the negative information from ChexSystems.

How do I know if I am in ChexSystems?

You can request a free copy of your ChexSystems report annually. If there is a report on file for you (those in good standing may not be listed), getting this record can reveal the details of negative information.

How long does a person stay in ChexSystems?

Generally, negative information can stay on a ChexSystems report for up to five years. If you have multiple negative items on your ChexSystems report, the five-year reporting time frame applies separately to each one.

Which banks report to ChexSystems?

ChexSystems doesn’t specify which banks use its reporting system. If you’re unsure whether a bank reports to ChexSystems or reviews ChexSystems reports when you apply for a new account, you can call the bank and ask. You can also ask whether second-chance banking is an option, in case you’re denied a traditional bank account.


Photo credit: iStock/atakan

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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.


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 recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit 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, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, 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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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Dormant Account: What Is a Dormant Bank Account?

Guide to Dormant Bank Accounts

Dormant bank accounts have had no activity for a certain period of time, typically three to five years. That means no deposits, withdrawals, transfers, or other processes. They have just been sitting untouched. These inactive accounts can be charged inactivity fees by financial institutions, and if there is no activity for an additional period, the account may be closed.

This can be a rude awakening for some consumers, but a bank or credit union has the right to close a dormant account without your permission. Here are the facts you need to know to protect yourself.

What is a Dormant Account?

A dormant account is a financial account in which there hasn’t been any posted activity for a time period set by the bank or credit union. Activity includes such transactions as deposits, withdrawals, ATM usage, or transfers. FYI, earning interest doesn’t count as a posted activity because it is not initiated by you, the account holder.

The official definition of a dormant bank account varies by state and account type, but it most often happens if an account is inactive for three to five years. As with having a negative bank account balance and letting it sit, an inactive account is not a good sign for your wealth health.

💡 Quick Tip: An online bank account with SoFi can help your money earn more — up to 4.60% APY, with no minimum balance required.

How Does a Dormant Account Work?

These steps change a bank account from active to dormant:

1.    No deposits, withdrawals, or transfers for one year. Some accounts get no love. Perhaps you ignore rainy-day savings while balancing your day-to-day budget and forget about an account. But 12 months with no transactions in an account will set this dormancy process in motion. (One of the top benefits of bank account linking on your bank’s website or app is that you can see all accounts at a glance. This can be a good way to fend off an account going dormant.)

2.    The financial institution flags account as inactive. Nada is happening, not even a deposit, withdrawal, or transfer to pay for a Starbucks latte. The bank takes note and declares it a dormant bank account.

3.    The financial institution starts charging an inactivity fee. Some banks charge zero, but others slap on fees of $5 to $15 per month. Look for these fees on your monthly bank statement.

4.    After beginning one year, there’s no account activity for another two years. The timing varies by state. In California, Connecticut, and Illinois, for example, most bank accounts go dormant after three years. In Delaware, Georgia, and Wisconsin, five years must pass.

5.    The financial institution changes the account from inactive to dormant. The bank will try to contact the account holder (a problem if you moved and didn’t update your address) and allow a certain amount of time for a response.

6.    The financial institution closes the account and sends any leftover funds to the state. This is an automatic legal process called escheatment. But the story is still not officially over. You do have options if your assets have been transferred to the state due to a forgotten or lost bank account (more on this below).

Types of Accounts That Can Be Considered Dormant

Several different types of bank accounts can fall under the dormant account heading, including checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and investment accounts. Even safe deposit box holdings can be considered a dormant account if inactive for a number of years.

Worth noting: Your bank account might also be locked, or frozen, because of suspected fraud, unpaid child support, or unpaid bills. These are reasons why you have a frozen bank account, which is different from a dormant one.

What Is Escheatment?

If you have a bank account that is dormant, escheatment will likely occur. Escheatment is the process by which unclaimed assets are automatically transferred by the bank to the state. When this transfer happens, it means you can no longer reclaim your funds from your financial institution. If you want to get them back, you will have to take other steps.

Recommended: Guide to Bank Account Closure Letters

How Can I Reclaim Escheated Funds?

Every state must follow procedures to document the escheatment and is required to allow time for the original owner to come forward. Here is the process to get your money back:

1.    Search a public database such as Unclaimed.org or MissingMoney.com to link to your state’s unclaimed funds. The search should be free of charge. Don’t put your trust in fraudster sites that charge any fee at all, even $1 for a “trial search period.”

2.    If you see your name and property listed, follow the stated procedure to verify ownership. You will need to provide specific documents and of course, identification.

3.    The money will be released to you.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Consequences of Having a Dormant Account

Having an account go dormant can impact your ability to access and use the funds.

•   No withdrawals at ATM or branch

•   No address changes

•   Cannot add or delete joint account holder

•   No online banking transactions

•   No investment transactions

•   No ATM card renewal

•   You might wait months or even years to reclaim escheated funds from the state

•   Risk of fraudsters stealing your escheated funds

Difference Between a Dormant and Frozen Account

A dormant account is a bank or investment account so named after showing no transactions over a period of three to five years.

A frozen account is a bank or investment account that is temporarily locked, meaning you cannot withdraw money or funds. Usually, an account is frozen because you owe money to a creditor or the government. You may need to take steps to remove a hold on your bank account.

Whether dormant or frozen, both situations can cause you financial hardship.

Why Does an Account Go Dormant?

An account goes dormant when the bank does not see any activity in it for three to five years. This can indicate that the account has been abandoned or forgotten.

Keeping Your Account From Going Dormant

To keep your checking or savings account from going dormant, be sure to use it regularly, even if it’s just to make a transfer or deposit from another of your linked bank accounts a couple of times a year. If you let it sit without any activity, you run the risk of the account going dormant.

When an account goes dormant but the funds haven’t been transferred out or your bank account is closed for any other reason, it’s wise to take steps to remedy the situation and either reopen your bank account or officially close it.

The Takeaway

Banks and credit unions take note of accounts that show no transactions for a long period of time. The dormant account process starts with one year of no activity. After three to five years, depending on your state, ends with your money being turned over to the state.

Looking for options for a bank account you’ll use often?

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What happens if my account is dormant?

If your account is deemed dormant due to inactivity for three to five years, your bank will try to notify you before closing it. If you don’t respond in the given period of time, the account will be closed and the money turned over to the state.

How do I reactivate my dormant account?

You can reactivate a dormant account with your bank or credit union between the time it has been declared dormant and the time the funds are turned over to the state. The key is responding promptly to the bank’s communication saying your account will be closed.

How many years is an account dormant for?

After a total of about three to five years “asleep” with no transactions (though this can vary by state), a bank moves an account to dormant status. The account remains dormant while the bank tries to contact the account holder before turning the funds over to the state.


Photo credit: iStock/AntonioSolano

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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.


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 recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit 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, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, 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 https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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What Is the 30-Day No-Spend Challenge?

A 30-day no-spend challenge is a set period of time — 30 days, in this case — during which you can only spend money on absolute necessities. Allowed expenses include utility bills, rent, transportation costs, and groceries. Anything that falls outside the necessity bucket is banned for the 30-day duration.

With many people looking to cut back on expenses due to recent price increases, a 30-day no-spend challenge can be a great way to take stock of your spending habits and find ways to use your money more wisely.

How Does the 30-Day No-Spend Challenge Work?

Again, a no-spend challenge is a time period during which you stop spending money on anything other than what you absolutely need to live. To get started, you create a list of items and services you consider essential. When you review the list, ask yourself if all of your so-called essentials really are that important, or are some superfluous or impulsive?

Keep in mind that this challenge is designed to help curb troublesome overspending or more specific bad spending habits. So don’t beat yourself up if you do spend some money on wants versus needs.


💡 Quick Tip: We love a good spreadsheet, but not everyone feels the same. An online budget planner can give you the same insight into your budgeting and spending at a glance, without the extra effort.

Allowed Expenses During the 30-Day No-Spend Challenge

During the no-spend challenge, you will still need to pay your rent or mortgage, gas, utility bills, insurance, and things like your internet and phone bills. You can purchase essential personal care items, too, such as medications, groceries, and cleaning products. A budget planner app can help you decide on your “needs” list.

But the lines can get blurry. For instance, what happens if you wear out your shoes and want/need a new pair? After all, walking in cheap, poorly made shoes could lead to injury or avoiding activity. Feel free to give yourself some wiggle room in deciding what’s essential for you.

Recommended: The 70/20/10 Rule for Budgeting

Forbidden Expenses During the 30-Day No-Spend Challenge

Remember that before you begin the challenge, you’ll be questioning what’s essential and how strict you want to be. It’s smart to decide in advance which of the following will be on your do-not-spend list:

•   Eating out: fast food, restaurants, takeout, alcohol, coffees, etc.

•   Personal care items or services

•   Clothing

•   Gifts and gift cards

•   Home decor and furnishings

•   Hobbies

•   Entertainment: movies, concerts, books, streaming services

You may determine ahead of time that there will be certain exceptions to these categories. For example, you can decide on “no gifts” except for your mom’s birthday. Or no salon appointments except for a needed haircut.

Tips for Completing the 30-Day No-Spend Challenge

Anticipate what will be the most difficult part of the challenge for you, and create strategies for coping. Is your busy social life going to tempt you to break the rules? Or will the siren call of online shopping be your undoing?

Come up with a plan on how you will get past your specific spending challenges. If your social life will be tough to navigate that month, recruit pals to join the challenge and make it a friendly competition. If online shopping is your budget-killer, unsubscribe from retail email lists and delete shopping apps from your phone. The point is to make the challenge as easy on yourself as possible.

Here are a few additional ways to set yourself up for success:

•   Unsubscribe from memberships and apps

•   Set aside time during the week for meal prep, and bring lunch to work

•   Dust off your travel mug, and skip the coffee shop

•   When you get an urge to buy something, add it to a post-challenge wish list

•   Print out a 30-day calendar and make a checkmark at the end of each successful day. Visual reinforcement can motivate you to keep going.

10 Free Things to Do Instead of Spending Money

Taking part in a 30-day no-spend challenge doesn’t have to mean isolating yourself at home in an effort to save money. This is a time to get creative and search out free activities. You may find that some free experiences are more fun than what you normally spend money on.

1. Take a Hike

Whether you’re walking a mile or seven, hiking is a great way to spend the day outdoors. You can invite friends or go solo and get in tune with nature.

2. Get Some Exercise

Many great athletes and trainers offer workouts on social media and YouTube. Or download one of the many free apps that feature yoga, strength training, and high-intensity workouts.

3. Set Up a Sports League

Call your friends and organize a weekly game of flag football, basketball, or frisbee. Encourage folks to BYO beverages and snacks so that there’s no need to visit a restaurant or bar after the game.

4. Dine Al Fresco

Get your picnic blanket and paper plates ready, and propose a pot-luck in the park.

5. Host a Movie Night

Try a free, library-affiliated streaming service like Hoopla or Kanopy, and immerse yourself in a great film. If you’re feeling inspired, select a classic film, and ask friends to come dressed in the style of that time period.

6. Sand and Surf

Sticking to your challenge budget during summer is simple: Head to the nearest free parking beach. Bring towels, chairs, and umbrellas and set up shop for the day. And of course, pack a cooler full of sandwiches and drinks.

7. Have an At-home Spa Night

You don’t need to spend hundreds at the spa. Set the tone with candles and music.
And use personal care items that you already have to pamper yourself.

8. Check Out a Local Park

Odds are, there’s at least one park near your home that you’ve never visited. If you live near a botanical garden, even better. Also, see if any national or state parks nearby have free visitor days.

9. Visit Art Galleries and Museums

Support local artists by visiting small art galleries, or see if any local museums have free visitor days.

10. Whip Up a Gourmet Meal

Instead of dining out, try recreating your favorite meal yourself. Take your time, find recipes, get groceries, and have fun with it. You can pull up an online recipe or follow along with a cooking show.

The Takeaway

Intended to encourage better spending habits, the 30-day no-spend challenge asks you to limit your purchases for one month to essential items and services only. Utilities and groceries are allowed; dining out and other “treats” are not. You’ll likely learn a lot about your money habits, and perhaps let go of some “needs” that you really aren’t.

Before the challenge, review your monthly spending habits with SoFi.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

What is the no-spend challenge?

A no-spend challenge is a stretch of time during which participants vow not to spend money unnecessarily. Essentials are still allowed, such as bills, transportation, and groceries. Anything that falls outside of your predetermined needs has to wait until the challenge is over.

How do you do a no-spend month challenge?

Don’t spend any money you don’t have to — it can be as simple as that. Before you begin the challenge, ask yourself which items are essential (such as groceries) and how strict you want to be. The goal is not to purchase anything unnecessary.

How do you challenge yourself to not spend money?

Make spending less money a game by trying a 30-day no-spend challenge. Motivate yourself to stick with it by setting up a reward once the challenge is over. And be sure to track how much you save over those 30 days.


Photo credit: iStock/Seiya Tabuchi

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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What Is a Credit Reference on a Rental Application?

What Is a Credit Reference on a Rental Application?

Credit references are documents that verify your credit history. They can come in the form of a credit check report, asset documentation, or character references.

A limited or poor credit history can potentially impact your approval when applying for a rental. If you have a spotty payment history, a low credit score, or little to no history, your chances of getting approved may go down. Landlords or property management companies can approve or deny rental applications based on these references.

If this description of a less than stellar reference fits you, don’t fret. There are ways to put your best foot forward with credit references in today’s competitive market.

Definition of a Credit Reference

Credit references paint a picture of your borrowing and payment habits and history. Property managers and landlords use it to help determine whether you’re likely to pay rent on time and in full.

Documents of financial agreements can be used as a credit reference. They come in the form of:

•   Credit reports

•   Character references

•   Asset documentation

•   Credit reference letters

In some cases, letters from personal lenders or documents from a car loan can be used. Be sure to clarify what the landlord needs when applying for an apartment. It’s also helpful to pull together the documents ahead of time, so you can pull together references for multiple apartments at once.


💡 Quick Tip: Online tools make tracking your spending a breeze: You can easily set up budgets, then get instant updates on your progress, spot upcoming bills, analyze your spending habits, and more.

When You Need Credit References

At the end of the day, landlords want to know if you’re able to pay rent. Getting an apartment rental is a business transaction between two strangers. Credit needed for an apartment plays a key role in rental applications.

Why Landlords Want Credit References

A credit reference is proof of your financial history. They detail how much debt you have, how timely your payments are, and your credit score, among other factors.

For instance, if your credit references show that you’ve been able to pay off your debts in full in a timely manner, a landlord will likely approve your rental forms.

Applicants with low credit scores or poor payment histories have lower chances of being approved.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

Types of Credit References

As mentioned, credit references come in different forms, like credit reports, character references, or formal letters from bank loan officers.

Credit Report

The most available type is a credit report. Three major credit bureaus provide credit reports: Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®. You can obtain a free credit report every 12 months to check your score and scan for errors. The credit scoring system known as FICO® can be used by all three.

Credit reports contain information like your credit history, current debt, bankruptcies and foreclosures. It can also include the age of your debt and how many credit inquiries you’ve had. Importantly, it’ll also contain your score; credit scores range from 300 to 850.

Landlords will look at this report to determine the financial risk of each applicant. Generally speaking, a credit score of 670 or higher is considered acceptable, though requirements may vary based on the lender or circumstances.

Another factor that can impact your credit score and report is the number of inquiries into your credit history. If there are a lot of inquiries, it may lower your score since it can be perceived that you may be struggling financially. Some rental applications will include a fee for running the credit check.

Bad or no credit may give a landlord pause — but it may be possible to strengthen your case.

Recommended: What is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax?

Asset Documentation

Asset documentation is proof of income, liquid cash, or investments. It shows landlords that you are financially stable and able to handle unforeseen circumstances, like a job loss.

Your landlord may request a verification letter from your employer, pay stubs, or an offer letter to prove income. You may also have to provide documentation of your savings or investment funds like mutual funds or retirement plans. Reach out to your financial institution or brokerage to provide you with documents of your accounts.

The more assets you have, the stronger your application will be.

Recommended: What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car

Character and Credit Reference Letters

Credit reports and asset documentation only tell part of the story. A character or credit reference letter may give context to a spotty part of your credit history. Someone who you’ve had financial transactions with, such as an employer, previous landlord, or business partner, can write a letter confirming your character and values. For example, if you went through hardship, such as a medical illness, but still met your financial obligations, someone such as a prior landlord can vouch for you.

If you have bad credit, for example, an institution can demonstrate if you have taken courses, been given resources such as a debt payoff planner, or worked out a new payment plan to successfully pay off your debt. It demonstrates a commitment to improving personal finance.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a reference letter — many may be willing to write on your behalf. Remember, however, that these types of letters are not as concrete as credit and asset reports. They work better as supporting documentation.

Financier Support Letters

If you have troubled credit history, a financier support letter from a cosigner on a lease can help. These letters are typically for business owners who need to prove they have the capital to meet rent or buy.

For a lessee, a guarantor would write a letter with context on how they can support your rent if needed. This can be helpful if you have an adverse credit history. For business owners, the letters would be obtained from financial institutions or financial partners backing a business lease or purchase.

Credit Reference Examples

If a landlord requests written credit reference letters, have a list of people in mind who can type up a quick letter. You could also ask them to type up a generic letter that you can use across multiple applications, or you might offer to supply a draft of the letter for them to edit as they see fit. Sometimes a property management company or landlord will have their own template, so be sure to clarify which format is acceptable.

A credit reference letter can be brief. But it must include key details such as:

•   Reference full name and contact information

•   Length of relationship

•   Payment history

Additional details may be requested depending on what your landlord requests. Below is a sample template:

   Dear [Landlord Name]:

   I have known Ben as a tenant for three years. He paid rent ahead of time, was quiet, respectful, and took care of our property. Also, he ended his lease in search of a bigger space. He got his deposit returned in full, so he’s highly recommended as a tenant.

If you do not have a history of renting, you can ask a financial institution to vouch for you. Here’s an example letter:

   [ABC Bank] lent $30,000 to Tina Jones in 2014. She made her payments on time and paid off the loan ahead of schedule in 2017.

If you’re still short a reference, try an employer to vouch for your stability at your current job:

   Tim has been an employee of ACB Company for 3 years and has been promoted once. Her current salary is $92,000. She’s responsible and puts our clients’ interests first. She will make a great tenant.

How to Secure a Credit or Character Reference Letter

Before you send a mass email to all your contacts, confirm with your landlord what details are needed. If there’s a template letter to use, so much the better. Once details are confirmed, reach out to your contacts. Be sure to provide them with all the information they need to include in the letter.

There’s no formal process to request a letter from financial institutions. You can go in person to speak to a banker who can provide you a letter or you can contact your bank and ask how to obtain one.

How to Improve the Chances of Getting a Reference Letter

Asking with plenty of time vs. saying you need a letter tomorrow is obviously a good move. Also consider authorizing your institution to release personal information while you are actively applying for rentals. Not doing so could cause delays as the letter goes through the chain of command.

The Takeaway

Landlords want to see that you earn income and honor your debts. Credit references are formal documents that support your profile as a reliable tenant. They come in the form of records from credit bureaus and character reference letters from employers, among others.

If budgeting is not your strong suit and you want to build your financial profile, a money tracker app can help.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

What do I put as a credit reference?

That depends. Ask your landlord what documents he or she requires for a reference. It can mean a credit report, bank statements, character reference — or all three.

Who counts as a credit reference?

A credit reference can be someone with whom you have a tenant-landlord or business relationship. It can be a representative at a bank who can give a formal written letter of loans or accounts you have with them. Or, if you have limited or no credit history, a reference can be a current or former employer who can highlight your reliability.

Why do I need a credit reference?

Most property management agencies or landlords require credit references in order to approve a tenant application. This gives them an idea of your financial history and whether you’ll pay rent on time.


Photo credit: iStock/damircudic

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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Things to Budget For After Buying a Home

Things to Budget for After Buying a Home

After you purchase a new home, there are many things to budget for, including moving costs, new furniture, and ongoing expenses such as your mortgage. Although it may seem like many of the significant expenditures are out of the way once you close on a property, there are additional costs that can add up.

To avoid financial surprises, it’s wise to jot down and budget for all of the extra expenses you will encounter when you move into your new place. To help you organize your finances, here are the things to budget for after buying a house.

Moving-Out Expenses to Budget for

Before you take up residence in your new home, you must move all of your things. Even if you pack and move all your belongings yourself, you’ll still have to spend on things like boxes, packing materials, and a truck. And if you use movers, it will cost you even more.

Recommended: The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving Your Belongings

There are three main options for moving your belongings:

•   Renting a truck and doing it yourself. It’s more cost efficient than using professional movers, but DIY moving yourself still adds up. You’ll have to pay for the truck rental fee, gas, and damage protection. If you’re moving across the country, you may also have to factor in the costs of shipping some of your items. Even though you can enlist your friends and family to help you do the heavy lifting, the cost of moving yourself can still be significant, and it’s a lot of work.

•   Hiring movers. If you decide to use professional movers, it’s wise to shop around to find the best price. Here’s why: For moves under 100 miles away, the national average cost of moving is $1,400, and it ranges from $800 to $2,500. If you’re moving long distance, the average cost can be as high as $2,200 to $5,700. To cut costs, you can do your own packing, which may save you money.

•   Moving your things in a storage container. Another option is to use a hauling container — you load your things in it, and the container company moves it to your new location. This usually costs between $500 and $5,000, depending on the distance and how much stuff you’re moving. Long-distance moves will usually cost more than local ones.

Moving Supplies

If you decide to go the DIY moving route, you will need to buy boxes, bubble wrap, labels, and tape. And you likely have more items to wrap and box up than you think, which requires even more supplies.

Cleaning Supplies

You’ll probably want to clean your current property before you move out, and you’ll definitely want to clean the new place when you move in. That means buying mops, sponges, cleaning solutions, and paper towels. You may also want to get the carpets cleaned or hire a professional house cleaner if the place needs a deep cleaning.

10 Common Expenses After Buying a Home

Once the move is done, there are other expenses you’ll need to account for as you settle into your new abode. Here are a few things to budget for after buying a home.

Furniture and Appliances

You’ll likely bring some furniture and decor from your old place, but you’ll probably want to purchase some new things as well. For example, if the appliances are outdated, you might want to upgrade to new ones. And you may have more rooms to furnish, which requires additional furniture.

Consider opening a savings account for the new items you want to purchase. It can also help pay for any unexpected costs, such as having to replace a hot water heater that breaks.

Mortgage Payments

As a homeowner, every month you will making a mortgage payment that typically includes:

•   The principal portion of the payment. This is the percentage of your mortgage that reduces your payment over the life of the loan. The more you pay toward principal, the less you will have to pay in interest.

•   The interest. This is the amount you pay to borrow funds from the bank or lender to purchase your home.

If you are using an escrow account to pay your mortgage, other things may be included in your payment, such as your property taxes, insurance, and private mortgage insurance. This guide to reading your mortgage statement can help you understand all the costs involved in your mortgage payment.

Property Taxes

Property taxes are the taxes you pay on your home. In many cases, these taxes are the second most significant expense after your mortgage. Property taxes are based on the value of your home, which is typically governed by your state. The county you live in collects and calculates the sum due. Usually, property tax calculations are done every year, so the amount you owe may fluctuate annually.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance helps protect your home from damage or destruction caused by events like a fire, wind storm, or vandalism. It can also protect you from lawsuits or property damages you are liable for. If someone slips and falls on your sidewalk, for instance, homeowners insurance will pay for the injured person’s medical bills and the legal costs if they decide to sue you.

The cost you pay for this coverage will vary by the type and amount of coverage you select.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

For borrowers who can’t afford a down payment that’s 20% of the mortgage value, lenders usually require private mortgage insurance (PMI). This type of coverage is designed to protect the lender if you default on your mortgage payments.

PMI can cost as much as a few hundred dollars per month, depending on the sum you borrow.

HOA Dues

This is a Homeowner’s Association fee, which goes toward the upkeep of property in a planned community, co-op, or condo. The amount can range from a couple of hundred dollars a year to more than $2,000, depending on the amenities you’re paying for (like a pool and landscaping). You typically pay HOA fees monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Utilities

Your utility payments include water, gas, electric, trash, and sewer fees. Some bills like water and electricity are based on the amount you use every month, so monitoring your electric and water usage, like taking short showers and turning lights off, can help lower your cost. Other payments, such as your trash or recycling, might be a fixed amount.

Lawn Care

Maintaining the curb appeal of your home requires landscape services and lawn care. If you choose to mow your own lawn, you may need to factor in the purchase of a mower, which can cost about $1,068 on average. If you hire a lawn service to cut your grass, you may pay $25 to $50 a week.

Pest Control

Pests, such as ants, ticks, rodents, or mice, can wreak havoc on your home and your family’s health. For these reasons, many homeowners hire a pest control company to prevent the infestation of pests around their homes. The company’s initial visit may cost between $150 to $300, then $45 to $75 for every follow-up.

Home Improvement Costs

As a homeowner, there are likely things you want to change about your house. From painting the walls to a complete kitchen renovation, transforming your property can add to the cost of owning a home. According to the HomeAdvisor 2023 State of Home Spending Report, homeowners spend an average of $9,542 on home improvement each year.

Additionally, as the features of your home age, you will need to replace and repair them accordingly.

Common Mistakes After Buying a Home

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying a home is spending more than they can afford. For instance, you may forget to factor in utilities, lawn care, HOA fees, costs of upkeep, and other hidden expenses that come with owning a home. It’s crucial to do your research to determine extra costs and add them up before you move forward with purchasing a property.

Another mistake new homeowners make is taking on too many DIY projects. TV shows can make home renovations look easy. However, many of these projects require professionals who know what they are doing. Attempting a home improvement project could cost you more to fix than hiring a pro in the first place. In fact, about 80% of homeowners that attempt their own renovation projects make mistakes — some of them serious.

Unless you can afford an expert, you may want to rethink purchasing a home that requires a lot of renovation.

The 50/30/20 Rule

For help planning your budget as a homeowner, you can use the 50/30/20 rule, which breaks your budget into three categories:

•   50% goes to to needs

•   30% goes to wants

•   20% goes to to savings

That means you’ll be budgeting 50% of your income to go toward necessities such as housing costs, grocery bills, and car payments. Then 30% will go toward things you want, such as entertainment (movies, concerts), vacations, new clothes, and dining out. The remaining 20% goes towards saving for the future or financial goals such as home improvement projects.

Using a 50/30/20 budget rule is simple and easy. It allows you to see where your money is going and helps you save.

Recommended: How to Track Home Improvement Costs

Lifestyle Tradeoffs in Order to Budget

With so many things to budget for after buying a home, you may need to cut back on spending. Start by looking at your discretionary spending and think about where you can trim back. For example, instead of eating out regularly, you can cook more meals at home. Or perhaps you can put your gym membership on hold and do at-home workouts for a while to stay in shape physically and financially.

Recommended: How to Budget in 5 Steps

The Takeaway

After you buy a house, there are many expenses you may not have accounted for, such as the cost of hiring movers; buying furniture; and getting your new place painted, cleaned, and ready to move into. Making a budget is vital to keep you on track financially, so you can enjoy your new home.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.


See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

How much money should you have leftover after buying a house?

After buying a home, the amount you have left will vary depending on your financial situation. However, it’s a good idea to have at least three to six months of living expenses in reserve. That way, in case of an emergency, you can stay afloat financially.

Is it worth putting more than 20% down?

Putting more than 20% down on your home can help lower your monthly mortgage payment and interest because you’ll be borrowing less money. It also gives you more equity in your home from the beginning. But make sure you can afford to pay more than 20% in order not to stretch beyond your budget.

What’s the 50-30-20 budget rule?

The 50/30/20 rule means that you budget 50% of your expenses for needs (housing, groceries, loan payments), 30% for wants (entertainment, eating out, shopping), and 20% toward savings goals (retirement, renovations, new furniture).


Photo credit: iStock/ArtMarie

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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