couple looking out over a forest

Budgeting for Your Honeymoon

The last thing any engaged couple wants is to start their new life together by going into debt. And yet, the costs can easily add up fast. First, there’s the wedding and all the events leading up to the big day. Then, there’s finding a place to live and making it your home.

Next, there’s the honeymoon—your chance to really relax and enjoy yourselves before married life gets real. You should remember this trip for the rest of your lives because it was a wonderful time spent together—not because you’re still paying for it. Here are some tips to make financing your honeymoon the least of your worries:

Setting a Limit on How Much You Can Spend

Maybe you’ve saved up for this dream trip, or Mom and Dad have floated you some cash. Boom. You’re done.

If not, you’ll have to come up with a realistic number and make it work. Sit down with your betrothed and have a frank discussion about what you want to do and how you’re going to pay for it. Talk about whether you’re willing to take on some debt, if necessary, and how you’ll pay it back if you do.

Looking for a place to house your honeymoon budget? SoFi Checking and Savings is a checking and savings account that earns you interest on all your cash. Plus, with SoFi Checking and Savings you are your +1 can easily merge your finances and get no account fees. We work hard to give you high interest and charge zero account fees. With that in mind, our interest rate and fee structure is subject to change at any time.

Setting Priorities & Making Trade-offs

For example: Would you be willing to cut the trip short a few days if it meant you could stay at a nicer resort? Would you be willing to pass on a day at the spa if it meant you could go snorkeling or skydiving? Can you do without room service breakfasts so you can have dinner at the Eiffel Tower?

Breaking Down Your Expected Costs on a Budget Worksheet

You can use Excel or any other spreadsheet program, or a simple checklist could do. Just keep in mind that your costs will start before you ever leave for your trip. You may need a passport or specific vaccines if you’re traveling overseas.

You might want new clothes or better luggage. Also consider where you’ll stay, how you’ll get around, what you’ll eat and drink, things you’ll do for fun—and don’t forget about taxes and tip.

Finding Ways to Save

If you have enough set aside in your honeymoon fund to pay for everything you want, good for you—start making reservations. But what if you’ve got a shortfall?

Before you start arguing, crying, or crossing off some of the most appealing plans on your list, start searching for savings:

Talking to a Travel Agent: A good travel agent can help you find honeymoon destinations on a budget and steer you to experiences that will make your trip special without costing a fortune. Yes, you could do hours of research online and book it all yourself, but don’t you have enough on your plate?

Booking early: Not only will you have a chance at better choices for cruise cabins, hotel rooms, and airline seats that fit within your budget, you can stop sweating those details.

Considering an all-inclusive resort: If you don’t have time to hunt down individual deals, consider searching for all-inclusive resorts or cruises, which usually include lodging, meals, soft drinks, gratuities, and some activities and services in the price.

Go on a “mini-moon”: If your honeymoon budget just can’t handle a blowout trip, plan a shorter excursion, maybe closer to home. You can still go luxe with spa days and gourmet dinners at a five-star hotel; just tighten up on other details.

You can always take a longer honeymoon later, when your financial reserves (and vacation days) have had a chance to replenish.

Promoting You Are On Your Honeymoon: Whenever you make a call, be sure to mention this is for your H-O-N-E-Y-M-O-O-N. It might get you a better room, a better table, a free bottle of champagne or some extra attention from staff. If they don’t offer a discount or freebies, ask.

Making a Plan for How You’ll Pay

When you’ve done all you can to close the gap between what you want and what you can afford, it’s time to figure out how you’ll cover the difference.

Creating a honeymoon registry: You can use all the cash gifts you receive to augment your vacation stash, or you can set up a registry (like The Knot’s Newlywed Fund ), where wedding guests can contribute to a general honeymoon fund or make a gift of specific honeymoon activities.

This way, family and friends know where their money is going, and you get to go horseback-riding on the beach or shushing down the slopes in Aspen.

Pillaging your credit card points: If ever there was a time to use up every credit card point and frequent flier mile you’ve ever earned, this is it. If you plan ahead you could get strategic—use cards that earn you points to pay for wedding expenses, then use the points you just earned for the honeymoon, flights, upgrades and more.

Be sure you can make the monthly payments on those cards as you go—or better yet, pay off the balances. Otherwise, you’ll be racking up interest.

Looking into a personal loan: Maybe your finances are temporarily flagging because of the wedding, but you and your spouse-to-be both have a good credit record, excellent salaries, and the wherewithal to make payments on time. If your shortfall will be short-lived, taking out a personal loan might help.

Sure, you could pile those travel costs onto a credit card. But think about it: If the interest rate is high or variable and you can’t pay off the balance on your card as soon as you get back home, you could ultimately be spending far more for every souvenir and spa visit than you planned.

With a personal loan, you can borrow just what you need at a competitive rate and make manageable payments. Knowing upfront what you’ve borrowed could even help you keep better control of what you spend.

Another plus: You can sign on as co-borrowers and have the funds delivered to a joint account, so the loan will belong to both of you—you won’t have to fret or fume about who’s paying for what.

Personal Loans with SoFi

Arguing about finances can put stress on many a relationship—but that doesn’t have to be you.
If a vacation loan sounds like a good option, shop for the best deal you can get. SoFi’s Personal Loans offer competitive rates, great member benefits, and customer service that’s there whenever you need it.

You can pay back the loan early if you like—there are no prepayment fees. And as a SoFi member, you’ll also have access to the financial services you’ll need in the future, from home loans to investing.
If you plan well, cut costs where you can, and borrow wisely if needed, you can start your life together on sound financial footing.

In need of some extra funds for your honeymoon? See if a SoFi vacation loan is right for you.

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.
SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance.
This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite.
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.
SoFi Checking and SavingsTM is offered through SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC, a registered investment advisor.


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2 Members Share Their Tips For Paying off Student Loans

Paying off your student loans can feel like a grueling journey, especially if you have a lot of it. And there’s a lot of student loan debt out there—$1.5 trillion to be exact .

It’s becoming clear just how much student debt can have a negative impact on the psyche of the student debt holder. In a survey conducted by SoFi, 83% of respondents felt like they couldn’t relax due to their student loans, and 50% felt that student loan debt has made them feel depressed.

More than a third have reported losing sleep due to student loan debt, and plenty of others say that it’s caused them to miss out on opportunities to travel, practice self-care, and make major life decisions.

If you’re in the throes of student loan debt repayment, you should know that there’s hope: Catie Gould and Veronica Scafe, two SoFi members, show us that it can be done. Not only did they each pay off their nearly $100,000 in respective students loans, but did so in about four years—significantly faster than their original loan terms.

It is important to note that these results may not be typical of every person paying down student loans. Below, these two members share their student debt journeys as well as their tips to help pay off student loans.

Meet Catie Gould and Veronica Scafe, SoFi Members

If you’ve got student loans and are looking for inspiration to get rid of them once and for all, Catie Gould and Veronica Scafe are your people. Both paid down nearly $100,000 in student loan debt.

Catie Gould paid off her student loans in just over four years—an impressive feat considering she graduated with around $91,000 in student debt from her dual degrees in material science and mechanical engineering.

Veronica Scafe found herself in a similar situation after graduating with $99,800 in student loans from obtaining her Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Even though Scafe had only expected to leave graduate school with $80,000 in loans, she was able to pay off the balance in an incredible three years and eleven months.

Their Personal Strategies For Paying Off Student Loans

Right out of school, Gould and Scafe deployed similar strategies for paying off their student loans fast; they both worked hard at keeping their expenses low, even with their new, higher salaries.

When Gould graduated from school, she avoided “lifestyle inflation” even though she was making more money than she ever had before. “Not very much changed for me after graduating. I am a saver by nature. I kept driving my old car, living with roommates, shopping at thrift stores, taking local vacations.”

And Gould didn’t stop there. “I bought a bicycle to get around town, tried gardening, and cooked my own food most of the time. I said no to plenty of things, but most never felt like a sacrifice.”

It helped Gould that she didn’t have expensive tastes to begin with: “Festivals were a big thing I never knew about. I was shocked that people pay $300+ to go to weekend music festivals.”

Scafe recounts an experience similar to Gould’s. She and her husband “never expanded our lifestyle to fit our salary so we never had to make cuts.” Scafe added, “We live pretty frugally. We have a modest home. We cooked most of our meals at home and took leftovers for lunch the next day.”

Just as keeping expenses low was an important tactic for both women, so was making additional payments towards their student loans. Neither wanted the emotional burden of paying back loans for longer than they had to, nor did they like seeing so much of their loan payments go towards interest payments and not the principal.

Simply having a long, hard look at how much you’re spending in interest payments every day, week, or month, may be the motivation you need to pay your loans off faster than the standard ten-year repayment schedule.

“I sometimes calculated how much interest I owed every morning just for waking up,” says Gould. From this exercise, she noticed that the daily interest charges on her student loans cost her “more than eating out every day, which I considered pretty indulgent,” and this motivated her to take action, and fast.

Gould and Scafe also refinanced their student loans, which provided them both the extra boost they needed to pay their loans back on such short timelines. By refinancing and qualifying for lower rates, more of each payment could be applied to the loan’s principal and not just interest.

What pushed them to pull the trigger on refinancing?

When Gould started her first corporate engineering job, the company was in the midst of layoffs. Luckily, she kept her job, but she says that “the layoff had a huge impact on me.” This experience at work pushed her to explore even more options for lowering her student loan bill.

The concern of how she’d make payments if something were to happen to her job, along with interest rates that she felt were far too high—some of them at 8.75%—inspired her to tackle her debt through extra payments and refinancing.

Gould refinanced around $36,000 of her debt through SoFi. She said, “Getting out of a higher interest rate was really helpful to pay down my remaining student loan balance. I feel a lot more in control of my future and how I chose to spend my time. It’s steered my life in a direction I never anticipated.”

Scafe also knew the feeling of wanting her loans long gone, and fast. “I obsessed over them and I think that’s what motivated me to get rid of them ASAP.” Having multiple loan payments scattered throughout her month was a nuisance.

“I refinanced to lower my interest rate,” she says, but also desperately wanted to have only one monthly payment. Paying down multiple loans faster than their scheduled repayment terms was a logistical hassle, and required significant manual maneuvering. “It got really frustrating.”

Both women refinanced their loans with SoFi, lowering their interest rates and saving them money on interest while consolidating their multiple loans—both federal and private—into one loan with one easy payment.

Tips to Help Pay Off Student Loans Early

“Tracking your spending is a must,” says Gould. She used Mint to track her spending, though there are many methods of doing so. The important thing, says Gould, is to do it. “The difference between months I looked at my budget frequently and months I didn’t was about $300 to $500 of savings, just from being more aware.” And putting those savings towards a student loan payment seriously expedited her loan payoff journey.

When it comes to spending money, try to cut whatever doesn’t bring you true joy. “There is always something forgettable that you are spending money on every month that you can cut.” For Gould, one of these things was dining out. For you, it could be something different, but the lesson here is to identify what really doesn’t produce joy for you, and ruthlessly eliminate it. Spend on only what you love.

“There is no way you can cut out all your expenses, and you need to let yourself have a little leeway to feel like you are living a great life. Some treats I got myself were evening classes in things I found interesting.

I took calligraphy, pottery, Arabic, essay writing. I also have some nice camping gear. I always equated these extra things to lunches—a $10 expense that I wouldn’t miss.”

Scafe, on the other hand, extols the virtues of paying yourself first. Whether you’re paying off loans on an expedited schedule or saving up an emergency fund, it’s wise to spend what is left over after saving and not vice versa.

While you should always keep a buffer in your checking account, too much cash lying around could be just asking to be spent. You can move it towards your loans or a savings account as soon as payday hits instead.

For both women, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel was crucial to their perseverance. They stuck with it, even when it felt like student debt freedom would never become a reality.

For Scafe, having her debt eliminated has been a big stress relief. Gould says that she feels in control of her future and how she chooses to spend her time, and that nothing compares to the feeling of paying off her student debt. And while neither claim that the process was easy, or entirely possible for many on their relatively short timelines, both believe that it was totally worth it.

If you have student loans like Scafe and Gould, keep pushing to reach your goal of being debt free. You can use our student loan payoff calculator to get an idea of when your loan payoff date could be, and it’s never too late to start putting strategies in place to help accelerate your loan payoff—even if it’s just a little at a time.

Also, you can consider refinancing your student loans with SoFi to potentially lower your interest rate and get a shorter term, and therefore help to expedite your own loan payoff journey.

Refinance today! It only takes two minutes to check your rate.

Disclaimer: The savings and experiences of members herein may not be representative of the experiences of all members. Savings and experiences are not guaranteed and will vary based on your unique situation and other factors.
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.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.


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How Much Debt is Too Much to Buy a House?

Perhaps you’ve found your dream home, or maybe you’re still in the exciting stages of looking for the house you want. In either case, you’re likely thinking about getting a mortgage loan—and you may be wondering if the amount of debt you currently have will become a stumbling block to qualifying for a mortgage.

To qualify for a mortgage, a lender needs to be confident that you can responsibly manage the amount of debt that you’re currently carrying along with a mortgage payment. The formula used to determine that is called a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

More specifically, a DTI ratio is the percentage of your qualifying monthly income, before taxes, that is needed to cover ongoing debts. This could include student loan payments, a car payment, credit card payments, and so forth. If the DTI ratio is too high, then a lender may see you as a higher risk.

This post will describe DTI in more detail, including how to calculate yours, what lenders typically like to see, and what might be too much debt to buy a house. We’ll also share strategies to manage your debt and lower your DTI ratio to help you qualify for the house of your dreams.

Understanding How Your DTI Ratio Can Affect Your Mortgage Options

The DTI formula is pretty simple. First, make a list of all your debts with recurring payments. Then, if you’re a W2 earner, take your pre-tax monthly income and divide your monthly expenses by this amount. That percentage is your DTI ratio .

Note that, with a mortgage, to calculate your DTI ratio, you’ll need to have a reasonable estimate of monthly property taxes on the home, insurance (homeowners, for sure, and PMI and flood insurance, if applicable), and HOA dues, if applicable. Even if you wouldn’t necessarily pay those bills on a monthly basis, you’ll need the bill broken down into a monthly amount for DTI calculation purposes. (And remember these are just examples. Your actual DTI, as calculated by a lending professional, may differ.)

If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, it can impact the type of mortgage you’ll qualify for. Each mortgage lender will have their own preferred DTI ratio, of course, and lenders can and do make exceptions based on your unique financial situation. Here’s an explainer on desirable debt-to-income ratios from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Preparing for When You Need a Mortgage

If you know you’ll want to buy a house within, say, the next year or two, it can be beneficial for you to understand how much home you can afford. This will give you time to manage your finances to make getting a mortgage approval easier. Perhaps you can’t pay off all your debt in that time frame, but there are strategic moves to make to position yourself better when mortgage time is upon you. In addition, consider reviewing our home buyers guide to get a better understanding of everything you need to prepare for your mortgage.

First, be careful. There are plenty of debt-related myths, but let’s address two debt-related realities:

1. Having a lot of debt in relation to your income and assets can work against you when applying for a mortgage.
2. If you are consistently late on debt payments, lenders may question your ability to pay your mortgage on time.

Here are a few tips that can help with some of the most common debt challenges:

Student Loan Debt

If you’re looking to take control of your student loan debt, consider refinancing your student loans into one new student loan with a potentially lower interest rate.

This can make paying back your loans easier, because there is just one monthly payment to make. Plus, with a (hopefully) lower interest rate, you can pay back less interest, overall. And, if you’re concerned about your monthly DTI ratio being too high when you go to apply for a mortgage, you may be able to refinance your student loan to a longer term for lower monthly payments, to reduce your current monthly DTI ratio. (Keep in mind, though, that extending your loan term may mean paying more interest over the life of your loan.)

When you refinance at SoFi, you can combine federal loans with private ones, something not many lenders permit. Request a quote online to see what you can save. Note that SoFi does not have any application fees or prepayment penalties.

Credit Card Debt

When you have a significant amount of credit card debt, the monthly payments can negatively impact your DTI ratio.

If you’re concerned about managing credit card debt payments while paying a mortgage, you could even consider focusing your efforts on getting out of credit card debt before you start the homebuying process.

To manage your credit card debt, and ultimately eliminate it, here are a few debt payoff methods to consider

•  The snowball method. List your credit cards from the one with the lowest balance to the one with the highest. Then, focus on paying off the one with the smallest balance first, while still making minimum payments on the rest. When that first card is paid off, focus on the next one on your list and so forth.

•  Tackling high-interest debt first. Using this method, you list your credit cards from the one with the most interest to the one with the least. Then, focus on paying off the credit card with the highest interest while making minimum payments on the rest. Then tackle the next one, and then the next one.

•  Consolidating credit card debt using a personal loan before you apply for a mortgage loan. When you do this, you’ll have just one loan, and personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards (if you qualify). Ideally, keep credit cards open while only using them to the degree that you can pay off in full each billing cycle. And as with all debt payments, make all personal loan payments on time.

By reducing and managing your credit card debt, you can better position yourself for a mortgage loan on the house of your dreams.

Consolidating Your Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

Ready to consolidate credit card debt into a personal loan? SoFi makes it fast and easy, and it only takes minutes to apply. Plus, our personal loans have the following perks:

•  Low rates

•  No fees

•  Access to live customer support seven days a week

•  Community benefits; ask about how, if you lose your job, we can temporarily pause your personal loan payments and help you to find a new job

We look forward to helping you achieve your financial goals and dreams. Learn how a personal loan from SoFi can help.

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.
SoFi Mortgages are not available in all states. Products and terms may vary from those advertised on this site. See for details.
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 on credit.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

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Do You Spend More Than Your Peers?

Living in America? Consider how your average monthly expenses stand in comparison to your country-peeps:

Every year , the average American spends:

•  $18,886 on housing (including property taxes, if applicable)

•  $9,049 on transportation (including gas)

•  $7,203 on food (groceries and eating out)

•  $2,913 on entertainment

All that expense seems to be pretty standard, even before you start chasing the classic American Dream. For that, it’s easy to look to your peers to see how it’s done (even if they’re doing it wrong).

An old-school term for this is “keeping up with the Joneses,” trying to acquire as many things your neighbors next door. Even for the most competitive, that race gets tiresome very fast. Once you realize that the best person to compete against is not others but yourself, you can get more focused on your own financial goals.

Otherwise, comparing yourself with others will leave you in a constant state of distraction. Until then, you may be burning many wasted calories that could be put to better use focused on your own average monthly expenses, spending, budget and goals.

Let’s face it, though: some of this is a result of social media. Part of the need for keeping up with your friends comes from Facebook and Insta envy. Seeing your friends post photos and videos of their latest acquisitions (cars, houses, tech equipment) can light that competitive fire in you (or maybe it’s just plain envy). Sometimes, a message like that from an online friend can be even more powerful and influential than an advertisement from the actual brand.

How Do You Compare?

Data regarding average monthly expenses among peer groups is shown on a website called Status Money . It matches individuals to a peer group based on income, geography and age to compare how other people are doing in relation to your financial situation.

It also lets you compare your spending habits with like-minded people among your peer group. Average monthly expenses include transportation costs, shopping, eating out and other obligations.

How it came about: Status Money cofounder Majid Maksad was formerly a data analyst for Citi; he found
, even during the Great Recession, Americans were not becoming as frugal and financially careful as you might expect.

In fact, what he found was the complete opposite: continued spending, not by personal choice but mostly driven by writing off bad debts through foreclosures and personal bankruptcies.

What it boils down to: think differently. Train yourself to be more aware.

“It wasn’t a change in behavior that was occurring,” Maksad told Forbes about the stats he discovered. “And that raised the question: ‘How do you get people to change behavior?’”

Perhaps the answer lies in knowing — not assuming — exactly what your peers average monthly expenses are. The results seem to support this. A study on the early users of Status Money found that comparing yourself to those in your peer group (a minimum of 5,000 people) could strongly influence your spending habits (this can also be called FOMO spending). Between September 2017 and April 2018, spending among those surveyed by Status Money declined by about $600 a month.

“People need to know what others are doing with money,” Maksad told CNN Money, “but in a completely secure and anonymous way.”

Comparing Finances To Your Peers

When comparing finances online, completely secure and anonymous is how most people want to roll, particularly Millennials. If you are a part of this largest living generation, here are some broad strokes to give you a general idea of where you stand when compared to your peeps. It’s all according to a survey from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants:

•  Over three-quarters of Millennials want to have the same clothes, cars and tech gadgets as their friends.

•  Around half of have used a credit card to pay for daily necessities.

•  Over 25 percent of them had late payments or are dealing with bill collectors.

•  Seven out of 10 of those surveyed define financial stability as being able to pay off of their bills each month.

•  Gender difference are also a thing. The study reveals that men are more inclined to keep up with their friends when it comes to material goods. Women, however, tend to be more frugal and consider saving money important.

According to the apartment rental site RentCafe, younger adults may have spent as much as $93,000 by age 30 on rent. During their first decade in the workforce, rent can take up about 45 percent of their income, which can leave next to nothing for savings, investments, and paying off debt. Compare that to GenX adults, who spent only 41 percent of their income on rent per year by age 30 (adjusted for inflation); Baby Boomers spent only 36 percent of their income on rent back in the day.

Are you paying more than 30 percent of your income on housing? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers you “cost-burdened.” If you’re spending 50 percent or more on housing, you maybe put in to the category of “severely cost burdened.”

Tips on How To Combat Peer Pressure Spending

Here are a few ways to put blinders on when that peer pressure spending urge comes on:

Get Real

Make a deal with yourself to be honest about your overspending. Don’t try to fool yourself or rationalize away unnecessary purchases. Ask yourself — constantly — “Do I really need this, or am I just trying to keep up with my friends?”

Get Stubborn

Once you have a budget in place, be rigid about sticking to it. If you can’t afford something, don’t let the devil on your shoulder sweet talk the angel on your other shoulder. Step in and take charge. With time, the compulsion to give into your spending impulses will start to weaken and listen to you.

Treat Yourself

If you’re doing a good job of sticking to your budget and not overspending, allow yourself a periodic reward that you promise yourself in advance (once a month, every six weeks, etc.). Go have a meal with friends or buy that pair of shoes you really like. Be sure not to treat yourself so well that you overspend and wind up taking giant steps backward.

Get Help With SoFi Relay

Often, it helps when you can keep tabs on your spending and have access to someone to talk through your expenses without fear or embarrassment. With SoFi Relay you’ll have access to both of these, and more, at no cost!

SoFi Relay gives you insight into your cash flow and spending habits so you can see the full picture of your finances. Additionally, you can connect all of your accounts on one dashboard to get a bird’s-eye view of your balances on the go.

What’s more? You can talk with a financial planner about your spending habits & take a serious look at your expenses to create an action plan to help achieve your financial goals.

Keep track of your spending with SoFi Relay!

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.
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. Advisory services offered through `SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member

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How to Still Save Money While Raising Young Children

This statistic has been making the rounds, but perhaps you’ve been too busy between work, kids, and just generally being superman or woman to notice it.

According to the Federal Reserve Board’s 2016 Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, 44% of all respondents could not cover an unexpected $400 emergency expense, or would rely on borrowing or selling something in order to do so. And believe it or not, that 44% is actually an improvement over previous results that go back to 2013. Still, it’s not making anybody feel any better.

If you’re part of this statistic, rest assured that there are ways to liberate yourself from this kind of burden. Saving money is power.

While the great expense of raising children can make you feel financially insecure, there are ways to work it so that you and your kids come out ahead. Even if you grow your family, there are habits to learn and stick to that can help keep you on top of your finances. Getting a grip on your budget, your finances, and your expenses can make for a happier family and a somewhat less stressful existence.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you save money while raising young children.

Establishing an Emergency Fund

Even if you can only afford to contribute a few dollars a week, an emergency fund can help you deal with the unexpected without necessarily having to resort to a credit card. These funds should be in a separate account (not your checking account) where you can access the funds easily, but not that easily (really, save it only for emergencies).

Treating Your Family to Home Cooking

Cooking in bulk, say on Sunday night, before the week begins, is a good way to have meals on hand and to eliminate the temptation for takeout and ordering in. You can save a lot of money in the process, especially if you cook with good health in mind. It’s also a great group activity for the fam.

Rethinking Your Grocery Budget

Walking through a supermarket is an exercise in resisting temptation. Instead, arrive with a pre-prepared list in hand, and stick to it. Planning meals (see our second suggestion) can get your shopping chore done faster.

You don’t have to get completely frugal—some snacks should be allowed—but if the bulk of your shopping list is planned and practical, you’ll likely see the difference in your budget, and, more importantly, in your family’s health.

Staying at Home

It may seem old-fashioned, but young children usually love old-fashioned fun: board games, charades, watching movies, reading comic books, playing music, taking walks, and telling stories can save you money on most outside activities.

You don’t have to give up the outside world completely, but cutting down could surely make a difference in your monthly outgoing expenses.

Buy Secondhand

New clothes are not always a good solution for kids who quickly outgrow their old clothes. Accepting hand-me-downs, attending yard sales, and checking out online trading can be great ways to avoid the high prices of children’s clothing, and possibly the high price of your own wardrobe as well.

Sharing a Nanny

One of the most draining costs of raising young children is day care and/or a nanny. Nanny shares are actually a thing, because of the need to save money with a baby or young child while still benefiting from high-quality care. Nanny sharing can result in a cheaper monthly nanny bill, and a chance for your child to learn how to interact and get along with other children (hopefully).

Asking Your Doctor and Dentist for Free Product Samples

After your child’s checkup, it can’t hurt to ask if there are any free samples you can take with you. Whatever you get can be one less product you have to buy at the drugstore: eye drops, skin cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss. It’s a doggy bag that saves you money.

Cutting Down on Extracurricular Activities

This doesn’t make you a bad parent. Allowing your child horseback lessons or Little League baseball instead of horseback riding lessons and Little League still gives them the benefits of activity and socialization.

You child will usually let you know which activity is the most important to them. It also teaches your child one of the most difficult lessons to learn in life: we can’t always get everything we want. A great source for free activities for kids: your local library.

Reducing the Amount of Toys you Buy

This may sound cruel, but you may have noticed that your child plays with a toy for a few hours at the very most, and then abandons it (have you seen Toy Story?).

Buying fewer toys will save you money and make your child cherish the toys already there. This tip doesn’t mean that you should never buy another toy again. Check online for sales, discounts, and trades.

Signing up for Free Offers and Coupons

Online commerce wants you! They’ll do anything to attract you and keep you. This often includes getting messages to you for flash sales, discounts, and coupons you can use right from your phone. Check your favorite stores for kids. They’ll be glad to hear from you.

Other Ways to Save Money While Raising Young Children

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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.
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.
Automated and advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth LLC, a registered investment advisor.
SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance.
This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite.
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.
SoFi Checking and SavingsTM is offered through SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC, a registered investment advisor.


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