Gifting Money to Your Kids for College Tuition

Fall means freshly sharpened pencils and the sound of thousands of parents sighing as first-semester college tuition bills hit their mailboxes. While many parents want to help their children pay for their college tuition, there is some confusion about whether gifting money to children to use for tuition bills is better than paying the school directly.

With the costs of tuition rising every year, it can be important to make sure that you’re making smart financial decisions when it comes to your child’s tuition, whether you’re paying just part of the bill or footing the whole thing. Under IRS rules, there are different tax implications whether you’re gifting money to kids vs paying tuition. (More on that in the next section.)

Depending on your personal circumstances, making the wrong choice could end up costing you in extra taxes, or in a potential reduction to your child’s need-based financial aid.

While we always recommend you speak to a credentialed financial or tax professional about taxes and any other important financial matters, read on to get a high-level overview of some of the basics around this topic.

What is the Gift Tax?

According to the IRS , the gift tax is “a tax on the transfer of property by one individual to another while receiving nothing, or less than full value, in return. The tax applies whether the donor intends the transfer to be a gift or not.”

That’s a lot of words to essentially mean that if you give someone a gift of property, including money, without getting something of equal value in return, that may be considered a gift. And if you’re gifting, it might be subject to the gift tax. In general, the gifter is responsible for paying the gift tax costs .

Now, before you start worrying if you’ll have to pay a gift tax on the $100 bill you slipped into your niece’s graduation card, it is important to know that the gift tax generally only affects large gifts.

This is because there is an “annual exclusion” for the gift tax, which means that gifts up to a certain amount are not subject to the gift tax. For 2019, the annual exclusion is $15,000 . For spouses, the annual exclusion is $30,000 .

The tax code, however, currently contains an educational exemption that may protect tuition paid directly to the school from being subject to the gift tax.

This means it is important to consider all your options and your personal circumstances when deciding whether to gift tuition money or to pay tuition costs directly.

Again, this is simply a broad overview of some of the current guidelines—absolutely speak with a tax professional before making any important financial decisions or if you have any questions about gifting and taxes.

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Gifting Your Money Directly to Your Children

Children are not treated differently when it comes to the gift tax, which means that whether you’re gifting your neighbor money for being really great all those years, or transferring to Junior the $20K you saved up to pay for his sophomore year at a liberal arts school, the gifts are treated the same by the tax code.

This means that a gift you make to your child for the purpose of paying tuition or covering educational expenses may be subject to the gift tax if the gift exceeds $15,000 if you’re single or $30,000 if you’re married and making a joint gift.

With the rising costs of higher education, it is completely conceivable that you’re forking over more than $15,000 or even $30,000 per year in tuition costs. As a result, you might end up on the hook for paying a gift tax on any gifted amount that exceeds the $15,000 or $30,000 exemption.

Paying College Expenses Directly

Another common option when it comes to paying tuition is to pay the school directly. Paying the school directly may help you avoid paying a gift tax on top of the cost of tuition.

Why doesn’t paying tuition directly count as a gift for the purposes of the gift tax? Thanks to a handy carve-out in the tax code, the gift tax explicitly does not typically apply when it comes to tuition or medical expenses that you pay for someone else.

This means that in some cases, it may save you some cash to pay the school directly rather than first giving the money to your child and having them use it for tuition. It is important to consider all your options, however, as gift tuition payments may impact the student’s need-based aid.

This is more likely when the gifter is a grandparent or other individual, however, as financial aid determinations often already take both student and parents incomes into account. Consider using an online calculator to get an idea of how different scenarios may affect your child’s federal aid award amounts.

Other Ways to Pay for College

While many parents help with college costs, you may also have other competing priorities, like retirement. If you’re looking for other ways to help cover your student’s educational costs, and your child has already exhausted their federal aid options, you could consider federal parent loans or private parent loans.

One type of federal loan available to some parents is the Parent PLUS Loan, which is a type of federal student loan that may be available to parents with kids enrolled at least part-time in an eligible program. These loans are not subsidized and accrue interest while your child is in school.

If a Parent PLUS loan and other types of financial aid are not sufficient to cover the cost of your child’s education, private student loans could be an option. Private student loans are offered by private financial institutions, not the government.

While private student loans aren’t right for everyone, they could allow your student to borrow money to fill the gap in funding for their college tuition if federal aid isn’t enough.

Unlike federal student loans, the terms of private student loans are set by the lenders. This means that private student loans might not have a fixed interest rate, and the lenders might look at things like your credit history and other financial information to decide if you qualify.

It is important to do your research before turning to student loans to avoid paying more than necessary. SoFi offers private student loans to undergrads, grads, and parents with no fees.

If you’re considering a private student loan, SoFi might be able to help. SoFi’s private student loans are fee-free and have a simple, fully-online application process. Learn more.

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Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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Setting Goals in College

Ready to set smart goals as a college student? You may be Type A in planning out what you want to achieve this year, or you may be the type to just hope to make it to class on time. Between studying, attending the latest game, or finding ways to make money in college, goals can be challenging to create.

Whether you are just starting fresh or redefining your semester, setting goals in college could help you balance academics, finances, and fun. And let’s face it: college students today are juggling a lot. Tuition and fees for a bachelor’s degree average out to $8,600 for the 2018–2019 school year, according to the College Board . In order to make ends meet, as of 2017, 43% of full-time undergraduate students are employed.

When you get down to it, you may just really be interested in learning how to ride a unicycle to class (we’d be super impressed). While there are endless opportunities to better yourself in college, you might not know where to start. Take a look at some goal ideas below and you might discover that goal-setting could improve your semester.

Good Goals to Complete in College

After the craziness of finding the best college fit, you might be anxious to make the most of your college days. Maybe signing up for 50-plus campus organizations isn’t a good idea, but there are a few goals that might set you up for success. Goal-setting students can break down objectives into different categories.

Academic Goals to Achieve

Earning a good GPA. At the top of most students’ minds is getting good grades. There are plenty of positives to achieving a high GPA, including more potential for scholarships or landing on the dean’s list. It might be a great resume-builder, too. You could aim for a certain GPA, or work on improving your number from last semester.

Increasing professor facetime. Along with earning good grades, actually making an effort to get to know your professors could go a long way. Using your instructors’ office hours to clarify confusing topics instructors might help you understand class concepts better. And who knows, their references might lead yous to a really cool internship down the road.

Personal Goals to Set in College

Signing up for extracurricular activities. College is a great time to discover new interests. Curious to learn Japanese? There might be a club for that. Want to blow off some steam on a basketball court? There could be an intramurals team for that. You could check with your college’s campus life department to see what’s available.

Exploring a new city. You might want to eat pasta every night in Italy or dive the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Studying abroad in college can be more than a chance to get out of the country. It could give you the opportunity to expand your cultural views and learn more about people across the world.

Financial Goals to Set in College

Paying for college. Finding ways to make college more affordable doesn’t have to be a daunting goal. Whether you’re considering scholarships or grants, you could find ways to help reduce the amount you owe after graduation. You could even set up a budget to make sure you’re meeting all your money goals.

Finding an internship. The whole point of college is working to get a degree so you can set yourself up for success in your chosen field. One great way to get ahead could be to land an internship related to your major.

Should You Set More Than One Goal in College?

There are plenty of goals to select from. What happens when you want to do it all? You could select your top three goals for the semester and prioritize them.

The cool thing about college is there are so many things to explore. The overwhelming part of college is there are so many things to explore. Double-edged sword, anyone?

You could reevaluate your top goals once final exams are done. If you are setting more than one goal, you might want to try writing them down. A study from Dominican University showed that if you write out your goals, you are more likely to accomplish them.

Once you have written out your goals, you could set it aside and revisit the list the next day to see if it still feels right. The next step might be to take your goals and make them SMART.

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What Is a SMART Goal?

SMART is an acronym that breaks down your goal into five categories:


The SMART goal method can be implemented for a variety of goals. Each goal typically follows the same method. Specific refers to how clear your goal is stated. It shouldn’t be vague or abstract. Measurable refers to knowing how you can achieve your goal.

The goal should also be attainable. Can you actually achieve the goal? Relevant refers to why you want to accomplish the goal, and time-bound helps you define a due date for your goals.

SMART Goal Example for Students

If you really want to get down to business on your goals in college, you could use the SMART criteria to start building them out. For example, what if you’re a commuter student who wants to be more involved on campus? The goal of “being more involved” by itself would not fit the SMART criteria—it’s too vague.

To be more specific, you could reword your goal by stating, “I want to join two campus organizations this semester and be on the leadership team for one of them.” In this way, you have specifically called out your goal.

It’s also measurable because the goal requires joining two organizations and serving on the leadership team for one. The goal is attainable because you have access to campus organizations. And it’s relevant to your college experience.

Then you could break down your SMART goal into mini-milestones. Going along with this example, you might make a goal to check out the activities fair during school. You could also research campus organizations online and narrow your list down to the two you want to become involved with the most.

Another SMART goal example for students could be paying for college. Breaking it down using the SMART criteria, for example, could look something like this:

Specific: I need to come up with $10,000 for college tuition by next year.
Measurable: I can measure this by figuring out how much money I have and how much I need.
Attainable: I can achieve this because there are a variety of resources I can use to help me pay for college.
Relevant: The total amount needed is the same cost as one year of tuition at my school. This will help me continue going to school to get my degree.
Time-bound: This needs to be completed in 12 months so I can deliver the funds to the financial aid office.

SoFi and Student Loans

If you have a goal to pay for college tuition, and you’ve exhausted your federal aid and other financing options, you could consider a private student loan with SoFi. SoFi offers low-rate, no-fee in-school loans that could help you finance college. Now that’s smart.

Get started with a SoFi private student loan application.

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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.

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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

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Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Bank, N.A. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.


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Using Multiple Savings Accounts for Different Goals

When you’re just starting out, single and carefree, you might be content with just one checking account and one savings account. Using them is simple—you spend from your checking and transfer to savings as often as you can.

As life gets more complicated, however, so do your finances.

How do you keep track of it all? That depends on your style. Ask any savings-minded friend how they organize their money, and they can likely recite the routine in their sleep.

They know exactly what money is where, the current balance of each account (give or take) and what it’s for, such as their kids’ college, retirement, a house down payment, or a rainy day fund.

If you’re saving for a few different things at the same time, you may be wondering “Should I open a second savings account?” Separate savings for separate goals can be a solid strategy, especially if you have several needs happening at once. Read on to review and determine if having multiple savings accounts is right for you.

Getting to Know the Different Types of Savings Accounts

Generally speaking, savings accounts are seen as a safe place to stash your cash. Here are some of the most common:

•  Traditional Savings Account: This is your basic savings account offered by most banks that’s tied to a checking account. Usually, these offer a low interest rate and won’t do much to grow your savings. It may have a minimum balance requirement, a limit on the number of transfers or withdrawals per month, and the interest rate may be as low as 0.1% .

•  High-yield savings accounts: These offer higher interest rates, but can have additional conditions ( usually minimum balance requirements) to compensate for the higher interest rate. Growing in popularity is a unique hybrid of high yield savings and checking that offers higher interest rates along with a combination of benefits popular with traditional, separate accounts.

•  Certificate of Deposit (CD): A CD allows your savings to grow over a period of time at an interest rate similar to a high-yield savings account, with the. However, you can’t touch your money for the length of the CD without incurring penalties. And usually, the longer the CD’s length, the better the interest rate.

•  Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA): Similar to a CD in that it offers higher interest rates, an MMDA lets you have easier access to your money. They’re also likely to have a higher initial deposit, minimum balance, and the number of monthly withdrawals may be limited. You might hear the term Money Market more often associated with a mutual fund investment account, but this version is considered savings—that means no investment expenses and less risk.

A Quick Note About Saving vs. Investing

While the accounts outlined here focus specifically on cash-based savings, some people also opt to save via common investment accounts.The biggest difference between saving and investing? Risk.

While investment accounts have the potential for a much higher return, they also have the potential to lose big. This makes savings accounts a safer choice for any short term purchases in the next 3 to 5 years.

•  Recommended: The Differences in Saving and Investing

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The Advantages of Having Multiple Savings Accounts

If your finances are complex—you travel for work, have a large family, or are self-employed—having multiple savings accounts tied to separate savings goals could be a good way to keep yourself organized and on track.

One common way couples use multiple accounts, for example, is to set up a joint account for paying the monthly bills and other family expenses, growing an emergency fund, or saving for a family vacation. In addition, each person might also keep their own account for personal spending and savings.

Similarly, a freelancer might consider one account for everyday, personal use, a separate account for business expenses, and even a high-yield savings account for storing (and growing) the money they set aside for taxes each quarter.

Using multiple savings accounts can give some the willpower to say “No, I can’t touch that money. It’s for {insert your savings goal here.}” And watching those balances grow can be a huge motivator.

Creating this clearly defined picture can make it easier to see how much progress you’re making. Seeing the balance grow can be an inspiration to help you continue saving toward your goal.

Separating your savings funds from your money available to spend could also help you stick to your savings goals. By intentionally separating spending money from money that is intended for saving, you could potentially curb unnecessary impulse purchases.

But it can also require discipline, determination, and a good amount of organizational fortitude. While separating your finances leads to transparency and hopefully less confusion, having different accounts will still require a level of financial responsibility.

Managing Multiple Savings Accounts

Multiple savings accounts might not be the best option for someone who’s not ready to put in the work. Using the “set it and forget it” philosophy here could lead to overdraft fees and more if money is transferred without adequate funding to cover it. However, if you can take a few moments each month to check into your accounts, management should come fairly easily.

Using Automatic Deposits

Having a dedicated account for different savings goals could allow you to set up automatic deposits. This could eliminate one item on your to do list, and outside of a few status updates, automating your finances can make your money management feel much simpler.

Instead of physically moving money around, you can work with your budget to set a specific amount for each goal to be automatically contributed each month or each paycheck.

Prioritizing Goals between Accounts

Clearly defining your financial goals along with their different balances can help you prioritize them. Understanding what is most important can help inform your saving strategy and make it easier to make adjustments as you work toward your savings goals.

For example, if you are behind on a high priority goal, you could make the executive decision to funnel a bit of money from a low priority goal for a certain amount of time.

Often, people think of their savings as one single entity, even if they have numerous financial goals. This mentality brings the danger of a false sense of savings progress. Say you plan on buying a home, going on vacation, and buying a new car in the next few years.

You may feel on track by adding to your savings each month – but how much closer are you to the vacation in comparison to buying a home? Equating a specific account to a correlating goal can help clear this up.

Savings vs Spending

Splitting up your savings between different accounts also allows you to broaden the types of accounts you are using. For example, you could keep some money in a high interest savings account to reach a financial goal faster, while keeping some money in a spending account you can track against a monthly budget.

It can also be a smart practice to build out more than just one spending account. Separating your money by different expenditures can better help you keep to a budget.

So instead of going through your checking out each month and asking yourself if you splurged on expensive dinners last month, a special account just for dining out can help you stay in budget.

Preparing for Future Purchases

It’s likely you have a few future purchases you plan on making for yourself, family, or friends. The more to plan for, the harder it can be to make sure you savings can cover your future plans.

Saving up for holiday gifts, summer travel, wedding costs, or even things for yourself like a wardrobe update or a new computer can often seem daunting. This is where setting up separate accounts can make things run much smoother.

Trying to update your phone by the end of the year? Simply set up set up a separate account and add funds in proportion to you estimated purchase date.

Want to have a few hundred saved away for family holiday gifts? Set up an account labeled “Holiday Purchases” and automatically shift funds over each month until you reach your goal.

This method can not only help you feel a bit more organized, but it can also help you from reaching your purchase date and coming up short on funds.

Savings, Simplified

Goal-specific accounts can be a powerful tool depending on your personal preference. If you’re interested in maintaining different savings accounts for different goals, but don’t want the hassle of managing multiple accounts at different financial institutions, take a look at SoFi Checking and Savings®. Open a checking and savings today.

SoFi Checking and Savings allows you to create individual financial vaults within a single checking and savings account. This means you can create different umbrellas—so you can easily save, store, and spend from one convenient account.

Customize your vaults with goal-specific names (e.g., Tour through Thailand) so you can instantly track your progress every time you log into the app.

You can even set up a direct deposit so when your paycheck hits, you can easily divide it up between your different savings goals. And there are no account fees with SoFi Checking and Savings and you’ll get unlimited ATM fee reimbursement.

Financial disorganization holding you back? Learn more about SoFi Checking and Savings and using money vaults to meet your savings goals.

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at


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How Much Do Movers Cost?

About 10% of Americans moved within the country last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Though that number may seem small, its actual value is not—that amounts to an estimated (and whopping) 32 million people.
Within that group, the impetus for moving varied, from people moving in order to establish their own household, opting for a more affordable home or moving for a new job.

While the prospect of a new home can be exciting, the move itself can require a surprising amount of time and money. Unless you have a family or friend group ready and willing to pack your things, haul your boxes, and load your belongings into your new space, chances are you will hire a professional moving company to assist you with the above tasks.

Just as you make a weekly or monthly budget in order to see your finances clearly, it can be helpful to crunch the numbers on the cost of a move before you get started. One question worth considering before you cross hire movers off your to-do list is, how much do professional movers cost?

The short answer is—it depends. There are a variety of factors that will influence the cost of hiring professional movers. Below is some information that might help you prepare mentally and financially for a big move.

Making a Local Move

While moving across town might seem straightforward, it can be a drawn-out process—though a more affordable one—if you’re doing some of the legwork yourself. Keep in mind that unless you’re taking vacation days to pack and move, you may be filling boxes on nights and weekends for a while.

The upside of packing (and later unpacking) your own stuff is that you’re paying zero dollars to a moving company for those hours. That means you need only need a standard moving service. Once your boxes are taped up and ready, a moving company can come to load boxes and furniture into a truck, transfer them to your new neighborhood and unload them into your new space.

Costs for a standard move like this will depend on a few key factors, including the amount of stuff you have, the distance you are moving, and the number of hours it takes movers to move your things. (Because quantity matters here, it can be a good idea to use a move as the impetus for donating things you no longer want or need.)
To get an idea of how much movers cost for a local move in your area, gather estimates from a few companies. Most offer a free quote, and there are websites like QuoteRunner that aggregate moving quotes for local companies based on a few moving details provided by you.

By comparing the prices of local movers, the Unpackt Blog estimated the average moving price for a standard move in various cities. In each location, the blog shows how the size of your current home impacts the cost.

In New York City, for example, a local standard move for someone in a large one bedroom might cost around $350, while a four-bedroom move could cost more than $1,000. Keep in mind this is simply transporting packed boxes from Point A to Point B. The blog gathered moving data and estimated local costs for cities such as Raleigh , Baltimore , and Minneapolis .

A full-service move includes a good deal more assistance from your moving company, but for a greater price. The higher price is because this service covers just about everything.

You can opt to have your movers pack your things, disassemble (and later reassemble) all your furniture, load and unload everything, then unpack it for you, with your guidance as to where things go. Full-service movers also usually take care of packaging supplies and their disposal.
According , the cost of a full-service local move will range between $550 and $12,000. Again, the price range varies so greatly because it depends on the number of belongings the movers will be packing and transporting.

It might help to compare and contrast a few different moving companies, suggests reviewing at least three. This can help you make the best pick for your move and budget. Some movers will tell you a cost per hour for moving, but it can be hard to estimate just how many hours a full-service move will take since so many processes are included.

An additional note for your budget: Consumer Affairs says that tipping movers is customary, so maybe plan to tack on an additional $20 to $40 per day, per mover. So if you’ve got three movers helping you across two days, gratuity could range from $120 to $240.

Moving Out of State

The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) found that about 650,000 Americans use professional movers for an interstate move—that means they leave one state for another.

Some of those folks—about 39% of them, actually—don’t pay for their own moves, thanks to corporate sponsorship, which sometimes foots the bill if you’re moving for a job. About 44% of interstate moves are paid for by individuals. Military and other government-sponsored moves make up the rest.

If you’re an individual moving to a new state, know that your moving costs will likely depend on three primary factors, similar to a local move: the weight of your shipment, the mileage your belongings will be transported, and labor costs outlined by the moving company you’ve chosen.

Free cost calculator City to City can help you estimate your move. Users enter their Point A and Point B, and can also select premium services to see how that impacts price.

For example, using that calculator, a move from Los Angeles to Denver—about 830 miles—with about 3,500 pounds of belongings and including packing services might cost around $2,500.

A move from Los Angeles to Chicago—about 1,750 miles—with the same specs might cost around $3,300 miles.
Keep in mind that the weight of your belongings may need to be altered. Some say to estimate that each furnished room in your house contains weighs about 1,500 pounds.

Financing a Move

If you already have a clear picture of your personal budget, it may be simple to tell whether you need to do more of a do-it-yourself move or if you can spring for a full-service move through a professional moving company.

Some people might opt to use a credit card to pay for moving fees. If you go this route, consider keeping your card interest rate in mind. If you can’t pay off your incurred moving costs fairly quickly, remember that interest will rack up, potentially making your move more expensive in the long run.

Another way to pay for a move is with an unsecured personal loan, which may come with a lower interest rate than your credit cards. You can check your interest rate for a personal relocation loan through SoFi online and within minutes.

If you qualify, this loan gives you access to cash (usually in less than a week), which may come in handy if your mover offers a discount for an up-front cash payment. You can also use a personal loan to help pay for other moving-related costs that can come up, such as first and last month’s rent for a rental unit.

Ultimately, a move can be a fresh start and offer a new perspective on life. Paying for that fresh start in a way that best suits your budget can help make this life transition go smoothly.

If you’re figuring out how to finance a move with the help of professional movers, consider looking into a SoFi’s personal relocation loan.

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.

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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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.


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A Guide to Traveling With Pets

If the thought of hopping in a car for an epic road trip to has you excited, we’re right there with you. But, if you have a furry friend at home, the thought of leaving them behind may tug at your heartstrings.

For some, traveling is especially rewarding with someone to share in the adventure. So why not bring your four-legged friends along too?

Traveling with a pet is becoming more and more popular. According to the 2017–2018 National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), some 85 million American families own at least one pet. Of those owners, about 37% travel with their furry companion every year.

But adding a pet to the mix can make for more complicated logistics. There’s the mode of transportation and finding a pet friendly hotel to consider.

Traveling with a pet may require a bit more planning before you jet off on your adventure. Here are a few ideas on how to travel with pets so you can avoid leaving your furry best friend behind.

Finding a Pet-Friendly Destination

If you want to travel with your beloved animal, you might first want to find a place willing to accept them. For most Americans, that means traveling domestically.

Traveling internationally can be a pain with a pooch (or other animal, for that matter). That’s because the laws of entry vary from country to country and can include lengthy stays in quarantine for your animal.

You may find that traveling domestically comes with fewer restrictions. Within the United States, you might want to check that your hotel or rental accommodation allows pets, or if there are any extra fees or rules surrounding animals on the premises.

Thinking About Your Travel Method

Once you figure out where you’re going, it might be time to think about your mode of transportation. According to the Humane Society , it’s often a better choice to drive to your destination with your pet than fly. And you might want to think carefully before traveling with a cat—as the Humane Society said on its website, “Cats are almost always better off in their own home.”

If you decide to take a dog or cat along for your road trip, you might want to ensure your little buddy’s safety. According to the Humane Society, animals should be safe and secure in a carrier or crate in the back seat. While this could help keep your pet safe, it might also help you, the driver, stay focused on the road.

But what if you don’t want to take your own vehicle? Some rental car companies allow you to take your pet along with you, but you might want to call ahead to find out if there are any restrictions.

Before hitting the open road, it might be a good idea to plan out where you can stop to water and feed your pet and let them relieve themselves. But when you get out of the car, you might want to make sure your animal does too. Leaving pets alone in a vehicle can be dangerous, especially on warm days.

And if you’re thinking about cruising with your pet, be warned: It’s fairly difficult to find a cruise that is pet friendly. Some cruises allow service animals, but rules vary by company .

There is only one transatlantic cruise that currently allows passengers to bring their pets—Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 —and it only allows pets on a select few itineraries. Even then, all pets are housed in kennels, but owners are allowed to visit during specific hours.

If you absolutely must fly, the Humane Society suggests you weigh the risk vs. the benefits. The organization noted it can be particularly dangerous for animals with “pushed-in” faces. like bulldogs and Persian cats. That’s because their short nasal passages make them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation.

Ensuring the Airline Accepts Your Pet

If you decide to take your animal with you on a plane, first ask the airline if it accepts animals in the cabin. Policies vary by airline , but many allow cats and dogs in the cabin that are under certain weight limits and can be kept in a carrier throughout the journey.

Some airlines only allow pets in the cargo hold, while others, like Southwest and Jet Blue , only allow crated pets of a certain size in the cabin, and no pets at all in the cargo hold. In addition, some airlines may require animals to fly with a certificate from a veterinarian stating that the animal is in good health.

When flying with a pet, the Humane Society recommends flying direct routes, making sure your pet has an I.D. tag, and giving your pet only medications or tranquilizers prescribed by a veterinarian. It could be helpful to talk to your veterinarian to see what they recommend before flying.

And finally, you might double check that the airline you’re flying with allows your animal’s breed onboard. For example, you cannot fly with a “pit bull type dog” on Delta Airlines , even if it’s a service animal.

Making Sure Your Pet Can Come Along

Like we said earlier, road tripping with your pal might be easier because you don’t need approval to take them in your own car. However, you might need to check if your hotels along the route not only allow pets, but whether they allow animals to stay in the room alone, among other restrictions.

Next, you could think about what you plan to do along the way. For example, pets are only allowed in certain areas of most national parks , such as in campgrounds and developed areas. They may be restricted from certain trails, so you might want to check the rules before you go.

And driving across the border with your pet may not be the easiest thing either. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , animals can cross over the border and return with their owners, but they must have valid documentation from a veterinarian.

And U.S. border agents reserve the right to refuse entry to animals that appear ill. So if your pet gets sick in Canada or Mexico, you might have a difficult time getting them back home.

Packing the Right Things

Sure, you may know what you need to pack for a vacation, but do you know what your little friend needs too? For your trip, you might want to pack enough food for each day, along with a spare meal or two just in case you’re delayed. If you’re going on a long car journey, you might make room for a spare gallon of water for your pal too.

Like you, pets need to have a good time, so you might want to bring along their favorite toys to not only keep them stimulated but to also help them feel more like they are at home. A few things that you could consider packing—their favorite blanket, a few treats, and any medications your animal may need.

Factoring in the Extra Costs

Once you have a destination and travel plan in place, it might be time to consider how to pay for it all. Owning a pet comes with its own expenses, and so does traveling with one. While planning your pet-included adventure, you may pad the budget a little bit more than if you were traveling solo and consider looking into vacation loans.

Like the additional fees for air travel, you might run into additional fees if you travel by train, as well. For $26, Amtrak allows pets up to 20 pounds to travel with their humans on some trips for up to seven hours.

Once you arrive at your destination, you might have to pay a bit more for your pet too. Though many hotels now allow pets, they may require a fee. Policies vary from hotel to hotel. Even home shares may require pet deposits or ask that renters pay an additional fee, so you might check in with the owner before making any reservation.

If You Can’t Bring Your Pet Along

If you find it’s too unreasonable, or too pricey, to bring your pet with you on your trip, don’t despair. There are plenty of other options for how to take care of your pet while you’re away. First, you could go to a trusted family member or friend to ask if they are willing to watch your pet.

If your typical go-tos aren’t available, you could check out dog-sitting services in your area. One option,
, connects pet owners to pet sitters in their area. Owners can filter would-be sitters by experience levels, price, and even whether they are willing to sleep over at your house with your pet.

You might also consider boarding your pet at a kennel. Many offer amenities like doggy day care and spa packages for your furry friend. Some even offer the comforts of home, like queen-size beds and televisions.

Taking SoFi Checking and Savings With You

Bringing your best furry friend with you should be fun, not stressful. You could help limit financial stress on the road with a reliable checking and savings account, like SoFi Checking and Savings®️, that you can take anywhere. With SoFi Checking and Savings, users can save, spend, and earn all in one place.

You could use the card to pay for all the expenses along the way, including your roadside snacks and your pup’s favorite treats, and cover those pesky airline fees for your cat. You have access to your money around the world (at 55,000+ ATMs), without any ATM fees.

Looking to hit the road with your pet pal? Learn more about how SoFi Checking and Savings®️ could help simplify your spending on the road.

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.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank.
SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.

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