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When Should You Make Big Purchases?

If you’re making a big purchase, it can pay (literally) to know when prices are lowest, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other sale dates.

After all, if you are plunking down hundreds or thousands on a purchase, you likely want to get the best bargain possible. Here, you’ll learn about the best times to buy some of the most common big investment items. Happy shopping!

Televisions

If you’re interested in upgrading your home viewing experience, waiting for a sale could mean you score serious savings on the model you’ve had your eye on. There are a few times of year that TVs commonly go on sale. One way to score a deal on a new TV is to follow the release cycle.

Most television manufacturers release new models sometime between February and April every year, and while you could pick up the latest model, you could also find dramatic price cuts on last year’s models since retailers are looking to make room for newer inventory.

You can also find discounts on televisions in advance of events like the big football game in February, during Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.


💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. One question can save you many dollars.

Laptops

Buying a laptop can be a very personal choice. The demands you place on your computer may require more processing power than others, so it’s important to determine what you need out of a laptop before you begin browsing different brands and models. Deals may vary depending on the model that you need.

Macbooks and other Apple products usually get an upgrade once a year, though they don’t always follow a consistent release schedule or release all new products at the same time. If you see ads announcing new models, it may well mean that last year’s models are seeing price cuts.

Major PC manufacturers generally release new laptops three times a year — back-to-school season from June to September, holiday season from September to December, and spring from February to April. However, the best deals on laptops tend to appear at the heart of the back-to-school shopping season from July to August and from November to December, the peak of the holiday shopping season.

Outdoor Furniture

A great time to shop for outdoor furniture is generally when you won’t actually be able to use it. Typically, patio furniture goes on sale from Fourth of July to Labor Day, as retailers are trying to clear their inventory to make room for fall inventory. Usually the further you are from summer, the bigger the savings.

Recommended: $5,000 Personal Loan: How to Get One

Mattresses

Finding the perfect mattress can mean comfort, relaxation, and most importantly a restful sleep. So finding a supremely comfortable mattress and at a low price would be a huge win.

When buying a mattress there are a few times of year you can target to find reliably low prices. May is one of the best months to buy a new mattress. That’s because most sellers launch new models in June, and are eager to make space for the newer inventory.

It’s also worth looking for deals over popular shopping holidays, including but not limited to Memorial Day, Labor Day, and President’s Day. And don’t overlook Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where you can often find reasonable prices and good deals on mattresses. Amazon Prime Day can be another good time to swoop in and get a good deal.

Furniture

If you’re ready to spruce up your interior design with some new furniture there are two times you can look to find some major sales. The best time to buy furniture is typically either in winter or summer (usually January or July, to be specific). Usually, new styles are released twice a year, in February and August.

In January and July, retailers are eager to clear space for those new arrivals, so prices will generally be discounted. Floor models may be included as well, so you could ask about discounts on sample pieces to help you afford your purchase, whether you are thinking of using your credit card or a personal loan to pay for your new furniture.

And for an even better deal? Don’t be afraid to haggle! Furniture stores may be willing to negotiate, so consider asking them to sweeten the deal with a discount or freebie.

You may also find furniture deals around shopping holidays like President’s Day and Memorial Day.

Recommended: Can I Increase My Personal Loan Amount?

Engagement Rings

The thrill of falling in love and finally finding your match is invigorating. The cost of an engagement ring to make it official? Not as exciting. In 2023, Americans spent an average of $6,000 to buy an engagement ring. If the thought of dropping a few thousand dollars on a ring is less than thrilling, it could be worth planning your purchase so you can wait for the optimal time to buy.

If you’re wondering how to finance an engagement ring, know that there are a couple of times when you may be able to find a discount. Jewelry sales can be slow in the summer, so there may be sales to entice customers. There may also be seasonal sales after Christmas or after Valentine’s Day. Some jewelers may even be willing to negotiate on price to make the sale.

Household Appliances

Major household appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, stoves, and refrigerators can be expensive, so it makes sense to look out for discounts before you commit to a new model. Some great discounts on appliances can be found from September to October when manufacturers are releasing their latest product. This can make financing an appliance purchase easier.

Retailers will be trying to make room for newer models so you can often find considerable discounts during these months on new, but last year’s models. When it comes to refrigerators, the best time to purchase is usually in that spring, as that is when manufacturers release new models.

Black Friday and the Fourth of July are other great times to look for sales on household appliances. And if you plan on buying a new appliance from a brick and mortar store, it could be worth going toward the end of the month when salesmen are trying to meet their monthly quotas.

Tip: When you’re looking to upgrade or replace an appliance, always check for floor models and returned (but still fully functional) models when bargain hunting.

Fitness Equipment

Have your eye on a new treadmill or elliptical? January could be the right time to buy new exercise equipment as stores are eager to take advantage of New Year’s resolutions to get fit or lose weight.

Also look for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day discounts.

Cars

Dealerships generally offer great deals during year-end sales events. Some dealers anticipate cars as gifts for the holidays. Car dealerships are also looking toward the new year, which means they’ll need to make space for newer models on the lot. For some dealers, December is one of their biggest sales months.

You may also secure a good deal on a new car during holiday weekends when dealerships run promotions. Dealerships are also more likely to offer a deal on older models, anticipating a new release. Typically, new models are released in September and October, so you might also look for deals in late August. This intel can help you get your financing for a car purchase ready in time to go shopping.

The Takeaway

The best time to make a large purchase will depend on the item. There are a few shopping holidays, like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday, when retailers are known to offer deep discounts on some items. When shopping for a big-ticket item it can be helpful to do your research, shop around, and in some cases, negotiate to secure the best deal.

Even timing your purchase to secure a deal at peak savings can mean a hefty bill. Instead of charging the expense to your credit card, consider applying for an unsecured personal loan, which likely offers a lower interest rate.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.



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


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 .

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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 Earned Wage Access?

Earned wage access is an employer-provided benefit that allows employees to access a portion of their paycheck ahead of payday. This can be immensely helpful for employees living paycheck to paycheck who incur unexpected, emergency expenses.

On-demand access to money that employees have earned can keep them from relying on more dangerous and costly alternatives, like payday loans, cash-advance apps, and even intentionally overdrafting their bank accounts. But earned wage access programs may also carry some fees, and they can inspire bad habits with budgeting and money management.

How Does Earned Wage Access Work?

Earned wage access (EWA) works similarly to a cash advance app, except that it’s an employer-provided benefit. Employees who work at a company offering this benefit can download the app of the third-party EWA provider that their company works with and then apply to access a portion of their paycheck.

Employers typically limit how much of a paycheck employees can access early. EWA providers charge a fee for this access. In some cases, the employee will have to pay the fee every time they use the service; in others, employers foot the bill as part of the benefit.

Recommended: What Are Credit Card Cash Advances?

Earned Wage Access Example

Here’s an example of how earned wage access (also sometimes called early wage access) might work in the real world:

An hourly employee earns $20 an hour, after taxes and retirement contributions. Though she receives her paycheck every two weeks, the employee realizes she needs money now to cover an emergency vet bill. She has already worked six days, meaning there are four working days before the end of the pay period — and more time before payroll processes.

She uses the EWA app that her company has partnered with to apply for early access to her paycheck. There is a $5 fee, but her company covers the cost as part of the earned wage access benefit. The EWA benefit is limited to 50% of her total pay for the period, so the employee then receives $800 ahead of her paycheck.

On payday, the employee usually receives a check for $1,600. Because she’s accessed $800 early, however, her paycheck will only be $800.


💡 Quick Tip: Some lenders can release funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved. SoFi personal loans offer same-day funding for qualified borrowers.

How to Qualify for Earned Wage Access

Qualifying for earned wage access is easy. You just have to work at a company that offers it as a benefit. EWA is growing increasingly popular. Companies like Uber, McDonalds, and Walmart have all adopted early wage access as an employee benefit.

Unlike personal loans or credit cards, there’s no credit check to access the money early. Instead, you’ll just need to download the app of the program that your company has partnered with and connect it to your bank account or debit card to have the money transfer go through.

Earned Wage Access Pros and Cons

Earned wage access offers tremendous benefits, especially to employees who are struggling financially. However, EWA also has its fair share of drawbacks to consider.

Pros

•   Fast access to money: The best way to handle unexpected expenses is to draw money from your emergency savings fund. In theory, the money will have been sitting there — in a high-yield savings account actively earning interest — so you don’t have to rely on credit cards, personal loans, cash advance apps, or payday loans. However, people who live paycheck to paycheck understandably can’t build an emergency savings fund. Earned wage access offers another path forward. You’ll be withdrawing money you’ve earned, just a little early. That means you aren’t taking on debt to cover life’s unexpected expenses.

•   Easy to qualify: Taking out a personal loan for emergency expenses is often a smart idea if you don’t have the money in savings. But if your credit score is in poor shape, you might have trouble getting approved for a personal loan. Getting money through earned wage access may be easier. As long as your company offers this as a benefit, you don’t have to worry about credit checks and high-interest debt.

•   No fees (or at least low fees): Many employers cover the admin fee of earned wage access for their employees as part of the benefit. Other employers might have arrangements with EWA platforms that don’t charge fees when employees access their funds early. Even if the employee is responsible for a transaction fee for an EWA, the cost is usually low.

Cons

•   Smaller paycheck: When you need money in a pinch, earned wage access can be a great solution that doesn’t involve taking on debt. However, when payday arrives, your paycheck could be much smaller. Often, EWA platforms allow you to access up to 50% of your paycheck, meaning your payday will be cut in half. While you’ve covered the cost of the emergency expense, you’re now faced with paying your monthly bills on only half of your normal check. That could mean tightening your belt at the grocery store or making late payments on bills.

•   A bad habit: Like cash advance apps or even payday loans, EWAs can be a slippery slope. You may access a portion of your paycheck early during one pay period, get a smaller paycheck as a result, and then need to turn around and access the next paycheck early to make up for your reduced paycheck. According to a 2021 study by the Financial Health Network, more than 70% of employees who utilized earned wage access used it in consecutive pay periods. It’s a difficult pattern to get out of — and could be even more detrimental if you change jobs and your new employer doesn’t offer EWA. In that case, you might be tempted to take out a predatory loan instead.

•   Potential fees: In some cases, employees do have to pay for earned wage access. These fees are usually nominal, especially when compared to alternatives — overdraft fees from spending more than they have in their bank account or exorbitantly high interest rates for payday loans — but EWA fees should still be a consideration for people on a budget. Maybe there’s another alternative, like borrowing money from a family member or a payment plan for whatever emergency expense the employee has incurred.

Recommended: How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

Earned Wage Access vs Cash Advance Apps

Cash advance apps, also referred to as early payday apps, share some similarities with earned wage access. Both are typically managed through mobile apps and help you access cash flow ahead of your next paycheck.

Earned wage access, however, is offered solely through an employer. The employer may cover fees for the employees, and the amount a person can access is related to their actual paycheck.

With a cash advance app, consumers are responsible for any associated fees. Some apps may advertise no fees (and no interest), but they may charge a fee for instant transfers. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait a few days to get the money, which often defeats the purpose. Other cash advance apps might have a monthly charge.

The amount you can borrow through a cash advance app varies and may be tied to the cash flow of your linked bank account. Repeat borrowers may get approved for higher funds. Repayment is due on the borrower’s next payday.

Though hidden fees can make cash advance apps expensive, they’re generally a safer option than payday loans.


💡 Quick Tip: Just as there are no free lunches, there are no guaranteed loans. So beware lenders who advertise them. If they are legitimate, they need to know your creditworthiness before offering you a loan.

The Takeaway

Earned wage access can be helpful in an emergency situation, if your employer offers this benefit. However, EWA may come with fees, can make it more challenging to budget on payday, and may even lead to a recurring habit. As an alternative in an emergency solution, you can take out a personal loan. It won’t affect your upcoming paycheck, you can use loan moneyfor a variety of purposes, and it can give you the funds you need, at a low cost, to get through a financial hardship.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

Is earned wage access a loan?

Earned wage access is not a loan. It allows employees at participating companies to access money they’ve already earned, just ahead of schedule.

What are the benefits of earned wage access for employees

Earned wage access offers employees several benefits, including fast access to money they’ve technically earned, no or low fees, and easy qualification requirements. (You’ve just got to work for a company that offers this benefit.)

What are the downsides of earned wage access?

Earned wage access can have some downsides. Employees may have to pay fees to get early access to their paycheck, the amount you can access is often capped at 50%, and it can lead to a bad habit wherein you regularly need money before your paycheck.


Photo credit: iStock/Ivan Pantic

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


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.

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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5 Ways to Pay for Car Repairs

Almost everyone needs to finance car repairs sooner or later. It might be a breakdown on the highway, a fender bender at the supermarket parking lot, or perhaps (ugh) someone steals your catalytic converter.

Whatever the case, car repair bills can be significant and arrive without warning, stretching your budget to the max. If you’re in this situation, consider these five strategies to pay for urgent repairs and get back on the road again.

Strategies to Pay for Car Repairs

If you get hit with a large car repair bill or are thinking ahead and know a big-ticket item is coming up, consider the following ways to pay for the work that needs to be done.

1. Dip Into Your Emergency Fund

You may have heard it said that you should keep an emergency fund easily accessible for precisely this situation — an unexpected expense. But should you really use your emergency fund to pay for car repairs?

Dipping into your emergency fund might be a solution if you don’t have other cash available to pay for repairs. And, for many people, having a vehicle up and running is vital to their work and personal lives. In this way, it is a valid reason to tap your emergency fund.

What’s more, using your emergency savings instead of reaching for your credit card could save money on interest and other applicable costs.

Of course, if you dip into your emergency fund, you may need to spend time building it back up so you’re prepared for any other emergencies.


💡 Quick Tip: Some lenders can release funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved. SoFi personal loans offer same-day funding for qualified borrowers.

Discover real-time vehicle values with Auto Tracker.¹

Now you can instantly monitor vehicle prices in this unprecedented market—to help you make smart money moves.


2. Use Your Insurance

Is your car repair related to an accident? If so, your car insurance may help. It’s designed to protect you financially by covering some of the repair costs for vehicle damage and the medical bills related to any injuries.

The type of coverage and circumstances can vary.

•   For example, comprehensive insurance may help with some costs even if the accident didn’t involve another car or if the damage was caused by an unexpected event, like a tree falling on your hood.

•   Collision insurance doesn’t typically cover damage caused by normal wear and tear. This means that your coverage may not include things like theft, vandalism, or weather damage.

•   There is one type of insurance — what’s known as mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) — that covers some types of repairs. Therefore, if you have damage caused by routine use of the vehicle and you have an MBI policy, you may want to check to see if the repair is covered.

Before going this route, consider whether using your insurance will actually be cheaper than paying out of pocket. Making an insurance claim could cause your insurance rates to rise.

It’s wise to understand how your car insurance works. The specific instances that your insurance will cover should be laid out in your insurance policy. The amount of your policy deductible as well as the repair and type of coverage will likely be some factors you review with your insurance carrier.

3. Try to Negotiate

Whether you have to replace multiple tires after driving over road debris or you have to install new brakes due to normal wear and tear, you may be looking at a hefty repair bill.

The good news is that car dealerships aren’t the only places where you can haggle over your car. Local car repair shops might be willing to cut you a deal to win your business.

•   Consider asking the repair shop for a written quote explaining precisely what is wrong with your vehicle, how the mechanic plans to fix it, and what the cost will be.

•   Once you have this written estimate in hand, you may want to get a second opinion. Sometimes auto mechanics will offer you a discount on a quote from another shop to get your business.

•   You could also ask the mechanic to limit their quote to only the essential repairs to ensure that they don’t try to upsell you on prematurely replacing all your tires when the problem you need addressed is your power steering.

4. Put It on a Credit Card

It can be important to protect yourself against excessive credit card debt, but if you need to shell out hundreds, or even thousands of dollars for a quick car repair, you may find yourself reaching for that plastic lifeline.

You may feel as if you don’t have options, but proceed with caution. Using a credit card may come at a high price. Credit cards can carry high-interest rates that, if not paid off in a timely manner, can drive up the original cost of the car repair. If you can’t pay off your credit card debt right away, you may end up spending much more for your repairs by the time you make your final payment.

5. Consider a Personal Loan

Another option for paying for car repairs when you have no cash on hand may be taking out a personal loan. Personal loans are sometimes overlooked as a way to come up with cash fast, but in the right circumstances, a personal loan can come in handy.

A personal loan can often offer lower interest rates vs. options such as using your credit card. This could help you save money when facing unexpected car repairs.

•   A personal loan is typically an unsecured installment loan, which means that you borrow a set amount and pay it back in equal monthly installments over a fixed period. “Unsecured” means that the loan is not tied to any physical piece of property through a lien, but instead offered to borrowers based on factors like creditworthiness.

•   Another benefit of using a personal loan to pay for car repairs is the relatively quick application process. While you’ll need to meet certain qualifications set by your chosen lender in order to secure financing on a personal loan, some lenders disburse loan funds within a few days.

Depending on your situation, a personal loan might be the right option when it comes to helping you get back behind the wheel and onto the road.

Recommended: Smarter Ways to Get a Car Loan

The Takeaway

If you need to pay for car repairs, you have a few options to consider, from tapping your insurance (if appropriate) to using your emergency fund to taking out a personal loan. If the latter seems like the right move for you, shop around to find the offer that’s the right fit for you.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.



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


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 .

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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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7 Online Financial Calculators to Power Your Personal Finances

Your personal finances can be an important but challenging aspect of your life to manage. Even if you are brilliant at math, computing things like the payoff amount on student loans or the optimal goal for retirement savings can be complicated.

That’s where financial calculators can swoop in and help you. These tools can make it simple to see how much you are spending in, say, credit card interest or what a mortgage payment might look like on your dream house.

Here’s a resource with a variety of financial calculators. Read on to learn what kind of assistance is out there to help you take control of your money and your goals.

1. Student Loan Calculator

There are plenty of student loan calculators out there that can help you estimate your monthly payment and total interest cost.

In addition, you are likely to find student loan refinancing calculators to get a basic idea of how refinancing might affect your bottom line.

Typically, you enter your current loan information, then adjust the term “slider” to see how your monthly payment and total savings amount could be impacted by refinancing.

You could see valuable information like how much you might be able to save every month by refinancing or how much you could potentially save over the lifetime of a loan if you were to refinance. (Calculated payments and savings are only estimates, and don’t factor in your current credit picture or financial situation.)

Just keep in mind that refinancing isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone. If you have federal student loans and refinance, you will forfeit federal protections and benefits. Also, if you refinance for an extended term, you may pay more interest over the life of the loan.


💡 Quick Tip: A low-interest personal loan from SoFi can help you consolidate your debts, lower your monthly payments, and get you out of debt sooner.

2. Retirement Calculator

It’s almost impossible for one online retirement calculator to take into account all the variables that retirement planning requires. But a calculator could still be useful to give you a general idea of how much money you may want to be saving and how big your retirement nest egg could grow.

It might also give you some insight into how much you’re contributing now, and if you might want to think about adjusting your IRA (individual retirement account), 401(k), or other retirement investment.

One online tool that may be helpful is AARP’s Retirement Calculator . It asks for quite a bit of information, including information about your age, income, current savings and lifestyle expectations in retirement (i.e., will you need more, less, or the same amount of money as you now spend).

The calculator then gives an estimate of how much wealth you’re likely to accumulate and changes you could make — like working longer or saving more — that might help improve your outcomes. Understanding when to retire and what your expenses will be like at that life stage can be an important part of your future planning.

3. Budgeting Calculator

Making a budget — and sticking to it — is one important step on the road to financial security. By making a budget and sticking to it, you might be able to save some extra cash and even be able to gain some new insight and understanding about how you’re currently spending your money.

Setting up a budget might have a snowball effect, potentially empowering you to save even more money once you have a holistic view of current spending. By tracking your finances with a budgeting tool, you can get a better sense of how your earnings, spending, and savings are tracking. It can also help you course-correct if, say, you get hit with a big unexpected bill or move to an area with a different cost of living.

4. & 5. Credit Card Debt Payoff Calculator

Various tools can be helpful if you’re focused on paying down some credit card debt.

•   You might want to use this debt snowball calculator to figure out how long it could take you to completely pay down your balance. In this method, you eliminate your smallest debt first, which can build your motivation. You may want to see how increasing your monthly payments could affect your debt and help you save on interest, which might help keep you motivated in your payoff goals.

You could also use a calculator to see how much faster you could pay off your debt with the debt avalanche method. With this technique, you go after your highest interest-rate debt first.

•   Additionally, to take a look at debt in terms of your credit card interest rate, you might spend some time using a credit card interest calculator. Since credit card debt can be one of the most challenging debts to pay off, you might want to understand how much you are paying overall.

This kind of calculator shows roughly how much interest you could end up paying on your credit card debt. It can give a broad estimate of when that debt could be paid off in full if you continue to make the same payments. Equipped with that information, you might decide to opt for a different way to pay down your debt, such as looking for a lower-interest personal loan.

6. Student Loan Payoff Calculator

If you’re budgeting for your student loans, you could try working with a student loan payoff calculator. Simply add your basic information, and it calculates when your estimated payoff date could be. Plus, you can often click through and discover additional information and tips you could use to potentially shorten that payoff period.

Some of these ideas might include things like seeing if you can find a lower interest rate or making additional payments. Plugging these two data points into the calculator might give you a basic estimate of how much sooner you could pay off your loans.

7. Housing Costs Calculator

Is your attention focused on buying a home? Are you all about mood boards for the primary bedroom and vegetable garden you’ll plant? Then you’re in the right place.

A home affordability calculator can help you look at how much house you can afford. It will help you factor in such considerations mortgage amount, interest rate, property taxes, and so forth. It can be a great way to get a handle on just how much homeownership might cost you.

Additionally, a mortgage calculator can help you get a sense of how much you can save on your monthly payment by changing your down payment. This intel can help you decide whether to start bidding soon or wait until you have a bigger chunk of cash to put down.

These tools can help you decide whether to rent or buy in the near future, as well as (when buying) how to determine the right balance of down payment and financing to suit your budget.

Get Started on Your Goals With These Tools

Your goals are probably pretty unique to you and where you’re at career-wise, with money, and maybe even with outstanding loans. So there’s probably not one end-all, be-all financial calculator to help you achieve all of your financial goals. But there are an array of tools that can help you track your money and determine good options as you move forward.

As you evaluate where your finances stand, you may want to consider ways to pay down debt, such as using a personal loan to eliminate high-interest debt and lower your monthly outlay of funds.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.


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


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 .

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

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.

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Three Ways to Help Pay Off Debt Faster

If you are grappling with debt, you are not alone. The average American, for instance, is currently carrying $7,951 in credit card debt. But that doesn’t mean you have to live saddled with owing money and being charged high interest rates.

There are ways to make debt payoff happen faster. Read on for three strategies that can help you repay what you owe ASAP.

1. Figuring Out Your Budget

The first step to solving any debt problem is to establish a budget. A budget is essentially a summary that compares and tracks your income and expenses for a period of time, typically one month. A budget also allows you to plan how much you will spend and save each month.

You’ll want to first gather all of your bank and credit card statements for the last three or more months. You can then use them to figure out your monthly income (after taxes) and also list all of your monthly expenses. (You can do this using pen and paper, a spreadsheet or a budgeting app.)

You may want to group expenses into categories (such as insurance, groceries, eating out, insurance), and also divide them into essential vs. nonessential spending. From here, you can total your average monthly income and average monthly spending, see how they line up, and then consider making some shifts in your spending.

You might consider the 50/30/20 budget as a simple way to reorganize your finances. This budget allocates 50% of your income for essentials, like rent and bills, 30% toward nonessentials or “wants”, and 20% for savings and debt repayment.

If you need to free up more money to put towards debt repayment, you may want to look at your nonessential spending to find ways to cut back, such as ditching your cable bill, cooking more and getting take-out less often, and canceling your gym membership and working out at home.

Decreasing discretionary spending tends to be the easiest way to generate a monthly surplus. That surplus can then be used to pay off your debt faster.

If you find that you’ve been spending more than you earn by using credit cards, you may also want to make a plan to stop using those cards while you go after lowering your outstanding debt.


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2. Choosing the Right Repayment Plan

Once your budget is set up, a great next step is to list all of your debt (with amounts owed) and in order of interest rate, and then come up with a manageable plan to pay them off.

Some options that can help you pay off debt faster include:

The Snowball Method

The snowball method is where you focus on paying off your debts in order from smallest balance owed to largest.

You can do this by paying the minimum on all your debt and then allocating any extra money you have to the debt with the smallest balance.

•   Once the smallest debt is paid off, you can take the money you were

•   putting toward that debt and funnel it toward your next smallest debt instead.

•   You then continue the process until all your debts are paid.

The key benefit of this method is that it allows you to experience a series of small successes at the beginning. This can give you more motivation to pay off the rest of your debt.

The Avalanche Method

Another effective debt elimination strategy is the avalanche method (also known as debt stacking). With this approach, you would pay off your accounts in order from the highest interest rate to the lowest.

•   You would make the minimum payment on all of your accounts, then put as much extra money as possible toward the account with the highest interest rate.

•   Once the debt with the highest interest is paid off, you can start paying as much as you can on the account with the next high interest rate.

•   You would continue the process until all your debts are paid.

Putting Extra Cash Toward Debt-Reduction

Once you have an emergency fund (that can cover three to six months of living expenses) in place, you may want to funnel any extra income you receive right into your repayment plan in order to pay off debts faster.

That extra might be a bonus you receive at work, a tax refund, any side hustle income, or cash earned from selling items you don’t need — all of this money could go directly toward your debt payoff.

Putting this money toward your debt, instead of saving it for a new car or spending it on a vacation, can help you pay off your debt quicker so you can eventually shift your financial focus to more fun goals.

Recommended: Understanding Purchase Interest Charges on a Credit Card

3. Looking Into Debt Consolidation

Another option you may want to consider is rolling multiple debts into one payment (ideally with a lower interest rate) through debt consolidation.

This can make your debt easier to manage (because you’ll only have one monthly bill) and less expensive overall. The less you have to pay in interest, the more money you can put towards reducing the underlying debt.

•   One way to consolidate debt is to get a 0% interest balance transfer credit card and then transfer all your debts onto this card. Typically, you will have six to 24 months of no interest during which time you can pay down your debt. Just read the fine print to be clear on what interest rate you may pay on new purchases and when the interest-free period ends.

•   Another option is to get an unsecured personal loan. In this case, you would use the money from the loan to pay off your debt, then pay back the loan in installments over a set term. Typically, these loans can offer a significantly lower interest rate than what credit cards charge, but shop around and carefully review your options before signing up.

The Takeaway

If you’re looking to pay off your debt faster, it’s a good idea to take a look at your spending and income, find some ways to reduce your non essential spending, and then funnel any money you free up towards your debt repayment plan.
By sticking with your budget and payoff plan, you may soon be taking the money that you were spending on interest and putting it into savings for the things you really want.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.



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Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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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