How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

You may have heard that you should spend anywhere from one to three months’ salary on an engagement ring. But these rules of thumb (formulated and advertised by the diamond industry) are now considered pretty outdated.

Instead, it can be a good idea to consider not only your income, but also your savings, current debt, living expenses, other costs involved in planning the wedding, and (bottom line) what you feel comfortable spending.

How you plan to pay for the ring can also impact how much you can afford to pay for it. Options include paying cash, using a credit card, financing the ring through the jeweler, or using a personal loan. And, each payment avenue has its pros and cons.

What follows are some guidelines that can help you figure out how much you should spend on an engagement ring, as well as how you may want to make the purchase.

The Average Cost of an Engagement Ring

According to The Knot’s 2020 Jewelry and Engagement Study, the average cost of an engagement ring is around $5,500.

While that number may represent the average, the amount couples actually spend on a ring varies widely. In The Knot’s study, 25 percent of respondents spent between $1,000 to $3,000 on their engagement ring, and 11 percent shelled out less than $1,000.

Why do rings vary so much in price? The cost of an engagement ring depends on a number of factors, including the size and quality of the stone, where the gem was sourced, how the gem is set, and the type of metal chosen (such as yellow gold, white gold, or platinum). There may also be mark-ups that come along with a popular brand name.

Diamond engagement rings, sourced from a mine, tend to be the most expensive choice. But there are many other, less costly options, such as lab-grown diamonds, moissanite (a lab-grown gem that looks like a diamond), and semi-precious gemstones (such as tourmaline, morganite, and aquamarine).

Whether you’re in the market for a large, eye-catching dazzler or a more dainty design, the good news is that these days there are ways to accomplish almost any look for a range of price points.

How to Pay for an Engagement Ring

While paying in cash can be the simplest (and often the cheapest) option, it may not be feasible for all couples. Below are some other payment options that you may want to consider, along with their pros, cons, and potential costs.

Financing an Engagement Ring Through Your Jeweler

Many jewelers offer financing options, but just because you’re buying from a jeweler does not mean you have to use the financing they offer. It can be a good idea to take note of the following:

Promotional offers. Some jewelers offer a 0% introductory interest rate during a set period of time. But after that period of time, interest rates may be quite high.

Down payment requirements. Some jewelers may require a certain percentage down payment prior to financing.

Financing through a jeweler directly may make sense if you’re confident you can pay back the loan prior to the end of the promotional period. As with any loan, it’s likely that there will be a credit check prior to being approved for financing.

Recommended: When Should You Make Big Purchases?

Buying an Engagement Ring With a Credit Card

Putting a large purchase like an engagement ring on your credit card can be a simple solution at the moment, but may become a financial headache in the future. Here are some things you may want to consider before getting out the plastic.

Interest rate. Putting the engagement ring on a card with a relatively high-interest rate means that the ring will end up becoming more expensive over time. You may also want to keep in mind that many credit cards have a variable interest rate, which means the interest rate at the time of purchase could rise over time.

Credit-utilization ratio. A large purchase like an engagement ring may mean using a significant percentage of credit available on your card. Having a high credit-utilization ratio may negatively affect your credit score.

Rewards and protections. Some buyers like putting large purchases on credit cards because of the consumer protections offered by the card. They also may want to take advantage of the rewards offered by the credit card company. Those rewards, however, may only be worth it if you can pay the amount back in full at the end of the billing cycle or during a 0% interest promo rate.

Recommended: Credit Card Rewards 101

Using a Personal Loan to Finance an Engagement Ring

A personal loan is another avenue for making an engagement ring purchase. A personal loan from a bank or other lender may have a lower interest rate than a jeweler financing program.

A personal loan also works differently than a credit card or financing a purchase. With a personal loan, you’ll get the money in your bank account, and pay the jeweler as though you were paying in cash. You would then pay back the loan in monthly amounts set out in the loan agreement.

Here are some things you may want to consider before using a personal loan to pay for an engagement ring.

Interest rate. In many cases, a personal loan interest rate is fixed, meaning it doesn’t change after the agreement has been signed. This means that you know exactly how much you will need to pay back for the length of the loan.

Loan terms. You may have an option to pick the length of the loan. Shorter loans may mean you’re paying less interest over time, but you have larger monthly payments.

Loan costs. There may be fees associated with the loan, including an origination fee when the loan begins and a prepayment penalty if the loan is paid before the end of the agreed upon term.

“What if” scenarios. Some lenders provide temporary deferment for people facing financial hardship, such as a job loss.

Recommended: Why February Is a Good Month to Buy Wedding Bands

The Takeaway

Spending between one and three month’s salary for an engagement ring is a long-standing tradition, but these days there is no one-size-fits-all formula.

How much you spend on an engagement ring is a very personal decision and will depend on your current and predicted income, current debt, expenses, savings, and preference.

If paying for an engagement ring upfront in cash isn’t feasible, you may want to look into different financing options and compare their pros, cons, and costs.

Your jeweler may offer financing, for example. Or, you may be able to take advantage of a credit card that has a 0% or low introductory interest rate and pay the balance off before the rate goes up.

Another option is to take out a personal loan. SoFi personal loans, for instance, offer fixed, competitive interest rates and come with no fees.

Learn more about SoFi’s personal loan options today.

Photo credit: iStock/ljubaphoto


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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.
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
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Where to Find Book Now, Pay Later Vacations

Where to Find Book Now, Pay Later Vacations

Book now, pay later vacations are on the rise.

As more people set off on adventures around the world, they’re realizing that travel can be expensive. However, there are a growing number of options to pay for those getaways, including vacation payment plans.

Here’s what would-be travelers need to know about this travel hack and newer payment option and how to decide if it’s right for them before they take off in a plane, train, or automobile.

What a Payment Plan Vacation Really Means

Buy now, pay later vacation plans work in a similar way to traditional layaway options at stores. Travelers pay a little upfront and pay off the rest over an agreed-upon timeline. However, unlike traditional layaway where a person can pick up their item only when payments are complete, travelers get their item — their trip — upfront.

There are several book now, pay later payment options on the market including Afterpay, Affirm, and Uplift. When booking a vacation using a payment plan option, you’re actually paying the financing company rather than the travel company itself. For example, if you book a Carnival cruise (one of the companies now offering this as an option), you’ll pay via Uplift. Uplift will then pay Carnival directly for the vacation in full. When you make payments, you’ll be paying Uplift, not Carnival.

Payments can be made over weeks or months, depending on the trip you’re taking, how much it costs, and which payment option you choose. Before signing on the dotted line, you’ll be assigned an interest rate based on data including your credit score, much like you would when applying for a credit card or loan. The rate will always be displayed before you click “book,” but reading the fine print is important so you are aware of all the terms of the agreement, not just the interest rate.

Recommended: Top Apps to Use When Traveling

Many Popular Travel Companies Are Now Offering This Option:

The love for vacation payment plans is growing across the travel industry. Here are a few of the major players entering the game.

Expedia: Expedia is now offering book now, pay later vacations. Travelers can choose monthly payments at checkout via Affirm. The website and Affirm offer three-, six- or 12-month payment plans.

Priceline: Like Expedia, Priceline also offers book now, pay later vacation payment plan options with Affirm. Interest rates range from 10% to 30% APR, with 0% APR for eligible customers.

Hotels.com: Hotels.com is offering payment plan options with Quadpay. Customers can split their payments into four installments over six weeks.

VRBO: VRBO is also getting in on the book now, pay later vacation option with Affirm. Customers can pay the total cost of the trip in three, six, or 12 monthly installments. Fixed payments come with interest rates ranging from 10% to 30% APR based on your credit profile.

Airlines:

Airlines are also utilizing book now, pay later for those looking to fly to their destination. United, Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, Allegiant, and Spirit are all offering this option as well as some of the airline subsidiaries Delta Vacations and United Vacations .

Cruise lines:

Cruise lines are also getting into the act. Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean are all offering vacation payment plan options to cruise lovers looking to stretch their vacation budgets out over months.

Recommended: Tips For Finding The Top Travel Deals

The Pros and Cons of Book Now, Pay Later Vacations

An obvious benefit of utilizing book now, pay later for vacations is that you can book a vacation now and pay for it later, rather than having to save money in a travel fund to pay for a vacation you take only after it’s paid for in full. Globetrotters can live out their vacation dreams sooner rather than later, maybe even taking advantage of fare sales that only last for a few hours or a few days, rather than once again having to wait to book until they’ve saved enough cash.

However, there are drawbacks to this option as well. Travelers may run the risk of overextending themselves financially when they see a vacation option they want to book, but are financially unprepared to pay back. One study by C+R Research found that 57% of online consumers polled said they overspent when they used a buy now, pay later program and they now regret using the option.

The other major caveat travelers should be wary of is how these book now, pay later options could affect their credit scores. Though not all companies run a credit check, some do. If you are asked for your Social Security number when booking a trip, the service provider may run a credit check, which could affect your credit score. The service may also report late payments to the national credit bureaus, which could also affect your score. If this is something that concerns you, try reaching out to the service directly to see if they run a credit check before booking.

Before utilizing a book now, pay later option, travel consumers can consider if it’s the right choice for them by calculating the true cost of the vacation—including both principal and interest—to ensure they feel financially comfortable and confident they can make these payments on time.

Recommended: Ways to Be a Frugal Traveler

Personal Loan as an Alternative to Buy Now, Pay Later

If you want to take a vacation without having to save the money to pay for it first, an alternative to a book now, pay later vacation may be an unsecured personal loan. Taking out a personal loan is still taking on debt, but the rates and terms of a personal loan may vary from financing companies that offer book now, pay later vacation options.

An unsecured personal loan allows a borrower to take out the amount needed to pay for a vacation with fixed interest rates that are generally lower than credit card rates and possibly lower rates than those offered by buy now, pay later financing options. Comparison shopping for rates and terms will help you find the best option for your financial situation. SoFi personal loans have no fees and have fixed rates, so payments stay the same over the life of the loan. Eligible SoFi members can also access perks like a rate reduction or discount on a new loan, the Unemployment Protection Program for borrowers with loans in good standing, and others.

The Takeaway

Book now, pay later vacations are on the rise. Many popular travel retailers, airlines, and cruise companies are now offering the option as a way for travelers to book their vacations upfront and then pay them off over time. However, vacation payment plans do come with their own pros and cons, including potentially high interest rates upon repayment. Travelers should look at all their payment options, including personal loans when deciding which payment option is best for them.

Ready to get away? Checking out vacation financing options with a SoFi Personal Loan is a great place to start.

Photo credit: iStock/hudiemm


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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Family Loans: Guide to Borrowing & Lending Money to Family

Whether it’s to repay debt, put a down payment on a house, start a business or start a band, borrowing money from family members—or lending it to them—can be a risky business. And although all debt is risky, family loans carry different kinds of dangers.

Although family lenders don’t have to worry about pulling (or affecting) anyone’s credit score, private loans can quickly put otherwise strong relationships on ice if a borrower doesn’t pay up. Depending on the size of the loan, there may also be tax implications to complicate the situation even further.

That said, there are ways to more safely issue and receive family loans. Here are our best tips for stacking the odds in your favor.

Risks and Benefits to Both Parties

No matter which end of the dynamic you might find yourself on, there are both risks and benefits to family loans. But while both the borrower and lender risk putting a strain on the family relationship involved, the lender is likely to carry the greater financial risk—after all, it can be pretty hard to recoup your losses when you have no official financial authority.

Risks of Family Loans

Here’s how family loans can get tricky on both sides of the transaction.

For the Borrower:

• There is risk to the interpersonal relationship if the loan repayment plan falls through.

• Although avoiding a credit check—and possible negative credit consequences—is a plus, family loans also fail to help borrowers build their credit history since they’re not reported to credit bureaus.

For the Lender:

• There is risk to the interpersonal relationship if the loan repayment plan falls through—which puts the lender into a particularly tricky situation if they really need the cash back for their own financial situation.

• It’s easy for family lenders to lose their money outright if the borrower constantly defers to an IOU.

• Since family lenders don’t have any financial authority or backing, it can be difficult to recoup losses or enforce any substantial consequences for borrowers who go into default.

• If the loan is interest-free and for an amount in excess of the IRS gift tax exclusion , it may trigger the need to file a gift tax return (and potentially pay taxes on the gift).

Recommended: Should You Borrow Money from Friends and Family?

Benefits of Family Loans

Despite their risks, family loans do have some attractive qualities.

For the Borrower:

• Obviously, family loans present a low-cost alternative to traditional credit options. Family lenders usually don’t assess fees and may not charge interest.

• Family loans can carry much easier approval standards than their official counterparts. At a financial institution, borrowers are subject to a financial deep-dive involving their credit and employment history, income verification, and more. At the Bank of Mom & Dad, you’re probably a shoe-in; the only qualifier you need is your blood and a bit of good faith.

• Family loans often carry more flexible repayment standards than traditional loans do, and family lenders may be more lenient if the borrower faces extenuating circumstances that make it difficult to pay up.

• Failure to pay private family loans in a timely manner—or at all—won’t impact the borrower’s credit score the way such behavior would with a “real” loan.

For the Lender:

• It can feel rewarding to help out a family member in need, particularly if they’re putting the money toward a major life goal like homeownership.

• If the lender chooses to charge interest on the loan, they can earn interest as the loan is repaid.

Family Loans: Tax Implications You Might Not See Coming

It can be surprising to learn that shelling out some cash to Uncle Earl could be a big enough deal to land on the IRS’s radar. But it’s the truth.

Fortunately, most family loans fall outside of the purview of Uncle Sam. It’s only when they’re above IRS-defined amounts and interest-free that lenders have to worry.

Here’s how it works. If a family lender offers an interest-free loan to a family borrower, the IRS still sees the transaction as a loan—and assumes that the interest that should have been charged counts as a gift to the recipient. (The government publishes minimum interest rates on a monthly basis.)

That’s no big deal if the loan is for, say, $300. But if the unpaid interest—or unpaid loan balance—tops the annual gift-giving exclusion, which is $15,000 for 2020 and 2021, the lender might be responsible for filing a gift tax return and potentially paying extra taxes on the gift.

The IRS might also count the should-be interest toward the lender’s gross income, even if no interest is charged or received. Again, this isn’t a big deal with rates under 1% on loans of just a few hundred dollars, but with a big enough loan, it could impact the lender’s finances.

Tips to Make Borrowing and Lending Money to Family More Successful

If you’re considering lending money to or borrowing money from a family member, adding some structure to your loan can help minimize the risks while still allowing everyone involved to reap the benefits.

Planning it Out

All too often, a family loan takes place in a single, impromptu transaction: The borrower asks for some money, and the lender shells it out.

Instead, making a concrete plan together specifying all the loan’s terms, such as repayment installments and timing, is a better idea. Lenders might want to seriously consider charging interest, especially on large loans, due to the tax implications outlined above. Even a low-interest rate can motivate a borrower to get serious about repayment.

Making it Official

Clear communication and boundary-setting skills make pulling off a family loan a positive experience for all involved—and oftentimes, the best way to achieve those goals is to write things down.

Plus, drafting a formal money-lending contract makes your loan official in the eyes of the IRS, which can help keep loans from being classified as gifts for tax purposes.

Terms to include in your personal loan agreement include:

• The amount loaned.

• The loan’s repayment terms, such as frequency and amount, as well as a due date for when the loan must be repaid in full.

• The loan’s interest rate and fees, if any (for instance, the lender may decide to charge late fees if the loan repayment terms are not honored).

• Clauses concerning what happens if the loan is repaid early (is there a prepayment penalty?) and what happens if the borrower goes into default for any reason.

Recommended: Can I Pay off a Personal Loan Early?

Considering Alternatives

If all of these caveats and warnings are making family loans sound like a less-than-prudent idea, there’s good news. Folks in need of a fast cash infusion do have other alternatives to consider before they start knocking on family members’ doors. (And yes, if a family member asks you to borrow money, you’re allowed to say no and steer them in a different direction.)

Obviously, the most ideal financial strategy for making a big purchase is to save your money so you don’t have to go into debt at all. Although this isn’t always possible or realistic, it might be worth taking a second look at your budget, working on a promotion, or starting up a side hustle to generate cash.

Furthermore, unsecured personal loans are available from certain banks and financial institutions and make it possible to fund a wide variety of expenses upfront. Of course, these may come with higher interest rates and more stringent qualification requirements than family loans do.

The Takeaway

While borrowing money from or lending money to a family member can be tempting, it can have long-lasting impacts on interpersonal relationships as well as the lender’s finances. While drafting a structured loan agreement can help, personal loans can be an alternative worth considering.

SoFi offers a range of no-fee, low-fixed-interest-rate personal loans that can be used to fund medical expenses, home renovations, moving costs, and more.

Curious to know how a SoFi personal loan could help you? Check your rate today—it won’t affect your credit score.1

Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz


1Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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

33 Ways to Make Money From Home

According to a study by Pew Research published late in 2020, 71% of those whose responsibilities can be taken care of digitally are working from home, up from merely 20% pre-pandemic.

As vaccines are distributed and the world begins to open back up, many of us are returning to the office. But if you’re hoping to find real ways to make money from home, take heart: there are many.

Here are 33 possibilities for those asking themselves, “How can I make money from home?”

Easy Ways to Make Extra Money from Home

1. Test Websites

Most websites are well-designed and easy to use because they’re tested by real users— a service they get paid to do. Platforms like UserTesting will link you up with companies who need website testers, and you’ll earn money for each test you do, ranging from $4 to $120, depending on the type of test. There are also opportunities to earn more money for live interviews about your experience.

2. Test Products

Products also need testers, and that testing can be done at home, too. Companies like Product Report Card will pay for opinions on gadgets, personal care products, and more. (Plus, you might get some free stuff in the bargain.)

3. Take Surveys

If you start poking around product testing websites, you’ll notice most of them capture your opinion by using surveys—and there are plenty of other websites that pay for your surveyed opinion, too. Survey Junkie is one popular option, as is Swagbucks. These opps won’t get you rich quick, but they’re a great way to earn some extra money at home.

4. Become a Voice Actor

If you’ve got a voice for radio—or an audiobook, or a video game, or the PA announcement at your local grocery store—you may be able to earn money doing voiceover work in the comfort of your own home. (Or more accurately, the comfort of your own closet, which is probably the most noise-insulated room in the house.)

5. Do Closed Captioning

If you’re a quick typist with the ability to pay close attention to speech, you might make a great transcriptionist or captioner. Companies like Rev make it possible to get paid for captioning video content, and you get to set your own hours.

6. Become a Translator

If you are multilingual, you can put those skills to work by becoming a professional translator. Gengo is one platform where translators can find jobs, choosing the ones that fit their abilities and availability.

7. Teach an Online Course

We’ve all got some valuable talents to share with the world—and chances are there’s someone out there who would pay to learn more about what you’re an expert in. Whether it’s creative writing, singing, or coding in JavaScript, get your knowledge out there and get paid for it with platforms like Udemy and Teachable.

8. Become a Tutor

Similarly to starting your own course, tutors are paid to teach local students who may be studying for the SAT or just trying to improve their grades. Using video chat can expand your client base far beyond your neighborhood.

9. Offer Music Lessons

If you play an instrument or know the ins and outs of voice control, you can leverage those skills into cash money by offering music lessons—in person or online.

10. Write a Book

Okay, okay—this one is not a quick way to make money or a guaranteed one, by a long shot. But if you’ve got the chops and the dedication, you might just actually write the next great American novel. Or memoir. Or essay collection. Just know that as far as the money goes, it’s a slow burn.

11. Start a Blog

If you’re a writer who wants to hone their chops on an ongoing basis—or you’re just looking for a fun and audience-friendly topic like baking or being a mom—starting a blog can translate into earnings over time, thanks in large part to affiliate marketing. However, a successful blog could also land you speaking gigs, public appearances, and other earning opportunities.

12. Become a Freelance Writer

Another way to translate your writing skills into cash: becoming a freelance writer, either on the side or full time. It can be a tough industry to break into, but once you’ve established yourself, it’s totally possible to earn a living wage doing this work. Having examples of your published work is the best way to show a prospective client your writing skills.

13. Or a Freelance Copy Editor

Don’t want to create new content, but happy to read others’ for errors? Language lovers might be able to earn a living as freelance copy editors. Fiverr is one place to find individual copy-editing jobs, though longer-term contract positions are also regularly listed on job boards like Indeed.

14. Or a Freelance Graphic Designer

If you have design skills, you could turn your doodles into dollars by sketching logos for businesses, graphics for company websites, and more. You’ll likely need a portfolio of your work to show prospective clients.

15. Or a Freelance SEO Consultant

You can see where we’re going with this—whatever skills you have, you may be able to leverage into a freelance, at-home source of earnings. SEO in particular is a service that companies will pay mighty well for… after all, good rankings translate into more money in their pockets, too.

16. Become a Virtual Assistant

If you’re the kind of Type-A person whose Google calendar is comprehensive and color-coded, consider channeling those organizational skills into becoming a virtual assistant. Along with offering a great way to make money from home, this gig has the added bonus of a variable work day—you might be scheduling work travel or managing invoices or answering phone calls, but there’s always plenty to do!

17. Sell Your Crafts

If you already spend your downtime enjoying a craft like painting or knitting, why not consider placing your wares up for sale on a site like Etsy? Not only will your art bring smiles to other peoples’ faces—it might also bring you some extra cash.

18. Design a T-shirt (or Mug, or Tote Bag)

Got a witty slogan or beautiful image in mind that just has to be on a shirt somewhere? Make it happen with a website like CafePress or CustomInk, which makes it easy to create and sell your unique designs.

19. Become a YouTuber

If you’ve got something to say—and are creative enough to say it with engaging video content—YouTube can be a lucrative way to make money from home. Beware, though: this is a side-gig that can easily take a lot of time and have considerable expense in audio/video equipment.

20. Stream Your Gaming Habits on Twitch

Earning money by playing video games might sound like a fantasy, but platforms like Twitch make it possible—provided you’re actually good, or at least entertaining to watch.

21. Get Paid to Post on Insta

Yes, you can get paid (and get free stuff) to be a brand ambassador on Instagram and other social media platforms—though you’ll likely need good personal branding and a decent following to do it. Some people spend time curating their social media content already, which means those requirements are probably within reach.

22. Sell Your Stuff

If you’re overdue for a closet clean-out, consider selling the stuff you don’t need anymore on an app like LetGo or OfferUp. You know how they say one person’s trash is another’s treasure? Well, in this case, the same item can be both—for you!

23. Sell Your Photos

If you know your way around a DSLR—or honestly just an iPhone—you might be able to sell your stock-photo-worthy snaps for money. Platforms like Alamy and GettyImages are two places to sell or license your pictures.

24. Rent Out Your Clothes

Yes, this is real! Turn that prom dress in your closet into income by renting it out to others. Platforms like RentNotBuy can help.

25. Rent Out Your Camping Equipment

Or your lawnmower, or your bike—basically anything you don’t use on the regular, you could be earning money by renting out. Check out the database at Loanables, which also makes it easy to list your own items for rent. Bonus: sharing items is a way to reduce our overall carbon footprint.

26. Rent Out Your Driveway

There are lots (and lots) of cars on the road these days, which means people need lots of parking space. If you have extra room in your driveway, you can rent it out for pretty good money using platforms like Neighbor and JustPark.

27. Do Data Entry

Are you a quick typist with great attention to detail? These days, companies who need data entry sometimes hire remote workers, which means you can populate those spreadsheets in the comfort of your own home.

28. Or Customer Service

Many of us have some sort of customer service background—and thanks to the magic of the internet, you don’t necessarily need to work in a crowded, noisy call center to put that resume to use. Many companies offer virtual customer service employees, including Amazon. You’ll definitely want to invest in a headset to take those calls with ease, though.

29. Do Medical Coding And Billing

The work might be tedious, but it pays quite well—and although it’s counterintuitive, you don’t have to work at a hospital to do it. Many medical establishments outsource their coding and billing needs, and companies like Aviacode allow medical coders to work from home while earning both a salary and valuable benefits.

30. Start a Podcast

It might be a long shot, but many successful podcasts started as a casual, at-home conversation between friends. If your subject matter is interesting enough to draw advertisers, voila: at-home income!

31. Start An At-home Daycare

Love kids? You could get paid to care for them by offering at-home daycare services for parents who need time to work or meet other commitments. Starting a business like this may require licensing and home modifications, but you can also hire out your services as a babysitter using an app like UrbanSitter or Bambino.

32. Take Up Professional Pet-sitting

Getting paid to hang out with puppies sounds like a dream—but it can be your reality if you charge for pet-sitting services. Apps like Rover make it easy to get started, but you can also just advertise around your neighborhood and by word-of-mouth.

33. Start Your Own Business

Many of the options listed here might provide potential side income, but if your career is one whose services can easily be done without a physical storefront, the internet could be your key to freedom on a full-time basis. Although becoming your own boss certainly takes some up-front investing, as well as energy and time, your income potential won’t be limited by what your employer decides to pay you. A major decision before taking the leap to self-employment is how to get benefits that may have been provided by an employer, such as health insurance and retirement benefits. Having a solid plan will make the path forward easier to navigate.

The Takeaway

Making money from home is great, but getting your budget nailed down can help you keep more of the cash you work for.
One way to put your hard-earned bucks to work for you: SoFi Money®, a cash management platform that’s a great way to spend and save without any account fees.

Learn how SoFi Money can help you reach your savings goals.



SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. 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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products 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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Spare Change Savings

Spare Change Savings

If you’ve ever collected change–maybe in a piggy bank as a kid, or in a cup by the front door as an adult–you likely already know the benefits of spare change savings.

You generally don’t miss the coins you drop into your collection each day. But, once you get around to putting the whole pile in the bank (or a coin machine), you could end up with a few hundred bucks.

These days spare change saving or “round-up” apps make the process even simpler. They automatically calculate the difference between the amount you charge on your debit or credit card and the next dollar amount. They then divert that virtual change into a savings account.

Spare change savings (also known as “micro-saving”) can be a great way to kick start your savings and also help you start automating your finances. However, not all spare change apps are created equal.

Some of these apps charge fees, which can quickly erode your savings. And some actually invest your savings, which may not be ideal if you’re saving for a short-term goal, such as building an emergency fund or buying a car.

Here are some key things you may want to keep in mind when choosing a spare change savings app.

Recommended: What Are Round-Up Savings?

How Does Spare Change Saving Work?

The philosophy behind spare change savings is “little and often.” Every time you spend money, whether it’s on gas, groceries or dining out, an app rounds up that purchase and saves the change for you.

Spare change savings apps typically connect to your credit and/or debit card, take the virtual change from your linked checking account, and put the money into a separate account. For instance, if you buy a sandwich for $5.80, the app will automatically transfer 20 cents from your checking account into a savings account.

Some spare change apps put your money into a traditional savings account or a cash management account. Others invest your money in small portfolios, based on your risk tolerance and financial situation. There are also spare change apps that use saved funds to pay off debts that you designate, such as credit cards or student loans.

The Benefits of Spare Change Savings

There are a number of potential benefits to spare change savings. Below are some of the reasons you may want to try using one of these apps.

They can make saving easy and automatic

One of the biggest advantages of spare change savings is that it’s automatic. You don’t have to remember to bring your change to the bank or transfer money from checking to savings after you get paid in order to save money from your salary. And, unlike the change jar, the money saved is out of sight and out of mind.

If you’re struggling to save money, setting up a spare change savings app can help jump start the process and make it relatively pain-free.

Your savings can earn interest

Unlike the piggy bank method, a spare change app can put your savings into an account that can earn interest and help your money grow over time.

Some spare change savings apps, known as “micro-investing” apps, will offer users the opportunity to invest their money into stocks, bonds, and/or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This involves risk, but if these investments do well, your savings could grow considerably.

They can make investing less intimidating

Micro-investing apps can make it easy to get started with investing, even if you currently don’t know anything about it. Generally, they’ll recommend a portfolio based on your goals and time horizon, turning your spare change into an investment on a small scale–a good way to experiment.

There may be extra ways to save

Some spare change savings apps partner up with other brands that will kick in a percentage of every purchase you make to your savings account. For example, if an app partners with Macy’s or Apple, every time you make a purchase from one of those retailers, a small percent of the total you spend would get added to your savings account (in addition to the round-up amount taken from your checking account).

Disadvantages of Spare Change Savings

There are some potential downsides to spare change savings apps. Here are a few you may want to consider before signing up for one of these apps.

They may charge fees

Some spare change apps charge monthly (and other) fees for using their services. Before signing up for an app, it can be a good idea to read the fine print and look into what, if any, fees you may be charged and how often.

Even if the fees are small, they could quickly eat into your savings, especially since the dollar amounts you’re putting away are small.

It’s possible to lose money through investments

If you choose to put your spare change savings into investments, there is some risk involved. Depending on market fluctuations, your money could grow. On the other hand, you could potentially lose some or all of your savings.

Micro-investing may not be ideal for emergency funds

If you go with an app that invests your savings, you may not be able to access the money immediately, which could be an issue if you’re faced with a financial emergency.

Another issue is that if your account is down in value at the time you need to withdraw the money, you would have to take a loss instead of waiting for market conditions to improve.

You might get hit with an overdraft fee

If your checking account is close to zero after you make a transaction, and then the spare change app rounds-up the transaction and withdraws additional funds, you could end up overdrafting your account. This could result in getting hit with a hefty overdraft fee.

The Takeaway

While each spare change app functions slightly differently, they all revolve around the same basic concept. You save small increments of cash that you likely won’t miss. The money gets put into a digital piggy bank, so it’s separated from the funds in your primary checking account. You can then use the money to work toward your savings goals.

Spare change apps aren’t for everyone, however. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck and at risk of overdrafting your account, these apps may not be ideal for you. And if you don’t yet have an emergency fund, you may not want to choose an app that invests your savings.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for creative ways to jumpstart your financial goals, a spare change app (with low or no fees) may be just the tool you’re looking for.

SoFi Money® makes spare change saving easy–and also free. When you open a SoFi Money cash management account, you can set up “Roundups,” which allows you to save automatically every time you use your SoFi debit card.

Learn how SoFi Money Roundups can help you save without even thinking about it.

Photo credit: iStock/Nattakorn Maneerat


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. 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.
The SoFi Money® World Debit Mastercard® is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
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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