15 Technical Indicators for Stock Trading

7 Technical Indicators for Stock Trading

One way traders seek to profit from short-term movements in security prices is by using technical analysis.

While some stock analysis tools examine company fundamentals, technical stock indicators identify patterns in price and volume data to give investors and traders insights about how a stock might move in the future.

For that reason, although technical indicators can assist with trend identification, it’s best to combine different indicators when conducting stock analysis.

How Do Stock Technical Indicators Work?

Technical analysis uses various sets of data and indicators, such as price and volume, to identify patterns and trends. This type of stock market analysis is different from fundamental analysis, which looks at company financials, industry trends, and macroeconomics.

Rather, technical analysis solely analyzes a stock’s performance. Stock technical indicators are often rendered as a pattern that can overlay a stock’s price chart to predict the market trend, and whether the stock would be considered “overbought” or “oversold.”

Two Main Types of Technical Indicators

Stock technical indicators generally come in two flavors: overlay indicators and oscillators.

Overlay Indicators

An overlay indicator typically overlays one trend onto another on a stock chart, often using different colors to distinguish between the lines.

Oscillator Indicators

An oscillator typically uses metrics such as a stock’s price or trading volume to determine momentum, or rate of change, over time. It uses this info to generate a signal, or trend line, whose fluctuations between two values in a range can indicate if a stock may be overbought or oversold.

If the trend line moves above the higher value of the range, it can indicate a stock is overbought, while dipping below the lower value can indicate it’s oversold. The movements of the trend line thus can help traders determine support and resistance in certain price trends, so they can decide whether to sell or buy (support being the price at which a downturn generally bounces back up, and resistance being the point at which rising prices generally start to fall).

Oscillator indicators can be leading or lagging:

•   A leading indicator tracks current market movements to anticipate where the trend is headed next.

•   A lagging indicator is based on recent history and seeks patterns that will indicate potential price movements.

The moving average is a common oscillator; it’s considered a lagging indicator as it measures specific intervals in the past.

Naturally, every stock indicator has its pros and cons. Various trading indicators can be used by investors to analyze supply and demand forces on stock price, to help shed light on market psychology, or to manage risk.

But while stock indicators and trading tools can help with buy and sell points, false signals can also occur.

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Reasons to Use Stock Market Indicators

Knowing some of the most popular trading tools might benefit your investing strategy by providing you with easier-to-spot buy and sell signals. You don’t have to know every single technical indicator, and there are many ways to analyze stocks, but using multiple stock indicators may help you improve trading results.

You can also use these stock indicators to help you manage risk when you are actively trading.

Price trend indicators are some of the most important technical trading tools since identifying a security price’s trend is often a first step to forming a trading strategy. Long positions are often initiated during uptrends, while short sale opportunities can occur when prices are in a downtrend.

Volume trend indicators are also helpful to gauge the power or conviction of an asset’s price move. Some believe that the higher the stock volume on a bullish breakout or bearish breakdown, the more confident the move is. Higher volume could signal a lengthier trend continuation.

💡 Quick Tip: All investments come with some degree of risk — and some are riskier than others. Before investing online, decide on your investment goals and how much risk you want to take.

7 Stock Indicators for Technical Analysis

It’s important to remember that these trading tools were developed based on the belief that mathematically derived patterns may be valuable as predictors of stock movements. Past performance, however, is not a guarantee of future results. So while it can be useful to employ stock technical indicators, they are best used in combination before deciding on a potential trade.

Also, many of these trading tools are lagging indicators, which can lead to an inaccurate reflection of current and future market conditions.

Following are seven of the most common technical stock indicators, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Moving Averages (MA)

A moving average (MA) is the average value of a security over a specific time. The MA can be:

•   Simple Moving Average (SMA)

•   Exponential Moving Average (EMA)

•   Weighted Moving Average (WMA).

A moving average smooths stock price volatility, and is taken as an indicator of the direction a price may be headed. If the price is above the moving average, it’s considered an uptrend versus when the price moves below the MA, which can signal a downtrend.

Moving averages are typically used in combination with each other, or other stock indicators, to identify trends.

Pros

•   Using moving averages can filter out the noise that comes from price fluctuations and focus on the overall trend.

•   Moving average crossovers are commonly used to pinpoint trend changes.

•   You can customize moving average periods: common time frames include 20-day, 30-day, 50-day, 100-day, 200-day.

Cons

•   A simple moving average may not help some traders as much as an exponential moving average (EMA), which puts more weight on recent price changes.

•   Market turbulence can make the MA less informative.

•   Moving averages can be simple, exponential, or weighted, which might be confusing to new traders.

2. Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD)

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) helps investors gauge whether a security’s movement is bullish or bearish, and helps gauge the momentum of the trend. The MACD uses two different exponential moving averages (EMAs) to do so.

A 26-period EMA is subtracted from a short-term 12-period EMA to generate the MACD line. Then a signal line, based on a nine-day EMA, is plotted on top of the MACD to help reveal buy and sell entry points.

If the MACD line crosses above the signal line, that can signal a buy opportunity. If it crosses below the signal line, that could signal a price decline and an opportunity to sell or take a short position.

Pros

•   The MACD, used in combination with the relative strength index (below) can help identify overbought or oversold conditions.

•   It can be used to indicate a trend and also momentum.

•   Can help spot reversals.

Cons

•   The MACD might provide false reversal signals.

•   It responds mainly to the speed of price movements; less accurate in gauging the direction of a trend.

3. Relative Strength Index (RSI)

The relative strength index or RSI is an oscillator tool that looks at price fluctuations in a given period and calculates average price losses and gains. It ranges from 0 to 100. Generally, above 70 is considered overbought and under 30 is thought to be oversold.

Traders often use the RSI in conjunction with the MACD to confirm a price trend. The RSI can sometimes identify a divergence, when the indicator moves in opposition to the price; this can show the price trend is weakening.

Pros

•   An RSI can help investors spot buy or sell signals.

•   It may also help detect bull market or bear market trends.

•   It can be combined with moving average indicators to spot breakout trends or reversals.

Cons

•   The RSI can move without exhibiting a clear trend.

•   The RSI can remain at an overbought or oversold level for a long time, making this tool less useful.

•   It does not give clues as to volume trends.

Recommended: 5 Bullish Indicators for a Stock

4. Stochastic Oscillator

Traders will often use the stochastic oscillator, which is a momentum indicator, to determine whether a given security is overbought or oversold. The stochastic oscillator allows traders to compare a specific closing price of a security to a range of its prices over a certain time frame.

By using a stochastic chart, traders can gauge the momentum of a security’s price with the aim of anticipating trends and reversals. A stochastic oscillator uses a range of 0 to 100 to determine if an asset is overbought (when the measurements are above 80) or oversold (when the measurement is below 20).

Pros

•   Clearer entry/exit signals: The oscillator has a basic design and generates visual signals when it reaches the outer bounds of a price range. This can help a trader determine when it may be time to buy or to sell stocks.

•   Frequent signals: For more active traders who trade on intraday charts such as the 5-, 10-, or 15-minute time frames, the stochastic oscillator generates signals more often as price action oscillates in smaller ranges.

•   Easy to understand: The oscillator’s fluctuating lines are fairly clear for investors who know how to use them.

Cons

•   Possible false signals: Depending on the time settings chosen, traders may misperceive a sharp oscillation as a buy or sell signal, especially if it goes against the trend. This is more common during periods of market volatility.

•   Doesn’t measure the trend or direction: It calculates the strength or weakness of price action in a market, not the overall trend or direction.

💡 Quick Tip: When you’re actively investing in stocks, it’s important to ask what types of fees you might have to pay. For example, brokers may charge a flat fee for trading stocks, or require some commission for every trade. Taking the time to manage investment costs can be beneficial over the long term.

5. On-Balance Volume (OBV)

OBV is a little different from the other indicators mentioned. It primarily uses volume flow to gauge future price action on a security or market. When there’s a new OBV peak, it generally indicates that buyers are strong, sellers are weak, and the price of the security may increase.

Similarly, a new OBV low is taken to mean that sellers are strong and buyers are weak, and the price is trending down.

The numerical value of the OBV isn’t important — it’s the direction that matters. In that respect it can be used as a trend confirmation tool. It can also signal divergences, when the price and the volume move in opposite directions.

Pros

•   Volume-based indicator gauges market sentiment to predict a bullish or bearish outcome.

•   OBV can be used to confirm price action and identify divergences.

Cons

•   It can be hard to find definitive buy and sell price levels.

•   False signals can happen when divergences and confirmations fail.

•   Volume surges can distort the indicator for short-term traders.

Recommended: How to Find Portfolio Beta

6. Accumulation / Distribution Line (ADL)

The accumulation/distribution line (ADL) looks at the trading range for a certain stock, and uses price and volume data to gauge whether shares are being accumulated or distributed. Like OBV it also looks for divergences, so that if a price trend isn’t supported by volume flow it could indicate the trend is about to reverse.

Although this sounds similar to OBV, they are calculated differently, and the ADL gives more attention to price and volume data within a specified range.

Pros

•   Traders can use the ADL to spot divergences in price compared with volume that can confirm price trends or signal reversals.

•   The ADL can be used as an indicator of the flow of cash in the market.

Cons

•   It doesn’t capture trading gaps or factor in their impact.

•   Smaller changes in volume are hard to detect.

7. Standard Deviation

Standard deviation measures the extent to which a data point deviates from an expected value, i.e. the mean return. When used as a technical indicator, standard deviation is a common stock volatility measure; it refers to how far a stock’s performance varies from its average.

Investors often measure an investment’s volatility by the standard deviation of returns compared with a broader market index or past returns.

Pros

•   Standard deviation mathematically captures the volatility of a stock’s movements, i.e. how far the price moves from the mean.

•   It provides technicians with an estimate for expected price movements.

•   It can be used to measure expected risk and return.

Cons

•   It does not provide precise buy and sell signals.

•   It must be used in conjunction with other indicators.

The Takeaway

Technical analysis tools use past price and volume data to help traders identify price trends and make buy and sell decisions. It’s important to know that technical analysis does not use fundamentals to assess the underlying companies, their industries, or any macroeconomic trends that might drive their success or failure. Rather, technical analysis solely analyzes the movement and volume inherent in a stock’s performance.

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FAQ

What is the most popular technical indicator for stocks?

Traders typically combine technical indicators, so it’s difficult to point to one as being a top choice. That said, many traders use the moving average indicators in combination with others to gauge price trends.

What is the most accurate indicator of the stock market?

There is no single indicator that can anticipate overall stock market performance. In fact, it’s an important factor to keep in mind when using technical indicators: For every successful price prediction or winning trade, there are countless others that don’t pan out. There are no crystal balls.

Which indicator gives buy and sell signals?

Different traders favor different indicators when looking for signals about how to place a trade. That said, the stochastic oscillator is relatively clear-cut in that it can help traders identify buy and sell opportunities based on price closes and trends within a certain range.


Photo credit: iStock/staticnak1983

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2024 Net Worth Calculator by Age Table with Examples

When it comes to your money, the more you know, the better equipped you are to make informed financial decisions. One piece of your overall financial picture that you may want to understand is how much you’re “worth.” This information can help you understand where you are with your finances now and what you need to do to reach your goals for the future.

Before we look at a net worth growth calculator table that shows you how you compare against other people your age, let’s dive a bit deeper into what net worth is and why it’s important.

What Is Net Worth?

You may hear this term being batted around in conversations surrounding billionaires, but in reality, everyone has a net worth. It’s simply a total of all your assets minus any debts you have.

Those assets can include cash, real estate, intellectual property, and other items like jewelry, stocks, insurance policies, and bonds. The cash may come from a job you have or from unearned income, such as your Social Security payment

Having a lot of assets does not necessarily mean you have a high net worth, particularly if you also carry a lot of debt. For example, you may have a million-dollar mansion, but if you have debts of $500,000, your net worth dwindles rapidly.

💡 Quick Tip: When you have questions about what you can and can’t afford, a spending tracker app can show you the answer. With no guilt trip or hourly fee.

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How Does a Net Worth Calculator Work?

There are many personal net worth calculators available online, though you don’t need one to calculate your net worth. Just take the total amount of all your assets and subtract the total amount of your liabilities:

Assets – liabilities = net worth

Some calculators will also factor in future growth so you can understand what your net worth will be in the future, as the value of your assets grows.

Recommended: What Is Disposable Income?

How to Calculate for Net Worth

As you can see, it’s fairly easy to calculate your net worth, though it may take time to gather the values of all your assets, such as the current value of a piece of high-end jewelry. But once you do, you can add up all your assets and then subtract your liabilities to calculate your net worth.

What Is the Average American Net Worth?

Knowing your own net worth is one thing, but where does it stand against other people in your age bracket? Generally, people see an increase in their net worth the older they get, and it can be helpful to use a net worth percentile calculator by age to see your percentile rank.

For example, if your net worth was $100,000, you would be in the 46.92 percentile for people between the ages of 18 to 100. The median net worth for this age bracket is $121,760.

Here’s the average net worth by different age groups, according to the most recent data available from the Federal Reserve.

Age Average Net Worth
18-24 $112,104
25-29 $120,183
30-34 $258,075
35-39 $501,295
40-44 $590,710
45-49 $781,936
50-54 $1,132,497
55-59 $1,441,987
60-64 $1,675,294
65-69 $1,836,884
70-74 $1,714,085
75-79 $1,629,275
80+ $1,611,984

Source: Federal Reserve’s 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances

Why Is Net Worth Important?

Calculating your net worth is smart because it can help you understand where you’re strong financially (maybe you have little debt) and where you’re weak (maybe you’ve overextended your credit to buy your home).

It may also help you make plans for the future. For example, if your net worth is high, you might explore strategies for reducing taxable income, such as contributing more to a tax-deductible retirement account. And if your net worth isn’t where you’d like it, you can take steps to improve it.

💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

How to Increase Your Net Worth

If you’ve used a liquid net worth calculator, or compared your net worth to the table above and don’t feel like your numbers are as high as you’d like them to be, you can do a few things to increase your net worth.

If your debt levels are high, you can increase your net worth by decreasing that debt. Get a plan for paying off credit cards, student loans, car loans, and home mortgages. Consider increasing the amount you pay on each slightly to shorten your repayment period and decrease the amount of interest you pay on these loans and credit cards.

Creating a budget is one way to keep tabs on your finances as you’re paying off debt. A money tracker app can help make the job easier.

If you don’t have an abnormally high amount of debt but want to increase your assets, you might explore making more money. If you’re still in the workforce and have the ability to make a career change, you might consider cultivating potential high-income skills that could help you command a higher salary.

If you’re retired, you could take on part-time flexible work.

Recommended: How to Negotiate Your Signing Bonus

Examples of Celebrity Net Worths

Not that you need to compare yourself to celebrities when it comes to net worth, but it can be fun to see how the other half lives. Keep in mind that while A-list celebrities often command millions of dollars for their work, they’re usually also smart with their money. They don’t typically blow their money on sports cars and mansions (though certainly some do). Many are financially responsible, investing in multiple income streams and spending responsibly.

Let’s look at the net worth of a few celebrities.

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon didn’t limit her career to acting. She also founded a lifestyle brand called Draper James and a media brand called Hello Sunshine. Today her net worth is about $300 million.

J.K. Rowling

The well-known author of the Harry Potter books has an estimated net worth of $1 billion, and she’s the first author in history to reach this height. Before she was published, however, she struggled financially, which makes hers a true rags-to-riches story.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé

Superstar artists Jay-Z and Beyoncé reign supreme when it comes to net worth. Thanks to touring, albums, clothing lines, movies, endorsements, merchandise, and more, the couple’s combined net worth is $3 billion.

The Takeaway

You may not be able to match the likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé when it comes to net worth, but knowing yours can help you make smart financial decisions for the future. To figure out your net worth, you can subtract the total amount of your liabilities from the total amount of your assets. You can also use a personal net worth calculator; some will even factor in future growth.

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

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

FAQ

How do I calculate your net worth?

Net worth can be calculated by subtracting all your liabilities from your assets. In other words, subtract everything you owe (debts, loans, credit card debts) from everything you have (cash, property, real estate, jewelry, stocks).

What is a good net worth by age?

A “good” net worth depends on your financial goals and age. For example, the average net worth for 40-44 year-olds is $590,710. Yours may be higher or lower than this.

What net worth is considered rich?

According to a 2023 survey conducted by Charles Schwab, Americans need an average net worth of at least $2.2 million to feel wealthy. However, that amount varies based on where you live.

Photo credit: iStock/Kanatip Chulsomlee


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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.

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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2024 Gas Cost Trip Calculator Table with Examples

Thinking about taking a road trip? The rising cost of gas might put a dent in your budget if you’re not careful. But how much will you spend on gas for a trip? What should your budget be?

Using a trip cost calculator can help you determine what you are likely to spend filling up your tank on a longer trip. Then you can use that information to decide whether it’s more cost-effective to drive, take a train or bus, or fly.

Let’s look not only at a gasoline cost trip calculator table, but also why you should calculate how much you’ll spend on gas and how you can save money filling up at the pump.

Why Use a Gas Cost Trip Estimator

You may think nothing of filling up your gas tank every few weeks when you’re only driving to work and the store. But consider how much gas you’d use for a trip from, let’s say, San Diego to New York City. With gas prices on the rise, understanding what it will cost you to fuel up for an entire trip can help you better budget your expenses.

Using a gas trip cost calculator can help you figure out how much of your entire trip budget will be dedicated to fueling up.


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

How to Calculate Your Gas Cost Trip

To figure out how much gas will cost for a road trip, you can, of course, use a trip cost calculator. You’ll need to input basic details, like your type of car (different sizes and types of cars burn gas at different rates) and your route, and the calculator can estimate with real-time gas prices.

But a simple method is to look at your route and the total distance in miles, and divide this number by the number of miles per gallon your vehicle gets. (You can check your owner’s manual to find this out if you don’t already know). This will tell you the number of gallons of gas you’ll need for the entire trip.

Now you’ll need to know the price of gas so you can multiply it times the number of gallons you need. Since gas prices by state may vary wildly, you might take an average of prices found in five places along the way. Tools like Gas Buddy let you search for gas prices in a given city, so you can use this for research.

Gas Cost Trip Calculator Table
Let’s use the process I outlined above to illustrate how you can be your own gas calculator for trip costs.

Distance from San Diego to NYC 2,760 miles
Miles per gallon 22
2,760/22 125 gallons
Average gas price:

•   San Diego: $4.57

•   Albuquerque: $3.09

•   Saint Louis: $2.82

•   Indianapolis: $2.99

•   Philadelphia: $2.93

Average: $3.28
125 gallons x $3.28 $410 gas budget

As you can see, it would cost about $410 for gas for the entire trip. Of course, this is based on an average cost of gas, and prices will fluctuate over time and in different towns and cities.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Examples of Gas Cost Trips

Let’s look at a few other examples of trips and how much they would cost in gas.

Distance from Los Angeles to Seattle 1,335 miles
Miles per gallon 22
1,335/22 61 gallons
Average gas price:

•   Los Angeles: $4.44

•   Stockton: $4.45

•   Sacramento: $4.99

•   Medford: $4.05

•   Portland: $4.99

Average: $4.58
61 gallons x $4.58 $279 gas budget
Phoenix to Dallas 1,067 miles
Miles per gallon 22
1.067/22 48.5
Average gas price:

•   Phoenix: $3.13

•   Benson: $3.61

•   Deming: $3.45

•   Fort Stockton: $3.15

•   Abilene: $2.79

Average: $3.23
48.5 gallons x $3.23 $157

Reasons to Calculate Your Gas Cost

So why should you bother using a road trip cost calculator? Well, most people don’t have unlimited funds when it comes to taking a road trip, so for starters, it can help you see how much you’d spend. You might decide it’s not worth driving if the cost exceeds what you’d pay for a flight, bus, or train ride.

Even if you’re not planning a big trip, looking at how much it costs to drive on a tank of gas can be helpful for maintaining your month-to-month budget. Once you understand how much you’re spending on gas, you might explore how to improve gas mileage to get more bang for your buck or you might limit how often you drive to save money.

Tips on How to Save on Gas Money

Speaking of saving money, let’s look at how to save money on gas.

Plan Where You’ll Fuel Up

If you’re planning a road trip, use a tool that shows you exactly where the cheapest gas can be found. You might be able to save $.10 or more a gallon simply by planning ahead. There are even some trip fuel cost calculators that will help you plan where to stop based on gas prices.

Consider How You Pay

There are different types of credit cards that can help you save at the pump. Branded gas credit cards often offer rewards that will shave off a few cents per gallon or give you a bonus after you’ve charged a certain amount of purchases.

You might also consider a cash back credit card that gives you cash or credits for your purchases once you’ve hit a certain threshold.

Look into Alternative Transportation

You may be quick to rely on cars to get around, but there are often other overlooked methods of transportation to consider. Whether it’s a bus, train, Uber, or plane, you might be able to save money by leaving your car at home.

You can also cut your gas costs by splitting them with a friend.

Another way to stick to your travel budget? A money tracker app, which can help you keep tabs on where your money is going while you’re on the road.

Only Use Premium if Necessary

Most cars run just fine on regular unleaded gas, which can be significantly cheaper per gallon than premium versions, especially if you’re on a long trip. Check your car manufacturer’s recommendations to see if you can use regular unleaded gas.

Drive an Empty Car

The heavier your car is, the more gas it burns. So if you’ve been lugging around something heavy unnecessarily, consider leaving the load at home before you drive.

Who Should Save Money on Gas

The real question is, who shouldn’t save money on gas? We could all benefit by keeping a little extra cash in our pockets.

That said, if you’re planning a long road trip, you’ll probably want to explore ways to improve gas mileage and to save on gas. Also if you have a long commute to work, you might be spending more on gas than necessary.

The Takeaway

Paying attention to how much gas costs, particularly for a road trip or long commute, is just smart financial planning. Whether you use an online version or crunch the numbers on a piece of paper, a gas trip cost calculator can help you figure out how much you may want to budget for fill-ups.

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

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

FAQ

How do I calculate gas cost for a trip?

To calculate gas for a long road trip, divide the number of miles of the route by the miles per gallon your car gets. This is the number of gallons you’ll need to drive the distance. Then, average the cost of gas on your route and multiply this times the number of gallons to get the total cost of gas for your trip.

How much would 1 mile of gas cost?

Divide the cost per gallon by the number of miles per gallon your car will go. For example, if you pay $3.99 per gallon and your car gets 22 miles per gallon, driving one mile would cost about $.18.

How do you calculate fuel to destination?

To calculate how much fuel you’ll need to get to your destination, divide the number of miles of the remaining route by the miles per gallon your car gets. Then, average the cost of gas on your route and multiply this times the number of gallons to get the total cost of gas for your trip.


Photo credit: iStock/georgeclerk

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.

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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2024 Debt Snowball Payoff Calculator Table with Examples

When you carry large amounts of debt across different credit cards and loans, it’s easy to feel snowed under. Making the minimum payment on each leaves you paying a lot in interest and doesn’t make it easy to eliminate all that debt.

One debt repayment strategy you might want to consider is the debt snowball. Many find it to be an effective method of paying off outstanding debt, and it may help you get back to healthy financial practices faster.

Let’s look at what a debt snowball strategy looks like, including how to use a debt snowball calculator.

Debt Terms Defined

Before we go into creating a debt reduction plan, let’s make sure you’re up to speed on certain debt terms.

Interest Rate: The interest rate is the percent of the amount you borrow that you pay to the lender in addition to the principal.

Annual Percentage Rate: This is the interest rate charged per year for purchases you make with a credit card, and may include other fees.

Minimum Payment: Loans and credit cards have a minimum amount you must pay each month on the balance, though you certainly can pay more.

Bankruptcy: If you’re unable to pay off your debts, filing bankruptcy may be a last-ditch solution to consider. Essentially, it reduces or eliminates your debts. Know that it will negatively impact your credit for many years. That’s why it’s worth it to come up with a plan for the ultimate debt payoff strategy.


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

What Is the Debt Snowball?

Just like an actual snowball, the debt snowball method starts out small. You first tackle the smallest debt balances you have. Once those are paid off, you apply what you were paying on those to the next smallest debts. You continue to pay at least the minimum due on all your debts.

However, by focusing your attention on one debt at a time, you then free up more money to make larger payments on other debts until it’s all gone. Your snowball of debt repayment, so to speak, grows over time.

Benefits of the Snowball Method

The snowball method is one of the fastest ways to pay off debt. And over time, this method will help you have fewer payments as you pay off credit cards and loans and put more money to the remaining debt.

Drawbacks of the Snowball Method

The smallest debts you have may not be the ones with the highest interest. So while you’re paying off the little loans, the debts with higher interest continue to accumulate interest, which adds to your debt.

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Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche

If you have larger loans with higher interest, the debt snowball method may not be your best option. You might also explore another popular way to pay off debt: debt payoff strategy, the debt avalanche method.

With the debt avalanche method, you start paying down the loans and credit cards with the highest interest first. By doing so, you reduce the amount of debt you have at those higher interest rates, which slows down the amount of interest that accumulates over time.

Just like with the snowball, you pay off one debt and then put the money you were paying on that debt toward the loan or card with the next highest interest rate until it’s all paid off.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

How Is Debt Snowball Payoff Calculated?

To use the debt snowball payoff method, you’ll need to gather information about all the debt you have. Let’s use the following example:

•   Personal loan 1 balance: $3,000

◦   12% interest

◦   Minimum payment: $100 per month

•   Credit card A balance: $2,000

◦   17% interest

◦   Minimum payment: $25 per month

•   Credit card B balance: $1,000

◦   22% interest

◦   Minimum payment: $30 per month

•   Personal loan 2 balance: $750

◦   8% interest

◦   Minimum payment: $20 per month

Even without a snowball debt payoff calculator, you can reorder these debts so that you focus on the one with the lowest balance first:

•   Personal loan 2: $750

•   Credit card B: $1,000

•   Credit card A: $2,000

•   Personal loan 1: $3,000

Now that you’ve ordered your debts from least to greatest, you can see how, once you pay off the $750 loan, that money can go toward the credit card with the $1,000 balance. Once that’s paid off, you put all that money toward paying off the $2,000 credit card balance, and then finally, to pay off the $3,000 loan.

Debt Snowball Payoff Examples

Let’s look at what the monthly payments for these reordered debts would look like, if you were able to set aside $400 a month toward paying them off.

# Payments Personal Loan 2 ($750) Credit Card B ($1,000) Credit Card A ($2,000) Personal Loan 1 ($3,000)
1 $245 $30 $25 $100
2 $245 $30 $25 $100
3 $245 $30 $25 $100
4 $25.19 $249.81 $25 $100
5 $275 $25 $100
6 $275 $25 $100
7 $300 $100
8 $300 $100
9 $300 $100
10 $300 $100
11 $300 $100
12 $300 $100
13 $300 $100
14 $260.72 $139.28
15 $400
16 $400
17 $400
18 $400
19 $400
20 $400
Total principal & interest $7,568 Total interest $829

As the chart shows, what might have taken you years to pay off can be paid off in under two years with the debt snowball method.

One way to keep your finances on track while you’re paying off debt is to create a budget. A money tracker app can help you come up with a spending and saving plan that works for you.

Is a Debt Snowball for You?

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to debt payoff strategies. But to determine whether the debt snowball method is right for you, consider how many different debts you have as well as their interest rates. If your larger debts have higher interest rates, you might consider the avalanche method.

But if your interest rates vary, or the smaller debts have higher interest, you might benefit from paying off those lower amounts first before snowballing those payments into the larger debts.

The Takeaway

If you’re trying to pay off outstanding debt, you have options. The debt snowball method has been proven effective for many people. If nothing else, it’s a way for you to focus your attention on whittling down debt and minimizing how much you pay in interest.

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

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

FAQ

How long to pay off debt using snowball?

The amount of time it takes to pay off your debt with the snowball method will depend on how much debt you have and how much you can budget to pay it down. However, you may be able to pay off your debt faster with this method.

What is the best way to pay off debt using the snowball method?

The debt snowball method pays off your smallest balances first, then rolls those payments up toward the larger debts until they are all paid off.

What are the 3 biggest strategies for paying down debt?

To pay down or pay off debt, you can consider the debt snowball method (which pays off the smallest balances first), the debt avalanche method (which pays off the balances with the highest interest first), or debt consolidation (which provides a new loan with a single payment and single interest rate).


Photo credit: iStock/Abu Hanifah

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

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

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

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2024 Grocery Budget Calculator Table with Examples

Is your trip to the grocery more expensive these days? You’re not alone. Food prices have been steadily increasing since 2020 and jumped 3.7% between September 2022 and September 2023, according to the most recent consumer price index report.

One way to deal with rising food prices? Have a plan for how to manage the amount of money you spend on groceries.

Here, we’ll look at the average cost of groceries, provide a grocery budget calculator table to help you manage your food spending, and explore a few ways you can save.

What Is a Grocery Budget?

In order to manage what you spend on food, you have to know how much you can afford. That’s where having a grocery budget comes in handy.

A grocery budget is simply an allotted amount that you can use to buy food for your household. Ideally, you’d spend that amount or less, and anything left over can go toward other living expenses or savings.


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

Pros and Cons of Grocery Budgets

Grocery shopping on a budget generally means being more mindful about your food purchases, which has a number of benefits.

One of the biggest perks of sticking to a grocery budget is that it helps you avoid overspending. It also ensures you still have money for other expenses.

Plus, having an idea of how much you should spend on food can help cut down on the amount of food that goes to waste.

On the other hand, creating a grocery budget means reigning in impulse buys and being stricter about what ends up in your cart. You may have to spend more time looking for the best prices on food items, and you might even need to visit multiple grocery stores to save money.

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Average Cost of Groceries by State

Curious about how your grocery bills stack up against others in the U.S.? Here’s the average monthly cost of groceries in the most populous city in each state, ranked from lowest to highest.

State City Monthly Food Costs
Wyoming Cheyenne $335.97
Arkansas Little Rock $343.15
West Virginia Charleston $347.40
Iowa Des Moines $351.80
New Hampshire Manchester $357.33
Utah Salt Lake City $359.65
Virginia Virginia Beach $362.00
Arizona Phoenix $367.15
Mississippi Jackson $367.52
Idaho Boise $371.54
Kansas Wichita $372.42
Missouri Kansas City $377.06
Nevada Las Vegas $382.16
Indiana Indianapolis $382.62
New Jersey Newark $390.89
Michigan Detroit $392.16
Ohio Columbus $392.59
Oklahoma Oklahoma City $401.48
Kentucky Louisville $406.95
Montana Billings $411.70
Minnesota Minneapolis $416.66
Alabama Huntsville $420.97
Texas Houston $424.71
South Carolina Charleston $427.57
Maryland Baltimore $429.38
Vermont Burlington $434.48
Florida Jacksonville $434.98
Nebraska Omaha $438.79
New Mexico Albuquerque $440.66
Louisiana New Orleans $443.34
Pennsylvania Philadelphia $444.29
Colorado Denver $452.45
California Los Angeles $458.71
South Dakota Sioux Falls $462.65
Oregon Portland $467.77
Tennessee Nashville $469.01
Illinois Chicago $470.65
North Dakota Fargo $474.01
North Carolina Charlotte $475.19
Georgia Atlanta $477.96
Rhode Island Providence $479.81
Alaska Anchorage $480.11
Maine Portland $486.53
Washington, DC $486.63
Connecticut Bridgeport $497.70
Massachusetts Boston $506.63
Washington Seattle $512.11
Delaware Wilmington $527.51
New York New York City $555.11
Hawaii Honolulu $638.57

Source: Move.org

Average Cost of Groceries by Age

It’s not just geography that can impact how much you spend on groceries. Your age and budget can also play a role. Let’s look at how spending can differ by age and budget sizes. Note that these figures are suggestions and reflect a grocery bill for two.

Age Group Low Budget Moderate Budget Liberal Budget
19-50 $512.50 51-70 $633.20
51-70 $490.10 $612.20 $740.40
71+ $474.50 $599.80 $731.60

Source: One Main Financial

Average Cost of Groceries by Household Size

Not surprisingly, the size of your household can have a major impact on how much you spend at the grocery store. But it’s worth noting that the more family members you have, the less your budget increases. In other words, you don’t have to double a single person’s budget for two and triple it for three.

Instead, add about 20% to your budget for one extra person, 10% for two extra people, and 5% for three extra people. So if your allocate $400 a month for yourself, you’d increase that to:

•   $480 for two people

•   $576 for three people

•   $605 for four people

This will, of course, vary depending on who’s in your household. Teenagers, as we know, eat a lot!

How to Calculate for a Grocery Budget

Generally, people spend about 12% of their household income on groceries. To get an idea of what you’ve been spending, gather receipts from past grocery shopping trips.

Pay attention to what you’ve bought. How much of it was necessary and how much was an impulse buy? Keep in mind that when you make your new monthly or weekly budget, you’ll likely need to curb some unnecessary spending.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Grocery Budget Calculator Table

Let’s create a scenario to illustrate what a monthly grocery budget could look like. The example below is for a household of three.

Category Spending
Fruits and vegetables $50
Milk, yogurt, ice cream $30
Meat $90
Household items (toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo) $30
Snacks $40
Dry goods $40
Frozen foods $40
Breakfast foods $30
School lunches $50
Alcohol $70
Bread $20
Discretionary spending (impulse buys) $50
Total $800

This budget may be on the high end for a three-person household, depending on its monthly income. If $800 per month is too high for you, you might explore ways to cut down on spending in some of these categories.

Ways to Saving Money on Groceries

One effective way to save money on groceries is to track your spending. Categorize your spending so you can track your budgets and make sure you’re within the margin. A money tracker app or grocery budget calculator app can make the job easier.

It also helps to familiarize yourself with the grocery stores in your area so you know who has the best deal on which items. Check the weekly store flyers, and stock up on good deals. Many things, including meat, can be frozen, so consider buying in bulk.

Having a membership to a store like Costco or Sam’s can also be a smart economical move, especially if you’ve got a large family. Also consider cutting coupons the old-school way or downloading a coupon app.

Always make a game plan before you leave for the store. Look at your list and see which store is offering the best prices on the things you need. Check your coupons and plan to buy items that you can save on.

Finally, here’s a tried-and-true tip that’s very useful: Never go to the store hungry. If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, you’re more likely to buy what you want to eat, rather than what you need.

The Takeaway

If you’re looking to save money on food, consider making a grocery budget. The spending plan can ensure that you only buy what you can afford, and may leave you with extra money to put toward other expenses or financial goals.

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

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

FAQ

How do you calculate your grocery budget?

Begin by looking at how much on average you’ve been spending at the grocery store. If your current budget can’t accommodate that amount, look for items you can cut out.

What is a realistic budget for groceries?

Many American households spend about 12% of their monthly income on groceries. How much you spend will depend on the size of your household and how strict you want your budget to be.

How much should I budget for groceries for a week?

Once you work out a monthly budget for your groceries based on about 12% of your household income, you can break that amount down by the number of weeks in a month.


Photo credit: iStock/Candle Photo

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

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

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.

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

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.

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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