Should I Sell My House to Pay Off Student Loans?

Selling a house to pay off student loans may not make the most sense for most borrowers. If you’re thinking about selling your home to pay off your mortgage debt and then buying another home after you pay off your student loans, it’s important to remember that no matter what, you’ll still have to pay back debt. Due to certain characteristics of both student loans and mortgages, it might not be advantageous to you as a borrower.

Read on to learn about mortgage debt vs. student loan debt, the challenges of selling your house to pay off student loans, and alternative options to selling your house to pay off student loans.

Paying Off Student Loans

It’s understandable that some borrowers may want to leverage the sale of a house to sweep away student loan debt. After all, student loan borrowers in the United States collectively owe about $1.6 trillion, up from $250 billion in 2004, according to Brookings and the U.S. Department of Education. Student loans take up the second largest portion of household debt after mortgages.

However, there are specific repayment plans that could help you put a plan in place to tackle the process of paying off your student loans. Here are several repayment plans available to federal student loan borrowers:

•   Standard Repayment Plan: The most common repayment option for federal student loans is the Standard Repayment Plan, which means you pay a fixed amount each month. You must make payments of at least $50 per month over a 10-year period in order to repay the loan in full.

•   Extended Repayment Plan: The federal fixed or graduated Extended Repayment Plan allows you to take up to 25 years to pay off your student loans in full. You must owe more than $30,000 to qualify under the Direct Loan or a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.

•   Graduated Repayment Plan: You can start out with a lower monthly payment and increase your payment amount every two years with the federal Graduated Repayment Plan. You’ll still pay your loans off in 10 years but the graduated repayment plan theoretically allows for your student loan payments to grow along with your salary.

•   Income-Driven Repayment Plan: The Income-Driven Repayment Plans set your monthly payments based on your income and family size. It can take up to 25 years to pay off your loan using four different options: the Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE Plan), Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE Plan), Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR Plan), and Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR Plan). You may even be able to cancel your remaining balance after you meet certain requirements.

These plans give you opportunities to pay off your student loan debt with a goal in mind as an alternative to selling your home.

The repayment plans available for private student loans will vary based on the lender’s policy.

Mortgage vs. Student Loan Debt

Whether you choose mortgage and student loan debt, the fact of the matter is that you’ll still have debt.

One of the first things you may look into when you’re trying to decide whether to sell your house and pay off your student loan debt may be your interest rate. The interest rate is the amount you pay per month as a portion of the loan you receive from your lender. The higher your interest rate, the more you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

Mortgage lenders set interest rates based on the action on secondary markets, where bundles of loans are bought and sold as well as the amount of risk you present to a lender. Rates fluctuate depending on the 10-year Treasury yield. Mortgage lenders will also evaluate factors like your personal credit score, the type of mortgage, and loan terms, your down payment, and more when determining your mortgage interest rate.

The U.S. Department of Education also sets interest rates for federal student loans based on the 10-year Treasury note. Private student loan lenders use market factors and information they gather about you, the borrower, and your cosigner (if applicable). Private lenders also use a benchmark index rate to determine interest rates called the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR).

Student loan interest rates may be higher or lower than mortgage rates, depending on the type of mortgage loan you choose. If your student loan interest rate is higher than your mortgage, you may want to consider keeping your mortgage and refinancing your student loans to a lower interest rate.

However, the interest rate isn’t the only thing you’ll want to consider before you make your decisions about how to pay off student loans. In the next section, we’ll discuss several other important considerations before you make the big decision about whether to sell your house to pay off debt.

Challenges of Selling Your House to Pay Off Student Loans

Why may you want to avoid selling your house to pay off student loans? Let’s walk through a few reasons why you might want to consider other options.

Your Home Serves as Collateral

A mortgage is a home loan secured by the property you finance. In other words, when you get a mortgage, you put your home up as collateral. This means that when you borrow money, you agree to put an asset up to back the loan or as backing for that loan. If you fail to make your payments, your lender could take away your home through foreclosure.

Student loans are not backed by any collateral. You can’t lose your home if you’re having trouble making your student loan payments — there are benefits to having student loans!

You Lose Out on Certain Tax Benefits

If you’re not paying interest on student loans, you can’t claim the student loan interest deduction, which allows you to deduct up to $2,500 of the interest paid for student loans on Form 1040. You may deduct $2,500 or the amount of interest you actually paid during the year, whichever is less.

It’s true that you can also take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction, which is a tax deduction on the mortgage interest paid on your mortgage debt. You can deduct interest on the first $750,000 of your mortgage as long as you itemize your tax return.

However, if you’re asking, “Should I sell my house to pay off student loans?” — it may be a better idea to keep your student loan and your mortgage and get the tax benefits of both the student loan and mortgage interest deductions.

Alternatives to Selling Your House to Pay Off Student Loans

What alternatives are available if you’re thinking, “I don’t know if I want to sell my house to pay off student debt?” Let’s go over a few options.

Consolidating Student Loans

If you have multiple federal student loans from different loan servicers, you may be able to combine them into one loan with a fixed interest rate by choosing student loan consolidation. You can also change your loan term when you consolidate and also adjust the repayment terms on your loans without paying extra fees. Though it’s worth noting that it’s possible to change your repayment plan for federal student loans at any time.

You must complete the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application to consolidate your loans but you can only use this option for federal student loans, not private student loans. You may consider refinancing your private student loans if you are interested in changing the rates or terms on them — continue reading for additional details on student loan refinancing.

Student Loan Forgiveness

It’s important to note that most student loan forgiveness programs don’t offer complete loan cancellation right away. As mentioned earlier in the article, with an income-driven repayment plan it could take 25 years to qualify for complete forgiveness.

One of the most common types of forgiveness, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), means you no longer have to pay your remaining federal student loan debt after you make a specified number of monthly payments. You must satisfy all of the requirements before you get your loans forgiven or canceled. Note that the program only applies to federal direct student loans, including:

•   Direct Subsidized Loans

•   Direct Unsubsidized Loans

•   Parent PLUS Loans

•   Graduate PLUS Loans

•   Direct Consolidation Loans

Pursuing loan forgiveness through a program like PSLF requires a series of on-time, qualifying payments. The program requirements can be strict so be sure to read the details closely to be sure you are fulfilling them. If you have any questions about whether you qualify for loan forgiveness, contact your loan servicer.

Refinancing Student Loans

Refinancing your student loans essentially means you trade in your current loans to a private lender and exchange them for a new loan with a better interest rate and payment plan. The goal with refinancing is to save more money over time with a lower interest rate over a fewer number of years.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, you’ll have to consider a wide variety of factors before you decide whether it makes sense to sell your house to pay off student loans, including:

•   Interest rates

•   Loan term

•   Repayment options

•   Student loan consolidation options

•   Forgiveness options

•   Refinancing opportunities

•   Tax deductions

In some situations, it doesn’t make sense to sell your house to pay off your student loans. Selling your home may mean eliminating a mortgage, but it also requires you to find a new place to live. Before you decide to sell your house to pay off student loans or buy a house again after doing so, it’s also important to remember that your home is a great investment — a nest egg that you can build on throughout your loan term.

Check out SoFi’s student loan calculator to see how you can refinance student loans and potentially secure a lower interest rate. You’ll quickly learn your estimated savings over the life of your loan. SoFi might have the answer to handling your student loans — no need to sell your home.

FAQ

Should I move to pay off student debt?

Moving to pay off your student loans is a personal choice. However, if you can find a lower-cost home, it may be beneficial for you to be able to make lower mortgage payments because you may be able to devote more money per month toward your student loan payments. Weigh the pros and cons and also find out if you’ll owe money for paying off student loans early. Most lenders don’t charge a prepayment penalty, but it’s possible that your lender could charge one.

Is it wise to sell a house to pay off debt?

Selling your home to pay off debt can be one option for eliminating some of your debt, especially if you feel that you’re paying too much for your mortgage. Downsizing can be an effective way to expedite the repayment of other debts because you can use the excess money to make extra payments. The general rule of thumb is to spend 28% or less of your monthly gross income on your mortgage payment, which includes your principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Before you sell your home to pay off debt, consider all the angles before you take the leap.

Is it better to pay off a house before selling?

You may think it’s a good idea to pay off a house before you sell it to make a clean, fresh start before buying a new home. However, you might end up owing more at closing because you might be subject to a prepayment penalty through your lender. Check your loan terms before you decide.


Photo credit: iStock/Quils

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.

CLICK HERE for more information.


Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.


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

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.
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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How Much Does It Cost to Remodel or Renovate a House?

The cost to renovate a house can vary drastically based on a myriad of factors, with the average price ranging anywhere from just shy of $20,000 to nearly $80,000. Of course, that’s a whole house renovation — the cost of a house remodel, say in just the kitchen or an outdated bathroom, can run much lower.

Before you start in on a project, it’s critical to assess how much it will cost to remodel or renovate so you can make decisions that are financially realistic. While it might seem like a pain upfront, creating a budget beforehand can help you avoid headaches and hard choices down the line.

What Is The Average Cost to Remodel a House?

The national average cost to remodel a whole home generally falls in the mid-$40,000s. That being said, the cost to remodel a house can vary quite a bit depending on the scope of the project, the size of the house, the quality of the materials used, and the location of the home. On the low end, someone could spend just a few thousand dollars, while on the other side of the spectrum, a home remodels cost could reach $200,000.

Cost to Renovate a House Per Square Foot

Because the size of the house can play a big role in the ultimate cost to remodel a house, it can be helpful to know the cost of house renovation by square foot. On average, the cost to renovate or remodel a whole house runs between $10 and $60 per square foot.

For certain rooms, however, the price per square foot is typically higher. For instance, the cost for a kitchen or bathroom renovation may be more like $100 to $250 per square foot. This is because of the materials needed and also the labor involved due to plumbing and electrical work required.

Factors of a Home Remodel Cost

As mentioned, there are several factors to take into account when budgeting for a home remodel. Some of the major factors to consider that will influence the ultimate cost of a house renovation include whether the remodels are high-end, mid-range, or low-end, the type of home, and the number and size of rooms to be renovated.

Recommended: Home Affordability Calculator

High-End Versus Low-End Renovation

The variation in price for a home renovation project stems mostly from the scale of the projects. According to HomeGuide, a homeowner generally can expect to complete the following home remodels within each budget range:

•   Low-end home remodel: A low-end renovation would include small changes such as new paint, updated hardware, and fresh landscaping. It might also include inexpensive finishes like new counters and flooring.

◦   Budget: $15,000-$40,000

•   Mid-range home remodel: In addition to the low-budget projects, a mid-range home renovation includes full-room remodels like a bathroom and kitchen, as well as a higher quality flooring than the low-end renovation.

◦   Budget: $40,000-$75,000

•   High-end home remodel: A high-end home remodel would include the low- and middle-end projects, as well as high-quality finishes including custom cabinetry and new appliances. It might also include improvements to the foundation, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.

◦   Budget: $75,000-$200,000

As a homeowner, you can expect to customize your home remodel budget once you identify what rooms you want to upgrade and to what extent. Only one in five homeowners finish home remodels under budget, so it’s smart to pad estimates by 10% to 15% in the event of unexpected renovation costs.

Type and Age of Home

Older homes will typically need more attention during the home renovation process, especially as new issues arise when existing problems are addressed. Once walls and floors are opened up, for example, a homeowner might realize the wiring and plumbing are outdated and should be brought up to code.

While a house won’t necessarily be unsellable if everything isn’t up to code, there could be issues with sellers financing. That’s because lenders generally will not close on a house where health and safety issues are identified as problems.

If your home is deemed old enough to be considered “historic”— which is generally 50 years or older, according to the National Park Service — you’ll want to check on any existing guidelines that your city’s codes office may have, or if there’s a historic overlay that enforces the need for an architectural review. Designated historic properties in states like California, where owners of qualified historic buildings can receive property tax relief for maintaining their homes, could boost a home’s value.

Depending on the condition of the house and any past upgrades, its age can have an impact on the cost of a home remodel, but so, too, can the type of home, regardless of age. According to Angi, Victorian homes generally cost the most to renovate — anywhere from $20 to $200 per square foot — while farmhouses and townhouses tend to have the lowest cost per square foot, between $10 and $50.

Recommended: Homebuyer’s Guide

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Typical Renovation Costs by Room

When it comes to home-renovation expenses, generally not every room is created equal. Rooms with cabinets and appliances — think bathrooms and kitchens — tend to be the priciest and are often where a home remodel budget can go awry.

Kitchen Remodel

The typical range for the cost of remodeling a kitchen comes in between $13,379 and $38,6419, with $25,898 — or around $150 per square foot — being the average. But kitchens also can have the most variation when it comes to cost, depending on cabinetry, finishes, appliances, and other add-ons.

Here’s what a homeowner might expect to pay for a home remodel of a kitchen:

•   Low-end kitchen remodel: This would include new lighting, faucets, a coat of paint, refreshed trim, and a new but budget-friendly sink backsplash. A low-end kitchen remodel also might include knocking down walls or a counter extension project.

◦   Budget: $5,000-$30,000

•   Mid-range kitchen remodel: A remodel of this level could encompass new appliances, floors, and tiled backsplash to the sink and countertop. It also might include new cabinets and mid-range slabs for the countertop.

◦   Budget: $30,000-$60,000

•   High-end kitchen remodel: With this range of remodel, there could be custom cabinets, high-end countertops like rare stone or granite, and deluxe appliances added. When the budget for a kitchen is expanded, the projects start to take on custom finishes. Other projects might include new lighting, hardwood flooring, and new faucet fixtures.

◦   Budget: $65,000 and up

Because a kitchen can be extremely customizable and include so many levels of finishes, your home remodel budget could fluctuate greatly due to the cost and availability of materials, the labor involved, and where you live.

Bathroom Remodel

Bathrooms take on a similar budgeting structure to kitchen remodels. The typical range for the cost of a bathroom remodel is between $6,1618 and $16,657, with $11,229 being average. However, that budget includes a range of projects, customizations, and features.

For example, new cabinets in a bathroom can account for up to 30% of the budget. Other big-ticket items affect pricing based on whether you choose low-end or high-end finishes.
On the low-end, a new bathtub might cost around $400, but if you are looking for a high-end tub, you could pay upward of $8,000. Similarly, a sink can run anywhere from $190 to $6,500, while a toilet might cost between $130 and $800.

Bedroom Remodel

Budgeting for a bedroom remodel can be a little more cut-and-dried, since it generally doesn’t include as many costly fixtures as you might find in the bathroom or kitchen. You can expect to remodel your bedroom for around $8,215 on average.

This typically includes installing new carpet, windows, and doors, as well as refreshing the molding or trim. A bedroom remodel might also include new heating and insulation and updated wiring and lighting.

Remodeling a master suite could cost a bit more since it typically includes a bathroom and bedroom renovation in one. If you want to add or expand a closet in the master suite, you can estimate adding around $2,940 to the room’s budget, on top of the bathroom and bedroom.

Living Room Remodel

Similar to a bedroom remodel, a living room remodel can be more economical, costing between $4,000 and $10,000, on average. Like the bedroom, living rooms tend to lack the “wet” features (plumbing and appliances) that can drive up the cost of bathroom and kitchen renovations.

If you plan to add a fireplace feature to a living room, expect to spend a bit more. A fireplace could add up to $5,000 per room.

Exterior Remodel

Updating roofing and refreshing the exterior of a home is a common part of a home remodel. The national average cost to replace a roof is currently $7,211, but that price will vary depending on materials and the house’s square footage.

Adding new siding to a home typically costs anywhere from $4,300 to $15,000, with the cost again fluctuating based on the material used. Painting the exterior of a home will cost between $1,800 and $4,400.

Other Home Remodel Considerations

A home remodel isn’t just financial spreadsheets. There are other things you may want to consider — like if you are planning to sell the house or make it your forever home — before taking a sledgehammer to a room.

Home Remodel Timeline

A renovation project could take anywhere from a few days to a few months, so you may want to plan your home remodel timeline accordingly. It might be tempting to duck out of town when big projects are underway, but staying around means that you can monitor projects and provide answers to your contractors if any unexpected issues arise.

Additionally, home renovations can be stressful and might be best scheduled around other big life events. For example, you might think twice about a full home remodel that coincides with a wedding, the holidays, or a baby on the way. Unexpected events could arise, but there often is no need to pile on projects with other major life events going on.

Who Is the Home Remodel for?

Before diving deep into plans, you may want to consider who your home remodel ultimately is for. Is it for you to enjoy decades from now, or is it to make the house more marketable for a future sale? The renovation could take a different shape depending on your answer to this critical question.

If the remodel is just for you as the homeowner, you might choose fixtures based on personal taste or decide to splurge on high-end bathroom features that you’ll enjoy for years to come. On the other hand, if you plan to sell within a few years, you may consider tackling projects that have the greatest return on investment (ROI), which could mean prioritizing projects like a kitchen update or bathroom remodel.

Not sure about a project’s resale value? SoFi’s home project value estimator can be a useful tool to help determine the approximate resale value of a home improvement project.

Home Remodel Delays and Unforeseen Expenses

When deciding to take on a major home remodel, it’s helpful to expect the unexpected. Unforeseen delays like a shortage of materials during a global pandemic could extend your home remodel timeline, or emergency expenses could drive a project over budget. As a general rule of thumb, estimate at least 10% in added budget for emergencies or unexpected costs.

Financing a Home Remodel

Coming up with the money to finance a home remodel can be daunting enough to make some homeowners abandon the whole process entirely. However, there are multiple financing avenues you can explore.

Out-of-Pocket Home Remodel Expenses

Homeowners who take on small renovations and have liquid savings might decide to pay for everything out of pocket. The upside of this approach is not having to deal with debt or interest rates.

However, paying cash for a large project can be challenging for some homeowners. It might even lead to cutting corners on important elements in an effort to keep costs down. Plus, unexpected emergency costs could drive you into unexpected debt.

Borrowing Money from Friends or Family

Another alternative to financing your home remodel is borrowing money from family members or friends. While this may save you from having to deal with loan applications and approvals — and potentially provide more flexible terms — it can come with its own share of issues, such as risking the personal relationship if you’re unable to pay back the lender.

Additionally, loans from family members may be considered gifts by the IRS — and, thus, may be taxable. Consider discussing this method of financing a home remodel with a tax professional before proceeding if you have any concerns or uncertainties.

HELOC

A HELOC, or home equity line of credit, allows homeowners to pull a certain amount of equity from their home to finance things like renovations. Qualifying for a HELOC depends on several factors, including the outstanding mortgage amount on the home, the home’s market value, and the homeowner’s financial profile.

HELOCs typically come with an initially low interest rate, and a homeowner generally has the option to only pay interest on the amount they’ve actually withdrawn. However, HELOCs also could have high upfront costs. They can come with a variable interest rate with annual and lifetime rate caps. Plus, your home is acting as collateral, meaning that if you fail to make payments, your home could be on the line.

Personal Loan

If you don’t have the cash on hand or enough equity in your home for a HELOC, then a personal loan is another consideration. The most common type of personal loan is an unsecured loan, meaning the loan isn’t attached to your home equity.

Personal loans might be a good option for people who recently bought their homes, need capital quickly for unexpected reasons, or need a loan for their home improvement project — there are a number of potential uses for personal loans.

Figuring out your remodel costs ahead of time is important if you want to take out a personal loan though. One of the steps to get a personal loan approved is determining how much you’ll need to borrow.

Recommended: Personal Loan Calculator

The Takeaway

The cost to remodel a house will depend on the number of rooms you decide to renovate, the degree to which each room is remodeled, the materials you use, and the area in which you live. Opting to DIY some projects could help bring down the budget, but it can be smart to bring in a professional for more specialized projects like electrical work and plumbing.

Before you get started, consider mapping out a plan that prioritizes which projects you tackle first and how you intend to finance your home remodel. One option you might consider is a home improvement loan from SoFi, which is a type of personal loan. You could get your loan funded as soon as the same day, with competitive rates and no fees. Qualified borrowers may be eligible to borrow $5,000 to $100,000 for a home improvement project or other personal needs.

Learn more and apply today for a SoFi home improvement loan!

FAQ

What’s the difference between a house rehab, remodel, and renovation?

A house rehab, or rehabilitation, involves keeping and repairing old or historical elements of a home to make it in better condition, which could include introducing new materials. With a remodel, you’re changing the structure of a room, whereas a renovation is reviving the existing room to make it more attractive or personalized.

How do I estimate renovation costs?

The best way to estimate your renovation costs is to talk to a local contractor. You might contact a few to get some different estimates to work with. From there, you might consider adding at least 10% to that figure to account for unforeseen expenses or other surprises.

How much should I spend on a home renovation?

It’s really up to you how much to spend on a home renovation. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind the value of surrounding homes as you add value to your own. You might contextualize remodeling costs in the context of the overall value of your home.

How much remodeling can be done with $100,000?

It’s possible to renovate an entire house with a budget of $100,000, considering the national average cost to remodel a whole home generally falls in the mid-$40,000s. However, the amount of remodeling you can do also depends on factors such as the quality of materials used, the square footage of the house, and the home’s location. The cost of remodeling can vary widely based on these factors and others.

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

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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21 Fun Facts About Money

21 Fun Facts About Money

We may not stop to think about money because it’s a part of our everyday life, but there are lots of fascinating facts about currency. Learning some interesting tidbits may change how you think about money and even come in handy the next time trivia night rolls around.

Read on for 21 fun facts about money that may just blow your mind.

Surprising Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Money

Maybe you already know only two non-Presidents grace the front of U.S. bills (Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill and Benjamin Franklin, the $100 bill). But did you know our paper currency isn’t really made out of paper? And that no living person can appear on a U.S. coin or dollar bill? It’s true! Here, learn more intriguing money facts you can spout to wow your friends.

1. Each Dollar Amount Has Its Own Lifespan

Money doesn’t last forever, but some dollar bills have a longer life cycle than others.

According to the U.S. Currency Education Program, a $10 bill has the shortest lifespan while a $100 bill has the longest. Here’s the estimated lifespan of the different denominations:

•   $1: 5.8 years

•   $5: 5.5 years

•   $10: 4.5 years

•   $20: 7.9 years

•   $50: 8.5 years

•   $100: 15 years

2. A Banknote Can Be Folded 4,000 Times

Our currency is pretty durable. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the sole producer of U.S. paper currency, says it would take 4,000 double folds, forward and backwards, for a dollar bill to tear. It might be because paper money isn’t actually made of paper. It’s actually a blend of 75% cotton and 25% linen with tiny blue and red synthetic fibers of various lengths evenly distributed throughout the bill.

3. There’s a Reason US Dollars Are Green

Dollar bills weren’t always green. Colonial money for example, was tan with black or red ink. It wasn’t until the Civil War the government started using green ink to print paper money where it got the name greenbacks. The color was selected because the ink didn’t fade or easily decompose, which protected against counterfeiting.

4. A Coin Can Last Around 30 Years

Coins stay in circulation for about 30 years, which is when they become too worn to use. At that time, the Federal Reserve takes them out of circulation and melts them down to use for other purposes.

Recommended: How Do Federal Reserve Banks Get Funded?

5. The Highest Bill Denomination Issued by the US Was $100,000

Printed in 1934 and featuring President Woodrow Wilson, this $100,000 bill was a gold certificate currency that was never intended for public use. Instead, it was meant only for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks. The last time this banknote was printed was in 1945, and it can’t be legally held by collectors.

Quick Money Tip:Signing up for your paycheck to be directly deposited in an online bank account is a great way to help you pay your bills on time. After all, if your check is being deposited like clockwork, you can schedule bill payments ahead of time.

6. A Penny Costs More to Make than It’s Worth

A recent report from the U.S. Mint says it costs 2.1 cents to make a penny. Why the increase? Part of the rise could be the higher prices of copper and zinc, both of which are used to make pennies.

7. Money Is Dirtier Than You Think

Both paper currency and coins can carry viruses and bacteria that can live on the surfaces and easily transfer to your skin or onto other objects after touching it. Research has found physical currency changes hands at least 55 times a year or almost once a week. One recent study found banknotes made with cotton or linen fibers, such as U.S. dollar bills, present increased areas for germs and the capacity to retain moisture, which can make it an easier place for bacteria to thrive.

8. The Dollar Sign Was First Used in 1785

Here’s another fun money fact: The official adoption of the dollar sign in the U.S. can be traced back to 1785, when it evolved from the Spanish symbol for pesos. It’s believed the $ originated from the abbreviation PS, which was used to indicate Spanish pesos in the Americas. Gradually the “S” came to be written over the “P,” eventually morphing into the dollar sign we know today.

9. Martha Washington Is the Only Woman to Appear on a US Bill

America’s first First Lady, Martha Washington, is to this day, the only woman to have her likeness on a U.S. paper currency note. Her image appeared on the $1 Silver Certificate, first issued in 1886 and discontinued in 1957. It was the country’s second-longest issued paper money.

10. America Isn’t the Only Country that Uses the US Dollar

Besides the United States and its five inhabited territories, 11 countries in the world also use the U.S. dollar, the world’s reserve currency, as their official currency: The British Virgin Islands, Timor-Leste (or East Timor), Bonaire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Panama, Turks and Caicos, and Zimbabwe.

Recommended: Examining the Value of the U.S. Dollar

11. You Can Make Your Money Crisp by Ironing It

Ready for a surprising money fact that involves a little bit of fabric know-how? If you’ve got a creased, crumpled, or wrinkled dollar bill, you can make it look new by pressing it with your iron. As mentioned earlier, U.S. dollars are 75% cotton and 25% linen, so it’s actually fabric. To iron the money, dampen the dollar bill slightly with a spritz bottle, sprinkle water by hand, or use the spray function on the iron itself. Set the iron to a low heat, put a towel under the bill and another on top of it, then iron the money in a circular motion. Set aside to air dry. Presto! You should have a nice flattened bill.

12. The Oldest Currency Still in Use Is the British Pound

The British pound dates back to 775 AD and was called the pound sterling, when Anglo-Saxon kings used silver pennies, or sterlings as money. Today, this foreign currency is the fourth most traded in the foreign exchange market, after the U.S. dollar, the euro and the Japanese yen.

Recommended: Here’s What You Can Do with Leftover Foreign Currency

13. There Are 1.4 Billion $2 Bills Still in Circulation

The first $2 bills were printed in 1862. Although they originally featured Alexander Hamilton, they were later redesigned to feature Thomas Jefferson. The bills are still in circulation – 1.4 billion of them in fact – and are considered to be the rarest currency denomination in the U.S. Some people believed $2 bills were bad luck and would rip off the corners of the bill to “reverse the curse,” making them unusable.

14. The First Universal Credit Card Was Introduced in 1950

Credit cards originated in the U.S. back in the 1920s, but were issued by individual firms, such as oil companies and hotel chains, to their customers, specifically for purchases made at company outlets. It wasn’t until 1950 when Diners Club founders Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara issued a card that could be used at a variety of establishments. The Diners Club card sparked the modern credit card era. Others soon followed, such as American Express, which debuted their card of this type in 1958.

Recommended: 10 Credit Card Rules You Should Know

15. There’s an ATM on Every Continent on Earth

One interesting money fact involves how we access it. There are more than 3 million cash machines around the world today. You can get or deposit cash at ATMs in the most remote of places including Easter Island, central Australia, and two at McMurdo Station in Antarctica!

16. The Secret Service Originally Fought Counterfeiting

Today we typically think of the U.S. Secret Service as protection for certain political leaders, including the President and Vice-President and their immediate families. But the agency was founded for a very different reason. By the end of the Civil War, fake money was a significant problem, with nearly one-third of all U.S. paper currency in circulation being counterfeit. As a result, the financial stability of the country was in jeopardy, so in 1865, the Treasury Department established the Secret Service to suppress the counterfeiting. They didn’t start protecting the President until 1901, after the assassination of President William McKinley.

17. Most Americans Hoard Their Spare Change

One recent survey by MyBankTracker.com found 55.5% of people do nothing with the loose change they’ve accumulated. Interestingly, 60.3% of the male respondents said they’re more likely to leave their extra coins untouched compared to 51% of the female respondents.

Another survey from Coinstar says people estimate they’ve got an average of $113 worth of coins in and around their homes.

Recommended: Spare Change Savings

18. Only 8% of the World’s Currency Is Physical Money

Interesting money fact: With mobile banking and electronic payments becoming more and more common, people are earning and spending money without having to even touch it. Economists estimate only 8% of the world’s currency is literal cash with the rest existing on computer hard drives in electronic bank accounts.

19. Coins Didn’t Always Say “In God We Trust”

The original American penny, reportedly designed by Benjamin Franklin, features a motto he popularized, “Mind Your Business.” The message wasn’t literally telling people not to be nosy. Instead, it was meant as a literal instruction about business and commerce, to keep focused on your livelihood.

20. US Airports Make Big Money from Loose Change

According to the Department of Homeland Security, airline passengers leave behind thousands of dollars in coins each year at U.S. airport screening checkpoints. In the most recent year studied, the Transportation Security Administration collected $517,978.74 in unclaimed money (mostly coins) from passengers who emptied their pockets while going through the security line. These funds get deposited into a special fund so that collection and spending can be easily tracked. After a period of time, this money is used for civilian airport security expenses.

21. This Century Is Transforming Money

The 2000’s ushered in a new way for us to pay for things: mobile payment technology like Venmo, PayPal and Google Pay. Approximately 25% of people worldwide use mobile and digital wallets, ahead of credit cards (22.4%), debit cards (22.3%), and cash (20.5%), says Moneytransfers.com. Globally, the mobile-payment market was worth $1.97 trillion in 2021, up 27.9% from the year prior.

Recommended: Mobile Wallets: How They Work & Their Benefits

The Takeaway

Learning fun facts about money reminds us there’s more to it than its face value. Finding out some fascinating money trivia might even change the way you think about it. These facts can enrich your understanding of the history of our currency system, how it’s evolving, and its place in the global market.

Better banking is here with up to 3.25% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


Photo credit: iStock/bob_bosewell

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.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 3.25% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 2.50% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 11/3/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
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15 Signs of a Cheap Person

15 Signs of a Cheap Person

Are you a certified cheapskate, a modern-day Scrooge? Or are you frugal in a smart, reasonable way that doesn’t reflect badly on you or cause those around you some pain? These two classifications differ greatly. With careful introspection, you can learn which side you’re on and go from there.

But this is not just a quiz or a game to find your fun profile. Penny-pinching, or being a cheap person, can be painful for friends and family and also for you. It can stir up feelings of deprivation and insecurity; possibly even dishonesty. Whether you take a pocketful of “free” peppermints from a cafe or stiff your waitress, the consequences can add up, impacting your well-being across the board, from finances to relationships. On the flip side, being frugal means having a levelheaded (and even generous) attitude about money. Frugal people are usually respected and appreciated.

Need more cheapskate identifiers? Read on to learn 15 signs you are cheap, including:

•   Hoarding possessions because you think they might be worth money

•   Stealing things, from Post-its at work to a bagful of granola bars at a social function

•   Skimping on restaurant tips

What Is a Cheapskate?

A cheapskate is a person who is extremely stingy with their money and time. Take a closer look if you want to answer the question “Am I too cheap?”

•   Are you so tight-fisted that instead of paying postage, you mail things from the office, so your employer foots the bill?

•   Do you (over)help yourself to “free” food but refuse to buy a snack or drink at a movie theater?

•   Are you stingy with your time, never volunteering for a good cause or putting in extra hours when your work team is in a crunch?

•   If the kids’ menu is for ages 12 and under, do you lie about how old your children are so they can partake for less?

If, in these and other ways, you think your personal profit is more important than everyone else’s losses, then yes, it’s safe to say you are a cheapskate.

How Does a Cheapskate Differ from a Frugal Person?

Cheapskates want, at all costs, to keep cash in their own wallets and bank accounts. Frugal people, on the other hand, think calmly and clearly about how to spend mindfully.

A cheapskate might go out to dinner with friends and “forget” to bring his money to chip in. A frugal person might suggest the group goes to a mid-priced restaurant (not one with $15 cocktails), and make other careful choices. Then, at the end of the month, they may have enough money for something meaningful, such as a soup kitchen donation or a lavish Mother’s Day experience for Mom and Grandma.

A frugal person tries not to waste money on frivolous purchases but also has a sense of generosity. Guess who’s more fun to be around?

15 Signs You Are Being a Cheap Person

A few examples of being a cheapskate were mentioned above. Here, we’ll dig into signs of a cheap person in more detail. Watch for these red flags in the game of life. No one wants to be bad with money, but taking scrimping and saving too far can also be an issue.

1. Letting DIY Turn into BIY (Break It Yourself)

Unless you’re an expert, taking the DIY route on repairs can be a sign you are cheap. These fixes are often bad and flimsy, leaving you with leakier pipes or unsafe wiring. Reputable professionals may charge a lot but will stand by their work.

For example, if you go the cheap way and try to fix a car problem by watching a YouTube video before taking a road trip, you could find yourself paying dearly for it. If the vehicle winds up breaking down, it will throw a wrench in your plans and cost you time and money as you get towed, pay for repairs, and have to Uber around while waiting for your car to be road-ready again.

2. Sneaking Refreshments Into Movies

Some people do bring their own snacks due to health reasons. But if you have to sneak something in under cover, it’s probably dishonest. Do you feel guilty spending $7 on a small pack of candy? Yes, it’s cheaper elsewhere, but going to the movies is a little splurge, and the treats are part of the fun. It’s also partly how the theaters stay in business.

While many movie theaters allow patrons to enter with their own beverages, that doesn’t mean you should bring all your bffs and not spend a penny on refreshments.

Recommended: Why Do People Feel Guilty After Spending Money?

3. Hoarding at Home

Many people hoard because they don’t want to part with things that might be valuable. But how many samples of shampoos and makeup, t-shirts, skeins of yarn (in case you take up knitting), Christmas ornaments, and reusable water bottles can you keep? Letting go can be freeing and it feels even better if you donate items to charities that will sell them and give them a second life.

4. Stockpiling Condiments

The 2021 pandemic-drive ketchup shortage led to people selling Heinz packets on eBay for a profit. But it’s cheap behavior to squirrel bagfuls away in your cabinet. Will you ever use them? The same holds true for sugar, soy sauce, and salt and pepper packets. Snagging them for free and hoarding them can be a sign you are a cheapskate.

5. Reusing Paper Goods

Some people save paper cups that still look pretty clean and recycle soiled paper towels for another chore. But that’s a cheapskate way of living that likely doesn’t save you much. Better to buy recycled paper products to help save energy, water, and trees. Get dishwasher-safe, reusable party plates; they are sturdy enough to hold large pizza slices and the like.

6. Doing Only Free Activities

Free activities are wonderful and a part of a smart, frugal lifestyle. But cheapskates take this to extremes and only want to go somewhere if it doesn’t cost money. This limits their plans accordingly. For instance, if you only go to the beach after 5 pm, when there are no entrance fees, you will never experience a classic sunny day. Plus, there probably aren’t any lifeguards on duty.

In life, balance is best. There’s no sense being miserly vs. having fun and staying safe. Paying the fee to visit, say, a beach or a majestic national park could provide a view worth a million bucks and a lifetime of great memories.

Recommended: Ways to Be a Frugal Traveler

7. Being Nosy about Other People’s Money

Cheapskates dwell on what other people spend, gossiping about or criticizing their purchases, such as a designer handbag or resort vacation. But maybe the buyer is a frugal person who has a solid money mindset and saved for a year to afford those nice things. Frugal does not mean cheap, and judging others’ spending can say more about your own financial habits than theirs.

Quick Money Tip: Typically, checking accounts don’t earn interest. However, some accounts will pay you a bit and help your money grow. Online banks are more likely than brick-and-mortar banks to offer you the best rates.

8. Always Snagging Leftovers

It’s one thing to take home the restaurant meal you couldn’t finish but another to make off with the leftover shrimp at a friend’s party. If the host invites you to take some food, great. But don’t push it. You are a guest, after all.

It’s also a classic cheapskate move to take back anything you brought that wasn’t entirely devoured. If you brought two bottles of wine and only one was opened, the other one stays put, as a gift to your host for welcoming guests.

9. Saving Almost Spoiled Food

Many people look for ways to save money on food. But safety comes first. No matter how expensive that deli meat was, if it’s past the date that tells you it’s safe to consume, throw it out. That’s a risk we take when we buy food, from fresh produce to chicken: Use it or lose it. If yogurt or cheese grows a layer of mold, out it goes. Only an ultracheap person would cling to it, eat it, and risk their health.

If you’re not sure how long food stays safe in the fridge, open a tab and search. There are many sites that share the full details.

10. Regifting Thoughtlessly

It’s okay to pass along (with honesty) a gift you cannot use or that doesn’t suit your needs, such as a pound of rocky road fudge when you’re avoiding sugar or a sweater that’s not your color. But it’s hurtful to wrap up something you have around, like an extra college sweatshirt or a set of mugs, and pass them off to a friend or relative as a new gift. That’s just plain cheap.

11. Buying Cheap Quality

If you buy cheaply made clothing, it will likely fray, fade, and fall apart way before good quality items do. Same with ultra low-priced bedding and towels. Likewise, if you invest in a good pair of shoes, they will stand up to new heels, soles, and repeated polishing. A cheap pair won’t go the distance.

Keep in mind that the same holds true with household purchases: Cookware with a rock-bottom price tag is likely to disappoint you, and the same may hold true with furnishings. Read reviews before you buy, and snag a good-quality item that’s a little pricier but more reliable.

Recommended: Guide to Practicing Financial Self-Care

12. Depriving Others While You Amass Money

Another sign you are a cheapskate can be that you are totally focused on your own wealth management and never help others. Maybe a miser could make a payment to help a cousin or niece with a heavy student loan debt. That kind of money magic fills the heart of the giver and the recipient. Being selfishly cheap just leaves you with a heart tightened like a fist.

Recommended: Common Money Fights

13. Haggling Over Every Transaction

Bargaining nonstop can make everyone uncomfortable, except the cheapskate. The salesperson, other customers, and especially the cheapskate’s friends and family who are present may want to vanish.

There are times and places where haggling is appropriate and can improve your financial life. Overstepping those boundaries can be a sign you are a cheapskate.

14. Helping Yourself to Office Supplies

It’s one thing to take a pad personalized with your name or a paperweight that was a gift from the boss. But it’s another to stock your home office or a kid’s back-to-school list from the office supply closet. Just don’t. It’s veering into stealing.

Same goes for taking condiments and coffee supplies from the staff break room or raiding the bathroom for toilet paper so you don’t have to buy any.

Recommended: 17 Ways to Make Financial Freedom a Reality

15. Being a Bad Tipper

This may be the most obvious and most common sign of a cheapskate. They look for any reason to reduce the gratuity after a meal, from too few sugar packets on the table to the entree arriving too quickly or too slowly. Waiters and waitresses often manage many tables and make a low hourly wage. They count on tips to bring up their earnings.

If the food and/or service is awful, it makes sense that the tip would reflect that. But for a typical meal with perhaps a tiny glitch, not leaving a tip can be a giveaway that someone is a miser.

Tips to Avoid Being a Cheapskate

Try to remember this advice next time you feel your inner cheapskate emerging.

•   Give yourself a fun budget: Find a little breathing room in your budget for things that bring you pleasure even if they are not great bargains. Maybe a fancy coffee on Friday mornings, to end the work week on a high note, can be a nice self-reward.

•   Shift your focus from cash. Consider rewards that have no set price attached to them. That means enjoying a movie plus popcorn with your best friend. Or the smile on your mother’s face when you bring her flowers.

•   Set up a separate bank account for generosity. Put a certain amount of money in every week, even just $50 or $10 can make a difference. Then, at the end of the month, do something kind for someone. This can help offset any cheapskate tendencies.

•   If you are dining out or getting coffee, build extra bucks into your budget ahead of time for the tip.

•   Instead of clinging to your money, think about how hard behind-the-scenes people work. The staffers who put out the free hotel breakfast buffet, the shampoo girl at the salon: Appreciating their work with a tip goes a long way to make both you and them feel better.

The Takeaway

Knowing the difference between being a cheapskate and being frugal is an important life lesson. The former leans toward miserly and is unpleasant to be around, while the frugal person usually spends mindfully and can afford to be generous in meaningful ways.

When you understand the signs of being cheap, you can likely stop yourself and become better at a healthy financial mindset. It’s not just “mine, mine, mine,” but sometimes “yours, mine, and ours.”

Better banking is here with up to 3.25% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Are there benefits to being a cheapskate?

A true cheapskate may be able to reach financial goals, which is a benefit. But they might be so focused on saving that they cannot enjoy life. They are likely so busy not spending that they don’t know how to give back, chip in, be honest, and have fun with loved ones.

Is being cheap a personality trait?

Being cheap can be a personality trait, but it need not be a permanent one. It could be a habit developed because you grew up poor and wished for more money or possessions or it can stem from other insecurities. It’s possible to change this behavior if you become more aware of it and are motivated to be less stingy.

How do you deal with cheap people?

If you value the person and your relationship with them, do your best not to argue with them. That is unlikely to get them to spend more freely. Set expectations on get-togethers early; if something sounds too pricey for them, make another, less expensive plan. Avoid those situations that are likely to provide a forum for their cheap tendences.


Photo credit: iStock/Morsa Images

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 3.25% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 2.50% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 11/3/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
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Which States Have Been Hit the Hardest by Inflation?

Which States Have Been Hit the Hardest by Inflation?

Inflation, or a rise in prices and decrease in buying power, is hitting American families hard. Rates have been spiking for months and currently stands at 7.7%. When it will slow down is anybody’s guess. This makes it increasingly difficult to afford necessities like food, transportation, and housing. Put simply, when inflation is escalating, your dollar buys less than it did in the past.

How much of an impact has inflation had on the U.S. and where is it at its worst? A report from the Joint Economic Committee provides up-to-date data as of July 2022 on how much prices have changed for everyday items, for an average family, in each state since January 2021.

This information can help you make informed decisions about your spending and your future. If you’re living in a state with surging inflation, you may want to pay special attention to balancing your budget so you don’t wind up depleting your emergency savings or ringing up credit card debt.

According to the report, these are the 25 states with the highest inflation rates over the year reviewed, arranged in descending order, with the steepest figure at the top. They are ranked by the impact on monthly spending in dollars vs. the percent of inflation.

Read on to see if your state made the list.

25 Highest Inflation Rates by State

1. Washington D.C.

OK, it’s not technically a state, it’s a district, but our nation’s capital tops the list of locations feeling the impact of inflation. With an inflation rate of 13.9%, DC saw a monthly uptick in expenses due to inflation at an eye-watering $1,037 in the year studied. That kind of impact can certainly give a household reason to take a fresh look at making a budget and perhaps even consider moving to a less expensive area.

2. Colorado

There are several main causes of inflation, and they seem to have conspired to raise prices in Colorado. There, the cost of living has increased by a staggering 15.4% since January 2021. This means that the average household in the state will spend about $937 more this year than last year. The main driver of this inflation is transportation costs, representing an increase of $410/mo.

3. Utah

In Utah, inflation has been rising, with the total inflation up 15.4% or $910 per month for the average family. While this may not seem like a lot if you earn a high salary, that kind of price hike can significantly impact residents, particularly those on a fixed income.

4. Arizona

Arizona has seen a significant increase in inflation over the past year, with prices rising by $833. This figure represents a significant burden for residents and may well encourage them to find ways to save money daily.

While the cost of living in Arizona is still relatively low compared to other states, the increasing cost of goods and services puts pressure on households as the prices have increased at what is among the highest rate in the United States, a challenging 15.4%.

5. Nevada

Inflation has been rising by 15.4% in Nevada, with families now shelling out an average of $831 more per month than in January 2021. Rising energy and transportation costs seem to be fueling this surge.

Additionally, many goods and services have become more expensive as businesses attempt to offset their own rising costs. This has decreased purchasing power for Nevada residents, making them adjust their budgets and spending habits to keep up with inflation.

Although it can be challenging to cope with rising costs, it’s important to remember that there are pros and cons of inflation. It is a natural part of the economy and will continue to fluctuate over time.

6. Minnesota

Life has gotten considerably more expensive in Minnesota. With inflation soaring 13.8% over a recent year, residents are shelling out $831 more just to keep up.

With this kind of price trajectory, it can be worthwhile to consider whether to pay down debt or save money when trying to make ends meet. When your money doesn’t go as far, you need to be smart about prioritizing your available funds.

7. Wyoming

Average monthly expenses in Wyoming hiked up $812 a month as of July 2022, compared with January 2021, putting it the seventh highest position on the ranking of U.S. states.

The main drivers behind this increase have been higher transportation, energy, and housing costs. These factors can put a strain on Wyoming households already struggling to make ends meet and can also leave other families with less disposable income to put towards long-term money goals, such as investing for retirement.

8. California

America’s most populous state with more than 39 million residents, California clocks in as the 8th most inflationary state in the nation. Residents paid an average of $794 in monthly expenses in July 2022 vs. January 2021. That’s a lot of people feeling the pinch at the gas pump, supermarket, and elsewhere.

9. Alaska

Our northernmost state has experienced intense inflation over the past year or so. The average Alaskan household is now spending 12.5% more, which equals an additional $790 per month. Of that figure, $345 went to rising transportation costs and $197 towards energy costs.

10. Montana

Inflation in Montana is up 15.4 percent, or $790 per month for the average family, which puts the state in the number 10 position of states being hit hardest by rising prices.

When dealing with this kind of pressure on your income, it may be wise to think about bringing in more income. That’s one of the benefits of a side hustle and can help make ends meet when prices zoom upward.

11. Illinois

The cost of living in Illinois has been increasing steadily over the past few years; between January of 2021 and July of 2022, the typical household is shelling out $787 more per month to pay for the same expenses. That reflects rising costs of housing, energy, and transportation, among other factors, to the tune of 14.1%.

If you are grappling with the impact of inflation and feel as if you can’t keep up with bills, especially credit card charges with their high interest rates, you might consider a balance transfer credit card. These can give you a reprieve from high interest rates for a period of time, which may help you pay down your debt.

12. Florida

Since January 2021, inflation has increased significantly in Florida, with the average Sunshine State household paying $784 more every month to maintain their standard of living. This is a significant increase of 13.9% and can certainly have an impact on how far one can stretch a salary.

If you’re a Floridian looking for ways to enhance your income, you might consider downsizing some of your gently used possessions (clothing, electronics, etc.); there are many options for places to sell your stuff that’s no longer wanted.

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13. Maryland

Brace yourself, Marylanders: You’re paying $774 more for your living expenses over the past year and change. That represents inflation of 13.9%, and it can certainly stress a budget.

If you’re residing in Maryland, now might be a good time to review your outflow of cash and see where you might economize. How many streaming platforms do you have vs. really need? How many fancy coffees and take-out dinners are you paying for? A bit of belt-tightening can help bring expenses back under control

14. Hawaii

While the rate of inflation in Hawaii is “only” 12.5% currently, the fact that the Aloha state has such a high cost of living to start with means it’s number 14 on the list. Every month, inflation has lifted household costs on an average of $768.

15. Idaho

Next up is Idaho, a state that has been hard hit by inflation. Prices have increased by 15.4%, or $763 per month for the average household. This spike reflects a combination of factors, including the state’s growing population, which is driving up demand for goods and services.

16. Delaware

In Delaware, the average family is paying $760 more per month for their expenses than in January 2021, representing an uptick of 13.9%. With rising gas prices and housing costs, many families may have to slash their budgets. When doing so, it’s worthwhile to research tips to hedge against inflation.

17. North Dakota

If you live in North Dakota, you’ve likely felt the pinch over the past year and change as inflation has zoomed up 13.8%. For the average family in the state, that means they are spending $760 more per month to make ends meet and pay their bills.

18. South Dakota

Right behind its neighbor to the north comes South Dakota. Here, prices have also ticked up 13.8%, resulting in $759 more being paid out per average household. That’s a whole lot more money for most families to come up with.

If you live in South Dakota or elsewhere and feel stretched too thin, it can be wise to look into how to pay off outstanding debt and open up some breathing room in your budget.

19. Nebraska

Things have gotten pricier in the Cornhusker state: With an inflation rate of 13.8%, the typical household is shelling out an additional $754 a month in July 2022 vs. January 2021. That’s a steep increase and could inspire a person to look for a low-cost side hustle to bring in some additional income.

20. Texas

Inflation has been on the rise in Texas, with the total inflation coming in at 14.8%. If you’re a Texan, that means you are likely needing to come up with an extra $747 per month to make ends meet. Every time you fill your vehicle’s gas tank and pay your energy bill, you may well realize that the amount is significantly higher than before.

21. Virginia

Inflation is a significant problem in Virginia. Prices have ratchet up by 13.9% since January 2021. This means, for instance, that $20 buys less gas than it used to, and residents’ grocery bills are likely to be noticeably higher since they aren’t protected from inflation. It may be a struggle to make ends meet as the average household is forced to come up with an additional $741 per month to cover their expenses.

22. Missouri

Missouri comes in at number 22 on the list of states feeling the impact of inflation. With the inflation rate hitting 13.8%, that means a typical family has to shell out $737 more per month to buy the same goods and services vs. January of 2021.

That can put a tremendous amount of stress on one’s pocketbook. This can be a good moment to review discretionary spending and look for easy ways to save money.

23. Kansas

The next hardest-hit state in terms of inflation is Kansas, according to the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee. The rate of prices rising is 13.8%, with the average household needing to spend $730 per month more to afford the same expenses as in January of 2021. Whether purchasing food or gas, paying rent or the energy bill, costs are rising at a notably high rate.

24. Massachusetts

While the rate of inflation is “only” 10.7% in Massachusetts, that calculates as a $726 expense hike for the typical family, which is significant.

To push back against inflation, you might consider trying to lower some bills. Perhaps you can get your credit card interest rate taken down a notch or negotiate your medical bills to help bring costs under control. It never hurts to inquire and could help you reap savings.

25. New Mexico

Inflation has increased in New Mexico by a significant 15.4%. This represents an average of $720 in additional monthly spending for the average household. The main reason for this price hike lies in the rising cost of energy and transportation.

The Takeaway

Inflation has been in the news over the past year or so, and for good reason: It’s making life more expensive for Americans. Some states have been hit harder than others by this inflation, which means certain households are shelling out even more than others for the same typical monthly necessities, like housing, utilities, food, and transportation. This article shows whether your state lands in the top half of locations most impacted by inflation.

Regardless of where you live, you probably are grappling with the impact of inflation. One way you can push back is with the right banking partner. When you open an online bank account with SoFi, you’ll earn a hyper competitive APY and pay no account fees, which can help your money grow faster so you can pay those bills. Plus, with our Checking and Savings, you can spend and save in one convenient place.

Better banking is here with up to 3.25% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


Photo credit: iStock/VioletaStoimenova

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.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 3.25% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 2.50% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 11/3/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
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