Share Draft Accounts: What Are They & How Do They Work?

A share draft account or share draft is a checking account that’s held at a credit union. That’s a simple share draft account definition.

Share draft accounts are similar to checking accounts offered by banks, in terms of how you can use them. There are, however, a few differences that set them apart.

Whether a share draft account or a checking account is right for you can depend on your preferences for managing your money. If you’re thinking of opening a share draft at your local credit, it helps to know how they work. Learn more here, including:

•   What is a share draft account?

•   How do these accounts work?

•   What are the pros and cons of a share draft account?

•   How do share draft accounts differ from typical checking accounts?

What Is a Share Draft Account?

“Share draft account” is how credit unions refer to checking accounts. This terminology reflects in part how credit unions work.

When you join a credit union, you become a member of it. You, along with the other members, have an ownership share in the credit union. That’s a key distinction between a credit union vs. bank. Share draft is used to describe checking accounts belonging to credit union members.

You’ll also see the word “share” used with other types of accounts offered at credit unions. For example, a share account is the credit union equivalent of a bank savings account. These accounts can earn interest so you can grow your money over time.

Share certificates, meanwhile, are the credit union version of certificate of deposit (CD) accounts. You deposit money into a share certificate, which then earns interest until the certificate matures. At maturity, you can withdraw the initial deposit and interest earned or roll it into a new share certificate.

How Do Share Draft Accounts Work?

Share draft accounts work by allowing you to deposit money that you can then spend or withdraw later. Each time you deposit money, you’re essentially buying shares in the credit union that holds your account.

Generally, with a share draft account you can:

•   Pay bills online

•   Withdraw cash at ATMs (though there may be ATM withdrawal limits)

•   Make purchases online or in person using a linked debit card

•   Manage accounts via online and mobile banking

•   Add funds through direct deposit and/or remote deposit capture

•   Write checks

•   Link your debit card to mobile wallet apps

•   Send money to friends and family through Zelle or another mobile payment app

•   Send and receive ACH transfers or wire transfers

There may be various fees associated with these accounts, including monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees. You may also pay ATM fees, depending on where you withdraw cash. Some share draft accounts pay dividends to credit union members as they’re declared quarterly, biannually, or annually.

Opening a share draft account is a bit different from opening a bank account. You first need to qualify for membership in a credit union.

The qualification requirements can vary by credit union. In terms of how much money to open an account, initial deposit requirements are usually on the lower side. It might be, say, $5 to $25 in many cases.

Credit unions can impose daily, weekly, and monthly limits on debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals. There may also be limits on check-writing. Customer service availability can depend on the credit union.

Recommended: What Is Monetary Policy?

Pros of Share Draft Accounts

There’s a lot to like about share draft accounts and credit unions in general. Here are some of the main advantages of share draft accounts:

•   Initial deposit requirements are often low

•   Minimum balance requirements may be low or nonexistent

•   Some share draft accounts can earn dividends

•   Banking fees may be lower

•   Benefits and features tend to be similar to bank checking accounts

•   Credit unions can offer numerous ways to access share draft accounts, including online and mobile banking, ATMs, and branches.

There’s one more advantage to opening a share draft account. If you’re a member of a shared branch credit union, you can access your money through a wider network of branches. Shared branch banking means that even if your accounts are held at Credit Union A, you could access them at Credit Union B, which is convenient if you’re traveling.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Cons of Share Draft Accounts

Share draft accounts may not be right for everyone. Before opening one, here are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind:

•   Membership in a credit union is required to open a share draft account

•   Branch access may be limited if your credit union isn’t part of a shared branch network

•   There may be limits on withdrawals or debit card transactions

•   Dividend rates may be low.

Qualifying for membership in a credit union might be the biggest hurdle to joining one for some people. Credit unions can base membership on things like military affiliation, where you work or attend school, religious affiliation, or employment. The good news is that there are some credit unions that have less stringent requirements and offer membership to a wider range of people. It can be worthwhile to shop around.

How Does a Share Draft Differ From a Traditional Bank Account?

Share draft accounts are similar to checking accounts offered at traditional banks, but they aren’t identical. Here are some of the most important differences between share draft vs.checking accounts.

Fees

Banks are known for charging plenty of fees for checking accounts. Fees are a big part of how banks make a profit. Credit unions, on the other hand, are not-for-profit financial institutions. That means they generally charge their members fewer fees and they can pay higher interest rates on deposit accounts than traditional banks.

Deposit Insurance

Deposits at banks and credit unions can both be insured against institutional failure. Whether your coverage comes through the FDIC vs. NCUA depends on where you keep your accounts. Credit unions are likely insured by NCUA, or the National Credit Union Administration.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures deposits at member banks up to $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership type, per financial institution. You may qualify for more deposit insurance if you have accounts in different ownership categories that meet FDIC requirements. This insurance reassures you that your checking account is safe.

The National Credit Union Administration insures deposits at member credit unions up to $250,000 per depositor. Member deposits held in jointly-owned accounts are insured up to $250,000 as well.

Features and Benefits

Credit unions and banks can offer a different range of features and benefits for draft accounts and checking accounts, respectively. There can be a significant difference between what is a premium checking account at a bank and what constitutes a premium share draft account at a credit union, for example. Comparing what’s included with share draft and checking accounts can help you decide which one is better for your needs.

Banking With SoFi

Deciding to open a checking account or a share draft account can help you get a better handle on your money. Both share draft accounts and checking accounts make it easy to deposit funds, pay bills, withdraw cash, or make purchases as needed.

If you’d like to manage money online, you might consider banking with SoFi, where you can get checking and savings in one convenient place. And when you open a bank account online at SoFi with direct deposit, you’ll earn a competitive APY and skip the usual fees.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is the difference between regular share and share draft?

A share account is a savings account held at a credit union. Share accounts can earn interest in the form of dividends. Share draft accounts, however, are similar to a checking account and allow you to make draft withdrawals by writing checks, making purchases with a debit card, or withdrawing cash at ATMs.

What is the difference between a share draft and a checking account?

The difference between a share draft and a checking account is where they’re held. Share draft accounts are offered at credit unions; checking accounts are offered at banks. Share draft accounts can be NCUA-insured while checking accounts at banks have FDIC deposit insurance coverage.

Is a checking account better than a share draft?

A checking account may be preferable to a share draft account if you’d rather keep your money at a bank rather than a credit union. On the other hand, you might lean toward a share draft if you’d rather take advantage of perks that only a credit union may offer. Looking at your money management habits and preferences can help you decide whether a checking account or share draft is the better fit.


Photo credit: iStock/SDI Productions

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. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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Can You Change the Due to Date of Your Bills?

Changing the Due Dates of Your Bills: Is It Possible?

Here’s some nice news: It may be possible to change the due dates of some of your monthly bills.

This can be a huge relief to many people who find that the bulk of their bills are due at the very beginning of the month, which can make cash flow a challenge. Or, alternately, perhaps you may find it very helpful to space your payments out over the course of a month and add some breathing room to your budget.

Or maybe you have some bills that are maddeningly due a couple of days before you get paid, which can also cause money management issues. Being able to scoot that due date a couple of days into the future could be super convenient.

These adjustments to your bill-paying may indeed be possible, though not every company will allow you to change your billing due date. It can be worth investigating which ones will. How exactly? And are there any downsides to making a shift? Read on for answers, including:

•   Why you might want to change your bills’ due dates

•   What are the pros and cons of changing your billing due dates

•   How you may be able to change a bill’s due date.

Can You Change the Due Dates on Your Bills?

You may be able to change the due dates on some — or, if you’re lucky, all — of your bills. Each company likely has its own policy, but it never hurts to reach out to customer service over the phone, in an email, through an online chat portal, or even in an old-fashioned letter. If the service provider is local, you may also be able to make the request in person. Your request may well be honored, down to exactly which day of the month your bill is due.

However, setting your own bill due dates is never guaranteed. A company has the right to reject your request, but many offer this service as a courtesy to loyal customers.

Why Might Someone Change the Due Dates of Their Bills?

So why might you want to change the payment date for some or all of your bills? There are several reasons why a person might request this service:

Aligning Better with Paydays

If your bill dates are not aligned well with your paydays, you may find that you don’t always have enough money to cover your bills when they are due. If you struggle with spending and budgeting, it could be helpful to schedule bills shortly after a payday. That way you can’t accidentally overspend money that should be earmarked for bills later that month. Scheduling your bill paying like this might help you be more responsible, spending more wisely and paying on time.

Recommended: How Much of Your Paycheck Should You Save?

Convenience

Some people like to stagger their bill-paying throughout the month, but others may find it more convenient for all their bills to come at the same time each month. A single due date each month for all of life’s bills could certainly make them easier to track and remember.

Recommended: Splitting Bills with Roommates

Ability to Spread It Out So You Are Not Paying All at Once

While paying bills all at once — like right after payday — might make it easier for some people to stay on top of bill payments, others may prefer that their bank account is not drained on a single day, as was mentioned above.

If that’s the case, you may want to do the opposite: change bill dates so that they are spread out throughout the month. This could be especially helpful if your paychecks are irregular—say, if you are a freelancer who depends on clients paying their invoices before you have cash in the bank.

Remembering Pay Dates Will Be Easier

Regardless of when you arrange for your bill due dates to be, it will likely be easier for you to remember if you get to pick the dates. By picking an important date, like the first or last day of each month or the day after payday, it may be easier for you to remember, even without reminders in your phone or on your calendar. And if you sign up for automatic bill payment, it might be a totally seamless process.

Benefits of a Bill Date Change

So what are the pros of changing a bill due date?

•   It puts you in control of your budget.

•   It can make remembering due dates easier.

•   It might help you avoid missed payments and late fees.

Drawbacks of a Bill Date Change

So are there cons to changing a payment date? If you are making the conscious decision to change your billing schedule, you likely have a good reason for it — meaning you probably won’t encounter any drawbacks with the bill date change itself.

However, you might find that you spend a lot of time trying to get a company to change a bill due date, only for them to say no. The wasted time and effort for something that might be declined could be a drawback itself.

Recommended: How Long Does a Direct Deposit Take?

When to Schedule New Pay Dates

So when should you schedule new bill pay dates? That depends on your own paycheck schedule and personal preferences. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers a helpful worksheet for organizing all your current bills and due dates. Seeing them on paper may help you determine the best date(s) in your calendar month for bills to process.

Tips for Changing Pay Dates

Changing payment dates might seem intimidating, especially if you don’t like talking to customer service on the phone. But doing so may help you get better control of monthly bills like rent, utilities, subscription services, and even credit card payments. Here are a few tips for changing your bill due dates:

1.    Getting organized. It may be helpful if you first make a list of all your recurring payments. When organizing your bills, you can chart out when each bill processes every month. Comparing these to your monthly payday(s) may help you determine the ideal dates for bills to process.

2.    Deciding which bill dates should change. Once you have a list of all your recurring bills and ideal pay dates, you can more easily identify which bills need to change. From there, the CFPB recommends calling each company or searching their website to see if they even allow you to change bill dates.

3.    Making the necessary requests. To get your due dates changed, you might be able to contact the company by phone, email, online chat, or letter — or even talk to a representative in person. The CFPB offers a useful script if you aren’t sure what to say: “I am requesting a change in my bill payment due date for my [company] bill. I would prefer to have my bill payment due date be on the __th of each month. Thank you for your assistance.”

4.    Setting up autopay. If a service provider has an automatic bill pay option, it might be a good idea to schedule this. How bill pay works is that you schedule electronic payments in advance so you don’t have to manually transfer funds or write a check as your due date approaches. It can be an especially good option if you have a bank account with no-fee overdraft coverage. Because of the risk of overdrafting when you set up autopay, however, it might only make sense if you regularly keep more than enough funds in your checking account to cover monthly bills.

5.    Scheduling reminders. Even if you have changed payment dates to a schedule that fits your monthly budget, it’s a good idea to schedule reminders in your phone or on your calendar ahead of the payment date. This allows you to ensure you have the funds in your account ahead of an automatic payment or reminds you to manually complete the payment (in person, in the mail, or online) if you don’t have autopay set up.

Can You Always Change Bill Dates?

Many companies will allow you to change bill dates to a schedule that makes sense for your finances. However, no company is required to do this. You may encounter some service providers that do not allow you to change bill dates.

What if You Can’t Change Your Due Date?

If you cannot change your due dates, you can still take some actions to ensure you pay all your bills on time, such as:

•   Setting reminders: If you often forget to pay your bills on time but have the funds available, you may just need to schedule reminders for yourself ahead of the due date. Putting a recurring reminder in your calendar (perhaps the one on your phone) can be a wise move.

•   Setting money aside until you need it: If you can’t resist the temptation to spend the money available in your checking account and often struggle with a low current or available account balance on the day that bills are due, it might be wise to move money to a separate account for paying bills. And of course, don’t touch those funds for any other sort of spending.

Banking With SoFi

Are you looking for a high-yield bank account that makes it easy to pay your bills on time each month? Consider SoFi’s online bank account. When you sign up with direct deposit, you’ll earn a competitive APY, and eligible accounts can get paycheck access up to two days early — which could help you take care of your bills on time.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

How easy is it to change the due date for your bills?

Changing the due date for your bills can be as easy as making a phone call or sending an email to the service provider. However, not every company allows you to change your bill due dates. It is solely done at the company’s discretion.

Can I pay my bill before the due date?

If you are worried about missing a payment or spending too much money before a bill is due, you can make an early bill payment. Paying credit card bills early in particular may not only help you avoid late fees but also improve your credit score.

Is it better to have your bill dates close together or spread out?

The ideal schedule of your bill dates depends on your own financial situation, including your payday schedule and spending habits. Some people may prefer their bill dates to be close together (even on a single day per month) while others might benefit from having them spread out throughout the month.


Photo credit: iStock/Tatomm

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. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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 Productive Things to Do on Your Day Off

Some days off are meant for purely relaxing. Others are meant for checking things off our to-do lists that we can’t get done during the course of the work week.

If you’re looking for productive things to do on your day off—including ideas that may improve your money mindset and financial fitness—we have 21 good ways to get started.

How Staying Productive Can Improve Your Money Mindset

If you have a lazy day off, it might wind up costing you. The temptation to spend when bored is real. When you have nothing to do, you may turn to online shopping, dining out, or other pricey leisure activities to fill your time.

There is of course a time and place for spending on leisure, but there’s a big question to ask yourself before spending that money. Specifically, are you plunking down that cash because you will get something out of the experience or purchase or are you simply doing so because you’re bored?

Staying productive on days off can be a form of financial self-care. It can help you avoid unnecessary spending which, in turn, can make other leisure time feel even more enjoyable.

Productive Things to Do on Your Day Off

Not sure what to do on a day off? Consider checking one or more of these productive activities off your to-do list. Any of them can help you feel more organized and in control of your finances…and perhaps even your life!

1. Planning a Vacation

Instead of going out and spending money, stay home and plan an upcoming vacation. Money will be spent on that vacation, and a little planning can go a long way to make sure the vacation goes well and that investment pays off. You might even open a travel fund account and begin saving.

2. Checking Your Credit Card Statements

Need a friendly reminder not to overspend? Review recent credit card statements to get an idea of how budgeting is going and to make sure all charges are accurate. If you’re carrying a balance, you might hatch a plan to pay it off.

3. Taking Quality Time for Yourself

We can all decide what quality alone time means to us. That may mean pursuing a hobby like painting, reading a good book, or going for a long run. There are plenty of relaxing activities to enjoy that don’t cost any money and recharge you for the work days ahead.

4. Reviewing Your Career Goals

While it may not sound fun to sit down and think about work outside of working hours, there’s a lot of value to be found in peaceful reflection. Spending time reviewing career goals when there are no Monday-to-Friday stressors or distractions can make it easier to find clarity.

5. Starting a Side Hustle

Speaking of work, a fun and fulfilling way to make career progress and some extra cash during downtime are some benefits of starting a side hustle. Think about some fun options that you would enjoy which might also allow you to try out new skills and career options.

6. Catching Up on Important Errands

Running errands isn’t always fun, but not having them hanging over our heads sure feels good. If you have a day off, spending a couple of hours in the morning to tackle them can leave the rest of the day wonderfully free. Plus, you’ll get that “I’ve got this!” boost from knowing you’re in control of those to-do’s.

7. Exercising

Earning some extra endorphins is a great way to stay healthy and feel happier on a day off. Sweat it out, and then enjoy the extra energy and mood boost that comes from a good workout.

8. Mapping Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Money Goals

Social media’s effect on finances may have some upsides, but on a day off, why not stop scrolling and start setting money goals. Similar to setting career goals, a day off is the perfect time to think critically about any short-, medium-, and long-term money goals to set. How to get started? Review your current financial situation, reassess your budget, and make a plan for working towards your financial goals such as buying a house, paying for a child’s college education, or paying off debt.

9. Getting a Haircut

A fresh haircut can put a bit of pep in anyone’s step. A definite self-esteem booster for most of us.

10. Volunteering

Giving back to our community is a great way to spend free time. There are so many different causes worth giving back to, from food banks, to animal shelters, to beach cleanups. Volunteering can even help borrowers pay down their student loan debt.

11. Updating Your Online Resume

If you’re looking for a new job, the weekend is a great time to update online resumes on social media platforms or job searching websites. There are loads of templates online that can help you spiff up your resume, too.

12. Reading a New Book

With so many distractions on busy days, it’s hard to find the time to read. Make reading a new book (or an old favorite) a priority on your next day off. There’s nothing like the escape of a good story, whether it’s historical fiction, a murder mystery, or whatever else catches your attention.

13. Taking an Online Class

Whether you want to learn a new work or personal skill, there’s an online class out there that can help you productively use your time off. From learning how to code to cook, almost any topic is available these days, whenever and wherever you may be.

Recommended: Can You Take Online Classes While Working?

14. Spending Time With Loved Ones

Productivity can mean a lot of different things. For example, spending time with loved ones can be extremely beneficial as it helps us build a support system and provides personal gratification.

15. Unsubscribing From Unwanted Emails

Have half an hour to kill before meeting up with friends? Chip away at unsubscribing from all unwanted emails. The lack of digital clutter can be super freeing, even if you don’t achieve “inbox zero” just yet.

16. Updating Your To-Do List

Want to get things done on a day off, but don’t know where to start? Sit down with a pen and some paper (or a doc on your phone or laptop) and write an updated to-do list. Of course, it’s not necessary to tackle the entire list in one day, but do schedule when to check the most urgent items off the list.

17. Checking How You’re Doing With Your Budget

Budgets only work if you check in to make sure they’re sticking with it. A good habit is to eyeball your budget weekly to make sure it’s still on track. If not, see what spending changes need to occur the rest of the month. There are all kinds of apps to help with this; your financial institution may have a great one to use. Don’t have a budget yet? Get started by creating a line-item budget.

Recommended: Guide to Cash Cushions

18. Planning for Next Week

Get organized for the week ahead so it feels less stressful and intimidating. Do meal prep, clean up the house, organize your bills, and make sure all work clothes are washed and ready to wear.

19. Finding Networking Opportunities

Nowadays networking can all be done from home online. Hop on websites like LinkedIn and see who’s worth connecting with professionally. Send some connection requests or messages to get the ball rolling and build your career.

20. Adjusting Your Tax-Withholding if It’s Not Right

Sick of owing taxes each year? Check your tax withholdings to make sure the correct amount is being deducted from your paychecks. Adjust it accordingly if needed. That quick move could save you some money headaches when tax season rolls around.

21. Cleaning Your House

A good cleaning session can help make a home more comfortable, efficient, and enjoyable to live in. Imagine your place freshly vacuumed or the bathroom scrubbed as motivation.

The Practical And Financial Benefits of Being Productive

While it may feel counterintuitive, being productive on a day off can have many benefits. Not only can being productive help you feel better and cut down on unnecessary stressors, it can also help you save money. How? To start, being productive helps us feel less bored, meaning we are less likely to fill our time with shopping or other expensive activities. Being productive also helps us stay organized and gives us the time we need to set financial goals and manage our budgets.

Banking With SoFI

As you can see from this list, there’s no shortage of productive things to do on your day off. Whether you choose to spend your free hours taking an online class, reviewing your budget, or outside running, you can relieve stress and get organized. Feeling in control and more relaxed are terrific benefits worth pursuing and enjoying.

If setting financial goals is at the top of your weekend to-do list, it may be time to find a banking product that can better suit your needs. When you open an online bank account with direct deposit, SoFi can help your money grow faster. SoFi Checking and Savings puts tools at your fingertips to help you set savings goals, and with direct deposit you’ll earn a competitive APY and pay zero account fees. Your money can keep working hard for you even when you’re relaxing.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is considered wasting time on your day off?

When deciding what things to do on a day off, only you can decide what’s a waste of time or not. For one person, organizing their receipts is a waste of time; for another, it’s productive. The same holds true for reading a book. The key is to find a way to balance productivity and relaxation as you define them.

How can I productively treat myself on my day off?

If you’re wondering, “What should I do on my day off?” and want to come up with something that is a productive treat, you might consider a hike, reading a new book, or taking an online class. All have positive benefits in terms of self-care and fun but don’t cost much.

Is traveling considered productive?

Traveling and gaining new experiences and insights beyond your local community can indeed be a great way to be productive. Travel can help us learn, grow, relax, and return home with a new, refreshed perspective.


Photo credit: iStock/MesquitaFMS

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Budgeting for a Quinceanera

A quinceañera, the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, is a rite of passage that many young women and their families look forward to for years. These parties can be quite lavish and therefore expensive to host, so understandably many parents tend to budget for them far in advance.

If you’re planning one, whether it’s coming right up or years away, it’s typical to wonder: How much does a quinceañera cost? How can I make it affordable without breaking my budget?

Here, you’ll learn more about:

•   What is a quinceañera?

•   How much does a quinceañera cost?

•   How can I budget for a quinceañera?

What Is a Quinceanera?

A quinceañera is a unique type of party that celebrates a girl’s 15th birthday in certain Latin American cultures. The term “quinceañera” translates to “the girl who is 15,” but it represents something much larger than that. A quinceañera signifies when a young girl becomes a woman who is mature, capable, and independent. This event also serves as a symbolic gesture that reaffirms her religious beliefs and commitment to the church.

Usually, a quinceañera involves hosting a religious ceremony and then following that ceremony with a party. When it comes to planning a quinceañera, many people take it as seriously as a wedding, and the expense can be similar to how much a wedding costs, too.

Average Cost of a Quinceanera

How much does a quinceañera cost? There is no one average cost that pinpoints how much a quinceañera is. The cost can vary greatly depending on where the party takes place, how many people are invited, and what kind of event is hosted.

In terms of ballpark figures, how much a quinceañera costs usually ranges from $5,000 to $20,000. To sock away that much cash, you will likely need solid motivation to save money. Thinking of the happiness of the event and the memories it will create will probably help.

Common Expenses for a Quinceanera

To set and stick to a budget, it can be wise to look at the different components of a quinceañera. How much this party costs will depend on what is spent on things like food, decorations, and clothing. When creating a budget (which requires major discipline with money) for a quinceañera, it can be helpful to plan for the usual expenses and to determine where it’s a good idea to splurge and where to save.

With this in mind, parents can take their time saving up for the event each month. A plan can be mapped out in a variety of ways, from using pencil and paper to making a budget in Excel.

What follows is a quinceañera budget list with some of the key expenses to keep in mind.

Recommended: How Much Money Should I Save A Month?

Venue

Similar to hosting a wedding, the venue can be one of the more expensive aspects of throwing a quinceañera. It typically accounts for at least 10% of one’s budget but can go much higher. The more people invited, the larger the event space will need to be, and the more this cost can rise. Also consider whether the location you are interested in comes with tables and chairs or whether you will also need to rent those, adding to the price tag.

Food

How much food is required and the type of food and service style can affect the cost of food for a quinceañera. Whatever the case, this is typically among the big-ticket items in a budget, often accounting for 35% of the total expense.

Having a buffet where guests serve themselves tends to cost less than hiring servers to bring the food to each individual table. Choosing to serve late-night snacks and to have an open bar for the adults can also affect the price of food.

Attire

The birthday girl normally wears a dress similar to a wedding dress, which can be quite expensive, and close family members may also require formal wear for the event. This typically is a celebration that involves some serious wardrobe shopping that can easily cost around 10% of the total budget.

Photo and Video

Many families choose to hire a professional photographer, videographer, or both to capture special moments from the event. If you are among their ranks, then you need to include that expense in your party planning and plan how you want to stick to that budget. This can take about 12% of your total funds for the celebration.

Entertainment

Some parents will want to hire a DJ, live band, or other form of entertainment for the quinceañera. Mariachi bands and photo booths are other popular features of these celebrations.

Decorations

Decorations are a good example of a quinceañera expense that can vary greatly depending on how much someone wants to spend on flowers, linens, flatware, and other decorations.

Recommended: 33 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays Affordably

Party Planner

Because planning a quinceañera can be a lot of work, some families may choose to hire a party planner to help them out. This person will typically have an extensive network of resources and can take the time and stress of planning off the hands of the parents.

Tips for Budgeting for a Quinceanera

After crunching the numbers on the expenses mentioned above, some families may find they need to scale back on their plans. Saving money is important, and no one should be saddled with major debt for a celebration. Let’s look at a few ways to make planning a quinceañera on a budget easier.

Planning the Date in Advance

The closer it gets to the event date, the more venues and other vendors are likely to charge. Planning the event far in advance can make it easier to select less expensive dates for the party and to have a top pick of vendors. The less expensive vendors may book up faster than the pricier ones.

Renting Attire

The clothes for this big celebration are likely to be worn only once. Why pay a steep price and then have them gathering dust? Renting formal dresses, shoes, tuxedos, or suits instead of buying them can help lower the cost of clothing for the event.

Finding a Reasonable Venue

Another reason it helps to plan the event far in advance is because it gives parents and their daughter time to look for different venus. Community centers, churches, or a family home may all present affordable options for a quinceañera.

DIY Decorations

It’s time to get crafty. Instead of buying expensive decorations, have some fun by planning some DIY projects and save some cash at the same time. Arranging your own store-bought flowers, for instance, can save a bundle.

Recommended: 9 Cheap Birthday Party Ideas

Limiting Number of Guests

As tempting as it can be to invite tons of family and friends to such an important event, the more people invited to a quinceañera, the more the party will cost. Limiting the guest list to just nearest and dearest friends and family can make it easier to find a smaller and more affordable venue. It can also mean that you will spend less on food, drinks, and decor.

Sending E-invites

Paper invites and stamps add up surprisingly fast, especially when you have a long guest list. Keep things low-cost and environmentally friendly by sending out e-invites instead. This is a quick way to cut a major cost from a quinceañera budget..

Filming Videos and Photos Individually

As noted briefly earlier, hiring a professional photographer or videographer can be expensive. Asking a friend or family member who enjoys photography or videography to capture the event can help cut down on this expense or even make it free.

Recommended: 15 Creative Ways to Save Money

Banking With SoFi

Working towards a big financial goal like hosting a quinceañera? Now is a good time to open a SoFi bank account and start saving. When you sign up for our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, your money may grow faster. We offer a competitive APY and don’t charge any of the usual fees.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

How much does a typical quinceañera dress cost?

While most quinceañera dresses cost around $200 to $300, they can be much more expensive. Renting a dress or buying a used one can help save money here. Don’t forget to budget for alterations and accessories like shoes and jewelry.

Who traditionally pays for a quinceañera?

The parents of the birthday girl are the ones who usually pay for a quinceañera. That’s why it’s important they have a quinceañera budget so they can save accordingly.

How long should you plan for a quinceanera in advance?

It can be helpful to plan for a quinceañera at least a year in advance, especially if the parents hosting the event need to save money for it. Depending on the scale of the event, parents may want to start saving even sooner. Parents can create a quinceañera cost breakdown so they know what to save for and where to cut back.


Photo credit: iStock/alvarez
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. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


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11 Tips to Prevent Shopping out of Boredom

If you’ve ever spent a lazy Sunday wandering through the mall, not in need of anything in particular, only to emerge with a couple of bags of purchases, you are not alone. Many of us shop as entertainment and wind up having less cash or more credit card debt as a result.

Shopping in-person can be a fun distraction thanks to the music pumping and the eye-catching displays. It’s easy to be transported and suddenly feel that you need that new suit, cell phone, or even sofa. And today, shopping online or on your phone can be equally appealing, as a parade of products and coupons pass before your eyes.

But overspending isn’t good for anyone’s budget or debt ratio. Here, you’ll earn 11 tips to stop shopping out of boredom and protect your hard-earned cash.

What Is Boredom Spending?

Boredom spending, or shopping to fill free time, happens for many reasons. It often occurs when you’re feeling unstimulated or there’s a lack of anything demanding your attention . You might find you’re prone to boredom shopping when you’re procrastinating from work. Going out and buying something can make you feel as if you’ve accomplished something with your time. Or perhaps you do it when you want to escape certain negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, or loneliness.

Some people turn to boredom shopping because it’s easy to do. Technology has allowed us to mindlessly scroll social media, install apps, and instantly link to retailer websites without having to leave the couch. And, if you’ve already stored your payment information online, it’s even more convenient to buy on a whim.

Shopping while bored can be harmless if it’s small-scale and infrequent. But if it’s a habit or your go-to activity the minute you’re freed up, shelling out money on unnecessary purchases can bring on extra debt and bust your budget.

Examples of Boredom Spending

The habit of buying when you’re bored can happen anywhere and anytime. For instance, it can occur when you need to kill time before an appointment and wander into a store to browse and then you wind up purchasing a couple of things because a “buy one, get one” sale was advertised. Or you might suddenly have a free afternoon because a friend canceled plans, so you check Instagram where you see engaging ads for exercise equipment you never knew you needed.

Life offers up many opportunities for boredom shopping. As long as you find yourself with gaps in your schedule, there’s time to potentially give in to impulse buys. And this impulsive buying can lead to overspending and more credit card debt which, thanks to its high interest rates, can be a challenge to pay off.

Recommended: Are You Bad With Money? Here’s How to Get Better

11 Tips to Avoid Boredom Spending

If you need some strategies on how to quit spending money when bored, here are tactics to try. They take a variety of angles to keep you from overspending during your downtime.

1. Reducing Time Spent on Social Media

Changing your spending habits to combat boredom buying likely requires stepping away from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. According to a poll by Pitney Bowes, bored shoppers are more likely than other consumers to use social media for their online shopping. When it comes to platforms, the survey reports bored shoppers visit Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok most often. Google and Amazon are also popular among the same group of shoppers.

Social media can contribute to “fear of missing out” (or FOMO) spending. Trying to keep up with others’ buying habits so you’re not left out can affect mental health, causing stress, unhappiness, and feelings of low self-esteem. People dealing with FOMO may go into debt because of overspending.

To resist temptation and cut down on social media use, consider deleting specific apps or turning off the app’s notifications. There are also apps designed to increase focus and productivity that might be helpful. Freedom and StayFree are two examples; they can block social media and other websites for specific periods of time.

2. Starting a Side Hustle or a Second Job

There are several benefits of having a side hustle, freelance gig, or part-time job. It can bolster your bank account and fill any additional time you might have for boredom spending. Actively pursuing another stream of income can also ignite a passion for something new, increase your professional skills and introduce you to new people.

Another benefit? Having a side gig provides more money to put towards paying bills, decreasing debt, and increasing your savings account.

3. Allowing Splurges in Your Monthly Budget

Expecting yourself to never make boredom purchases may be unrealistic for many people. In that case, come up with a specific dollar amount to automatically slot into your weekly or monthly budget if you know you can’t quit cold turkey. Making an allowance for this type of shopping spree can help offset going completely overboard and having to skimp elsewhere.

Recommended: Developing Good Financial Habits

4. Taking a Break

Unpack what’s going on when you are feeling as if life is tedious. That way, you’ll likely know how to stop shopping when bored.

Feeling bored may signal it’s time to rest, relax by watching a favorite TV show, or engage in some physical activity. That “high” you tend to feel after buying something? You can thank the release of dopamine , a feel-good brain chemical involved in helping to induce pleasure as part of the brain’s reward system. Dopamine is also released when you’re exercising or doing something you enjoy.

You can experience a dopamine rush by partaking in non-shopping activities, such as gardening, listening to music, and meditating. Relaxing with a book, tackling a jigsaw puzzle, cleaning, or baking your favorite sweet are also ways to reap similar emotional rewards while breaking monotony.

5. Setting Financial Goals

Dig into how boredom buying is impacting your financial health. When you see how it’s making it hard to achieve your aspirations, you’ll have added incentive to stop this behavior.

Creating money goals for yourself is an important step towards gaining control over your finances. It’s also an ideal way to start developing good financial habits. Start by writing down your short-term and long-term goals which could include tracking weekly spending, starting an emergency fund, or saving up for a down payment on a house. Once you’ve got it down on paper or in a spreadsheet, prioritize your objectives, give yourself a reasonable time span to meet those goals, and make a commitment to stick to them. Take note of how unplanned splurges will interfere with your budget.

Recommended reading: 7 Ways to Achieve Financial Discipline

6. Rewarding Yourself When You Achieve Your Financial Goals

If you’ve avoided boredom shopping for a couple of months, paid off a credit card bill, or managed to stow money in your savings account, it’s okay to treat yourself to a low-cost item such as a favorite meal or a movie. These little rewards can keep you from feeling deprived and inspire you to stay on course.

There are lots of rewards that don’t cost anything, such as a nature walk or a hot bath. But if you do want to spend, be sure to set a price limit based on what you can actually afford. The goal here is to reward good behavior and encourage you to stay on target and not let boredom purchases rock the boat.

Recommended: Guide to Practicing Financial Self-Care

7. Utilizing the 30-Day Spending Rule

The 30-day spending rule is a strategy to help reign in spending and control the urge of compulsive or impulsive shopping. Basically, the rule is simple,if you see a non-essential item either online or in a store, do not buy it. Instead, make a note in your calendar for 30 days later with details about where you saw the item and its price. When you reach that date, if you still want to purchase the item, you can potentially do so, knowing it’s no longer an impulse buy. Instead, the purchase constitutes a well-considered financial choice.

There are times the 30 days will pass, and you’ll realize you didn’t really want the purchase as much as you originally thought. You may even have forgotten about it completely.

8. Unsubscribing from Email Lists

Retailer emails or newsletters touting sales, discounts, and deals can clutter your inbox and awaken the boredom spending monster. Remove any temptation by unsubscribing from the company’s mailing list.

Usually when you open their email, there’s an “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the correspondence. It may be in small print but if you click or tap it, you should be deleted from their email list. Take note it will probably take a day or two for communications to stop.

You can also opt out of text messages that broadcast sales and special deals to your mobile phone. This can help minimize the temptation to shop when bored.

9. Learning New Skills That Interest You

What sparks your interest: learning web design, becoming a real estate professional, or becoming a chef?
Expanding your abilities in an area of interest can keep boredom at bay, whether you choose to study in person or online. Training up can be useful in making you more marketable and increasing your income.

Learning new skills doesn’t have to equal financial earnings, however. Getting involved in anything that stimulates your brain such as learning a new language, taking up knitting, or signing up for that novel writing class can help you feel more fulfilled and increase self-esteem.

10. Making Shopping Harder

As mentioned above, shopping can be super easy, increasing the odds that you might do some boredom buying. Why not fight back with tricks and tools that help you cut back on spending? The first thing you can do to reduce online and in-app shopping is delete your credit card or payment information from your favorite sites and your phone. This will add a few steps to the checkout process which may reduce the likelihood of spontaneous buying. It will give you time to be mindful about your spending and reconsider.

If you’re out and about, try leaving your credit cards at home to avoid boredom-driven buying.

11. Connecting With Others

Shopping can be a way of coping with being alone, and studies have shown loneliness leads to higher levels of boredom. Interacting with other people is key to cutting down on social isolation. Make plans to see friends and loved ones you enjoy. Volunteering for a local organization, political campaign, or charity is another great way to network. You’ll meet like-minded people and hopefully stay away from stores.

Saving Money With SoFi

Building good financial habits can be rewarding. When you open a SoFi Checking and Savings bank account online, you’ll enjoy some of the best features and tools, enabling you to track spending. When you sign up with direct deposit, you’ll earn a competitive APY, too. Plus, you’ll pay no account fees, so you can get the most out of your money.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

How do I train myself to stop spending money?

The first thing you’ll want to do is stop and ask, “Do I need this or just want it?” If the answer is want, try waiting 30 days and then deciding whether to purchase. Also, find other, non-shopping ways to use those times you feel bored, such as meeting friends, starting a side hustle, or pursuing a hobby. Put the money you save towards a goal like credit card debt, and congratulate yourself for your hard work.

What can I do instead of spending money?

Life presents many other options and healthier ways you can deal with ennui besides spending money. When you’re bored, engaging in another activity such as reading, cleaning, or decluttering can take your attention away, allowing you to feel productive and have a sense of purpose. Spending time with loved ones is another good use of time. Most likely, when you become engrossed in something else besides shopping, the impulse to buy will subside.

What are some spending triggers?

Shopping can stem from both psychological reasons and outside factors. Some people may be triggered to shop because of fear of missing out on what others have; others may need a mood life when feeling sad, anxious, or lonely. Retailers are also known to use specific sensory stimuli both online and in stores to inspire spending.


Photo credit: iStock/Vadym Pastukh

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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