Pros and Cons of Raising the Minimum Wage

Raising the minimum wage, which is a hot-button political issue, could have immediate effects on the lives of low-wage hourly workers. It could help them to move out of poverty and keep up with inflation. Some economists argue that other pros of raising the minimum wage could include increased consumer spending, reduced government assistance (and increased tax revenue), and stronger employee retention and morale.

Alternatively, other financial experts point to the cons of raising the minimum wage, including potentially increasing the cost of living, reducing opportunities for inexperienced workers, and triggering more unemployment.

Learn more here, including the purpose of the federal minimum wage, where the minimum wage currently stands, and the pros and cons of raising it.

What Is the Federal Minimum Wage in 2024?

The federal minimum wage in 2024 is $7.25 per hour. The last time that minimum wage increased was on July 24, 2009, when it grew $0.70 from $6.55 an hour. This was part of a three-phased increase enacted by Congress in 2007.

It’s worth noting that tipped employees (say, waiters) have a different rate. The current federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13, as long as the worker’s tips make up the difference between that and the standard minimum wage.

Some states have their own minimum wage laws with a higher (or lower) starting wage than the federal minimum. In such states, employers must pay out the higher of the two minimum wages.

Here are some minimum wage fast facts:

•   The highest current minimum wage is in Washington, D.C., where it is $17.00.

•   There are 58 cities and counties with minimum wages higher than their state’s figures. Of these, the city of Tukwila, Washington, currently has the highest wage at $20.29 per hour.

•   As of 2023, about 20.6 million US workers make less than $15 per hour, and many are making the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour or less.

•   While the minimum wage has been stagnant since 2009, inflation has not. The spending power of $7.25 in 2009 is equivalent to $10.55 today. This means that $7.25 can buy today about 68% (or just over two-thirds) of what it could buy in 2009.


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What Is the Purpose of the Minimum Wage?

So why was the minimum wage originally created? The minimum wage was an idea that gained traction during the Great Depression era. During that time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt worked with Congress to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which officially established the minimum wage. Even then, politicians bickered over the hourly rate and potential impacts on the economy, and the final legislation (25 cents an hour) was not what FDR originally had in mind.

Regardless of the final number that Congress landed on, FDR’s vision for this minimum wage law was to “end starvation wages and intolerable hours,” according to the Department of Labor. The Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School paints an even clearer picture: The minimum wage was designed to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of employees.

In short, early proponents of the minimum wage legislation intended for it to be a living wage. And as the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise points out, in today’s economy, “there is a stark difference between the federal minimum wage and a living wage.”

Recommended: Salary vs. Hourly Pay

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Benefits of Raising the Minimum Wage

Many economists point to several pros of raising the minimum wage, including the following:

Helping Families Get Out of Poverty

Even without minimum wage increases in today’s market, inflation is skyrocketing. In July 2022, it was up 9.1% year-over-year, a four-decade high. In 2023, it was 4.98%. The average American family is likely trying to cut grocery costs, gas prices, and utility bills.

The Raise the Wage Act of 2023 focuses on raising the minimum wage to $17 an hour by 2028, giving almost 30 million American workers a long overdue raise and more buying power to make ends meet.

While raising the minimum wage will not stop inflation’s effects, it could help families more easily afford basic necessities. It can also fulfill the legislation’s original intention of eliminating starvation wages and establishing a minimum standard of living.

Increasing Consumer Spending

Multiple studies over the last decade have demonstrated that low wage earners are more likely to put their income directly back into the economy. That’s because low wage workers spend a larger portion of their budget on immediate needs, like food, clothing, transportation, and shelter.

Increased consumer spending is a boon to the economy, as it is a positive economic indicator reflecting consumer confidence in the market — and brings more revenue to small businesses and corporations alike.

Increasing Federal Revenues

Reports have found that federal spending would both increase and decrease if the minimum wage were raised. While those with newly raised wages might rely on government assistance less (for example, there could be reduced spending on nutrition programs like SNAP), workers who lose their jobs as a result of minimum wage increases will put an excess burden on unemployment.

However, increased tax revenue from higher wages should boost federal revenues overall.

Increasing Employee Retention and Performance

The theory of efficiency wages suggests that higher-paid employees are more motivated to work harder and thus produce more goods and services faster. If that theory is true, increasing the minimum wage could help businesses become more profitable.

Further, employees are more likely to stay with a company longer if they earn good wages. The longer an employee is with a company, the more skilled that employee can become — and thus more valuable to the business.

On top of that, employee turnover is expensive. Replacing an employee with a new candidate can cost up to 150% of the worker’s salary or possibly more. In many cases, it might be cheaper for a business to pay an employee a better salary to keep them from leaving. It could be cheaper than recruiting and training a new worker to replace them after they’ve left.

Cons of Raising the Minimum Wage

There are multiple downsides to raising the minimum wage to consider when debating this policy as well:

Increasing Labor Costs and Unemployment

The largest concern with raising the minimum wage is increased labor costs. If the minimum wage increased to $15 an hour, businesses would suddenly need to give raises to everyone making less than that.

But if some employees were making $10 to $15 an hour, they might not be thrilled to hear that other workers with less tenure and experience are suddenly being paid the same. And employees who were making $15 an hour or slightly above it may also expect a raise once entry-level workers are bumped to $15.

The problem? Not all businesses can afford that. Restaurants, for example, operate at a 3% to 5% profit margin. Increasing labor costs could shrink (or eliminate) their margins, meaning they might have to let go of some staff or go out of business.

Another aspect of this is that if employers have to raise their wages, they might well raise their prices, passing along the increase to their customers.

Increasing Cost of Living

As businesses adjust prices to accommodate higher labor costs, consumers should expect that their dollars won’t go as far as they used to. That is, many economists argue that minimum wage is correlated with inflation. Some say that if business owners have to raise the minimum wage they pay workers, they will pay along those costs to their customers, ratcheting up their prices and contributing to inflation.

That said, other economists paint inflation as the boogeyman of the minimum wage debate. For example, Daniel Kuehn, a research associate at The Urban Institute, has said that, though increasing wages will increase the cost of goods and services, it’s not really a 1:1 ratio. In other words, it won’t be “enough for consumers to really feel a burn in their wallet.”

Recommended: Compare Texas Cost of Living to California Cost of Living

Decreasing Opportunity for Inexperienced Workers

Typically, employees without specialized skills — first-time workers in high school and college, people with disabilities, and the elderly — fill some minimum wage jobs to earn what might be considered entry-level salaries. But as employers are forced to pay workers more, some argue that companies will look for employees with more experience (or will invest in automated technology). This could make it more challenging for unskilled laborers to find work.

Handling the Effects of Raising the Minimum Wage

Businesses may need to adjust practices to pay employees a higher hourly rate if the federal or state minimum wage increases. Here are a few ways company leaders might be able to handle the effects of increased wages:

•   Raising prices: If a company’s labor costs go up, the company may need to offset those expenses with higher prices for its goods and services. Paying attention to what competitors are doing and how consumers are reacting to price hikes can be helpful in determining how much you raise prices.

•   Working with independent contractors: Independent contractors might be more affordable than full-time employees for specific job duties. For instance, the employer would save on paying benefits (though that could mean staff workers get laid off and go on unemployment).

Before establishing an independent contractor model at your business, it’s a good idea to research the guardrails around independent contractors, as defined by the IRS.

•   Automating some positions: Technology continues to offer new ways to automate certain business functions, which may allow employers to reduce headcount, avoid future hires, or reassign existing employees to more revenue-generating work.

•   Reducing hours or cutting costs: Business owners who do not want to lose any employees might be able to reduce overall hours or find other ways to cut costs instead (perhaps a less expensive benefits package, for instance).

•   Getting creative: Offsetting increased labor costs can be as easy as generating more business. But then generating more business isn’t always so easy. Some creative ideas to get customers in the door could include loyalty programs or offering low-cost alternatives for budget-conscious customers.

The Takeaway

The original intention for establishing a minimum wage was to enable workers to have a standard of living that allowed for their health and well-being. While opponents may still argue over “living wage vs. starting wage,” many signs point to today’s federal minimum wage not being enough to have a basic standard of living. Raising the minimum wage has several pros, but it’s important to remember that there are many negative effects to minimum wage increases as well. The economic solution may not be simple, but it will likely be a debate that’s in the spotlight today and in the near future.

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FAQ

How does increasing the minimum wage affect the economy?

Some economists argue that increasing the minimum wage encourages consumer spending, helps families out of poverty, and boosts tax revenue while reducing tax-funded government assistance. Other economists point out the cons of raising the minimum wage, like increased inflation and unemployment.

How does decreasing the minimum wage affect the economy?

In general, the discussion around minimum wage is about increasing it. Economists and politicians are not considering decreasing the minimum wage; doing so would send more families into poverty and decrease consumer spending.

Why are state minimum wages different?

States are able to enact their own laws that supplement or deviate from federal laws. Many states with a higher cost of living, like California and Washington, have increased their minimum wage to roughly double the federal minimum. If a state’s minimum wage differs from the federal minimum wage, employers must pay the higher of the two rates.


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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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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.

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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Having a Savings Accounts on Social Security Disability

Are You Allowed to Have a Savings Account While on Social Security Disability?

If someone is applying for disability benefits, they may be relieved to learn that, yes, you can have a savings account while on Social Security disability. While there are certain financial factors that can disqualify someone from Social Security eligibility, having a savings account is not one of those factors.

But of course, there are some subtleties to be aware of with any benefits matter, so it’s important to take a closer look. Among the points to learn are the difference between SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), who is eligible for Social Security disability benefits, and what the guidelines are for having a savings account while receiving benefits.

What Is Social Security?

There’s a reason the Social Security program is so well known: It has been providing financial support to Americans for many decades. Social Security benefits are designed to help maintain the basic well-being and protection of the American people. These benefits have been around since the 1930’s in response to the economic crisis caused by the Great Depression.

Today, one in five Americans currently receive some form of Social Security benefits — one third of those are disabled, dependents, or survivors of deceased workers. More than 10 million Americans are either disabled workers or their dependents.

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Can I Get Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income with a Savings Account?

You may be thinking you can’t have that kind of asset if you want to qualify for Social Security Disability funds. However, it is indeed possible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or supplemental security income if you have a checking or a savings account.

Even better, it doesn’t matter how much money is held in that account. There are other program requirements that must be met to qualify for SSDI, but how much money someone has or doesn’t have in the bank isn’t one of them.

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Eligibility for SSDI

In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, the individual must have worked in a job or jobs that were covered by Social Security and have a current medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. Generally, this program can benefit those who are unable to work for a year or more due to a disability.

It provides monthly benefits until the individual is able to work again on a regular basis. If someone reaches full retirement age while receiving SSDI benefits, those benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits maintaining the same amount of financial support.

Eligibility for SSI

If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), however, there is a limit on how much you can have in savings. SSI is a federal support program that receives funding from the type of taxes known as general tax revenue, not Social Security taxes.

This program provides financial support to help recipients cover basic needs such as clothing, shelter, and food. It provides aid to those who are aged (65 or older), blind, and disabled people who have little or no income (or limited resources). To qualify, participants must be a U.S. citizen or national, or qualify as one of certain categories of noncitizens.

What You Have to Tell SS about Your Assets if You Want Benefits

There are certain assets (in this case, they’re known as resources) that must be disclosed in order to qualify for benefits through the SSI program. Typically, to receive benefits, one can’t own more than $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple in what the SSA deems “countable resources.” However, there aren’t any such limits in place for the SSDI program.

The value of someone’s resources (aka their financial assets) can help determine if they are eligible for Social Security benefits. If a recipient has more resources than allowed by the limit at the beginning of the month (when resources are counted), they won’t receive benefits for that month. They can be eligible again the next month if they use up or sell enough resources to fall below the limit.

Eligible resources can include:

•   Cash

•   Bank accounts (checking account, regular savings account, growth savings account; whatever you have)

•   Stocks, mutual funds, and U.S. savings bonds

•   Land

•   Life insurance

•   Personal property

•   Vehicles

•   Anything that can be changed to cash (and can be used for food and shelter)

•   Deemed resources

The term “deemed resources” refers to the resources of a spouse, parent, parent’s spouse, sponsor of a noncitizen, or sponsor’s spouse of the Social Security benefits applicant.

A certain amount of these deemed resources are subtracted from the overall limit. For example, if a child under 18 lives with only one parent, $2,000 worth of deemed resources won’t count towards the limit. If they live with two parents, that amount rises to $3,000.

Recommended: What are the Different Types of Savings Accounts?

How Much Can I Have in My Savings Account and Receive SSI or SSDI?

For the SSI program, the total resource limit (which includes what’s in a checking account) can not be more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple. Again, there are no asset limits when it comes to the SSDI program. If someone is applying for the SSDI program, they can surpass that $3,000 limit, and it won’t matter as it doesn’t apply to them.

SSA Exceptions and Programs

Not every asset someone owns will count towards the SSI resource limit (remember, there is no such limit for the SSDI program). For the SSI program, there are some exceptions regarding what counts as a resource. The following assets aren’t taken into consideration:

•   The home the applicant lives in and the land they live on

•   One vehicle—regardless of value—if the applicant or a member of their household use it for transportation

•   Household goods and personal effects

•   Life insurance policies (with a combined face value of $1,500 or less)

•   Burial spaces for them or their immediate family

•   Burial funds for them and their spouse (each valued at $1,500 or less)

•   Property they or their spouse use in a trade or business or to do their job

•   If blind or disabled, any money they set aside under a Plan to Achieve Self-Support

•   Up to $100,000 of funds in an Achieving a Better Life Experience account established through a State ABLE program

The Takeaway

When applying for Social Security benefits, having a savings account may or may not impact your eligibility. It depends on which program you are applying for. It is possible to have a savings account while receiving SSDI benefits. It’s also possible to have a savings account while receiving SSI, but there are limits regarding how much the value of the applicant’s assets (including what’s in their savings accounts) can be worth to qualify for support.

If you happen to be in the market for a savings account, take a look at your options.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

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FAQ

How much money can I have in a savings account while on Social Security?

Personal assets aren’t taken into account, including savings, when applying for the SSDI program. For SSI, however, countable resources (including savings accounts) are capped at $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples.

Does Social Security look at your bank account?

That depends. If someone is applying for Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) benefits, their personal assets are taken into consideration when it comes to eligibility. With Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), applicant assets aren’t taken into consideration.

What happens if you have more than $2,000 in the bank on SSI?

If you have more than $2,000 in the bank and are on SSI as an individual (more than $3,000 if you are part of a couple), you will not receive benefits for that month. Your finances will be evaluated the following month to see if your assets have fallen and you therefore qualify.

Does Social Security check your bank account every month?

Money in the bank doesn’t affect Social Security disability benefits. However, there is a $2,000 to $3,000 limit (varies by household) for the SSI program.


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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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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.

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Opening a Business Bank Account

Opening a Business Bank Account: How Business Bank Accounts Work

Business bank accounts can help owners keep professional transactions separate from personal banking and aid in their business cash management. These accounts often come with special conditions and requirements, and they may have various fees.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at these accounts, their pros and cons, and what it takes to open one. Read on to dive into the details about business bank accounts.

What Is a Business Bank Account?

There are three main types of business banking accounts: checking accounts for everyday use, savings accounts for intermediate and long-term savings, and merchant accounts for accepting debit and credit card payments. In this article, you’ll learn about business checking and savings accounts, available from both online and brick-and-mortar banks.

What Is a Business Checking Account?

A business checking account works much the same way a personal checking account does. You use it to deposit payments and make withdrawals, usually an unlimited amount. Like personal checking accounts, business checking accounts typically pay low to no interest on your balance.

What Is a Business Savings Account?

A business savings account will pay more interest than a checking account, so it can be a good place to park cash on an interim basis. You will likely be limited on how many transactions you can make per month without a penalty (typically six), and there may be a monthly minimum balance to maintain. Many business owners find using both a business checking and savings account can meet their banking needs.

How Long Does Opening a Business Bank Account Take?

If you open up a bank account — whether it’s checking, savings, or both — the time commitment needed is usually similar to that of opening a personal checking and savings account. It will likely take just a matter of minutes if you have the necessary information on hand.

•   You will need to provide some details about yourself, your business, and any additional business owners involved in your enterprise.

•   You’ll deposit funds.

•  Keep in mind it can take up to seven business days for final approval before you can actually access funds.


💡 Quick Tip: Banish bank fees. Open a new bank account with SoFi and you’ll pay no overdraft, minimum balance, or any monthly fees.

What Is Needed to Open a Business Bank Account?

Whether you open your bank account online or in person, you’ll need documentation of several personal and business details. Different banks may have their own verification requirements, depending on the type of business you own and the type of account you’re looking to open.

Here is a general list of what you might need to open a bank account for your business:

•   Your name, birthdate, and Social Security number

•   Mailing address and all contact information

•   What percentage you own of the business (anyone who owns 25% of the business or more will likely have to disclose personal details and identification)

•   A government-issued photo ID, such as driver’s license or passport

•   Business name and DBA (“doing business as” name) or trade name, if applicable

•   Business address and employer identification number (EIN) (Note: sometimes Social Security numbers suffice)

•   Industry/type of business

Depending on the type of business you own, you may be asked for the following documents:

•   Sole proprietorships may need the business name registration certificate and the business license.

•   Partnerships may need the partnership agreement, business name registration certificate, business license, and the state certificate of partnership.

•   Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) may need the articles of organization, LLC operating agreement, and business license.

•   Corporations may need articles of incorporation, corporate bylaws, and business licenses.

Recommended: Business Cash Management: Tips for Managing Cash

What to Look for in a Business Banking Account

Traditional banks, online banks, and credit unions all offer business bank accounts. All have different fee structures and provide different services. There are many fees and restrictions to consider when choosing a business banking account. But consider this overarching factor: online accounts are usually best for businesses that don’t need to make bank deposits.

Here’s what to compare when you’re looking for an account:

•   Monthly fees, such as account maintenance

•   Any minimum balance requirements

•   No-fee transactions

•   ATM access (for deposits and withdrawals)

•   Transfer, wiring, and payment capabilities

•   Incidental fees (such as, stop payment, overdraft, and nonsufficient funds)

•   Online and mobile banking tools

•   Additional features, such as invoicing, bill pay, or integrations with other business tools (especially tax reporting software)

Benefits of Opening a Business Banking Account

A business account can be a smart tool for a variety of reasons. Business owners may need to keep their personal and business accounts separate for tax and liability reasons. A business bank account also helps you establish a banking relationship that you can draw on in the future for lending or other services that may help your business grow. You will also establish a financial record that can come in handy when it comes time to file taxes and help your concern establish a good credit rating.

Recommended: How to Open a Business Checking Account

Cons of Opening a Business Banking Account

There are very few cases when a business banking account is a bad idea. Some very small sole proprietors may find they don’t need the extra fees and bookkeeping involved. But for most business owners, a separate account can be an efficient tool.

That said, one of the potential drawbacks of a business account is the cost of bank fees. High fees that you may not have anticipated can eat into your business profits. Some fees to look out for include:

•   Monthly fees

•   Transaction fees

•   Monthly balance transfer fees

•   Cash deposit fees

•   ATM fees

•   Wire transfer fees.

These fees add up fast. Be sure to check thoroughly what fees are involved and compare from one financial institution to another.

Pros of a Business Bank Account

Cons of a Business Bank Account

Keeps professional finances separate from personal May involve additional fees
Establishes a business relationship with a financial institution May involve more bookkeeping
Creates a financial record that can be useful for tax or credit-rating purposes

Choosing a Business Bank Account

Now that you’ve looked at fees, here are some other considerations as you choose your business bank account:

•   Banking online: Business bank accounts with online-only banks can be great for virtual businesses or any business that is not handling daily cash transactions. Many online banks do not require a monthly minimum balance.

•   Network: If you’re banking in person, be sure there is a conveniently located branch near your business. Also, find out how many no-fee ATMs are available in your area.

•   Electronic services: Check if online bill pay, electronic fund transfers, and other electronic services that can support your business are available for low or no fees.

•   Electronic payments: Does your bank accept Zelle and Venmo? If so, are there additional fees involved? How long will it take for transactions to post? Electronic payments are increasingly becoming the lifeblood of many businesses.

•   Software compatibility: Is the bank account you’re considering compatible with the bookkeeping software you use? That can make life easier when you need to track or get access to cash flow, outstanding receivables, and other items each month.

Other support: Does the bank offer small business loans, lines of credit, business credit cards, and other financial support for entrepreneurs that you may need in the future?

The Takeaway

While we’re on the topic of bank accounts, have you reviewed your personal accounts lately?

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

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.


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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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.

Our account fee policy is subject to change at any time.

Photo credit: iStock/Deagreez
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How to Save Money: 33 Easy Ways

You likely agree that saving money is a good idea. Putting extra cash aside every month can help you reach your financial goals, whether that’s building an emergency fund, going on vacation, or putting a down payment on a car or home.

But wanting to save money and actually doing it are two very different things. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day needs (and wants), and never gain any traction on savings. But don’t give up. We’ve got 33 tricks and tips that can make saving simple and pain-free. The best part — you can get started as soon as today.

Saving Money Doesn’t Have to Be Overwhelming

While spending less and saving more admittedly sounds painful, it doesn’t have to be that hard. You don’t have to go to the extremes like never shopping or having fun. Just making a few small changes in your day-to-day spending habits can actually add up to a big difference in how much you save each month.

Getting better with money is like any type of behavior modification — the key to lasting change is to make small, incremental changes that stick.

💡 Quick Tip: Help your money earn more money! Opening a bank account online often gets you higher-than-average rates.

33 Easy Ways to Save Money

What follows are 33 simple money-saving tips you can start working on right now.

1. Tracking Your Spending

One of the best ways to spend less and save more is to take a close look at where your money is currently going. You can track your spending by scanning your checking account and credit card statements over the last few months. But a simpler way is to use a budgeting app that syncs with your accounts and keeps track of what you spend in different categories in real time.

Once you have a big-picture idea of your cash flow, you can make adjustments. Spending a lot more on takeout than you thought? Commit to cooking one or two more nights per week. Is keeping up with fashion killing your budget? You may want to focus on spending less on clothing.

2. Selling Items You Never Use

An simple way to earn some extra cash is to periodically sell gently used items you no longer want or need. You might organize a yard sale or resell your items piecemeal via online marketplaces like OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay. If you have extra clothes, shoes, or accessories in good condition, consider listing them on Poshmark or thredUP. Selling your unwanted stuff is essentially getting paid for clearing out clutter.

3. Limiting Time Spent on Social Media

Watching influencers take luxury vacations and promote their favorite products can prompt you to spend more and live beyond your means. In fact, recent research finds that social media can significantly impact your finances — and not in a good way.

Putting a time limit on daily phone scrolling, on the other hand, can automatically lead to less spending and more saving. It also frees up time for activities that can truly enhance your life, like reading, exercising, seeing (real) friends, even taking up side hustle (and earning more money).

4. Setting Goals for Saving

When we do things with focus, intention, and a clear goal in mind, we usually have an easier time making it happen. Instead of saving for the sake of saving, consider setting specific savings goals with target dates and amounts. For instance, maybe you want to save $5,000 for a summer vacation or $2,000 for a new computer.

By setting a target date, you can work backward and figure out exactly how much you need to set aside regularly. For example, if you want a new laptop in eight months, and it will cost you about $2,000, you’ll need to save $250 a month or about $60 a week.

Earn up to 4.60% APY with a high-yield savings account from SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings account and earn up to 4.60% APY - with no minimum balance and no account fees.


5. Buying Generic Brands

Generic brands typically have the same ingredients and offer comparable quality to name brands but for a fraction of the price. For example, generic drugs usually cost 80% to 85% less than their brand-name counterparts. During your next supermarket or drugstore visit, try to go generic whenever it’s offered. Chances are, the only difference you’ll notice is less money draining out of your checking account.

6. Comparison Shopping

Spending a bit of extra time comparison shopping can help you scoop up the best deals and avoid paying full price. You can do it on your phone while you shop in-store. For online shopping, consider installing a browser extension that helps you find the lowest prices and automatically applies coupons and cash-back options at checkout. Many of these tools will also alert you when the price of an item you intend to purchase drops.

7. Automating Your Savings

Rather than transfer money to your savings account whenever you think of it, consider putting your savings on autopilot. Simply set up a recurring transfer from your checking account to your savings account for the same day each month (perhaps right after you get paid). It’s fine to start small. Even $50 can add up to a sizable sum over time, since the transfer happens every month without fail.

8. Making Monthly Debt Payments

While it’s not directly putting money into your bank account, making on-time, consistent payments on your debt means you’ll pay it off quicker. Once your debt is paid off, the money you are currently spending on principal/interest can go towards savings. In addition to your monthly minimum payments, try to put extra payments towards high-interest debt each month. You’ll whittle those balances down faster and save on interest.

9. Delaying Gratification

If you see something you want to buy but don’t actually need, consider putting off the purchase for at least one week (or ideally 30 days). Tell yourself that if you still want the item and can afford it after the waiting period, you can go ahead and buy it. Chances are good that once that waiting period is over, you’ll no longer have a burning need to purchase the item and simply move on.

10. Meal Planning

If it’s 6pm, you’re tired from a full day of work, and have no food in the house, you’ll probably seek out the path of least resistance — getting takeout or eating out. Your best defense against overspending on food is to sit down every Sunday to scan recipes and come up with a meal plan for the week (including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). You can then make a shopping list and hit the store.

Recommended: Examining the Price of Eating at Home Versus Eating Out

11. Avoiding the Daily Coffee

While it’s fine to occasionally splurge on a fancy coffee, getting your daily coffee out can add up, especially if you sometimes throw in a tempting pastry at the last minute. Even cutting back your coffee shop visits to just two or three times a week and brewing at home the other days can help you save a lot on coffee.

12. Making Repairs Instead of Buying New

While it is easier to replace items than fix them, the latter approach is better for both your wallet and the environment. Depending on the item, a repair could end up costing significantly less expensive than a replacement. Call around for quotes or ask for help from a tech-savvy or handy friend. Also see if there are “repair cafes” in your community. These are volunteer-run events where you can get items mended or fixed for free.

13. Using Cash Instead of Credit Cards

While credit cards are convenient, they make it all too easy to spend money. When you tap or swipe to make a purchase, you don’t really have a sense that you are giving up physical money. Switching to cash-only, even for just a month or so, can help you become more mindful about your spending. You might even try the envelope system. This involves labeling envelopes for each spending category, dividing your available cash for the month into the envelopes, and then only spending what’s in each envelope.

14. Switch to a New Cell Phone Carrier

When it comes to cell service, you don’t have to stick with the big names. Mobile virtual network operators (such as Mint Mobile, Consumer Cellular or Republic Wireless) typically offer the same quality of service at a much lower price tag. It’s also a good idea to look at your last cell phone bill to see how much data you actually use. You may be able to get a smaller plan to save even more.

15. Doing it Yourself Instead of Hiring Someone

Before you hire someone for a home repair or improvement job, like painting a room, re-caulking your tub or shower, or installing a water filter under your sink, consider whether or not you could do it yourself. Often, the cost of materials and a simple YouTube search will lead to significant savings.

16. Stacking Coupons

There are two major types of coupons: Store coupons, which are issued by a specific retailer and can only be used at those locations (you can find these in the paper and through a retailer’s app or mailer); and manufacturer’s coupons, which are found on manufacturer’s and coupon sites. By stacking them, you get an even deeper discount. Stacking coupons for an item that is on sale is a triple whammy that can bring you back to pre-inflation prices.

17. Canceling Some Subscriptions

Dropping subscriptions that you hardly use or are redundant is a simple money-saving move with a potentially big payoff, since these debits occur monthly. It’s worth scanning your checking account and credit card statements for recurring charges to see if there are any items you can cut. If you primarily watch one streaming service but pay for four, for example, canceling three can save you significant cash.

18. Using a Refillable Water Bottle

While keeping bottled water (and seltzers or sodas) on hand is convenient, the cost can add up, especially if you have a family. A simple way to spend less at the grocery store each week is to give each person in your household their own reusable water bottle. You can then take bottled drinks off your shopping list. This will not only save money but also reduce plastic waste.

19. Taking Advantage of Free Resources

You might be surprised at how many things you can actually get for free. For example, your library can grant you access to movies, books, activities, and in some cases, passes to state parks and other nearby attractions. You might also join a Buy Nothing group. These are hyper-local virtual communities where neighbors can give and receive essentially anything for free.

20. Canceling Your Gym Membership

If you’re becoming a stranger to your gym, consider canceling your membership. Even if you got a great deal, gyms debit money out of your bank account every month, whether you go or not. You might look for alternative, low-cost ways to get physically fit, such as walking/jogging/biking around your neighborhood, lifting free weights at home, and taking hikes.

21. Saving Change

A nickel here and a quarter there might not seem like much, but if you start dropping all your spare change into a jar every day, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll accumulate. If you rarely carry or pay in cash, consider collecting digital change. Many money-saving apps automatically round up your purchase to the nearest dollar, then transfer the difference into your savings account.

💡 Quick Tip: Want a simple way to save more everyday? When you turn on Roundups, all of your debit card purchases are automatically rounded up to the next dollar and deposited into your online savings account.

22. Skipping Alcohol at Restaurants

Ordering a cocktail or a glass of wine (or three) when out to dinner can significantly inflate your bill. Consider getting water or a non-alcoholic beverage instead, then perhaps having a glass of wine when you get home. If you must drink, local beer, “house wine” options, and happy hour cocktails are usually the cheapest options.

23. Finding Free Family Entertainment

Taking the family to concerts, movies, and immersive art exhibits can add up quickly. Instead, look for free or low-cost community activities. These offerings typically spike during the summer months and around holidays. To stay abreast of upcoming goings-on, you can sign up for newsletters or follow social media accounts of your local community, recreation centers, and libraries.

24. Doing a No-Spend Challenge

A simple way to save (potentially hundreds) is to do a no-spend month. This involves spending money only on essentials for 30 days. Before you begin, it’s a good idea to set parameters for what you will and won’t spend money on and then commit to the plan. It’s only a month! By the end of the challenge, you may realize there were certain things you didn’t really miss and rethink your approach to spending.

25. Reducing Your Energy Use

You may be able to significantly lower your utility bills with just a few tweaks to your habits and home. Try taking shorter showers, fixing any drippy faucets or constantly running toilets, turning off lights whenever you leave a room, and washing your clothes in cold water. Once you see a difference in your monthly bills, you’ll be encouraged to carry on and find more ways to cut energy use.

26. Adjusting Your Tax Withholdings.

If you typically get a refund after doing your taxes, you’re essentially giving the government an interest-free loan. That’s money that could be working for you by earning interest in a high-yield savings account. Revisit your withholdings and put that extra money into your own bank account.

27. Taking a Staycation Instead of a Vacation

It may sound boring, but you’d be surprised how much a staycation can feel like a fun and luxurious getaway. The key is to take a complete break from your daily routine, change up the scenery, and spend time doing things you truly enjoy. This can provide the respite you’ve been longing for — minus the headaches of travel — and for a fraction of the price.

28. Finding Cheap Ways to Reward Yourself

If you focus too hard on saving and never on fun, you might end up feeling deprived and give up on the whole project. Instead, allow yourself to celebrate small money wins and life events on the cheap. For instance, for every X amount you’ve put away into your emergency fund, you might reward yourself with a fancy coffee, a $5 “spree” at the dollar store, or getting a treat at your favorite ice cream shop.

29. Avoiding Bank Fees

Overdraft fees, ATM fees, and monthly maintenance fees can make your bank account balance move in the wrong direction — down instead of up. To ditch costly overdraft fees, keep regular tabs on your checking account to make sure you have enough to cover your debits and checks. To eliminate other fees, you may want to look for a bank account that doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees and ATM fees.

30. Haggling

Negotiating prices isn’t just for buying cars or houses. You can haggle for just about any product or service — your cable and cell phone bills, things you buy in stores, and even your rent. The key to success is to come to the negotiation prepared (do all the research you may need in advance), speak with confidence, and start off the conversation with the question, “What flexibility do you have?”

Recommended: 15 Creative Ways to Save Money

31. Saving Your Windfalls

It can be tempting to go hog wild and spend your windfalls. But next time you get a work bonus, cash gift, or tax refund (which you actually want to avoid, see tip #26), consider spending a small percentage of it on something frivolous and fun, then putting the rest into your savings account. This can help you reach your savings goals significantly faster.

Recommended: The Fastest Ways to Get a Tax Refund

32. Timing Your Purchases Right

If you want to buy something that you don’t need right away, it’s worth researching the best times of the year for deals and sales. For example, you can often find great deals on cars in May, October, November and December; clothes are typically cheapest at the end of any season; and the end and the very beginning of the year are generally the best times to buy appliances.

33. Switching to a High-Yield Savings Account

If your extra cash is sitting in a traditional savings account, you’re missing out on a free source of extra cash. A high-yield savings account is a type of savings that you can open at many banks and credit unions. But it differs from a traditional savings account in that it offers an annual percentage yield (APY) that’s 10 to 20 times higher. If, for example, you put $25,000 into a savings account with a 4.60% APY, you’ll earn an extra $177.78 by the end of the year — just for letting the money sit in the bank.

Saving Money with SoFi

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


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

Why is saving money important?

Saving money enables you to build an emergency fund that protects you against the unexpected. It also allows you to work towards — and achieve — future goals, such as buying a car or home, sending your kids to college, and being able to one day retire.

How can I find the motivation to save money?

To find the motivation to save money, it helps to set specific goals. Think about the things you want to buy or do in the next year or two and how much these things will cost. You can then determine how much you need to set aside each month to reach your goals. Watching your savings account balance go up can also help keep you motivated.

What are the consequences of not saving money?

When you don’t have a cushion of savings, any bump in the road (such as a car or home repair, trip to the ER, or loss of income) can force you to run up credit card debt. This can lead to a debt spiral that can take months, if not years, to recover from. Not saving also means you won’t make any progress towards your financial goals and simply continue living paycheck to paycheck.


Photo credit: iStock/Chaninan Boongate

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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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.


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.

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Average Grocery Budget for Family of 3 in 2024

Groceries are one of the biggest budget items on most families’ lists. Of course, how much you spend will depend on where you live, what you eat, and what your spending habits are. As food costs increase, so may the grocery budget for a family of three.

As you create or revise a monthly budget, it can help to look at how your food spending compares to other families.

American Average Grocery Budget for Family of 3

Each month, the USDA publishes a report showing the average costs of groceries at three price levels: budget, moderate, and liberal. Here’s a look at the middle-of-the-road spending for a family of three in 2023. Notice how the average cost of groceries rose more than $87 over the course of the year.

Month (in 2023) Average Cost of Groceries
January $975.00
February $975.00
March $967.50
April $970.90
May $976.70
June $977.80
July $981.30
August $981.00
September $980.10
October $983.20
November $977.00
December $975.70



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

How Much to Budget for Groceries Per Person

No matter the size of your family, your grocery budget can depend largely on the cost of food where you live. For instance, according to data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, people in Hawaii, Alaska, and New York tend to pay more for food than residents of Texas, Wyoming, and Michigan. This means $700 per month for groceries may be more reasonable in Texas than in, say, Hawaii.

Creating a household budget and aren’t sure how much to allocate for food? A good rule of thumb is to set aside 10% of your income for groceries and other food costs. So if you take home around $5,000 a month, plan on budgeting $500 for food.

However, you may need to adjust that percentage, especially if you have a larger family or live in an area with a higher cost of living. It may be wise to track how much you spend in any given month on food and see what a reasonable budget would look like for you and your family.

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How to Prioritize Your Grocery Spending

What does it mean to prioritize your grocery spending? It’s simply a way to ensure you’re making the most every dollar when you’re grocery shopping on a budget.

One strategy to consider is to set aside money each month automatically so you have enough to spend on food. Another option is to put groceries as one of the top line items in your monthly budget so you don’t forget to set aside money for it first.

It’s also important to scrutinize how much you spend on food and the choices you make in the grocery store aisles. It could be that your grocery budget is fine, but you may need to reel in how much you spend on certain ingredients or find cheaper alternatives.

Above all, though, make sure you settle on a budget that works for you and your family. Be sure it’s enough to cover what’s important to you all while still sticking to your larger spending plan.

How to Stay Within Your Grocery Budget

It’s easy to give in to temptation at the grocery store, but rest assured, staying within budget is possible. These tips can help:

Shop at discount retailers

Buying your groceries at lower-priced retailers can add up to significant savings, even better if you’re able to purchase ingredients you need on sale. Some retailers may have rewards programs, helping you earn free or heavily discounted groceries.

•   Make pricey purchases go the distance: Meat or related products like eggs tend to cost more than other ingredients. Look into recipes that help you stretch a pack of meat or carton of eggs over several meals.

•   Use what you have: Before heading to the grocery store, go through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to see what you already have. Besides preventing food waste, this also helps you avoid purchasing items you don’t need.

•   Buy store brands: In many cases, store-brand items cost much less than brand-name items. The quality for generic items may also be similar.

•   Use coupons: Though it may not seem like it’ll make a huge difference, using coupons or grocery store rebates can help make every cent count. Be sure to do some comparison shopping before you hit the checkout counter. Even with discounts, you may still come out ahead with generic or store-brand versions.

•   Embrace meal planning: Making plans can help you estimate your food costs for the week and ensure you only purchase items you need.

•   Do a spending audit regularly: Tally up how much you’ve spent and what you’ve spent it on. Look for places to cut back on spending, such as purchasing pricey ingredients that can only be used once.

Recommended: Does Buying in Bulk Save Money?

How to Budget for Restaurants and Dining Out

Eating out is a luxury, but it can also be done on a budget. Consider the following tips the next time you’re considering a night out on the town:

•   Decide how many times a month you want to eat out: Knowing approximately where and how many times you go out in a given month will help you make a realistic budget.

•   Consider drinking only water: While it’s tempting to order fancy drinks when you’re out, sticking with water can help you and your family save money.

•   Look for weekly specials or discounts: In an attempt to earn your business, many restaurants will offer specials, such as free kids meals or discounted menu items. These deals usually happen on a weekday, though on occasion you may find discounts during restaurants’ busier times as well.

•   Budget for tipping: Paying for your meal isn’t the only cost involved in dining out. Make sure to leave enough room so you can tip your server or bartender.

Recommended: Examining the Price of Eating at Home vs Eating Out

Tips for Getting Help if You Can’t Afford to Buy Groceries

Sometimes, budgeting will only get you so far. If you need help with food and other necessities, there are some organizations and agencies you may be able to turn to for temporary help:

•   Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): If you can meet the program’s eligibility requirements, the government-run program will give you a monthly stipend to spend on food for you and your family.

•   Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): The WIC program is for eligible pregnant women or mothers who have infants up to age 5 who are at risk of not receiving enough nutrients. Note that you’ll need to apply for this government-funded program.

•   USDA National Hunger Hotline: If you’re facing food insecurity, you can call the hotline daily from 7am to 10pm ET to find resources like local meal sites or food banks.

•   Local food pantries: Many religious organizations, colleges, and other local nonprofits may have food pantries. Call ahead to see when you can receive assistance.


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

The Takeaway

Budgeting for grocery costs isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort. It may be worth considering looking at average costs in your area as a guideline for how much to budget and looking at ways to save on food to ensure you’re not spending more than you can afford to. You may also want to consider using online tools like a money tracker app so you can maximize every dollar you make.

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

With SoFi, you can keep tabs on how your money comes and goes.

FAQ

What is a reasonable grocery budget?

Most experts recommend budgeting around 10% of your income to food costs.

How much should a family of four spend on groceries?

Depending on where you live, the average cost of groceries for a family of four can average from $1,044.70 to $1,568.10, according to data from USDA.

How much does an average family spend on groceries?

The average family spends about 11.3% on groceries, according to USDA data.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

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

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

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

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