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How Much Is Pet Insurance?

It’s not unusual for people to think of a pet as a member of their family. (There may even be days when a cat, dog, or bird is by far the household favorite.)

So of course those pet owners want to be sure they’re providing the best possible care for their animals without having to worry about what a trip to the veterinarian might cost.

Pet insurance offers a way to help pay for that care—whether it’s a routine checkup or an emergency. However, just like health insurance for the humans in the family, choosing the right pet insurance policy can be complicated.

There’s a wide range of coverage options and policy costs to consider. And pet insurance may not be the right fit for every pet owner.

What Is Pet Insurance?

Though it has a lot in common with human health insurance coverage, a pet policy actually falls under the property and casualty insurance classification.

It has been around for almost 100 years, but has only been available in the United States since 1982, when a subsidiary of Nationwide sold its first policy to cover the dog that played Lassie on TV.

And it’s growing in popularity: The North American Pet Health Insurance Association reports that the industry has seen double-digit increases in the past five years, with an average U.S. annual growth rate of 22.6%.

Most of the 2.5 million pets insured are dogs (83% in 2019) and cats (17%). But some insurers may offer coverage for birds, fish, and other pets.

Pet policies are designed to protect pet owners from the high cost of taking their animal to the vet. (If a pet bites another animal or person, those costs typically are covered by homeowner’s insurance.)

There are a few types of pet insurance. Coverage can be limited to accident-only care for an animal, or it can be more comprehensive and include treatment for injuries and illness.

Some policies also include wellness costs, such as vaccinations, dental care, and medical tests. A few include extra benefits, such as coverage for pet care when an owner has an emergency, or coverage for vet care when the owner travels out of the country with the pet.

But preexisting conditions and cosmetic procedures usually aren’t covered. And policies tend to come with a waiting period of 10 to 30 days, which means if a pet is diagnosed with an illness or is injured before that time is up, treatment for that condition won’t be covered.

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How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The average cost of an accident and illness pet policy was $48.78 per month for a dog in 2019, or $585.40 per year, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. For a cat, the average cost was $29.16 per month, or $349.92 per year. Adding wellness care and other benefits can increase the cost of a policy. So can the deductible, co-pay, and maximum coverage amounts the pet owner chooses.

The most common co-pay in the United States is 80%, which means the insured pet owner can be reimbursed for up to 80% of a qualifying claim.

The cost of coverage also may be affected by where the pet owner lives. In cities or regions where veterinary practices generally charge more for office visits or treatments, the cost of pet insurance may be higher.

And coverage may cost more based on a pet’s breed and age as well. Because some purebred cats and dogs may be more susceptible to certain medical conditions, they can be more expensive to insure.

Age is a factor. The older a pet is, the more it may cost to get coverage—both at the time of enrollment and as the pet ages. (It may be difficult to even find a company that will insure a much older pet.)

The good news is, there are no “out-of-network” provider charges to worry about with pet insurance. As long as the pet owner takes Fido or Fluffy to a licensed vet, and the expenses for the visit qualify, it’s just a matter of filing a claim. Some insurance companies may pay the vet directly, but most reimburse the pet owner after the claim is submitted and verified.

How Can Pet Owners Find Prices and Plans?

Because every pet and every plan is a little bit different, it can pay to do some research.

An increasing number of employers now offer pet insurance in their benefits packages, which could mean a lower premium. So pet owners may want to check with their human resources department to see what their company has to offer.

It’s also easy to get an online price quote from many of the companies that offer pet insurance. A quick search will turn up several well-known insurers (Nationwide, Progressive, Geico, Allstate) that offer coverage, along with insurance companies that are strictly for pets. The insurer will ask a few questions (the pet’s name, age, gender, breed, any preexisting conditions), and then provide quotes for three or more plans, along with some details about the benefits those plans include.

It also may help to have an idea of what it costs to treat common (and not-so-common) problems a certain type of pet might encounter.

For example, the analysts at ValuePenguin found that the average cost of a vet visit for a dog with a common condition like a skin infection is $176, and for an ear infection, $149. Those bills might be daunting but not necessarily devastating for a family’s monthly budget. But canine chemotherapy could cost more than $1,000 a month, according to PetCareRX.com . And the bill for an entire course of treatment could be as much as $10,000.

The same thing goes for cats. An occasional visit to the vet for a urinary tract condition ($295) or an upper respiratory infection ($219) might be manageable. But the cost for a course of cat chemotherapy could be a budget-busting $10,000.

Planning for those costs could help pet owners decide if insurance is something they should consider. (Your vet also may be able to provide some helpful information that pertains to your specific pet.)

Too busy to do a deep dive into pet care costs and insurance options? There are plenty of online reviews and “best of” lists from folks who already have done the work. (As with any review or list, pet owners may find up-to-date information from an unbiased source to be the most useful.)

So, Is It Worth It?

As with so many financial decisions, there are pros and cons to purchasing a pet health policy.

Insurance may take some of the stress out of making treatment decisions for a beloved pet based on the ability to pay. Although there still could be out-of-pocket expenses to consider, it might help avoid what the pet insurance association calls “economic euthanasia,” when a pet owner makes the heartbreaking choice to put down a sick or injured animal because the required care is just too expensive.

Insurance also might help a pet owner sidestep the temptation to use a high-interest credit card to pay for care.

Another plus: Because policies can be customized, it may be possible to find one that provides basic coverage and still works within the family budget. And pet owners who love their vet won’t have to switch to a new provider.

But pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, and premiums also may be higher for breeds that are vulnerable to costly health conditions. The cost also goes up as an animal gets older, which is when many pets start having problems that require expensive treatments.

And, as is the case for most types of insurance, if policyholders don’t use their benefits, they don’t get their money back. So, for example, if the pet owner opts for an accident and illness policy and the pet stays healthy for several years, the insurance bills could end up costing more than the vet bills.

The Takeaway

If you aren’t sure if pet insurance is right for you, it might help to look at how the cost would fit with your current finances.

If money is tight, is there something you could or would give up in order to pay for a pet policy? A checking and savings account with SoFi can help you manage your overall budget and determine if you can afford pet health insurance, or if you’d have to make some adjustments to make it work.

It’s also important to make sure that other aspects of your life are insured. SoFi Protect offers insurance plans for your home and car, plus life insurance plans to help you protect your loved ones in the future.

Learn more about reliable insurance options with SoFi Protect.



SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
FINRA / SIPC .
SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank.
SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
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Home & Renters: Lemonade Insurance Agency (LIA) is acting as the agent of Lemonade Insurance Company in selling this insurance policy, in which it receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells.

Ladder policies are issued in New York by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (Policy form # MN-26) and in all other states and DC by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, MN (Policy form # ICC20P-AZ100 and # P-AZ100). Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to offer life insurance in the state of New York. Coverage and pricing is subject to eligibility and underwriting criteria. SoFi Agency and its affiliates do not guarantee the services of any insurance company. The California license number for SoFi Agency is 0L13077 and for Ladder is OK22568. Ladder, SoFi and SoFi Agency are separate, independent entities and are not responsible for the financial condition, business, or legal obligations of the other. Social Finance, Inc. (SoFi) and Social Finance Life Insurance Agency, LLC (SoFi Agency) do not issue, underwrite insurance or pay claims under LadderLifeTM policies. SoFi is compensated by Ladder for each issued term life policy. SoFi offers customers the opportunity to reach Ladder Insurance Services, LLC to obtain information about estate planning documents such as wills. Social Finance, Inc. (“SoFi”) will be paid a marketing fee by Ladder when customers make a purchase through this link. All services from Ladder Insurance Services, LLC are their own. Once you reach Ladder, SoFi is not involved and has no control over the products or services involved. The Ladder service is limited to documents and does not provide legal advice. Individual circumstances are unique and using documents provided is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice.
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8 Ways to Stay Motivated to Save Money

It’s nice to have a little financial cushion in your bank account. But, finding the motivation to save money can be challenging. Here are nine tips for finding your own money motivation and stacking those extra dollars in your savings account.

Finding the ‘Why’

Saving just to save may not be enough for some to stay motivated. Instead, it could be helpful for people to figure out their own personal “why.” Why are they saving, what are they saving for, and how long do they need to save to get it?

It can be easy to start saving and lose motivation when life gets in the way (the bills stack up, emergencies happen, the car won’t start, and on and on and on). However, if a person has a reason for saving in the back of their mind it may be easier to stay the course.

By the way, a person’s savings motivation can be for literally anything their heart desires. Sure, it can be to save for retirement, to buy a house, or to start a family, but it can also be to go on vacation, renovate the kitchen, or to just have enough in the bank so they can have peace of mind. Make it whatever you want.

When finding money motivation, it can be useful to try to think about financial priorities. A person needs to pay for food, shelter, and clothing, but do they need to have a new phone? Or a new car? A new designer watch or the latest gadget? Before setting a budget to and starting a new savings journey, a person should think about their own personal priorities.

Again, it’s a totally individual choice, so each person will have to sit down and think about what matters most to them. Perhaps having an entertainment budget for attending events matters to their happiness, or eating out at restaurants once a week makes them feel more connected to their community. It’s up to everyone to figure out their own priorities and build a budget around that.

Building a Budget

To help clarify savings goals, try building a personal budget around the priorities mentioned above. A personal budget makes a great road map for the future and can help keep people motivated to save because they know exactly where their money is going, and how it can help them get the things they want.

To create a budget, first, start tracking all personal spending. To do so, gather all account information and sift through a few month’s worth of expenses.

Next up—determining how to categorize expenses. Getting too granular can make it challenging to track. Consider keeping it generic with categories like “groceries,” “shopping,” “entertainment,” “health,” “home,” “bills,” “medical,” “car payment,” etc. Try to make sure every dollar spent has a home somewhere.

Then, plot out the next few months of anticipated expenses and see how much cash is left over. This can go into a savings account. If a person wants to save more they can take a critical eye at their spending and see where things can be cut. For example, not using that gym membership? Cut it. No longer reading that magazine subscription? Bye-bye. Every little bit can help.

Saving Little by Little

Once a person’s priorities are in focus and their budget is set it’s time to actually start saving. Yes, it can be thrilling to drop a whole heap of cash into a savings account, but the thrill can wear off after a while. Instead, try saving little by little. This way, a person won’t feel the pinch and it won’t feel like they are missing out month over month on the fun stuff just to save for a hypothetical future.

One strategy is to set up automatic transfers, so that money is saved without much effort. This can help a savings account add up without feeling like an effort, which could have major effects on a person’s motivations.

Try Walking Away From Impulse Spending

There are a lot of spending triggers in this world. Sales, pretty items, shiny objects, nights out, the list goes on and on. Sometimes, the best thing people can do is walk away before purchasing or saying “yes.” Take a night out with friends as one example. Before immediately responding, people could say “can I get back to you?” put down the phone and think about if they really want to attend or if it’s just habit. Set an alarm for 30 minutes and decide when the timer is up. Allowing yourself a minute to step back, can help people be intentional with their spending.

For bigger purchases, people can try the 30-day rule. It’s a financial strategy that helps people regain control over impulse buys. Basically, if a person sees something they want to buy but don’t necessarily need, they just stop and walk away. Not just for a minute, but for a full 30 days.

Next, the person writes down the item they want to buy and where they can find it, along with the price. Put it away and set a calendar reminder 30 days from that date.

At the end of that timeframe, if a person really still wants the item they can return and purchase it. However, in that month a person may no longer feel the urge to buy or may have forgotten the item altogether. As a bonus, if a person gets to the end of the 30-day block and decides they no longer need the item they could price match the cost and put that amount into a savings account to use the money toward their priority list instead.

Setting Short-Term Savings Goals

Saving for long-term goals, like retirement, is important, but don’t overlook the small stuff. Setting a savings goal can help people know there is an end in sight. One place to start is establishing an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund can provide stability should you run into, well, an emergency.

Other shorter-term goals might include things like new furniture, a vacation, or a renovation. Having these smaller goals can make saving for something as grandiose as retirement seem less intimidating.

Whatever it is, find a number and stick to it. Then, once a person hits that goal, they can set another and start the entire process over again.

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Remembering to Reevaluate Every Now and Then

After setting a priority, budget, and goal, it’s important to also set reminders to reevaluate those markers from time to time too. One way to do this could be making it a new year’s resolution to look at money goals and see if they are still in line with your personal goals.

Life changes and finances may need to change with it. It’s OK to reallocate the money already saved and put it in a new bucket.

Perhaps someone began saving for a vacation, but had a baby along the way and wants to start saving for their college education instead. Or maybe someone switched jobs within the last year and is making more money now. They can readjust their budgets and savings plans to fit their new financial outlook. The same goes for those who may have lost work too. Reevaluating, reprioritizing, and reallocating can help make financial change more manageable.

Telling Others About Savings Goals

Sometimes, the best thing one can do to stay motivated is to let others know about their plans. A person can let their inner circle in on their savings goals and priorities and ask that those trusted few help them stay on track.

By letting people in on plans, the person can also help avoid any tricky situations, like having to say “no” to events, parties, or nights out because people already know they are trying to save. The inner-circle could also help keep the person on the straight and narrow when it comes to wants vs. needs and help to keep financial goals in sight.

Organizing Your Savings

Being able to see your savings grow is perhaps the best money motivator out there. There are a number of financial apps that can help people see their finances all in one place. Some even offer visual representations, such as bar charts and graphs, so people can see just how much their savings have grown over time.

For those looking to visualize their savings, organize budgets, and set savings goals all in one place, SoFi Checking and Savings® could be one option to get started.

Users with SoFi Checking and Savings can create multiple financial vaults within their account. This allows users to save, store, or get cash out of one single convenient account.

SoFi Checking and Savings users can create their own customized vaults and give each one a goal-specific name like “New Kitchen” or “Rainy Day Fund.” Then, users can track their progress right in the SoFi app whenever they wish.

Users can also set up direct deposits into individual vaults to make saving a cinch. Perhaps best of all, the account also comes with no account fees and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, which could make saving even easier.

The Takeaway

It can be easy to lose motivation when saving money. Here’s a brief recap of tips included in this article that could be helpful for keeping savings goals on track.

1. Figure out your “why.” Once you know why you want to save you’ll find your money motivation.
2. Build a budget. Once you know how much you’re spending you can figure out how much you can save.
3. Save little by little. Starting small can add up to big savings in the future. Try saving a little each week via direct deposit to not feel the pinch.
4. Try the 30-day rule. Really having trouble saving? Try walking away from needless purchases for a full 30 days. If you still want it after that time it’s OK to buy.
5. Set a short-term savings goal. Having a goal helps to motivate people. Set your financial savings goal and work toward it. Once you hit it, make a new goal.
6. Reevaluate regularly. Life changes, so should your finances. Reevaluate your money motivations, goals, and finances on a regular basis.
7. Share your goals. Tell a few trusted people what you’re working toward so they can support you along the way.
8. Visualize the journey. Keep your money in plain sight with apps like SoFi, which allows users to categorize their savings in vaults and see their finances all in one place.

Looking to get motivated to save more money? Learn more about getting started with a checking and savings account with SoFi.



SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How to Apply for Unemployment

The unemployment benefits system is a lifeline for those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own and need help before they can find another one.

In 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic arrived, the unemployment system changed more in a few months than it had in the past few decades. Unemployment was higher than at any time since the Great Depression. Tens of millions of people filed for assistance. And the benefits system expanded to cover those whose jobs would not have traditionally included them.

Not only are there now different systems for “gig workers” and former full-time employees, but every state has its own rules for eligibility and different procedures for getting and maintaining benefits. There are, however, some basic guidelines for how to file for unemployment no matter what state you are in.

What Is Unemployment?

There is a broad mosaic of social programs designed to assist people with low incomes or no income with either money or “in kind” benefits—specific goods and services as opposed to cash.

While some of these programs are for those with low incomes, like SNAP (otherwise known as food stamps) and Medicaid, others have different eligibility requirements, like Social Security for workers who are at least 62 and disability insurance for those who can’t work because of a specific condition. Unemployment insurance is meant to assist a specific group that does not capture all of those who aren’t working.

In normal times, about 4 million to 5.5 million people leave their jobs every month, with under 2 million a month classified as “layoffs and discharges,” and 1.5 million to 3.5 million classified as “quits” (before the latest economic crisis, the “quit” rate rose as the labor market improved). A portion of those who lose their jobs are eligible for unemployment benefits.

Filing for Unemployment

The first question to ask is if you’re eligible for benefits in the first place.

Typically, to be eligible for unemployment you need to have worked a salaried job, where you earned the benefits. Employers pay federal unemployment tax to fund the unemployment account of the federal government. Businesses also may have to pay state unemployment taxes.

By working a set amount of time—it varies from state to state—for an employer that pays that tax, you become eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

The first part of eligibility relates to how you work. The second part relates to how you stop working.

Unemployment is designed to assist those who are no longer working “through no fault of (their) own,” according to the Department of Labor. While each state’s exact rules are different, the general guideline is that you are only eligible for unemployment if you’ve lost your job for economic reasons on the part of your employer as opposed to having been terminated for cause or having left voluntarily.

If you meet the two conditions, you can usually then apply for unemployment benefits from your state.

There are some basic commonalities among the states: You will need to provide your address, phone number, address of your former employer, Social Security number, and the dates that you were employed by your former employer.

How Much Will You Receive?

It varies by state, but the average maximum benefit before the COVID-19 pandemic was $333 a week, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Your benefit is based on your former wages, with higher-wage workers typically getting more benefits, up to some cap.

Through July 2020, $600 a week was added to unemployment benefits. After that the federal government used a different program to fund states, adding $300 a week to their existing unemployment recipients, but the funding was limited.

Then in late December 2020, a signed relief package reinstated the weekly federal enhancement that expired in July, this time at $300 per week for 11 weeks, to help long-term unemployed people, self-employed people, and gig workers.

What’s the PUA Program?

After passage of the CARES Act, the federal government helped set up a parallel unemployment program for workers who had lost income because of the economic crisis but were ineligible for unemployment benefits because they were self-employed or didn’t have the exact work history that would make them eligible for unemployment insurance.

The system for other workers who lost their jobs is called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA.

PUA benefits were targeted to those who were not eligible for regular unemployment benefits and were unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work because of health or economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The relief package signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, extended the PUA program by up to 11 weeks.

It also extended a different program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, by 11 weeks. The PEUC program allows states to provide up to 13 weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to those who have already used all available state benefits.

Finally, the relief measures provided a supplement of $100 per week to certain “mixed earners” who earned at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income but were eligible for regular unemployment assistance, not PUA.

Which Kind of Benefits Are You Eligible For?

This is a complicated question that may have to be decided case by case by your state’s unemployment officials, but typically if you receive a Form W-2 and lose your job through a layoff, you will be eligible for unemployment Insurance, while if you receive a Form 1099, you are typically self-employed and might be eligible for PUA benefits.

When to Apply

As soon as possible. The process is not always smooth and easy during normal times, and so you want to apply as soon as you can gather all relevant information and documents.

Even when the system isn’t overloaded in your state, there are some delays built into the process that certifies your eligibility before you start receiving benefits.

How to Apply

This varies state by state, and you can look up your state’s procedures or where to apply either through the Department of Labor or through a database maintained by the National Employment Law Project.

You typically apply online or on the phone.

In the months following the massive unemployment spikes in March and April, some states shifted toward in-person applications because their normal systems were overloaded.

How Long Does It Take to Receive Benefits?

The Department of Labor says it typically takes “two to three weeks” to receive benefits, but there have been instances of people waiting much longer.

Even if it takes a long time to start receiving benefits, you are supposed to receive benefits for the full amount of time from when you successfully applied (in some states there’s a one-week waiting period), not just from when you started receiving benefits.

How Will You Receive Benefits?

Once again, there are variations among states about the form in which your unemployment benefits are received.

Some states offer direct deposit, meaning you can receive your unemployment benefits as you would your paycheck, directly into your bank account.

Others disburse benefits through a debit card mailed by the state.

One benefit of using a debit card is that an unemployment recipient does not need a bank account in order to access benefits. While this is convenient for those without bank accounts, there are some downsides, like limits on ATMs that can be used without fees, and the general limitation on which merchants accept debit cards.

Using a debit card also puts you at the mercy of the mail before you can start using benefits. If you were getting paid from your job via direct deposit, you will likely receive your benefits faster.

How Can You Remain Eligible for Benefits?

Again, this varies by state, but generally you have to have some record of seeking work and being willing to accept a job that is offered. States will typically have some kind of form or portal that you are required to fill out or log in to show that you are looking for work.

Some states have modified or suspended these requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. California no longer requires unemployment recipients to search for work; other states still do.

How to Apply for PUA

The application process, again, varies state by state and is a bit different than the process for applying for unemployment insurance benefits.

In some states it may take longer to receive PUA benefits, as the process requires more work to certify.

How Long Do Benefits Last?

Typically unemployment benefits last, at most, 26 weeks, around six months, while several provide fewer weeks of benefits and some states may be a smidgen longer.

Benefit extensions in 2020-21 stretched benefits to up to 59 weeks, depending on a number of factors.

Putting Proceeds to Work

Whether you’re working or looking for your next gig, opening an online bank account with SoFi can help with budgeting and even deliver rewards.

SoFi Checking and Savings® has no in-network ATM fees and no account fees, so you don’t have to pay to access your own money when you need it.

Want to track all of your dollars? Consider SoFi Checking and Savings.



SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
FINRA / SIPC .
SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank.
SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
The SoFi Money® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Money™ Mastercard® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Plus®, or NYCE® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
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Are You a Shopaholic? Signs to Know

I shop, therefore I am. Artist Barbara Kruger took a cue from René Descartes to create an iconic image that parodies consumerism.

But let’s face it: Buying stuff—a new outfit, toy, or just about anything—can be thrilling. Clicking “purchase,” waiting days for your new item’s arrival, and finally getting to rip open the packaging can bring on an endorphin rush.

It’s an all-American pastime. Consumer spending recently reached $14.5 trillion.

This joyous purchasing loop, though, can turn into a nightmare for people who become shopaholics.

It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between making one impulse buy for a bit of retail therapy and having a genuine compulsion. Here are a few signs of shopaholic tendencies and how to stop the urges.

What Are the Signs of a Shopaholic?

There are people who merely like to shop. Then there are people who compulsively buy because of a disorder known as oniomania. As the journal World Psychiatry explained, oniomania, otherwise known as compulsive buying disorder, is characterized by excessive shopping behavior that leads to “distress or impairment.” The journal noted that those living with it often have a preoccupation with shopping and have a sense of emotional relief after buying something.

Typically CBD comes with what doctors call “psychiatric comorbidity,” meaning the person usually has another disorder, such as anxiety or a mood disorder. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the journal says compulsive shopping may run in families.

The prevalence of compulsive buying is a bit unknown, though researchers estimate it to be between 1% and 8% worldwide. While there are no standardized treatments, there are signs and symptoms to look out for so people can become aware of a potentially dangerous pattern. Here are some.

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Purchasing Unnecessary Things

Shopaholics often buy items on a whim, and it’s often an item they don’t need. Psychology Today notes that true shopaholics tend to spend money without reflecting on whether they need the item. That is because it’s not about the item, but rather the euphoria experienced when purchasing the item. This pattern can be used by a shopaholic to fill a need or negate a negative emotion.

The emotional high, though, can be quickly replaced by guilt about spending money without need. (Not sure where your shopping tendencies fall? Take our quiz to find out.)

Accumulating Unopened Goods

Another sign of a problem is leaving unopened boxes or bags in the closet or under the bed. Those living with CBD can develop hoarding tendencies as they accumulate more goods than they need and continue buying.

Concealing Shopping Habits

People living with CBD will often try to conceal their shopping habits. This could be because they feel shame, or it could be because they are attempting to hide their purchases from a loved one.

Feeling Regret

People with CBD may feel remorse after purchasing an item they do not need. They might understand that they didn’t need the item or can’t afford it, or they perceive the purchase as giving in. But remorse can, in turn, force the person back into a negative cycle, as one way a true shopaholic sees a fix is to buy more things.

Treating Compulsive Shopping

There are no standardized treatments for those living with the disorder, but they can learn to cope. As with many disorders, the first step is for a person to recognize that she or he has a problem. Here are a few ways to recognize and improve shopping patterns.

Tracking Emotional Responses

One way to figure out personal triggers is to track them in a diary. Any time a person feels compelled to buy something, they can write down the time and surrounding details.

They may be able to look back and find they were triggered by an emotional event with a friend or family member or feel anxious about events at work or elsewhere. This lends insight into what drives them to want to buy and hopefully helps them avoid those triggers in the future.

Seeking Expert Help

If a shopping compulsion is suspected, it may be a good idea to seek expert help. This can include therapy or psychiatric assistance. A professional may be able to help track triggers and identify any psychiatric comorbidities, as mentioned above. It’s never a bad idea to seek help if you feel you may need it.

Delaying Gratification

Another way to tell the difference between a simple habit and a compulsion is to wait on a purchase. If you see an item you like, it may be a good idea to wait out the immediate emotional thrill of buying. You could ask for the item to be placed on hold for a few days, but sometimes, just a few moments is enough.

Shoppers can choose to leave the store—or the computer—go for a walk, and see how they feel about the item after a pause. If they think they need it or genuinely want it, or it will improve some aspect of their lives, then go for it. Otherwise, leave the item.

To really up the ante on waiting for a purchase, try the 30-day rule. Using the practice, shoppers looking to buy a nonessential item must put it back on the shelf and step away for a full 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, if they still want the item, they can return and purchase it.

Tracking Spending

Buyers who think they may have shopaholic tendencies may be able to know for sure by tracking their spending. Tracking spending can show different shopping habits. It may also be an excellent resource for the aforementioned diary.

By monitoring spending, you can track if there are specific days or times you tend to spend more, or if you tend to spend more at specific stores, and potentially cut back on spending from there.

An easy way to track spending is with SoFi Checking and Savings®. The mobile-first checking and savings account allows users to see all their cash all in one place any time they like.

Using the app, SoFi® members can transfer money to different accounts or pay bills. But perhaps most notably in the case of anyone hoping to curb shopaholic ways, they can also track weekly spending right in the app’s integrated dashboard.

Users can also set up specific budgets and savings goals using Vaults. This way, they may be able to turn a shopping problem into a savings solution. SoFi Checking and Savings® also comes with no account fees.

Want to create better buying habits? SoFi Checking and Savings could help you get there.



SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
FINRA / SIPC .
SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank.
SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
The SoFi Money® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Money™ Mastercard® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Plus®, or NYCE® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
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.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 1.25% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 0.70% APY on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 1.25% APY is current as of 4/5/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet

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5 Frugal Living Tips

The basics of frugal living are simple: spend less than you earn. But actually putting that philosophy into practice can be a lot tougher than it sounds.

Everyone’s heard the tired advice about skipping your daily latte or making your avocado toast at home. But living frugally can be a lot more streamlined than that! By setting up some basic money-saving habits, it’s possible to stash cash without even thinking about it.

Being More Frugal in 5 Simple Steps

Here are five tips on how to be more frugal—without giving up all the fun (and caffeine) in your life.

1. Reform Fixed Expenses

Regardless of what specific items might appear on a budget, they all come in two general varieties: fixed expenses and variable expenses.

Fixed expenses are, as the name suggests, those bills that are fixed and consistent each month, such as rent, insurance payments, and student loans. Variable expenses, on the other hand, are those whose amounts aren’t fixed… but that doesn’t mean all variable expenses are optional (or “discretionary”). For example, your electric bill probably varies from month to month, but you still know you’re going to have to pay it.

Let’s hone in on those fixed expenses first, though—because cutting down on regular, consistent costs can lead to regular, consistent savings. There are a variety of ways to do this, some more radical than others.

For example, moving to a less expensive neighborhood or recruiting a roommate might cut your rent in half; deciding to forgo a car can eliminate not only the car payment and insurance cost, but also variable expenses like parking, maintenance, and gas. These kinds of global lifestyle changes can take a lot of effort to set up at the start… but the payoff is months or years of significant savings without too much ongoing effort.

However, there are plenty of ways to cut fixed expenses without making such seismic shifts to daily life. For instance, switching to a less expensive cell phone carrier can lower the monthly burden, as can ditching a gym membership in favor of hiking or cutting back on streaming service subscriptions. (Even those low per-month amounts can really add up when there are three or four of them!)

2. Gear Up Your Grocery Game

Groceries count as a variable expense, but they’re certainly not optional. That said, there’s an incredible margin for savings when it comes to stocking up on food each month.

Case in point: per the latest numbers from the USDA , a couple in their 30s might spend as little as $402.30 per month on groceries… or as much as $799.00. That’s nearly double what the thriftiest grocery shoppers get away with!

So how to go about potentially cutting your grocery bill in half?

One easy way to start is to choose discount grocers and chains that are known for their low prices. Aldi, Trader Joe’s and WinCo, for example, all have well-founded reputations for their frugal choices, particularly when compared to upscale grocery chains like Whole Foods. Shopping at a cheaper store can take some of the footwork out of saving; you may be able to spend less on the exact same grocery list. But it’s also possible to take the project even further.

Coupon clipping might not be the most glamorous activity, but those deals can create substantial savings, particularly for practiced couponers. These days, apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 make it easy to score savings on the items you’re already shopping for.

Additionally, aiming to make cheaper meals can stretch each grocery store dollar even further. Relying on inexpensive staples like rice, which can be dressed up and filled out in many different ways, can help keep both bellies and wallets full.

Ready for a Better Banking Experience?

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account and start earning 1% APY on your cash!


3. Decide to Do It Yourself

Buying things is one thing. But maintaining them is a whole ‘nother can of worms—and it can be a downright expensive one.

For example, HomeAdvisor reports that the average homeowner spent more than $3,000 in maintenance costs and more than $1,500 in home-related emergency expenses. If you own a car, an oil change can easily cost upwards of $70 when you get it done by a professional.

All of which is to say: honing some handiness skills could easily help save money over the course of a lifetime. And thanks to the fact that we live in the digital age, it’s relatively easy to become a Jack or Jill of all trades. YouTube is full of free video tutorials that can walk you through everything from fixing a dishwasher that won’t drain to rotating your own tires.

Other high-cost services to consider DIYing: mani/pedis, facials, pet grooming, landscaping, moving, and more. Basically, anytime you could spend money on hiring a professional, think seriously about whether you actually need the help.

4. Enjoy Free Entertainment

Although the coronavirus may have put a damper on entertainment expenses for now, it’s easy to overspend on having fun. In fact, the average American spent more than $3,000 on entertainment in 2019.

While some events are worthy splurges—like a once-in-a-lifetime concert—it’s also important to consider all the free forms of entertainment at our fingertips. For example, your local library may offer streaming movies or DVDs along with books and audiobooks, and many museums offer cost-free admissions on specific days of the week or month.

Even the national parks offer free admission from time to time! Free national park entrance days vary slightly from year to year, but generally include the first day of National Park Week in mid-April and National Public Lands Day, which falls on the fourth Saturday in September, along with Veterans Day and the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

And speaking of the national parks…

5. Take Frugalism With You Wherever You Go

Travel is another big ticket item as far as discretionary expenses are concerned. In fact, domestic travelers alone spent more than $900 billion in the U.S. during their sojourns in 2019, and millions of Americans are still traveling this year despite quarantine measures.

Seeing the world can be enriching—and it doesn’t have to strip away all your riches, either. Finding ways to be a frugal traveler, such as choosing budget-friendly destinations and scoring the cheapest flights possible, can mean saving money without sacrificing this major life experience. (With the ongoing pandemic, consider taking a look at travel restrictions and recommendations offered by the CDC .)

What Does Frugal Mean for Your Money?

Adopting frugal habits and creating a savings plan can set the stage for overall financial health: cutting back on day-to-day living expenses can mean more money set aside for retirement as well as major life milestones, like owning a home or having a baby.

And one of the most important first steps toward frugality is getting organized, financially speaking.

Finding the right cash management platform can help you enact your frugal living plan in a variety of ways. For starters, having a bird’s eye view on your finances is a critical step toward living more frugally. After all, you have to know where your money’s going in order to figure out where to cut back.

SoFi Checking and Savings® makes it easy to track your expenses, and the Vaults system allows you to easily set aside savings for specific purposes. Better yet, you’ll earn cash back rewards on major brand purchases¹, and avoid those annoying little bank fees (monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees) that can become a more serious annoyance over time.

Learn more about how SoFi Checking and Savings can help you get your budget on track and meet your financial goals.



SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
FINRA / SIPC .
SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank.
SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 1.25% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Members without direct deposit will earn 0.70% APY on all account balances in their Checking and Savings accounts (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. Rate of 1.25% APY is current as of 4/5/2022. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet
As of 6/9/2020, accounts with recurring monthly deposits of $500 or more each month, will earn interest at 0.25%. All other accounts will earn interest at 0.01%. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at our discretion at any time. Accounts opened prior to June 8, 2020, will continue to earn interest at 0.25% irrespective of deposit activity. SoFi’s Securities reserves the right to change this policy at our discretion at any time. Accounts which are eligible to earn interest at 0.25% (including accounts opened prior to June 8, 2020) will also be eligible to participate in the SoFi Money Cashback Rewards Program.
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.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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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