How to Verify a Check Before Depositing

How to Verify a Check Before Depositing

Verifying a check can protect consumers from fraud. If you are unsure of a check you’re depositing, it’s wise to verify it ahead of time.

Since fake check scams can come in all shapes and sizes, it’s crucial to take additional precautions when depositing money in your account.

If the check is identified as fake or counterfeit, the recipient will likely be responsible for the money sent to the scammer. So, to avoid counterfeit checks, here’s how to verify a check and avoid future scams.

Recommended: Are Checkbooks Still Useful?

Verifying a Check

Banks must deposit check funds quickly, sometimes as fast as two days by law. The bank may say that a check has cleared and the funds are available for use, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the check is valid. It can take a few weeks to identify a fake check in some cases, and by that time it might be too late.

To determine if a bank check or cashier’s check is valid, consumers may have to do more than just a physical inspection of the check.

Here are a few ways to identify if a check is fake or valid.

Ensure a legitimate bank issues the check. Although a valid bank might issue some fake checks, a sure giveaway of a fake check is that a fake bank name is on it. To locate an FDIC insured bank in the US, consumers can use the FDIC BankFind .

Call the bank the check is from. Look up the bank’s phone number on its website instead of using the phone number listed on the check. The number on the check might be a part of the scam, so it’s essential to call the official direct line to confirm the check’s validity. The bank might need the check number, issuance date, and amount to confirm if the check is real.

Complete an ABA routing number lookup. Developed by the American Bankers Association in 1910, the ABA routing number identifies the financial institution responsible for the payment. To make sure a check is valid, use a routing number lookup system for verification.

Take into consideration the origin of the check. If the check came from an unknown source, it’s wise to be skeptical of the payment. Scammers usually communicate via email or text message, which may contain grammatical errors.

Confirm the address the check was mailed from. If a check has a postmarked address that doesn’t match the issuing bank, it may denote a fake check. Be extra wary of any check that is sent from overseas.

Look for watermarks, security threads, or other security features printed on the check. If a scammer copies any of these features, the quality is often questionable.

Compare the check amount to the request. If the check amount is greater than the expected amount, this is a sign of a hoax the scammer may use to get the check receiver to wire funds back to them when the check is deposited.

Check Scams to Look Out For

Although fraudsters are coming up with new scams all the time, there are a few current common scams to be aware of.

Get Rich Quick Scams

In this scam, the scammer contacts a check recipient and says that they won the lottery or are entitled to an inheritance, usually from another country. The scammer says they will send a cashier’s check with the proceeds, but the recipient must pay the fees and taxes. So, they are instructed to deposit the funds and wire money to the scammer for taxes and fees.

Online Auction Scams

Some scammers may visit an online auction site or classified listing site, and bid on an item, pay in advance for a service, or rent an apartment. The scammer will then send a cashier’s check, usually for more than the price agreed upon. Once you bring this to their attention, they will request the recipient to deposit the check and then send the extra funds back to them before you find out the check was fake.

Secret Shopper Scams

With secret shopper scams, scammers pretend to have a job opportunity that allows employees to work from home. The scammer may send a check as a starting bonus and request the employee pay the activation fee. The hope is that the scammer receives the funds from the activation fee before the fake check bounces.

Another way secret shopper scammers take advantage of people is by hiring someone and stating their first assignment is to review retailers that sell gift cards. In this case, the shopper may get a check with instructions to deposit it into their account and then wire the funds to a third party. Unfortunately, once the funds are wired to someone else, the third party vanishes.

Personal Assistant Scams

Scammers sometimes try to hire personal assistants online. Once the scammer hires someone, the scammer may send a check and tell the new employer to use the money to purchase gift cards, supplies, or equipment for the client. After the scammer receives the gift card PIN, they can use the funds right away. This will leave the personal assistant without the money when the bank determines the check is counterfeit.

Taking Action If You’re Scammed

If you have wired funds to a scammer, reach out to the company transferring the money as soon as possible, reporting the fraud, and filing a complaint.

Two commonly used money transfer companies are Western Union™ and MoneyGram®, and both have departments dedicated to fraud awareness. If you think you may have been scammed, you can report suspected fraud to the money issuer by phone.

Western Union Fraud Hotline at 1-800-448-1492.

MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1-800-926-9400.

Both companies also have online forms that can be used to report suspected fraud. You can request a transfer reversal and, while it’s unlikely they will do this, it’s essential to ask at least.

If you used a money order to pay the scammer, reach out to the money order issuing company. Ask if you can request a stop payment or if they can stop the delivery of the money.

If you sent the money order by US mail, try reaching out to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service® or another service carrier you used.

In the event, the scammer requested gift cards, contact the gift card issuing company immediately and explain that the company’s gift cards were used in a scam. If you contact them quickly, they might be able to refund the money. Remember, gift cards are not a form of payment, they are a gift. So, it’s a red flag if someone is trying to pay you using gift cards.

Recommended: Ordering Checks – A Complete Guide

The Takeaway

While you can’t prevent fraudsters from attempting to steal your money, you can take steps to keep your money safe by using a secure bank account. With a SoFi Money® cash management account, you can instantly freeze your account online or via the app if you notice suspicious activity. If unauthorized activity occurs, you can contact SoFi for help resolving the issue.

A SoFi Money cash management account also has other safety measures in place, such as two-factor authentication, chip technology, and suspicious activity monitoring services to protect your cash. And, accounts are fee-free, so you can use your money the way you want to.

Learn more about SoFi Money today.

Photo credit: iStock/andresr


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. 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.
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.
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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What Credit Score Do You Need to Lease a Car?

What Credit Score Do You Need to Lease a Car?

When you’re thinking about buying a car, you’re probably taking a look at your financial snapshot—from the cash you have available to your debts and your credit score. Determining your credit score to lease a car is an important component of leasing a car—particularly if you want to save money!

Here, you’ll learn about the credit score needed to lease a car, the minimum credit score to lease a car, and find out the answer to the question, “Do you need good credit to lease a car?” Before you decide to lease a car instead of buying a car, it’s good to know how that decision will impact your finances and your credit.

What Are Car Lease Requirements?

It’s a good idea to know your credit score before you start shopping around because your credit score is an important factor influencing the final lease amount. If you have poor credit and only have $300 a month to spend on the lease and insurance, a lot of that amount might be going to the higher interest rate a lender could potentially offer you.

Whereas if you have good credit and $300 a month to spend on the lease and insurance, you may be able to lease a better quality car for that money since not as much will be going to interest payments. (It’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of leasing vs. buying a car before pulling the trigger on either financial decision.)

When you’re thinking about do you need good credit to lease a car, the answer is yes, having good credit may make it easier to lease a car because a leasing company may not see you as financially risky as they might as an individual who has bad credit. Not all leasing companies will approve a car lease for someone who has bad credit.

You might also need to prove that you have a job with a certain income when you’re leasing a car, show recent bank statements, or that you have a co-signer with a good credit history.

The average credit score of people who leased cars in mid-2020 was 729—generally in a good credit score range. If you have excellent credit, the upfront costs of leasing a car might be lower than if your credit isn’t so great. Typically, leasing a car might require the first month’s payment, a security deposit, taxes, registration, and an acquisition fee. Someone whose credit score is in the low 600s might need to put money down on the lease in addition. Keep reading to find out more about how different credit scores affect leasing a car.

Recommended: Leasing vs. Buying a Car: What’s Right for You?

Leasing With a Credit Score Above 680

The credit score to lease a car and get favorable rates is one that’s considered a “prime” or “good” credit score. Having good credit typically makes it more justifiable for lenders to approve you for the lease because it’s less of a risk to them.

Just as with any type of financing, applicants who have good credit may be offered lower interest rates on auto leases. Having an above-average credit score could give you more negotiating power over the rates and terms of the car lease.

Leasing With a Credit Score Lower Than 680

Having a lower credit score means you’ll likely have difficulty finding a company willing to lease to you or you’ll pay more to lease a car. Leasing companies may see you as a risk-based on your credit history. You might find that having a trustworthy co-signer on the lease could help you get a lower interest rate or better terms than if you’re applying on your own.

If your credit score is lower than 680, you might want to work on raising it before leasing a car so you get a better deal. A good place to start is by checking your credit report . It’s important to check your report for accuracy—if there are any errors, contact the credit bureau that issued the report. Factors that affect your credit score are your payment history, length of your credit history, how much you owe compared to how much available credit you have, types of credit you have, and any new applications for credit that show up on your credit report.

Recommended: Is it Smart to Buy Your Leased Car?

Can Leasing a Car Build Credit?

Any time you apply for credit, you have the opportunity to build your credit. A car lease is credit just as a car loan would be credit. How you manage your lease payments affects your credit report just as a loan would. Making regular, on-time monthly payments will affect your credit in a positive way. Missing payments or being late with payments will hurt your credit and may negatively affect your credit score.

Can Leasing a Car Affect Your Credit Score?

You may see a small drop in your credit score when the lease begins because your credit report will show a new account is open. You may see a similar small drop when the lease is terminated because the account is closed. Both of these credit events—opening and closing a credit account—can affect your credit score.

If you’re shopping around at different leasing companies over the course of a few weeks, and apply for leases at those places, there will be inquiries into your credit history by the leasing companies. However, those multiple inquiries should show up as just one inquiry on your credit report and minimally affect your credit score.

Recommended: Smarter Ways to Get a Car Loan

The Takeaway

It’s important you know your credit score to lease a car before you go car shopping. Checking your credit reports in advance will uncover any surprises before you’re at the dealership. Knowing your credit score and working to improve it as much as possible before applying for a car lease may help you save money on your car lease and give you more negotiating power. The less you have to spend on interest and fees, the farther your money can go while leasing. If you’re happy with your leased car and it makes good financial sense for you, you may even decide to purchase it at the end of the lease.

Using a cash management app like SoFi Money® can help you save, spend, and earn all in one place. And using the SoFi Relay app can help you track all of your accounts, make it easier to meet your financial goals, and keep tabs on your credit score.

Learn more about SoFi Money.

Photo credit: iStock/dusanpetkovic


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. 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’s Relay tool offers users the ability to connect both in-house accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score provided to you is a Vantage Score® based on TransUnion™ (the “Processing Agent”) data.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
website
.

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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Checking vs Savings Account: Choosing the Best for You

The Difference Between a Checking and Savings Account

When it comes to managing everyday finances, some people might wonder what type of account is best. Understanding the difference between checking and savings accounts and how to use them is a good place to start.

In a nutshell, checking accounts are designed for frequent banking transactions such as monthly bills, while savings accounts are not usually accessed as often, instead perhaps used to hold money being saved to meet a short-term goal or as an emergency fund.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between a checking account vs. a savings account and which one might be a good choice for a person’s particular financial needs—it could be both.

Checking vs. Savings Account: Key Differences

Checking Account

Saving Account

Fees Varies Varies
Interest earnings Minimal (if at all) Yes
Debit card access Yes No
Check writing capabilities Yes No
Withdrawal limits None Typically 6 per month
Maintenance fees Variese Varies
Minimum opening balance Varies Varies
Best used for Spending Saving

Although there are similarities between savings accounts and checking accounts, such as varied minimum opening deposits, maintenance fees, and other monthly fees, three major differences lie in how account holders access their money, withdrawal limits, and interest earnings.

Interest Earnings

When it comes to earning a bit of a return on an account balance, savings accounts typically offer a higher interest rate than checking accounts. In many cases, checking accounts aren’t interest-bearing, meaning no interest is earned at all. Interest rates for savings accounts vary, from a current average of 0.06% APY (compared to a current average of 0.03% APY for checking accounts).

Recommended: APR vs. Interest Rate: What’s The Difference?

Debit Card Access

Checking accounts are typically used by account holders to frequently access their cash and will generally include a debit card which can be used for purchases or ATM withdrawals. Savings accounts, on the other hand, don’t usually come with debit cards. Some financial institutions offer an ATM card for deposits and withdrawals to a savings account.

Withdrawal Limits

Checking accounts allow unlimited withdrawals, whereas savings accounts typically allow up to six, after which the transaction could be denied or the account holder charged a penalty.

However, the Federal Reserve in April 2020 lifted the limitation imposed through Regulation D. Financial institutions are no longer required to limit savings account withdrawals or transfers to six per month, but some may continue to impose the limit.

What Is a Savings Account?

A savings account is an account held at a financial institution such as a bank or credit union—its primary purpose is to store your funds safely. Most savings accounts allow the account holder to earn interest on the account balance.

Savings account rates are generally higher than those offered with checking accounts, so they can be a good option as a savings vehicle for money that the account holder doesn’t need to access frequently. Common uses for savings accounts are emergency funds, short-term savings goals, and funds for occasional expenses. The cash can accumulate in the savings account and have an opportunity to earn interest.

As mentioned above, banks can still impose a per-month transaction limit on savings accounts—they’re just not required to by the Fed anymore. There could be fees imposed on these excess transactions, which can add up.

Some financial institutions may automatically close an account holder’s savings account or convert the savings account to a checking account if too many withdrawals are made each month on a regular basis.

Other financial institutions don’t charge a maintenance fee or require account holders to maintain a minimum account balance, although they may require a minimum deposit to open an account.

What Is a Checking Account?

A checking account is also held at a financial institution, though its primary purpose is to be used for everyday spending. These accounts generally don’t have any withdrawal limits, so account holders can make as many transactions as their heart desires.

Checking accounts may not earn as much interest compared to savings accounts, if they earn any interest at all.

Checking accounts also typically comes with a debit card so account holders can access their money in a variety of ways. This includes making purchases at brick-and-mortar and online retailers and withdrawing cash from an ATM.

Checking account holders may also be able to use paper checks, either complimentary or purchased by the account holder, which can be used to pay bills and make purchases.

Many financial institutions charge the same types of fees for checking accounts and savings accounts, such as monthly maintenance fees. Additional checking account fees may include overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees and out-of-network ATM fees.

Having enough money in the account and sticking with in-network ATMs are good ways to avoid charges like these, but banks are required to disclose certain fees it charges, so it’s also a good idea to look at the fee schedule for any particular type of account you are thinking of opening.

Recommended: How Much Are ATM Fees?

The Takeaway

Both types of accounts, checking and savings, may be equally important to have depending on a person’s financial needs. They serve different purposes and can be useful in working toward different financial goals.

Looking For Something Different?

A cash management account like SoFi Money® may also be a good option for some people. SoFi Money account holders can spend, save, and earn all in one place—all without paying account fees. With a convenient mobile app, your account can be managed from wherever you are.

Get started with SoFi Money.

Photo credit: iStock/AleksandarNakic


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. 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.
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.
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.
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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Routing Number vs Account Number: When to Use and How to Find

Routing Number vs. Account Number: How to Find

They may not be numbers you can rattle off the top of your head, but your routing and account number are the keys to your banking kingdom.

Your account’s routing number identifies your financial institution, while your account number is unique to your checking or savings account. You need both of these numbers for nearly every bank-related financial transaction you make, from paying bills online to signing up for direct deposit at work.

Learn the difference between these numbers, where to find them, and how to use them safely.

Recommended: How to Transfer Money From One Bank to Another

What is a Routing Number?

A routing number is a sequence of nine digits that identifies a bank or credit union, and each banking institution has a unique number.

A routing number is also sometimes referred to as an ABA number, in reference to the American Bankers Association, which assigns them. Routing numbers are only issued to a federal or state-chartered financial institution that is eligible to maintain an account at a Federal Reserve Bank.

A small bank may only have one routing number, while a larger financial institution may have several (they typically vary by region or state).

Routing numbers are generally required when reordering checks, paying bills, establishing a direct deposit, or making tax payments. The routing number required for making a wire transfer is not the same as the routing number that is printed on your checks, however. That number can be found online or by calling your bank.

What is an Account Number?

While the routing number identifies the name of the financial institution, the account number identifies your account. While anyone can find your bank’s routing number, your account number is private.

Typically between 10 and 12 digits, your account number acts as a road map of sorts to the bank, letting them know where to deposit or withdraw money.

If you have two different accounts at the same financial institution, you will have two different account numbers. The routing number for these accounts, however, will be the same.

Because your account number effectively provides access to the funds in your account, it’s critical that you keep it safe.

When Will I Need A Routing Number or Account Number?

You’ll need to know your account number and, in many cases, also your routing number for a variety of everyday financial transactions. These may include:

• Setting up direct deposit of your paycheck

Setting up autopay

• Making a withdrawal

• Depositing cash or checks into your account

• Filling out a rental application

Linking external bank accounts

• Filling out a loan application

• Scheduling payments from vendors you do business with

• Sending or receiving a wire transfer

• Paying a bill online

Sending or receiving money to family and friends

How to Find Your Bank Routing and Account Number

You can find your routing number and account number printed on the bottom of your checks.

You’ll see three groups of numbers. Typically, the first number (usually nine digits) is the routing number. The next group of numbers (usually 10 to 12 digits) is generally the account number. The third is usually the actual check number.

Don’t have any checks? No problem. You can typically find these two important numbers by going online and logging into your account.

Your financial institution’s routing number is public information and should be easy to find. If your account number is encrypted (and you can only see the last four digits), you may be able to get the full number by downloading a recent bank statement. Another way to get your account number is to go into your bank (you’ll likely need to show ID).

When you are ready to input your routing and account numbers for a financial transaction, it’s a good idea to check your numbers at least twice to make sure you get them exactly right. This will ensure a seamless transaction that avoids delays or any associated bank charges stemming from the funds ending up in an incorrect account.

Protecting Your Routing and Account Number

Although anyone can locate your bank’s routing number, your account number is not public information. Just like you are mindful about who sees your Social Security number, the same goes for your bank account number.

To avoid potential fraud, it’s wise not to share your account number with any person or business unless you absolutely need to, and also to keep your checkbook in a safe place. Any old checks should be shredded before they get discarded. Also wise: not sharing pictures of checks you’ve written on social media.

You’ll also want to make sure your bank account password is secure. You can do this by using a mix of numbers, letters, symbols, upper and lower case letters, and not using any personal information someone could find on social media.

The Takeaway

Your account and routing numbers work together to identify your account and ensure that your money gets removed from the right place, or gets put into the right place.

The routing number indicates what bank your account is held, while the account number is your unique ID number at that bank. Both of these numbers are required to complete many everyday financial transactions.

While your financial institution’s routing number is public information, your account number is private and should be kept safe and secure.

Knowing the difference between these numbers and being able to locate them when you need them is key to making your financial transactions, from setting up autopay to sending people money, go off without a hitch.

Another way to make money transfers–and other everyday money moves–go quickly and smoothly is to sign up for a SoFi Money® cash management account.

With SoFi Money, members can quickly transfer money straight from their phones using the mobile app, making everything from paying bills to splitting the dinner bill fast and simple.

Make it easy to manage your finances with SoFi Money.

Photo credit: iStock/SeventyFour


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. 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.
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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Most Popular Time Of The Year To Buy Furniture

Most Popular Time of the Year to Buy Furniture

Buying furniture is simultaneously exciting and stressful. It can be fun to look at different furniture styles and imagine them in your space. But furniture can be expensive.

Shopping at the right time can help you save a bundle on your new furnishings, no matter what type of pieces you’re looking for: indoor or outdoor, custom or ready-made. In this article, we’ll discuss the best time of the year to buy furniture and some general tips to help you find quality, long-lasting pieces.

When Is the Best Time to Buy Furniture?

The best time of year to buy furniture depends on which kind of furniture you’re talking about. Here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind as you redesign your living space.

Indoor Furniture

Like many other manufactured goods, sales on indoor furniture are dependent on the release of new pieces: when a showroom needs to make room for next season’s stock, they put the older stuff on sale. New furniture designs tend to be released in spring and fall, which means the best sales happen at the end of the winter and summer seasons.

So for indoor furnishings like beds and couches, shopping at your local furniture stores in January/February and July/August and paying special attention to any seasonal or holiday-related sales may offer decent savings on the cost.

Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture, on the other hand, tends to be released in the late winter and spring between February and April. Shoppers might consider the earlier part of that range the best time of year to buy furniture for outdoor spaces in plenty of time for the long, sunny days of summer.

However, furniture shops also generally want to have that stock off their floor by August, which means there are usually some great outdoor furniture sales to shop over the summer and particularly towards early fall.

Custom Furniture

Having a piece (or three) hand-built to your specifications can bring your interior design dreams to life. However, on-demand, custom-built furniture typically costs more and is less likely to go on sale the way ready-made furniture does.

That said, buying custom furniture can be better for your budget in the long run if it means you won’t be itching to change your furniture again in a couple of years—or if it means your furnishings are of higher quality and, hopefully, a longer life. Plus, buying custom designs from a small business, or even an individual crafter, can feel more rewarding than purchasing something from a big-box store.

Furniture Shopping on Holiday Weekends

As is true of many major purchases, holiday weekends and annual sales can offer excellent opportunities to buy furniture on the (relatively) cheap. Some holidays that routinely bring furniture sales include:

• Presidents Day.

• Memorial Day.

• Fourth of July.

• Labor Day.

• Black Friday and other winter holiday sales events.

Many retailers offer regular sales in addition to these events, so it’s always a good idea to watch for promotions. Signing up for the store’s email newsletter can help keep you apprised of their ongoing sales events, and many dealers also offer clearance stock year-round that could be worth perusing.

Recommended: 25+ Tips for Buying Furniture on a Budget

General Furniture-Buying Tips

No matter what time of year you shop for your furnishings, the following tips can help you find a good deal and get the most for the money you do spend.

Being Patient

Furniture—especially furniture you want to keep around for a decade or longer—is a big purchase. It’s worth waiting to find the right piece rather than dropping a bunch of money on one that’s only okay.

If you’re furnishing your new home for the first time and need something fast, consider visiting a local thrift shop or surfing Craigslist. You might be able to find an inexpensive, pre-owned piece that’s only temporary, but still workable—and won’t eat too much into your budget.

Shopping Around

With so many design aesthetics and price points to choose from, furniture shopping is not a time for brand loyalty. Shopping around at different dealers can help you find the best deal for your needs, but also give you more ideas and inspiration when it comes to creating a cohesive look for your home.

Consider Shopping Online

Shopping for furniture online can open a whole new world of color and design options. Some discount furniture retailers don’t offer physical storefronts, which can make shopping a little tricky. Choosing certain pieces of furniture, like couches and armchairs, for example, maybe easier if you try them before you buy them.

Many online furniture retailers do offer return policies, which can help make your purchase less stressful, knowing that if it doesn’t work out, you’re not stuck with the product. And at online stores that do have brick-and-mortar locations, you could visit in person, try out a certain model, and then order online later, which may give you a better opportunity to compare the pieces you’re considering side-by-side.

Asking About the Warranty

Since furniture does tend to be a major expense, you want to make sure it’s built to last and has some guarantee to go with that. Many furniture sellers do offer warranties, and the fine print may also specify what the return policy is. In short, it’s worth getting familiar with.

The Takeaway

Shopping for furniture during certain times of the year can help you save money on a potentially expensive project like furnishing your home. When budgeting to buy a house, furnishings are just one of many things to save for, so it’s a goal that might take a backseat to expenses that are essential to homeownership, like the down payment and monthly mortgage, among others.

SoFi Money® is a financial tool you can use to set cash aside for a variety of different financial goals, with the option to set up different Vaults for different goals—including a living room full of brand-new furnishings. There are no account fees and no minimums required to set up Vaults and start saving toward your financial goals.

Learn more about SoFi Money.

Photo credit: iStock/fizkes


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. 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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