11 Ways to Make Money Online Without Selling Anything

11 Ways to Make Money Online Without Selling Anything

When you think about making money online, chances are, you visualize selling something, whether it’s beaded necklaces you make, electronics you don’t use anymore, or a cool product you cooked up. But there are many ways to make money without offering a product, which can eliminate a lot of barriers to entry, along with the hassles of order fulfillment and shipping.

It’s not a cinch, but if you have a clever idea or some expertise, you can make money online without selling anything. For example, if you have an Instagram account with loads of followers, you might earn cash by creating a YouTube channel sharing the secrets of your social media success.

Think about where your strengths and skills lie: Is it coding? Then you might consider building an app. Do you know how to reach out to people and coalesce them into an active, supportive community? Then you might succeed in building a membership website.

Ready to find out how to make money with a website without selling anything? There’s inspiration ahead.

Is It Possible to Make Money Online Without Selling a Product?

Fortunately, there are many ways to make passive income online without manufacturing and selling a product in the traditional sense. If you dread the idea of renting a warehouse or packing up and shipping items, this will be good news.

For example, many influencers on YouTube make money simply by providing informational videos that people find valuable. Once they have a following, they make money through YouTube ads that run on their channel. Did you know, for instance, that YouTuber Mr. Beast set a new high-earning record recently of $54 million? While that’s hardly a typical achievement, it does show that the sky is the limit, as the saying goes.

Beyond YouTube, there are plenty of other ideas for how to make money with a website without selling anything. You might translate your tech knowledge and experience into building an app, or you could create a blog based on your favorite hobby that resonates with a particular audience.

11 Ways You Can Make Money Without Selling Anything

Ready to dig into some specifics? From dropshipping to streaming, the following are 11 ways people make money online without actually manufacturing or selling products.

1. Start Dropshipping

Dropshipping is one way to make money with a website without selling anything. Dropshippers sell products to customers, but they do not own or stock them. For the dropship business model, a customer places an order, and the dropshipper forwards the order to the supplier for a fee. The supplier then takes care of the shipping.

In essence, the dropshipper is the middle man. You don’t need to buy any items or manufacture anything yourself. And it can help you bring in some cash: One recent survey showed that dropshippers earn almost $20 an hour.

Recommended: 11 Benefits of Having a Side Hustle

2. Launch a YouTube Channel

A YouTube channel can be lucrative once you have 1,000 subscribers. At that point, YouTubers can monetize their channel by accepting ads. How do you get 1,000 subscribers? By providing content that people want to see.

That could be showing off your cake decorating skills, your super cute Pomeranian puppy, or your ability to do your own taxes quickly and correctly. Choose a niche where you have expertise and create compelling content on that topic. Use clever headlines that will draw people to your channel, plus keywords to optimize them for YouTube searches and help you gain traction. Keep viewers engaged by producing a series of videos on a topic so that they continue to tune in.

Recommended: Can You Make a Living on Social Media?

3. Write a Blog or Podcast

Have ideas, intel, and opinions you’d like to share? Why not start a blog, which is similar to starting a YouTube channel. The cost of running a blog can be minimal, and it can be an exciting way to share your passions in life. You can create content on a niche topic that people are curious about and that you love. It could be travel, DIY advice, fashion, fitness, or finance.

If you are good, you can build a following. Once your following is big enough, companies will pay you to promote their products or services on your blog through ads and links. Brands may even sponsor you to write about them or invite you to write blogs for their own sites.

4. Create a Membership Website

If you find demand for your content, you could build a website for subscribers only and charge for the membership. The idea is to build a community of like-minded people who want to share knowledge and access exclusive content. A paid membership could offer videos, webinars, other educational products, and the ability to interact with other members.

Membership web-builder software can help you build a site and wrangle your followers, or you could use a third party to do it for you. The software allows you to register new members; process monthly dues, donations, and event payments; update member profiles; send emails to members about upcoming events, and send invites. A simple website builder will run from $20 to a few hundred dollars per month, and help you get your site up and running and hopefully growing.

Recommended: 25 Tax Deductions for Freelancers

5. Try Freelance Work

You probably have had some work-from-home experience due to the pandemic. You might want to transition even more to remote work. Some careers can be transferred to the digital environment. For example, writers, teachers, designers, and coders can all learn how to make money from home. There are marketplaces for freelancers, such as Fiverr and Upwork, and you can establish a website of your own to pull in work.

There are also many job boards for freelancers, such as Flexjobs.com. Freelancers need to build a portfolio of work, which may require taking on lower-paying jobs at first as you work your way up.

Recommended: 15 Low-Cost Side Hustles

6. Become a Writer

Being a writer is an aspiration for many people, and there happens to be a huge market for website content. Many companies want to create informative blogs with SEO-optimized articles that will drive traffic to their websites. If you have expertise and knowledge in a niche area, you could write engaging articles for companies in that niche. Companies want ghostwriters, but there are also opportunities for bylined articles. Look for writing jobs on job boards like Flexjobs.com and Upwork.

7. Be a Product Tester

This is a fun one: You can make money online without selling by being a product tester. Brands often need people to try out their products to see how they rate with consumers. In return for their time and feedback, product testers may receive payment in the form of cash, merchandise, and gift cards.

Popular products for testing include toys, food, electronics, beauty products, household products, baby products, clothes, and websites. These gigs may pay about $25 an hour and can sometimes feel like play time.

You might also take surveys and provide feedback on marketing ideas online, as well. Sign up with a market research firm like I-Say by Ipsos, Opinion Outpost, and Branded Surveys to get started.

8. Accept Micropayments

Looking for more ways to make money online without selling stuff? Let’s say you write a blog that benefits a community. For example, you might be someone on the autism spectrum and blog about your experiences for a supportive audience. You can use a free app like “Buy Me a Coffee” to accept micropayments on your blog; this allows people who want to show their appreciation to send you a bit of money. Readers click on a widget on your blog to donate a few dollars to your site.

9. Set Donation Requests

One step up from accepting micropayments is to request donations directly. An example is Wikipedia, which intermittently asks its visitors to donate to fund the site’s research. Another example is virtual tip jars that appear on websites. Basically, it’s a way to monetize a website. You can collect feedback from engaged users at the same time to better understand what visitors would like to see on your site.

10. Create an App

Even if you are not a coder or app developer, you might have a great idea for an app that would make people’s lives simpler, better, or just more fun. Once you have an idea, a market that you’re targeting, and a brand concept, you can hire an app creator to do the coding for you. Once you have the app, add it to the App Store or Google Play. Start with a free app, and if it is a success, you can offer add-ons or premium features for a fee.

Recommended: How to Pay for Coding Bootcamps

11. Monetize a Twitch Channel

Chances are, you’ve heard of Twitch, the streaming platform that has expanded from gaming to a variety of content types, such as sports and entertainment. Still, gaming is its heartbeat, and Twitch streamers can monetize their love for the platform by sharing their gameplay with fans and subscribers who can hear and watch them live.

Streamers can gain a sizable following by providing consistent entertainment, and they can then sell products and Twitch ads. They can also land brand sponsorships, obtain fan donations, and sell subscriptions. Of course, not everyone will be a success at this, but those with the right skills and personality can thrive. For those who gain a real following, earnings can be in the $3,000 to $5,000 a month range if working 40 hours a week.

How Making Money Online Can Help You on Your Financial Journey

You might not become a billionaire by choosing an online gig, but you can certainly supplement your day job or help with your college expenses. Making money online is flexible, and you can leverage your expertise and your niche. Start small and see where it leads.

Recommended: How to Earn Residual Income

The Takeaway

How to make money online without selling anything comes down to creative thinking and a will to experiment. It’s actually a very accessible marketplace for anyone; you can avoid the typical startup costs en route to making a profit. Plus, you can work from home and tap your particular skills, whether that means creating fitness videos or developing an app.

3 Money Tips

  1. When you overdraft your checking account, you’ll likely pay a non-sufficient fund fee of, say, $35. Look into linking a savings account to your checking account as a backup to avoid that, or shop around for an online bank that doesn’t charge you for overdrafting.
  2. If you’re faced with debt and wondering which kind to pay off first, it can be smart to prioritize high-interest debt first. For many people, this means their credit card debt; rates have recently been climbing into the double-digit range, so try to eliminate that ASAP.
  3. When you feel the urge to buy something that isn’t in your budget, try the 30-day rule. Make a note of the item in your calendar for 30 days into the future. When the date rolls around, there’s a good chance the “gotta have it” feeling will have subsided.
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

Is it hard to make money online?

How to make money online without selling products is not difficult as long as you pick the right niche. It helps to choose an activity where you have an interest and skills. You also need to be creative if you want to scale. Some tenacity and determination will help when you experience a lull or want to get to the next level and grow organically.

What is a great way to learn skills to make money?

There are so many online and offline resources where you can learn skills. If you are interested in programming, you can learn coding languages online. If you are interested in marketing, you can take a course and get certified in Google Analytics and Google Ads. YouTube and webinars can help you train up; just do your research and make sure the so-called expert has solid credentials.

Do donation requests work?

Donation requests work if people value what you are doing. There are quite a few scams out there, and people are becoming more wary. However, if you can establish a following and provide content of value, you’re onto something. The trick is to engage people by connecting them to a community that means something to them.


Photo credit: iStock/Eva-Katalin

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


SOBK0822023

Read more
13 Great Haggling Tips

13 Great Haggling Tips

In the United States, people tend not to bargain too much: A price is a price, period. Yes, when you are bidding on a house or negotiating the price of a car, there is typically a bit of give and take, but otherwise, not so much. In other parts of the world, however, haggling in shops and markets is an indelible part of the culture.

Maybe American consumers should borrow this global tradition. Even here in the States, haggling can result in significant savings on electronics, household goods, hotels, and clothing. Also, haggling is really about the art of negotiation, and successful haggling can work wonders for your confidence and business savvy.

Read on to learn:

•   How to haggle

•   Where to haggle

•   The pros and cons of haggling

Then, read 13 clever tips for getting what you want at the price you want to pay.

What Is Haggling?

Haggling is a way to bargain. It’s a process of negotiation between the buyer and the seller. While almost everyone would agree on the importance of saving money, different cultures have different approaches to haggling. For example, westerners are often unaccustomed to haggling, but in less developed countries of Southeast Asia, for example, bargaining and haggling is expected. Locals will engage in a back and forth on price for everything from fresh food in markets to hotel prices in order to save money.

Haggling can take some practice because it requires a measured approach and a strategy. The more you haggle, the more successful and confident you become at it. What’s more, as you build your haggling skills, you’re likely to unlock more discounts. In fact, many people enjoy haggling and find it to be an easy way to save some money.

Recommended: 15 Creative Ways to Save Money

How Does Haggling Work?

If you’re wondering how to haggle successfully, let’s consider a specific example. Imagine you have your eye on a new car. The price of the car is $25,000, but you only have a budget of $22,000. To try to negotiate a price of $22,000, first determine if $22,000 is a fair price for that car. Look up the make, model, and year in Kelley Blue Book and check to see at what price other sellers are listing the same exact car.

If you determine that $22,000 is a fair price, a savvy haggler would offer a somewhat lower price, perhaps $20,000. At the same time, the buyer would make a case as to why their offer is fair. They might point out damage to the paintwork or worn tires. The seller may counter the buyer’s offer with $24,000, to which the buyer responds with $21,000. Eventually, the two parties may meet somewhere in the middle and agree to the price of $22,000. At least, that’s the theory of how haggling works.

Places Where You Can Haggle

Haggling, or negotiating, is acceptable in many contexts, not just when buying a car, a home, or in salary negotiations. Here’s a list of other places to haggle:

•   Uncommercialized markets and craft fairs

•   Retailers

•   Suppliers

•   Resale platforms and dealers

•   Appliance repairs

•   Home improvement services

Places Where You Likely Cannot Haggle

Haggling is not socially acceptable in many commercial enterprises. Here’s where you typically should not to haggle:

•   Many commercialized businesses

•   Restaurants

•   Supermarkets

That said, if you were at a Target or a department store, and were trying to buy an item that is a floor sample, is damaged (scratched or torn, say), or has some other reason that might merit a price reduction, it’s fair to politely try to haggle your way to a discount.

Advantages of Haggling

The obvious advantage of haggling is paying less for something you want, but there are a couple of other pros as well.

•   For sellers, haggling may allow them to sell more products and yield better returns.

•   Haggling is a way to practice negotiation skills and build confidence.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


13 Money Saving Haggling Tips

Now, dive into the details on how to haggle. Here are 13 more tips on how to approach haggling that can help you save money.

1. Adopt a Strong Mindset

Learn to control your compulsive or impulsive spending. If you feel as if you “have to have” an item, be it a car or a handbag, it will be even harder to resist a high price or a bad deal.

Adopt a strong money mindset and know the difference between needs and wants. Tell yourself you won’t overpay, regardless of how badly you want the deal to work out. You can always find something similar at a better price.

2. Do Your Research

What is a good price for a purchase you’re planning on making? Before you enter into negotiations, you should know the item’s market value. Look up other similar items to see what they are going for. In the case of a car, refer to the Kelly Blue Book. For other items, an online search should yield comparable items with prices to inform your decision.

3. Consider Other Factors and Items in Your Haggling

How to bargain effectively can call for creative thinking. For example, if you are buying a car, you could offer cash to the seller instead of paying in installments. Or you might consider trading an item you have with a seller in order to secure the item you want.

4. Have a Target Price in Mind

It can help to know your haggling limits in advance. In the example of a car negotiation given earlier, the buyer had a target price in mind that they kept under wraps. They attempted to reach agreement at the desired price with the seller by first offering a lower price than they were really willing to pay. Then, they and the seller gradually came to a mutually satisfactory price. Having a strategy like this when haggling can help you avoid the risk of paying more than you want to.

5. Let the Seller Know Your Budget

Alternatively, a haggling tactic can be to let the seller know your budget at the outset. For example, you might say, “I love that rug but I see that it’s $750, and I can only pay $600. Is a deal possible?” That way, you are taking control of the situation, and the seller can take it or leave it.

6. Find Out the Condition of the Item

Just because you’re haggling, it doesn’t mean that you drop all of your usual smart-shopper moves. Don’t hesitate to inquire about the item in detail; it’s important to ask questions before making a purchase. Its condition is critical to the item’s value. You may be able to use any blemishes or wear and tear to negotiate a lower price.

7. Be Confident

Be direct about the fact that you are negotiating and are looking for a discount. Approach the seller with confidence, rather than apologizing for trying to get a better price. This can give the impression that you know what you are talking about and are serious. A seller may well be more likely to consent to a confident buyer’s request or offer.

8. Avoiding Insulting the Seller; Don’t Lowball

When haggling, always respect the other party. Lowballing a seller can be insulting because the implication is that you are not taking them seriously or you think their merchandise is wildly overpriced. Have a good idea of the market value of an item before you make your lowest offer by researching other similar items and their prices.

One rule of thumb is not to expect a discount of more than 25% when haggling. However, there are some forums (like eBay’s “Best Offer” listings or on Poshmark) where you might get lucky with an offer of closer to 33% off the listed price.

9. Time it Right

Many salespeople have monthly sales quotas, and, as the end of the month approaches, they may be more inclined to accept a lower price. To find the best deals, hold off on haggling until the end of the month. Also, sellers may want to move inventory at the end of a season or if the item is going out of style. If your seller wants to get rid of inventory, you are more likely to get a better deal.

10. Make Life Easy for the Seller

Here’s another trick for how to bargain effectively: Let the seller know that you can make the deal easy and quick for them. Explain that you’ll take possession of the item immediately, or that you can pay cash. The less work the seller has to do to move inventory and the less a transaction costs them, the more inclined they will be to accept your offer.

11. Turn on the Charm

A little flattery works wonders. Believe it or not, part of knowing how to negotiate a better deal involves being as polite and friendly a customer as possible. Be interested in the person you are talking to and compliment them on their business. Another good strategy is to listen more and talk less. Rather than asking questions that require a yes or no answer, ask open-ended questions. For example, instead of asking “Can I make you an offer?” ask “How flexible are you to negotiation?” In addition to getting the seller to engage, you learn more about their needs and are in a stronger position to bargain.

12. Know When to Walk Away

Haggling won’t always work in your favor. Be prepared to throw in the towel if the seller does not agree to your final offer. There’s no point going in circles or thinking if you wait long enough, the seller will relent. And don’t let any frustration or temper come into play.

Sometimes, it’s best to just walk away. And you never know: Some sellers may see you leaving and wind up taking your best offer after all, rather than lose the deal.

13. Don’t Take Things Personally

Haggling is simply business. It is not a reflection of the buyer or the seller. If you don’t reach agreement on a price for an item, chalk it up to experience. People don’t always agree on things, and nor should they. Don’t let feelings of failure creep into the picture.

The Takeaway

Haggling is the process of negotiating a price for an item or service. Except for situations like negotiating a house purchase or bargaining down the price of a new car, when some back-and-forth is a given, Americans tend not to be hagglers. However, there may be plenty of situations when you can haggle and get a better deal, whether on a floor model at a big box retailer or a vintage chair at an antiques fair. By knowing the right polite haggling moves, you may be able to snag some satisfying discounts.

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

Is haggling illegal?

Haggling is not illegal, but in the United States, there are contexts where haggling is not socially acceptable. These include commercial businesses, such as restaurants and supermarkets.

Is haggling frowned upon?

Haggling isn’t necessarily frowned upon, provided it’s done politely and in the proper context. In some cultures, it is even expected and part of the buying experience. However, lowballing is universally considered insulting. A rule of thumb for how to bargain is to never offer less than 25% percent of the price tag.

Can you return something you haggled over?

If an item does not meet your expectations, even if you managed to get it at a discount price, you can try to return it.The terms of the sales agreement, if any, will outline the legal obligations of the seller. If there is no written agreement or receipt with returns stated, the seller is under no obligation to accept the return or to give you your money back.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


SOBK0822022

Read more
What Is a Luxury Item and Tips for Budgeting for One

What Is a Luxury Good?

Luxury goods are sometimes called the finer things in life. Think about those fancy sports cars, watches, handbags, shoes, and jewelry that can cost a mint. Those beautiful objects of desire are not at all necessary to support basic human needs, but they may make life a lot more enjoyable.

Demand for luxury goods is typically driven by perceived value (that is, being a status symbol) as much as product quality and design. Brand awareness is an important aspect of the luxury market. These high-end items from exclusive brands are expensive, putting them out of reach of many consumers, which can add to their allure.

If you’re simply curious about luxury goods or contemplating buying some, read on to understand what makes them special. You’ll learn:

•   What is a luxury good?

•   What makes luxury items different from other goods?

•   Examples of luxury goods.

•   The pros and cons of buying luxury items.

•   How to afford luxury goods.

What Makes a Luxury Good ‘Luxury’?

Luxury items are defined by their exclusivity and higher cost, which limits access to them. To put it simply, they are expensive! Once a luxury item becomes more readily available at a lower price point, it may lose its appeal, and demand wanes.

Different cultures around the globe have varying tastes about what luxury goods are. That is, what is considered a highly desirable luxury good in one society may not be as valuable in another. However, there are brands that have become international icons of living well; you’ll learn more about them shortly.

Luxury goods are linked to the economics term “conspicuous consumption,” which occurs when consumers buy higher priced goods to display their wealth and class status. People who want to publicly communicate their economic and social status will buy luxury goods that signal that message. Purchasing luxury goods is typically tied to a consumer having more expendable cash. The item may not exactly be affordable given their income, but it could be more accessible as a splurge as their earning power rises.

Recommended: Questions You Should Ask Before Making an Impulse Buy

Examples of Luxury Items

What exactly is a luxury item? There are lots of examples in the $300 billion industry. Luxury products have traditionally included aspirational items, such as:

•   Yachts

•   Top-of-the-line cars

•   Fine and antique furniture

•   Art

•   Furs

•   Watches

•   Jewelry

•   Designer clothing and handbags

•   Wine

•   State-of-the-art electronics

•   Cosmetics and fragrances

You’ll likely see some familiar names in the luxury goods market. Many companies have established themselves as luxury brands with their exclusive products.

Some of the top, recognizable luxury brands include:

•   Porsche

•   Ferrari

•   Chanel

•   Hermes

•   Balenciaga

•   Alexander McQueen

•   Louis Vuitton

•   Burberry

•   Gucci

•   Cartier

•   Tiffany & Co.

•   Rolex

•   Dior

•   Prada

•   Bulgari

When you see those names when shopping, you probably are looking at what are known as luxury items.

Recommended: 39 Passive Income Ideas to Build Wealth in 2023

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


Pros of Purchasing Luxury Goods

If you’re looking at purchasing a luxury item for the first time, there’s more to it than its price tag. Purchasing a luxury item can bring other benefits. These can include:

•   Status

•   Better quality products

•   Better service at retail locations or service centers

•   Better resale value than other goods

•   Strong value appreciation in some goods (such as jewelry or art)

•   Exclusivity

Recommended: Different Ways to Earn More Interest on Your Money

Cons of Purchasing Luxury Goods

Conversely, purchasing a luxury item isn’t always a good idea. Some of the downsides to purchasing luxury goods include:

•   High cost

•   Money used to purchase a luxury good could be used elsewhere

•   Can lead to more conspicuous consumption

•   Depreciation on certain goods may be high

•   Can undermine confidence; some people wind up feeling inauthentic (as if they are “faking it”) after spending a lot of cash on luxury items

Quick Money Tip:When you overdraft your checking account, you’ll likely pay a non-sufficient fund fee of, say, $35. Look into linking a savings account to your checking account as a backup to avoid that, or shop around for an online bank that doesn’t charge you for overdrafting.

Luxury Goods vs Normal Goods: What’s the Difference?

Buying normal goods means you are buying items whose cost increases at the same rate as your income increases. If you, say, shopped for clothing at garage sales to save money at the beginning of your career, and now you spend money on clothing at a traditional retailer, your consumption increased to the higher-priced clothing at the same rate as your income increased. These goods are within a reasonable range given your earning power.

Compare that with what is a luxury good. In this case, the cost of consumption increases, but not at the same rate as income. The price tag for a luxury item is often exponentially more than could be afforded by one’s salary raises.

Luxury Goods vs Inferior Goods: What’s the Difference?

According to the principles taught in economics class, an inferior good is one whose consumption decreases as a consumer’s income increases. If you ate ramen in college, for example, but no longer consume them now that you’re making more money in your career, that pack of noodles is an example of an inferior good. Your consumption of it decreased as you made more money.

Typically, with luxury goods, consumption increases with a higher income; with an inferior good, consumption decreases with a higher income.

Tips for Affording a Luxury Item

If you’re gunning for that aspirational luxury item and you weren’t born with a hefty trust fund, you’ll need to adopt some stellar financial habits to snag one (or more) of these pricey items. You can learn how to afford luxury items without paying full price for them. Here are some tactics to try.

Saving for a Luxury Good

Saving up for a luxury item and then paying in cash can be a good strategy. Whether the object you’re craving is a handbag or a sports car, you won’t feel guilty about spending money when you’ve stashed the money away for it and can pay without creating credit card debt. If you automate your savings for the luxury item, you may well reach your goal without too much effort.

Waiting for Sales

Even luxury goods can go on sale, though perhaps less often than with lower-priced items. Even if you miss their sales, you may be able to find some premium items discounted at outlet stores.

Recommended: Tips for Overcoming Bad Financial Decisions

Avoiding Trends

When saving for that luxury item, it can be wise to avoid trendy luxury products. Those probably won’t stay in style for long, and if you’re making a major purchase, it can be smarter to spend your money on things that will last.

Recommended: Tips to Stop Overspending

Renting Luxury Items Over Buying

You might want to consider renting a luxury item rather than paying loads of money to own it. For instance, you could lease a luxury car for a while and see if you truly love it. And there are many businesses that rent designer clothing and handbags, such as Rent The Runway and Bag Borrow or Steal. That can give you a taste of luxury at a more affordable price point.

Lowering Your Other Expenses

If you’re really set on affording a luxury item, see where else you can cut back on spending. Knowing you’d rather own a luxury car than go out every weekend can help you feel more motivated to cut back on dining and entertainment expenses.

Buying Pre-Owned

Another way to afford luxury items is to buy ones that have been pre-owned. From BMWs to Louis Vuitton handbags, there’s a large marketplace for gently used posh goods. How to afford luxury items can be a matter of being the second owner rather than the first of the item you desire.

The Takeaway

Now that you know what a luxury good is, you probably realize that such items are usually quite costly. They can also be of superior quality and retain their value better. Owning them can also be an ego boost and a source of pride.

Saving to obtain luxury goods can help you cultivate good financial habits, which in turn can help you reach other goals and build wealth.

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 do people buy luxury goods?

Luxury goods can signal exclusivity, wealth, and a higher social status. People who buy luxury goods typically want to communicate this to themselves and others. Also, luxury items are often very well made and can last for many years.

Do luxury goods have high resale value?

Luxury goods, especially when in excellent condition, can have a high resale value. Some brands, such as Chanel and Hermes, have a better resale value than others. Jewelry by well-known brands (like Tiffany & Co.) tend to hold their value well too.

Does luxury always mean expensive?

A luxury item is typically highly desirable and very exclusive, which is usually tied to the amount of money it costs to obtain it. However, many luxury brands produce cheaper alternatives of their signature products to sell to more consumers at a more affordable cost. The Coach outlet stores are one example that luxury items don’t always have to be expensive, and the Mercedes A220 starts at about $35,000.


Photo credit: iStock/MoustacheGirl

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


SOBK0822026

Read more
What to Do When Someone Asks for Money

What to Do When Someone Asks for Money

Dealing with people who ask for money can be uncomfortable, and it can put a strain on even the best of relationships. You may feel pressured to say yes when you can’t really afford to. Or you may get tired of handing over your hard-earned cash to someone you view as being financially irresponsible.

Having a strategy for answering when someone asks for money can make those situations feel less awkward — and keep you from making a poor financial decision.

Here, you’ll learn how to:

•   Decide if you have enough money to help

•   Determine how urgent the person’s financial need is

•   Understand the risk involved in lending someone money

•   Provide financial resources to your friend or family member

•   Avoid guilt if you say no

Determining If You Have the Funds to Help First

Any time someone asks for money, there’s an important question to ask before you consider saying yes: What can I afford?

Giving friends money when they’re in a jam could make you tight for money if your budget is already strained. So before agreeing to hand over any cash, review your financial situation first to see how much money you can realistically part with.

This is especially important when someone asks for money, and it’s more than just a few bucks. Say your aging parents ask you for $10,000 to help with medical bills, for example. That’s not exactly pocket change. Talking to parents about money may not be easy but if you can’t afford to part with that kind of money, it’s important to say so upfront.

Recommended: Guide to Practicing Financial Self-Care

Determining If It Is for a Genuine Need or Financial Situation

When someone asks for money, it’s natural to want to know what it’s for. And that might play a part in your decision to say yes or no.

For example, there’s a big difference between your younger sibling asking you for $1,000 to put a security deposit on an apartment and asking for $1,000 to buy a gaming console. One is a need, while the other is a want.

If you’re constantly dealing with friends who ask for money to fund their desired lifestyle, you may begin to feel that you’re being taken advantage of. So it’s okay to set boundaries and specify that you’re only willing to give friends and family money in situations where there’s a genuine need.

However, be wary. Some people might use their hard-earned money on things like, say, the latest mobile device or a weekend away, and then come knocking for cash when a student loan or medical bill is due. Again, you don’t want to fund someone’s extravagant lifestyle.

Recommended: Tips for Overcoming Bad Financial Decisions

Understanding the Risk Involved With Lending Money

Borrowing from friends and family isn’t the same as getting a personal loan from a bank. If someone asks you for money, they probably aren’t expecting you to whip out a loan agreement or charge them fees and interest, for instance. And they might assume that if they don’t pay you back, you won’t bombard them with collection calls the way a traditional lender would.

When you lend money to friends and family, you’re taking on risk. If they don’t pay you back, then you likely won’t be able to get that money back unless you’re willing to sue them in small claims court. When debts between friends or family members go unpaid, that can lead to the eventual breakdown of the relationship.

If people who ask for money regularly seek you out, there are two ways you can try to manage the risk factor:

•   Require them to sign a loan agreement

•   Consider the money a gift

The former can give you some legal protection if they don’t pay, but some people might balk at having to sign it. The latter, meanwhile, eliminates all risk since you’re assuming you’re never going to get the money back anyway. But you have to be sure beforehand that you can afford the loss.

Also, be aware that it may change the nature of your relationship with the person to whom you are gifting the money. Consider whether you want to set a precedent of bailing out, say, your younger sister’s or your fiancé’s finances.

Recommended: 5 Ways to Achieve Financial Security

Paying for Things Directly Instead of Gifting Money

If you’re not comfortable giving cash to friends or relatives who ask for money, you could offer to pay for things for them instead. If your best friend asks for $300 to pay their electric bill, you might not feel 100% sure they’ll use the money for that. You could offer to pay the bill for them instead.

You might also consider offering non-financial help. For example, if you have a cousin who is a struggling single parent and often requests cash, you might offer to watch their kids for free so they can spend time looking for a higher-paying job or take night classes to advance their education. You’re still helping them out, but you’re not giving them permission to turn to you for money every time they need it.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


Watching Out for Your Financial Goals

Saying yes when someone asks for money can be problematic if it means your financial goals suffer. Going back to the example of aging parents, helping them pay for medical bills or other expenses in retirement could mean that you’re shortchanging your own financial future.

Again, it all goes back to looking at how much you can afford to give and whether you’re comfortable giving money to friends and family, knowing that you might never see that moolah again.

If doing so would put your money goals at risk, it’s important to consider whether helping them out is truly worth it, especially if the money they’re asking for is to fund wants rather than needs.

Learning From Your Mistakes

If you’ve gotten into the habit of automatically saying yes when people ask for money or you’ve given someone money in the past and regretted it, it’s not too late to correct those mistakes.

For example, say you have that one friend who, when you dine out, always asks if you can pick up the tab when the check arrives. Maybe they say they haven’t gotten paid yet and that you are lucky to earn a higher, dependable salary.

Remember, it’s perfectly okay to say, “I can’t afford to keep picking up the tab for dinner. What’s another way we can enjoy time together without spending as much?”You could suggest that instead of going out, you do potlucks at home instead. This could help you to avoid feeling like you’re being taken advantage of.

If you feel like you’ve made a mistake with money by lending it or giving it to friends and family, don’t shy away from it. Analyze the situation to figure out what went wrong, then commit to not repeating those same mistakes again. Just because you gave a person money in the past doesn’t mean you must continue to do so.

Teaching Them Smart Financial Habits

If you find yourself dealing with someone who asks for money on a regular basis because they’re terrible at managing their finances, you could offer to help. For example, you might introduce them to some online resources for learning about money or share your favorite budgeting app with them.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t always work. If someone has learned poor financial habits from an early age and doesn’t seem inclined to change them, you may not be able to put them on a different path. In that case, you may need to kindly but firmly say no to their frequent requests for money and know that you tried to improve their situation via education.

Providing Financial Resources to Help Them

If someone asks for money and you either can’t afford to give it or would prefer not to, you can still point them in the right direction. You can help them explore other ways to borrow money, such as personal loans, lines of credit, or credit cards.

Just be mindful of steering them toward loans that might worsen their financial situation. Payday loans, for example, can feature astronomical interest rates that can quickly lead borrowers into a downward spiral of expensive debt. Cash advances on credit cards are another very expensive way to borrow money that one may want to avoid.

Valuing Yourself and Your Hard Work

You work hard for your money, so it doesn’t make sense to give it away without some thought beforehand. A request in and of itself isn’t a good reason to part with your cash. For all you know, the person asked half a dozen people who said no before they came to you, and they may have several people they are planning on asking for funds if you decline.

When people ask for cash, check in with your money mindset. Don’t undervalue the effort it took for you to make it, even if that’s not something that’s on their radar. Also, be clear about how it will be used.

For example, finding out after the fact that the $500 you thought was going to buy groceries for your sister and her kids actually went to funding a trip to an amusement park might make you feel resentful. You may feel like your hard work to make that $500 was all for nothing since it went to a frivolous expense.

Not Giving Out of Guilt

Guilt can play a big part in influencing financial decisions. For example, perhaps your spouse’s parents gave you the money to put down on a home after you were married. That can lead to sticky situations with how to handle money with in-laws for years to come if they later need financial help and automatically expect you to provide it.

You may feel too guilty about the down payment gift to say no, which could put a strain on your finances or even your marriage. Or it may be your parents who are putting a guilt trip on you to justify asking you to pay for their expenses in retirement. Talking about money with your partner can help you to avoid conflicts in these kinds of situations.

Guilt can also come into play in other ways. For instance, you might feel guilty about making more money than your friends and use that as an excuse to always pay for nights out or give them money. But allowing guilt to guide you can lead to everyone you know treating you like a personal bank. So it can be important to not let guilt cloud your decisions, and feel comfortable saying, “No, sorry I can’t” to money requests without feeling obligated to explain your reasoning.

Managing Finances With SoFi

Knowing how to navigate the conversation when people ask for money can make those situations less stressful. You don’t always need to say no, but it’s important to know when doing so makes sense for your financial situation — and your personal relationships.

Meanwhile, you can keep working toward your own financial goals by saving regularly. When you open a bank account with SoFi, for instance, you can get checking and savings in one place with a competitive APY. Plus there are no fees, which can help your money grow faster.

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

When should you say no to someone who asks for money?

It may be a good idea to say no to someone who asks for money if you truly can’t afford to give it or if you believe the money will be wasted on wants vs. needs. You should also consider saying no if you suspect the money will be used for illegal purposes.

How can we trust if someone is telling the truth?

There’s no way to tell if someone is being truthful, short of giving them a lie detector test. When someone asks for money, you essentially have to trust your instincts. If you suspect they might not be truthful about why they need the money, then you can say no.

How can I avoid disputes if I choose to say no?

Telling someone who asks for money that your answer is no could lead to conflicts. If you’re worried about a dispute, you can explain your reasons for saying no or simply say, “I’m sorry; it’s just not a good time.” Don’t allow them to argue with you or try to wear you down to change your decision.


Photo credit: iStock/Sergey Nazarov

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

SOBK0722028

Read more
Cheap Ways to Live: 12 Low Cost Housing Alternatives

13 Cheap Ways to Live

The cost of housing is the biggest living expense for most people, and lately, it’s been rising fast. In 2022, housing prices were expected to shoot up 11% over the prior year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and modest gains are forecast for 2023 as well.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, finding cheaper housing alternatives could be the solution to mending your money woes. There are less expensive ways to live that don’t involve selling your worldly possessions and couch-surfing indefinitely. With a little creativity, and a willingness to simplify your life, you can find affordable, comfortable housing.

Read on to learn:

•   What is considered affordable housing?

•   How to find and live in cheap housing?

•   How can you save money on housing?

What Is Considered Affordable Housing?

The average American spends $1,784 per month on living accommodations. A sound financial goal is to allot 30% of your gross monthly income toward your housing budget, including electricity, heat, and water.

The cost of living by state can vary tremendously, but with rents and utilities rising across the country, the suggested 30% rule can be unrealistic. In certain cities and areas with a high cost of living, housing can eat up 50% of a person’s budget, straining their ability to save and meet financial goals.

13 Cheap Housing Alternatives

When thinking about the cheapest ways to live and trying to open up some breathing room in your budget, ask yourself, “Is my housing situation affordable?” If you are living paycheck to paycheck and not saving, your living situation may have to change. Fortunately, there are a range of possibilities when it comes to seeking cheap housing.

Here are 13 housing alternatives to help cut the cost of living and bring balance to your budget.

1. Moving to a Cheaper Area

When looking for cheaper accommodations, one of the biggest moves you can make is a literal one: Move to a place with lower housing costs.

For instance, the costs of the Los Angeles housing market are typically far more than in rural Idaho. Your choice of locale can add hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to your monthly bill.

If your job and life situation permits, you could look for a less pricey neighborhood nearby or something more affordable that is within commuting distance of your work. If that doesn’t help make ends meet, it might be wise to consider relocation to another state where the rents are cheaper.

Unfortunately, relocating can be expensive. It can be difficult to tabulate how much money you’d need to move. Resettling in another state may involve the cost of typical moving expenses and supplies, getting a new license and vehicle registration, and typical costs.

2. Living in a Recreational Vehicle (RV)

The use of recreational vehicles surged during the pandemic, with people itching to get out of their quarantines and onto the open road. Having an RV can do more than satiate your wanderlust, it can be an affordable housing option.

While a new RV is not cheap, you can find used ones for around the price of a used car. Despite their somewhat restrictive quarters and the constant need for parking, the sense of freedom, including financial, could be worth it, especially if you’re a nature lover. While it may not be a forever move, it can give your budget a break for a while.

3. School Bus Homes

Here’s a quirky way to live more cheaply for a period of time: Get on the bus. A converted school bus is cheaper than an RV. A used school bus can run between $3,000 and $10,000 dollars.

The interior renovations are the biggest cost factor. A school bus conversion, complete with hookups for electricity and water, can cost around $30,000.

Parking can be an issue, so do your homework first on everything from national forests to a friend’s roomy property in terms of where to pull up.

💡 Quick Tip: When you overdraft your checking account, you’ll likely pay a non-sufficient fund fee of, say, $35. Look into linking a savings account to your checking account as a backup to avoid that, or shop around for an online bank account that doesn’t charge you for overdrafting.

4. Living on a Boat

Perhaps you prefer life on the water vs. life on the road. In that case, choosing a boat as your primary residence could satisfy your inner sea captain and your financial needs.

Not including the cost of a boat, maintaining your nautical lifestyle can run an average of $2,000 to $3,000 a month. But you can reduce your costs by spending more time at sea and less on marina fees. Of course, if you have a Monday-to-Friday office job, this will be a challenge. For those with flexible or work-from-home schedules, it could work.

5. Living Abroad

With the cost of living rising in America, some people are looking beyond the borders for affordable housing. Your dollar can go far in places like Vietnam, Costa Rica, and Thailand, as long as you can work and procure the proper visas.

However, establishing a permanent residency in a foreign country can be tricky, and shipping your stuff internationally can be a hefty expense. You’ll want to do the research and do the math before making a move, but it could be an option — and an adventure — for some.

6. Renting a Guest House

You can lower your housing costs by moving into a garage apartment or a mother-in-law suite in someone’s home. What you sacrifice in space and privacy can be made up in savings on rent and utilities. If a friend or acquaintance has one to let, great. Also look at the usual rental listings for options on this front.

Recommended: How Much Should I Spend On Rent?

7. Living in a Mobile Home

What else is among the cheapest ways to live? Purchasing or renting a mobile home can be way more affordable than an apartment or house. Utilities are sometimes included, but be sure to factor in the costs of the lot fees, community fees, and other charges imposed by the trailer park landlord.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


8. Moving into a Tiny Home

Tiny houses have exploded in popularity, popping up on TV shows and social media feeds. The term describes compact dwellings of no more than 600 square feet or so, with many of them being just 225 square feet. If you don’t have enough of a down payment for a traditional house, a tiny home offers a more budget-friendly alternative and hip design options. The national average price for a tiny home is $52,000, a fraction of the figure for a full-sized home.

Not ready to commit to close quarters? Renting a tiny house can run between $600 and $800, still cheaper than a lot of apartment rentals. But you may have to pay for storage for all your oversized belongings.

9. Living in a Shipping Container Home

Believe it or not, one of the newest cheap ways of living can involve cutting-edge high design. Repurposing shipping containers into industrial-chic small homes has become a trend lately. These containers are way cheaper than a house and can be configured in unique ways, combining multiple containers for more square footage.

In terms of how much you’ll spend, converting a container to a livable space could cost you up to $45,000 per unit.

10. Living as a Live-In Caretaker

If you’re looking for employment as well as more affordable housing, being a live-in caregiver can be an ideal situation. You could look after an elderly or disabled individual in exchange for a free room and a monthly salary. Another option is being an au pair or nanny, which can work well if you love kids.

11. Being an On-Site Property Manager

In terms of finding cheap ways to live, you might explore becoming an on-site property manager if you’re handy. You’d be responsible for superintendent-type duties — garbage removal, cleaning common areas, and the basic upkeep of the building — in exchange for low-cost or free rent.

12. Renting Out a Room in Your Home

Here’s a way to save on housing costs that flips the script. If you are fortunate enough to have a spare room in your house or apartment and don’t mind having a roommate, renting out your extra space can cut your expenses significantly. Just be sure to properly vet the renter before agreeing to an arrangement.

Recommended: 39 Passive Income Ideas to Build Wealth in 2023

13. Move in with Friends or Family

If you need to cut housing costs to the barebones (perhaps you’re trying to financially survive a layoff), think about family members or close friends who could make room for you. In some cases, you may be able to pay no rent but contribute to the household via cooking, cleaning, and other chores. While a temporary move, it can help you.

While likely a temporary move, it can give you time to break out of habits that make you bad with money and prepare to get your own place again.

The Takeaway

Housing costs can take a big bite out of your budget. If you want to save money or stop living beyond your means, reevaluating your housing situation is a great place to start.

If you are willing to be flexible, and a little unconventional, you can secure an affordable home that suits your lifestyle and your bank account.

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

Is living cheaply worth it mentally?

Living cheaply and within your means can typically bring financial peace of mind and allow you to save for the future. However, if taken to an extreme, frugality can cause some people a high level of stress.

What are the hidden costs of living in affordable housing?

While affordable housing can save you money down the line, there are expenses such as down payments, first-and-last month’s rent, security deposits, and the costs of moving or storage units to consider. Also look out for broker’s fees when renting if cheap ways to live is your goal.

Are there monthly rent payments at mobile homes?

Yes, you can rent a mobile home by the month. Be sure to ask the landlord about common fees, who covers utilities, and other potential additional costs. Different properties have different policies, and you don’t want any surprises if you move in.


Photo credit: iStock/Marje

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


SOBK0822036

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender