Why your debt-to-income ratio matters

Why Your Debt to Income Ratio Matters

Imagine you’re a lender, and a wellness entrepreneur comes to you to borrow thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The loan seeker is the picture of health, drives a Tesla S, and lives in a solar-powered manse. But what if the would-be borrower is overextended, and not in a yoga-like way?

You’re going to want to compare their current income to their debts to help gauge how likely you are to be paid back.

Makes sense, right? A debt-to-income ratio helps to determine whether someone qualifies for a loan, credit card, or line of credit and at what interest rate.

A low DTI ratio demonstrates that there is probably sufficient income to pay debts and take on more. But what’s “low” or “good” in most lenders’ eyes?

First, a Ratio Refresher

In case you don’t know how to calculate the percentage or have forgotten, here’s how it works:

DTI = monthly debts / gross monthly income

Let’s say monthly debt payments are as follows:

•   Auto loan: $400

•   Student loans: $300

•   Credit cards: $300

•   Mortgage payment: $1,300

That’s $2,300 in monthly obligations. Now let’s say gross monthly income is $7,000.

$2,300 / $7,000 = 0.328

Multiply the result by 100 for a DTI ratio of nearly 33%, meaning 33% of this person’s gross monthly income goes toward debt repayment.

What Is Considered a Good DTI?

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises homeowners to consider maintaining a DTI ratio of 36% or less and for renters to consider keeping a DTI ratio of 15% to 20% or less (rent is not included in this ratio).

In general, mortgage lenders like to see a DTI ratio of no more than 36%, though that is not necessarily the maximum.

For instance, DTI limits can change based on whether or not you are considering a qualified or nonqualified mortgage. A qualified mortgage is a home loan with more stable features and without risky features like interest-only payments. Qualified mortgages limit how high your DTI ratio can be.

A nonqualified mortgage loan is not inherently high-risk or subprime. It is simply a loan that doesn’t fit into the complex rules associated with a qualified mortgage.

Nonqualified mortgages can be helpful for borrowers in unusual circumstances, such as having been self-employed for less than two years. A lender may make an exception if you have a high DTI ratio as long as, for example, you have a lot of cash reserves.

In general, borrowers looking for a qualified mortgage can expect lenders to require a DTI of 43% or less.

Under certain criteria, a maximum allowable DTI ratio can be as high as 50%. Fannie Mae’s maximum DTI ratio is 36% for manually underwritten loans, but the affordable-lending promoter will allow a 45% DTI ratio if a borrower meets credit score and reserve requirements, and up to 50% for loans issued through automated underwriting.

In the market for a personal loan? Some lenders may allow a high DTI ratio because a common use of personal loans is credit card debt consolidation. But most lenders will want to be sure that you are gainfully employed and have sufficient income to repay the loan.

Front End vs Back End

Some mortgage lenders like to break a number into front-end and back-end DTI (28/36, for instance). The top number represents the front-end ratio, and the bottom number is the back-end ratio.

A front-end ratio, also known as the housing ratio, takes into account housing costs or potential housing costs.

A back-end ratio is more comprehensive. It includes all current recurring debt payments and housing expenses.

Lenders typically look for a front-end ratio of 28% tops, and a back-end ratio no higher than 36%, though they may accept higher ratios if a credit score, savings, and down payment are robust.

How Can I Lower My Debt-to-Income Ratio?

So what do you do if the number you’ve calculated isn’t your ideal? There are two ways to lower your DTI ratio: Increase your income or decrease your debt.

Working overtime, starting a side hustle, getting a new job, or asking for a raise are all good options to boost income.

Strangely enough, if you choose to tackle your debt by only increasing your payments each month, it can have a negative effect on your DTI ratio. Instead, it can be a good idea to consider ways to reduce your outstanding debt altogether.

The best-known debt management plans are likely the snowball and avalanche methods, but there’s also the fireball method, which combines both strategies.

Instead of canceling a credit card, it might be better to cut it up or hide it. In the world of credit, established credit in good standing is looked upon more favorably than new.

The Takeaway

Your debt-to-income ratio matters because it affects your ability to borrow money and the interest rate for doing so. In general, lenders look at a lower DTI ratio as favorable, but sometimes there’s wiggle room.

If you’re struggling with student loan debt, refinancing might be a good option if you can lower your interest rate. And if you’re trying to pay off high-interest credit card debt, one method is to consolidate the debt with a fixed-rate personal loan. This can lower your monthly payment, thus changing your DTI ratio.

Check your rate on SoFi’s student loan refinancing and personal loans.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.
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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What Kitchen Style Do You Prefer? — Take the Quiz

Do you have kitchen envy, daydreaming about Shaker cabinets, farmhouse sinks, or sleek marble countertops? Join the club: Kitchen remodeling is one of the most popular kinds of home renovation projects, with the typical “small” kitchen redo costing upwards of $28,000. These kinds of upgrades can be worthwhile, with more than 70% of the cost being recouped when the home is sold.

Perhaps you’re planning a kitchen refresh. If so, one of the first steps is likely to figure out what your dream kitchen will look like. Once you know that, you can begin to delve into what exactly you want to do and buy and then how to finance it.

So, first things first: To help you get in touch with your inner kitchen designer, consider the three broad categories of styles: traditional, contemporary, and transitional. Which one is for you?

Read on to:

•   Learn more about kitchen styles

•   Take a kitchen personality quiz to zero in on the best fit for your taste

•   Understand how to afford the kitchen you crave

Traditional Kitchen Style

Even when other styles rise in popularity, the traditional kitchen continues to hold its own, remaining among the most popular. At the core of traditional kitchens is a time-honored approach to design that refers to the styles of the past.

Among the signature touches:

•   Raised-panel or glass-front cabinets

•   Warm wood tones

•   An earthy, rustic color palette

•   Classic sinks, faucets, and knobs, such as a farmhouse style in porcelain or marble

•   Molding, whether at ceiling, along the top of cabinetry, or elsewhere

•   Country or European touches often find a place in traditional kitchens, whether that means floral backsplash tiles or lace curtains.

Contemporary Kitchen Style

At the other end of the design spectrum is contemporary kitchen style. Just as the name suggests, these spaces tend to be clean-lined and sleek. Among the typical features are:

•   Cabinets are often slab-style (meaning without knobs) or otherwise minimalist.

•   Typically, these kitchens use sleek materials, whether wood, steel, or lacquer.

•   Color schemes tend to be neutral, from all white and futuristic to grays and beiges to moody black. However, some people like to mix in pops of color.

•   Appliances are typically disguised as cabinetry (you may hear this called paneled appliances) to keep the clean-lined look going.

•   Decorative accessories are discouraged. If you like showing off your teapot collection, this look probably isn’t for you.

Recommended: Cost to Repair a Plumbing Leak

Transitional Kitchen Style

If you find that you appreciate some elements of traditional style and some of contemporary, then a transitional style kitchen may be just right for you. This style combines elements of both styles in a unique way.

For example:

•   Transitional kitchens might include classic, simple Shaker-style cabinets but in bold shade, like teal, which makes them look more modern.

•   Countertops are often quartz or quartzite, which can have the warmth of natural tones but sleek edges.

•   Appliances are often built-in or stainless steel.

•   Pendant lighting, with its clean lines, is a signature of the transitional style.

•   Wood plank flooring, with its traditional warmth, is often incorporated in these kitchens.

•   If you think you’ll be selling your home, then going transitional can be a safe bet to make your home appealing to a broad swath of potential buyers.

Kitchen Style Quiz

Now that you have a basic grounding in these three looks, take the kitchen style quiz.

Now that you have insight onto the kitchen look you gravitate towards, learn more about what remodeling involves.

Remodeling Your Kitchen

A kitchen remodel can be a good way to boost the value of your home, with possibilities ranging from fairly inexpensive — new paint, new faucets, and new cabinet pulls, for example — to a full-scale remodel that could cost you more than $100,000. A few smart strategies:

•   When remodeling, it makes sense to prioritize your spending in a way that creates a kitchen that works well for your lifestyle.

For example, if you and your partner love to cook gourmet meals and experiment with new recipes, it makes sense to allocate your budget to be a true chef’s kitchen, perhaps with a commercial-style range. If, on the other hand, you’re envisioning a kitchen where all the neighborhood kids will gather for pizza and homework, consider that in your design and perhaps budget for a cushy, built-in banquette.

•   It can also be wise to create a budget and keep an eye on which options can wind up being very pricey maneuvers. The cost of rewiring and moving plumbing lines, for instance, can be quite steep. Have a couple of well-recommended tradespeople pitch your job (don’t skimp on checking references) before picking one.

•   Build in contingencies for your project to go over budget and past the deadline. It happens, and being prepared for that kind of wiggle room can help you avoid a lot of stress. For instance, inflation’s impact on kitchen remodeling can be significant so it’s wise to plan ahead on that front.

•   Also stay aware of what changes require a permit (you may be surprised at how often one is needed) and prepare for how that will impact your timeline.

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Financing Your Remodel

Once you’ve decided how you want to update your kitchen and have considered the average cost of a kitchen remodel, then one of the next considerations is how to pay for it. If you need to finance the project, you may have such options as:

•   You could do a cash-out refinance if you have equity in your home. This involves refinancing your current mortgage for its remaining balance plus the amount needed to do your remodel.

•   A home equity line of credit might also make sense if you have equity. This involves using your home as collateral and opening a line of credit (like a credit card) to tap as work is done on your kitchen. You then repay the debt over time.

•   Another secured option is a home equity loan, which gives you a set amount of money to use towards your renovation.

•   It can make sense to consider an unsecured home improvement loan to help you get the remodel done, too.

Because this is a kind of personal loan, this means you don’t need to have home equity nor put your home on the line as collateral.

Like all loan products, there are pros and cons to personal loans. What matters most when financing your kitchen remodel is finding the option that suits your financial and personal needs best.

Recommended: Can I Pay Off a Personal Loan Early?

All Your Finances. All in One App.

At SoFi, applying for an online home improvement loan is quick and easy. Approved loans can be funded in as little as one day, which means you can get started on your remodel more quickly. Plus, SoFi Personal Loans offer fixed rate payments, which can help you budget and keep your project on schedule.

SoFi: We make home improvement loans simple and speedy.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

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.
Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

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Affordable Wedding Venue Ideas

You’re engaged and ready to plan your wedding. Along with plenty of excitement about your big day, you might also start to feel some sticker shock as you research prices for the ceremony and reception.

In 2022, the average wedding cost is $30,000, according to The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study. More than one-third of the entire wedding budget (an average of almost $11,200) goes toward the reception venue alone, plus $75 per person for catering.

The average cost of a wedding is $30,000, according to a recent survey of couples.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save for the wedding of your dreams. Reducing the costs of the venue helps with one of the largest expenses.

There are free wedding venues, as well as relatively inexpensive wedding venues to consider as you’re creating your budget. Below are four affordable places to hold a wedding. By selecting one of them, and adding some unique personal touches, you can make the day truly your own.

Plus, if you discover that you could use help financing your wedding, we have suggestions for that, too.

Recommended: Wedding Cost Calculator With Examples

At-Home Wedding

This could be at your own home, or that of a parent, friend, or other loved one, which will likely be one of the most affordable wedding venues around. Benefits of this choice (besides the lack of rental fees) include the flexibility to have your ceremony on just about any day of the year, plus you have a ready-made shelter if the weather isn’t ideal. Want a pet-friendly ceremony? It doesn’t get any better than a home wedding for having your beloved dog be your ring bearer.

Also, any home upgrades made for the ceremony can be enjoyed for a long time afterward. Just decide how much of the event will be held outdoors, what rooms of the house should be made available to wedding guests, and how to ensure enough seating.

You can keep it simple by focusing on certain aspects for home improvement. For instance, if you envision yourself making a grand entrance by walking down a staircase in your wedding dress, you might think about a staircase remodel for your ceremony.

On the other hand, if your powder room could use a glow-up, you might want to concentrate your efforts there for a beautiful bathroom refresh. As a bonus, a project like this could add value to your home.

Check to be sure your officiant of choice is able to perform the ceremony, plan the parking logistics, find out how to comply with any noise ordinances, and so forth. Also, this could be a perfect time to do some outdoor landscaping that will beautify your special day and your home for years to come.

City Hall Wedding

A city hall wedding can be a very chic choice. You aren’t restricted to the city hall or courthouse by where you currently live. You could choose one that has special significance to your relationship, perhaps the city where you first fell in love.

Or, you can get married in the city hall where you’ll enjoy your honeymoon or your family vacation. As another strategy, you can choose the city hall based on its beauty. For instance, the city hall in San Francisco has a stunning white column and gold-capped roof.

The fee for a city hall wedding varies by state and municipality. Generally, it ranges from $30 to $88 or more. Call the location to learn the exact cost.

There are usually designated days and times for city hall weddings, so find out what they are in the location of your choice and how that would work in conjunction with your post-wedding celebration. Also, ask if there’s a limit to the number of wedding guests you can have, and whether you’ll be able to have bridesmaids and groomsmen, given the logistics.

Recommended: The Costs of Being in Someone’s Wedding

Park Wedding

Perhaps there are beautiful parks in your town or city full of unique flowers, landscaping, and more — or maybe there is one with special meaning to you, say, where the two of you attended college.

If that’s the case, you could contact the relevant parks department and find out any details about fees and permits. How accessible is the location for guests? If it’s a small park in the center of town, it’s likely to be fairly accessible. If it’s deep in the heart of a national park system, you may need to decide how to make it practical for guests to find and attend.

Other considerations for a park wedding include shelter in case of rain, having enough public restrooms (are they readily available or do you need to rent portable options?), and how comfortable you are getting married in an open space.

You might also need to find out what the park’s policy is on receptions. Can you set up tables and have food brought in? Or are you imagining a picnic complete with champagne? Dream it up, brainstorm details, and get confirmation from park officials.

One bride who got married in Glacier National Park wore her grandmother’s dress. In and of itself, that might not be unique — but the dress had been made out of the silk parachute her grandfather used in World War II! What unique touches can you bring to your own special park wedding?

Beach Wedding

You might consider a beach wedding, with its possibilities for one-of-a-kind photography, soft breezes, and tropical drinks. As practical considerations, do you plan to have a ceremony along the ocean on a public beach or will you locate a private beach? The permits you’ll need will likely be quite different if you plan to have just your ceremony there versus if you also plan to have a beachside reception complete with food, drink, and music.

You’ll also need to create a Plan B or otherwise have shelter available if the weather doesn’t cooperate. And, where you plan to have the ceremony, geographically speaking, may help to dictate what time of year your wedding should be scheduled. For instance, for a July wedding at your favorite beach, think about how far in advance to plan summer travel.

Then figure out the final details. Do you plan to have alcohol at your reception? That often isn’t permitted on beaches, but there are some that do allow guests to imbibe. Do you want to rope off a section of the beach? Build a bonfire? Again, you might want to ask what the rules and regulations are for the beach you have in mind and be flexible about modifying plans to help make it all come together.

Budgeting for Your Wedding

Even when you choose a free or inexpensive wedding venue, you’ll still likely want to come up with some creative ways to save money for the food, music, drinks, flowers, photography, video, and so on.

You can also explore different ways to help cover some of the wedding costs. For instance, a wedding loan might be an option to explore to help pay for your big day. Or perhaps your families might be able to help out financially with some of the venue-related expenses, such as catering.

During a discussion with your partner, you could both try to determine who will pay for what, and how much you’re willing to spend. It could help to discuss priorities so you’re in agreement about where to splurge and where you’re willing to compromise.

If, for example, you know that having beautiful flowers is important to both of you, that could rise to the must-have category. And maybe you want to spend more on photography and less on videography — or vice versa. What’s important is that you mutually create and agree upon a plan that’s unique to you and your special day.

Financing Your Wedding

When it comes to financing your wedding, a wedding loan could be a good option for your needs. These loans are unsecured personal loans used to cover wedding costs. Rates on personal loans tend to be lower than credit card rates, and they can offer more flexibility on the term of your loan and the amount you can borrow. Plus, you’ll get a fixed rate.

A personal loan from SoFi can be a fast, simple way to get extra cash for your wedding. You can apply online and, if you qualify, you can get the money as soon as the same day.

Explore a personal loan at SoFi — check your rate in just minutes!

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Unexpected Wedding Expenses to Watch Out For

You’ve champagne-toasted to your engagement, basked in post-engagement bliss, and happily researched the latest table decor trends on Pinterest.

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of your wedding and focus on the fun parts, like trying on dresses. But before you get too far into planning, it’s a good idea to take a breath and crunch a few numbers.

In addition to being a joyous occasion, a wedding can also be a significant expense. While the price tag can vary widely depending on the level of luxury you go for and where you live, the average wedding costs $30,000, according to The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study.

Besides the basic expenses like the dress, venue, catering, and rings, there are also lots of unexpected wedding costs, both small and large. And those can really add up. Being aware of these costs can help you plan ahead and save for your big day.

Whether you’re paying for your own wedding, or getting help from loved ones, having a realistic budget can help ensure that your wedding doesn’t wreak havoc on your finances.

1. Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

Since these events happen in advance of the wedding, it’s easy to forget to include them in your initial budget. But planning for these festivities is crucial, since they can come with a hefty price tag.

Guests spend an average of $1,500 on these parties, according to Savings.com. When travel is involved, the cost can go up even more. For instance, those who flew to an international bachelor or bachelorette destination spent about $2,000 in total.

Sometimes the host and guests will opt to cover the cost of accommodations and activities for the bride and groom, but that’s far from guaranteed.

And even if your costs are partially covered, you may still need to chip in for your airfare, meals, and incidentals.

Recommended: The Costs of Being in Someone’s Wedding

2. Marriage License

In the whirlwind of wedding planning, it can be easy to forget about some of the more technical steps of getting married.

You’ll need to apply for a marriage license, of course, typically with the relevant county clerk’s office. Some states have a fixed fee, while others vary by county or city. The fees can range from about $10 to $115.

3. Insurance

You know that you’ll need to pay for a wedding venue, but you may not be aware that many of them require you to also purchase insurance. These policies typically cover damage to the venue or injuries to guests or vendors.

Some wedding insurance policies also reimburse you if something goes wrong, such as a venue becoming unavailable or a vendor not showing up. Wedding insurance costs range from about $125 to $550 for basic coverage, but the price can be higher for more expensive events.

Recommended: Smart Short-Term Financial Goals to Set for Yourself

4. Postage

If you’re mailing correspondence to your guests, don’t forget that you’ll need stamps, too. These can add up when you consider that you may need them for save the date cards, invitations, RSVP envelopes, and thank you cards.

A postcard stamp costs $0.48, and a First-Class Forever Stamp for an envelope costs $0.63. Let’s say your save the date is a postcard and your invitations, RSVPs, and thank you notes use envelopes. Mailing these items to 150 guests in the U.S. could cost more than $300.

5. Alterations

The perfect wedding-day outfit requires not only paying for a dress and a tuxedo or suit, but also likely shelling out for alterations.

Some stores and custom tailors include the cost of alterations in the price of the garment, but others don’t. For a wedding dress, changes such as hemming the gown, adding lace or beading, or taking it in can cost anywhere from $200 to $800 or more.

6. Beauty Treatments

You’ll want to look your best on your big day, and that likely requires spending some cash. Hair and makeup for brides costs $250 on average, and some stylists charge extra for a trial. If you’re paying for your bridesmaids to get hair and makeup done as well, the cost could also be around $170 per person for both services on average.

Brides may also choose other beauty treatments, such as facials (with an average cost of $50 to $100) and manicures and pedicures (the average cost ranges from $45 to $80). Body art, like mehendi for Indian brides, can cost hundreds of dollars.

The groom may also choose to pay for services like a haircut (an average cost of $30) and professional shave (about $15 to $50).

7. Gifts

You are probably expecting to receive gifts from your guests, but don’t forget that you may want to give some out, too.

It’s customary to give thoughtful thank you gifts to your wedding party, with especially nice presents going to the maid of honor and best man. Expect to spend $75 to $100 for each bridesmaid or groomsman.

You may also want to give tokens of appreciation to your parents and grandparents, particularly if they helped pay for the wedding. If you have friends who helped out, perhaps by doing a reading at the ceremony or serving as an officiant, you may want to thank them with a gift as well. And you’ll also want to give a gift to any children participating in your day, such as a flower girl or ring bearer.

Last but not least, it can be meaningful to exchange gifts with your new husband or wife. By including these significant items in your budget, or by exploring the option of a wedding loan to help cover them, you can make sure you can afford them when the time comes.

8. Wedding Weekend Events

Your initial wedding budget may not have included other gatherings you’re hosting, such as the rehearsal dinner, welcome drinks, or a brunch.

Depending on the number of guests, all of these events can cost a pretty penny. The average cost of a rehearsal dinner is around $2,400, while brunches can start at $22 per person.

9. Lodging and Transportation

You’ll probably be paying for a hotel for one or more nights if your wedding isn’t in your hometown, or if you just want to stay somewhere special.

You also likely won’t want to drive yourselves around on the big day. If that’s the case, factor in the cost of a limo or fancy bus to get you to and from the wedding locations. The average cost of a wedding limo is $75 to $150 an hour.

If you’re providing transportation for guests as well, expect the amount you spend on transportation to go up significantly.

10. Rentals

More likely than not, your wedding venue and caterer won’t provide everything you need. You’ll typically need to pay extra to rent linens, flatware, and glassware. You may also want to rent other items, such as heating lamps, a cake stand, string lights, candles, or a photobooth. These items can add hundreds of extra dollars to your costs.

Financing Your Wedding

So how do you afford all the wedding expenses — both the ones you plan for and the hidden ones that crop up? Here are some ideas for financing your dream wedding.

Budgeting and Saving

The first step is to make a budget, but you’ll want to be sure to avoid some common budgeting mistakes. Add up all the anticipated wedding expenses, including the lesser-known charges above. Then, you and your partner-to-be can track your monthly expenses and income and see how much you have left over to save each month.

If that isn’t enough to get to your goal, see if you can find ways to reduce living expenses or earn extra cash. SoFi Insights, a complementary tool for SoFi members, can help you track your spending and cashflow in real time against a set budget, to help prevent you from going over — and help you save for the big day.

Trimming Expenses

If your wedding budget is more than you can afford, you may be able to find ways to lower some of the costs. For example, perhaps a friend can officiate instead of paying a professional.

Family and friends may be able to help you create DIY paper goods, bouquets, and centerpieces. Or you could send digital Save the Dates and invitations, rather than paying for printing and postage. Some couples even self-cater their weddings. There are a number of creative ways to save money.

Personal Loans

Along with saving and cutting costs, a wedding loan, which is a type of personal loan, could help finance your wedding. With SoFi, eligible borrowers may qualify for loans with interest rates that are generally lower than the interest rates charged by credit cards.

Personal loans are flexible and may be used for almost any purpose, so they can help you cover wedding expenses that come up. It takes just a few minutes to apply online, and these loans have fast funding and flexible repayment options.

SoFi personal loans offer low rates and no-fee options. Plus, if you happen to get laid off, you may also be eligible for Unemployment Protection: Your payments could be temporarily suspended for up to one year, while SoFi would provide assistance with finding a new job for qualified borrowers.

Learn more about using a SoFi personal loan to help you finance your dream wedding — including paying for any unexpected expenses.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, 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.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi’s Insights 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.

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Understanding Purchase Interest Charges on Credit Cards

In a rising interest rate climate, especially after historic lows, you may be more aware of purchase interest charges on your credit card statement. These charges are a wordy way of saying interest, which you owe when you don’t pay your credit card statement balance in full.

Americans pay about $120 billion per year in credit card interest and fees — about $1,000 per year for each household. Read on for more about credit card interest, including how it works and how to find your card’s interest rate.

What Is Credit Card Interest?

Credit card interest is what you’re charged by a credit card issuer when you don’t pay off your statement balance in full each month. Card issuers may charge different annual percentage rates (APRs) for different types of balances such as purchases, balance transfers, cash advances, and others. You may also be charged a penalty APR if you’re more than 60 days late with your payment.

An interest charge on purchases is the interest you are paying on the purchases you make with the credit card but don’t pay in full by the end of the billing cycle in which those purchases were made. The purchase interest charge is based on your credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR) and the total balance on that card — both of which can fluctuate.

Taking a closer look at your credit card balance and interest rate can help you figure out the best way to pay it off. Here’s some information about how purchase interest charges work and, in general, how interest works on a credit card.

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How Does Credit Card Interest Work?

Credit cards charge different APRs on purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers. The cardmember agreement that was included when you first received your credit card outlines the different APRs and how they’re charged. This information is also included in brief on each monthly billing statement, or you can contact your credit card issuer’s customer service department for this information. Another place to find how interest works on various credit cards is through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which maintains a database of credit card agreements from hundreds of card issuers.

Some credit cards offer an introductory 0% interest rate. But once that promotional period ends, paying your balance in full each month is how you can avoid interest charges.

For example, you get a new credit card with a $5,000 available credit limit and 0% interest for three months. You use the credit card to buy a new computer that costs $3,000 and a designer dog house for your poodle that costs $1,000.

For each of the three interest-free months you pay only the minimum balance due. But since the full balance hasn’t been paid, your fourth statement will include a purchase interest charge. That is the interest you now owe because you did not pay off your credit card statement balance in full.

Credit card interest is variable, based on the prime rate, and banks typically calculate interest daily. A typical interest calculation method used is the daily balance method.

•   The bank will calculate the daily periodic rate, which is the APR divided by 365.

•   To each day’s balance, the bank will add any interest charge from the previous day (compounded interest) and any new transactions and fees, then subtract any payments or credits. This is the new daily balance.

•   The daily periodic rate is multiplied by the daily balance each day.

•   At the end of the billing cycle, each day’s balance is added together, resulting in the amount of interest owed.

•   If the amount owed is less than the minimum interest charge shown on the credit card’s fee schedule, the bank will charge the minimum.

You can make a payment toward your balance due at any time — you don’t have to wait until the due date. Since interest is commonly calculated daily, making multiple smaller payments rather than one large payment on the due date is one way to decrease the amount of interest you might owe at the end of the billing cycle. This can be a good strategy to use if you don’t pay your credit card bill in full each month. You’ll still owe some interest, but it may be less.

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What is a Purchase Interest Charge?

Sometimes also known as a finance charge, an interest charge on purchases is simply interest you pay on your credit card balance for purchases you made but didn’t pay in full. If you don’t pay off your balance each billing cycle, a purchase interest charge for the unpaid amount then becomes part of the total balance you owe.

For example, let’s say you owe $1,000 on a credit card, and because you did not pay that $1,000 in full you were charged a purchase interest charge of $90. You now owe $1,090, and then the next month’s purchase interest charge will be calculated based on a balance of $1,090.

This is called compound interest and can lead to a cycle of credit card debt. The interest charges continue to accrue if you’re not paying your balance in full every month.

How Do You Get Rid of a Purchase Interest Charge?

For a temporary reprieve from paying an interest charge on purchases, you might look for a credit card that has an introductory 0% APR. Some credit card issuers offer introductory rates for anywhere from 12 to 18 months for qualified applicants. If you make a plan for paying off the balance before the promotional period ends and you’re diligent about sticking to it, you could forgo paying interest on purchases made during that period.

Some people might choose this strategy rather than taking out a personal loan for a specific purchase. If you’re sure you can pay the balance in full while the APR remains at 0%, it could be a good strategy.

The only sure way not to pay a purchase interest charge is to pay your credit card balance in full each month.

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Different Types of Credit Card Interest

Interest charges on purchases are just one type of interest charged on a credit card. Other transactions and fees may apply and must be disclosed to credit card applicants. The information can be found in a credit card’s rates and fees table often referred to as the “Schumer Box” after legislation introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer as part of the Truth in Lending Act. The APR for purchases is typically at the top of the list, with others below.

•   Balance transfer APR: If you transfer a balance from one credit card to another, this is the rate you’ll pay on the amount of the transfer. You’ll also be charged interest at this APR on any balance transfer fee your card issuer might charge you.

•   Cash Advance APR and fee: Cash advance APRs tend to be much higher than purchase APRs, and there’s typically no grace period — interest starts accruing immediately. Like a balance transfer fee, you’ll be charged interest on a cash advance fee, too.

•   Penalty APR: If your credit card payment is more than 60 days late, your credit card issuer may increase your APR. If you make the next six consecutive payments on time, the card issuer must reinstate your original APR on the outstanding balance. But they are allowed to keep the higher penalty APR on any new purchases.

In addition to interest charges, there may also be fees charged. All of these fees could potentially accrue interest at their respective rates if the credit card’s balance is not paid in full by the payment due date.

•   Annual fee: Some credit cards charge an annual fee to the card holder.

•   Balance transfer fee: A fee of 3% to 5%, typically, on the amount transferred.

•   Cash advance fee: The greater of a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the cash advance.

•   Foreign transaction fee: A percentage of each transaction amount, in U.S. dollars.

•   Returned payment fee: Having insufficient funds in the bank account used to pay your credit card bill could result in a returned payment fee.

•   Late payment fee: Payments made after the statement due date will incur a late fee of at least $29 and not more than $40.

Where Can I Find My Credit Card’s Interest Rates?

There are several places you can locate your credit card’s interests rates and fees.

Anytime you receive a solicitation for a credit card, which is basically an advertisement, the credit card issuer is required by law to disclose the card’s possible interest rates and fees, as well as how interest is calculated. Since the recipient of this advertisement hasn’t been approved for the credit at this point, these numbers are estimations.

If you are going through a prequalification process for a credit card, the issuer should be able to provide you with more specific APRs so you can decide if that card is a good financial tool for you.

After you’ve been approved, the credit card issuer will mail you a packet containing your physical credit card and detailed information in a cardmember agreement. It’s a good idea to read this document thoroughly so you’re aware of all possible APRs and fees you could be charged.

If you access your credit card account online, you can also find this same detailed information on the card issuer’s website. You can call the card’s customer service telephone number for the information.

The Takeaway

If you’re one of the many people who carry a credit card balance, knowing how much interest you’re paying on different types of charges is important. Interest charges on purchases are likely the most common interest charges, and the amount of interest you may pay can add up quickly.

To keep from paying interest on purchases at all, it’s important to pay your credit card balance in full each month. If you don’t, you’ll accrue interest, which compounds and can create a debt cycle.

3 Personal Loan Tips

  1. Before agreeing to take out a personal loan from a lender, you should know if there are origination, prepayment, or other kinds of fees. If you get a personal loans from SoFi, there are no-fee options.
  2. If you’ve got high-interest credit card debt, a personal loan is one way to get control of it. But you’ll want to make sure the loan’s interest rate is much lower than the credit cards’ rates — and that you can make the monthly payments.
  3. Just as there are no free lunches, there are no guaranteed loans. So beware lenders who advertise them. If they are legitimate, they need to know your creditworthiness before offering you a loan.

Learn more about how a personal loan from SoFi can help you get out of credit card debt.

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