Financial wellness doesn’t have to be complicated. While you’ll eventually want to work up to a financial plan that includes a detailed budget, savings goals, and a retirement plan, there are small things you can do today to set you off on the right foot. These 10 tips may help you get organized, save more money, and master the basics of personal finance.
Keeping Different Savings Accounts for Each Goal
Keeping a different savings account for each one of your goals—whether a new car, a down payment on a house, or even a big vacation—is a simpler way to keep track of how close you are to achieving your goals.
If you only have one account it may be hard to parse what money goes where.
What’s more, separate savings accounts may make it easier to prioritize the goals you’re eager to reach, allowing you to fund those accounts first.
Having a clear goal assigned to each account may also decrease the chances you will raid the account to cover another expense. If an account is clearly labeled Emergency Fund, you may think twice about using it for a trip to Tulum.
Finding a Good Interest Rate
Is there anything better than money you don’t have to work for? The interest you’re paid for keeping money in a bank account is basically that. However, if you do spend some time and effort on finding accounts that offer high interest rates, you can make your money work harder for you.
You might consider high-yield savings accounts. Also, consider checking out online savings accounts.
Automating What You Can
Make your accounts smarter for you by simplifying and automating as much as you can. Have money sent directly from your paycheck into your savings, checking, or investment accounts. You can automate investing inside your brokerage account so you don’t have to worry about what investments to buy every time you transfer cash.
See if you can have your regular bills automated as well. Having utility bills paid directly from your bank account means you don’t have to worry about missing a payment. Automatic payments on your credit cards can help you avoid carrying a balance month to month and paying a lot of interest.
Making It Harder to Use Credit Cards
If you tend to carry a credit card balance, credit card debt can get expensive very quickly. Consider that the average credit card annual percentage rate (APR)—the interest you pay on your balance—is around 17% in 2019. If you have trouble paying off big credit card bills on time, make it a bit harder for yourself to use your cards.
First, don’t carry multiple cards with you. In fact, you may want to leave your credit cards at home. Even consider putting it somewhere hard to access, like a high shelf, so you aren’t tempted to use it on impulse.
If you feel more comfortable carrying your card with you, try leaving a note on it that says, “Do I really need this?” This simple trick can be enough to break the spell when you’re standing in a checkout line with an item you want but don’t really need.
Ready for a Better Banking Experience?
Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account and start earning 1% APY on your cash!
Practicing the 24-hour Rule
Speaking of temptation, online purchasing has made it easier than ever to impulse buy. You’re only one click away from a new jacket, blender, or television. Before you make a purchase online, put it in your shopping cart for 24 hours and revisit the purchase the next day.
Slowing down before buying can give you time to reflect on whether you really do need the item or if you can do without it.
This may sound counterintuitive, but spending cash can actually help you save money. Many people don’t give a second thought to swiping a credit card when they buy something.
After all, when we swipe a card, it may only feel like vague numbers going up or down somewhere in the ether.
However, when we spend in cash, something physical is changing hands, and the sense of actually spending money can be more present.
In addition, it can be easier to keep track of spending when you use cash, and doing so may give you pause to consider whether you need to make a purchase at all.
You may even consider creating an all cash budget in which you set aside a specific amount of cash to cover your expenses and stick to those limits.
Lowering Your Regular Bills
It may feel like your bills are set in stone, but lowering your cable bill, phone bill, insurance premiums, and more is an effective way to trim expenses. First, take a look at the bills you want to spend less on. Research how long you’ve been a customer, how long you’ve paid your bills on time, and what rates competitors are offering.
Call your vendors and ask them specific questions about how they can help you spend less. Be polite and use your track record or competitors’ offerings as jumping off points for your conversation.
You don’t have to cancel your service, but being prepared to leave for another offer may give you more leverage during your conversation and spur your vendor to action.
Keeping track of your savings and spending can sometimes be a stumbling block when maintaining a budget. Consider enlisting the help of one of the myriad savings and budgeting apps available to make the process easier and help keep you on track.
For example, SoFi Relay tracks all of your money, all in one place, at no cost, so you stay on pace to hit your goals.
This hack may be easier said than done. Deep cultural taboos can make it tough for us to talk about money. However, doing so can make a huge difference in your financial plan. For example, if you’re trying to stick to a budget, don’t be afraid to let your friends know.
They may be more cognizant about not inviting you to expensive dinners and quicker to spend time with you participating in cheap or free activities like game night or a picnic in the park. If you’re in a relationship, consider talking to your partner regularly about your personal and joint finances to make sure you’re on the same page.
Finding a Money Mentor
When it comes to financial matters, it can be tough to go it alone. Getting money advice from someone who’s done it before can be a huge help.
Consider finding a financial mentor who can help you strategize ways to save, spend, and invest your money. This person could be a trusted friend or relative.
Or you may consider hiring a professional financial coach or financial planner to help you make a plan.
With SoFi Checking and Savings®, you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to spending and saving your money. SoFi Checking and Savings is a checking and savings account that earns you interest on all your cash.
You can track spending, savings, and get access to financial planners. And there are no fees (quick note: our interest rate and fee structure is subject to change at any time), potentially saving you even more money—getting you to your financial goals faster.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
SoFi Money® is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member
FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank.
SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.50% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.50% 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 4.50% 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 8/9/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet..
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.