Average Grocery Budget for Family of 3 in 2024

Groceries are one of the biggest budget items on most families’ lists. Of course, how much you spend will depend on where you live, what you eat, and what your spending habits are. As food costs increase, so may the grocery budget for a family of three.

As you create or revise a monthly budget, it can help to look at how your food spending compares to other families.

American Average Grocery Budget for Family of 3

Each month, the USDA publishes a report showing the average costs of groceries at three price levels: budget, moderate, and liberal. Here’s a look at the middle-of-the-road spending for a family of three in 2023. Notice how the average cost of groceries rose more than $87 over the course of the year.

Month (in 2023) Average Cost of Groceries
January $975.00
February $975.00
March $967.50
April $970.90
May $976.70
June $977.80
July $981.30
August $981.00
September $980.10
October $983.20
November $977.00
December $975.70



💡 Quick Tip: We love a good spreadsheet, but not everyone feels the same. An online budget planner can give you the same insight into your budgeting and spending at a glance, without the extra effort.

How Much to Budget for Groceries Per Person

No matter the size of your family, your grocery budget can depend largely on the cost of food where you live. For instance, according to data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, people in Hawaii, Alaska, and New York tend to pay more for food than residents of Texas, Wyoming, and Michigan. This means $700 per month for groceries may be more reasonable in Texas than in, say, Hawaii.

Creating a household budget and aren’t sure how much to allocate for food? A good rule of thumb is to set aside 10% of your income for groceries and other food costs. So if you take home around $5,000 a month, plan on budgeting $500 for food.

However, you may need to adjust that percentage, especially if you have a larger family or live in an area with a higher cost of living. It may be wise to track how much you spend in any given month on food and see what a reasonable budget would look like for you and your family.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


How to Prioritize Your Grocery Spending

What does it mean to prioritize your grocery spending? It’s simply a way to ensure you’re making the most every dollar when you’re grocery shopping on a budget.

One strategy to consider is to set aside money each month automatically so you have enough to spend on food. Another option is to put groceries as one of the top line items in your monthly budget so you don’t forget to set aside money for it first.

It’s also important to scrutinize how much you spend on food and the choices you make in the grocery store aisles. It could be that your grocery budget is fine, but you may need to reel in how much you spend on certain ingredients or find cheaper alternatives.

Above all, though, make sure you settle on a budget that works for you and your family. Be sure it’s enough to cover what’s important to you all while still sticking to your larger spending plan.

How to Stay Within Your Grocery Budget

It’s easy to give in to temptation at the grocery store, but rest assured, staying within budget is possible. These tips can help:

Shop at discount retailers

Buying your groceries at lower-priced retailers can add up to significant savings, even better if you’re able to purchase ingredients you need on sale. Some retailers may have rewards programs, helping you earn free or heavily discounted groceries.

•   Make pricey purchases go the distance: Meat or related products like eggs tend to cost more than other ingredients. Look into recipes that help you stretch a pack of meat or carton of eggs over several meals.

•   Use what you have: Before heading to the grocery store, go through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to see what you already have. Besides preventing food waste, this also helps you avoid purchasing items you don’t need.

•   Buy store brands: In many cases, store-brand items cost much less than brand-name items. The quality for generic items may also be similar.

•   Use coupons: Though it may not seem like it’ll make a huge difference, using coupons or grocery store rebates can help make every cent count. Be sure to do some comparison shopping before you hit the checkout counter. Even with discounts, you may still come out ahead with generic or store-brand versions.

•   Embrace meal planning: Making plans can help you estimate your food costs for the week and ensure you only purchase items you need.

•   Do a spending audit regularly: Tally up how much you’ve spent and what you’ve spent it on. Look for places to cut back on spending, such as purchasing pricey ingredients that can only be used once.

Recommended: Does Buying in Bulk Save Money?

How to Budget for Restaurants and Dining Out

Eating out is a luxury, but it can also be done on a budget. Consider the following tips the next time you’re considering a night out on the town:

•   Decide how many times a month you want to eat out: Knowing approximately where and how many times you go out in a given month will help you make a realistic budget.

•   Consider drinking only water: While it’s tempting to order fancy drinks when you’re out, sticking with water can help you and your family save money.

•   Look for weekly specials or discounts: In an attempt to earn your business, many restaurants will offer specials, such as free kids meals or discounted menu items. These deals usually happen on a weekday, though on occasion you may find discounts during restaurants’ busier times as well.

•   Budget for tipping: Paying for your meal isn’t the only cost involved in dining out. Make sure to leave enough room so you can tip your server or bartender.

Recommended: Examining the Price of Eating at Home vs Eating Out

Tips for Getting Help if You Can’t Afford to Buy Groceries

Sometimes, budgeting will only get you so far. If you need help with food and other necessities, there are some organizations and agencies you may be able to turn to for temporary help:

•   Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): If you can meet the program’s eligibility requirements, the government-run program will give you a monthly stipend to spend on food for you and your family.

•   Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): The WIC program is for eligible pregnant women or mothers who have infants up to age 5 who are at risk of not receiving enough nutrients. Note that you’ll need to apply for this government-funded program.

•   USDA National Hunger Hotline: If you’re facing food insecurity, you can call the hotline daily from 7am to 10pm ET to find resources like local meal sites or food banks.

•   Local food pantries: Many religious organizations, colleges, and other local nonprofits may have food pantries. Call ahead to see when you can receive assistance.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

The Takeaway

Budgeting for grocery costs isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort. It may be worth considering looking at average costs in your area as a guideline for how much to budget and looking at ways to save on food to ensure you’re not spending more than you can afford to. You may also want to consider using online tools like a money tracker app so you can maximize every dollar you make.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

With SoFi, you can keep tabs on how your money comes and goes.

FAQ

What is a reasonable grocery budget?

Most experts recommend budgeting around 10% of your income to food costs.

How much should a family of four spend on groceries?

Depending on where you live, the average cost of groceries for a family of four can average from $1,044.70 to $1,568.10, according to data from USDA.

How much does an average family spend on groceries?

The average family spends about 11.3% on groceries, according to USDA data.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi 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. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. 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 is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

SORL0324003

Read more
What Are Dental Loans and Why Get One?

Guide to Dental Loans

Finding out you need dental work can be scary — and scary expensive. Still, the pain and the price could get even worse if you put off getting care. And sometimes delaying just isn’t an option.

If you don’t have enough money stashed away in your emergency fund, and your insurance won’t cover all your costs, you may want to chew on the pros and cons of taking out a dental loan.

What Are Dental Loans?

Medical financing loans are personal loans that are used to pay for a variety of medical expenses, including dental work and related expenses.

Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed by the upfront cost of a root canal or crown, or you expect to pay a substantial amount over time for braces, aligners, or implants, a dental loan can be a quick and convenient way to get the financing you need.

With a dental loan, you can borrow money to pay for your care, then make monthly payments until the loan balance is paid off.

How Do Dental Loans Work?

Dental loans are usually unsecured personal loans, which means you don’t have to put up collateral to secure the loan. Approval for a loan for dental work will be based on your creditworthiness.

If you qualify, you’ll receive a lump sum of money that’s to be repaid in monthly installments consisting of principal and interest. Since dental loans typically have fixed interest rates, your payments should be the same amount each month throughout the repayment period.


💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. One question can save you many dollars.

What Can Dental Loans Be Used For?

You typically can use a personal loan to pay for just about anything as long as it’s legal and within the terms of your loan agreement.

Costs related to your dental care are included in common uses for personal loans. These might include treatment — even for expensive elective or cosmetic procedures that may not be covered completely or at all by dental insurance — as well as over-the-counter or prescription medications you might require and transportation. You can even use the funds for the milkshake and soup you might need after your procedure.

Here are approximate costs for some common procedures that could be paid for with a dental loan:

Porcelain Crown

The cost of a crown can vary based on the materials used to make it, as well as the size, shape, and location of the tooth that’s being replaced. Costs for an all-porcelain crown can range from $800 to $2,000. Dental insurance may cover some of that expense, unless the crown is strictly for cosmetic purposes.

Whitening

A basic teeth cleaning may be covered by dental insurance as part of your annual exam. But an in-office teeth bleaching (which can cost around $300) or a laser whitening (which averages $1,000), likely won’t be covered by insurance.

Root Canal

The cost of a root canal could range from about $500 to $1,500 depending on how severe the infection is and which tooth is affected. Molars can run anywhere from $800–$1,500, while incisors can cost $500–$1,000.

Aligners

Clear teeth aligners can be pretty pricey. For example, the cost for Invisalign can range from $1,800 to $9,500 per treatment course, depending on how complex the orthodontic problem is. The average cost for Invisalign for a teenager is $3,000. Your insurance provider may pay for some of those costs, but you should check your coverage before ordering.

Veneers

Veneers can range from $800 to $2,000 per tooth, depending on the type and how much prep work is involved. Because the purpose of veneers is cosmetic, the cost generally is not covered by dental insurance.

Typical Dental Loan Application Process

Your dentist may offer an in-house financing plan to help with costs — especially if they specialize in cosmetic procedures. Or, the practice may partner with a lender who provides these types of loans. You aren’t obligated to use your dentist’s financing plan, but you may want to check out what the practice is offering. You also can go online to compare dental loan offers from traditional and online lenders.

Compare Offers: Choosing the Right Loan

When you start shopping for loans for dental work, you can go to individual lenders’ websites to see what they have to offer or use a comparison site to conveniently check out multiple lenders.

Getting prequalified with a few different lenders can help you get the clearest idea of what’s available and what’s best for your needs. Lenders typically use a soft credit pull during the prequalification process, so it won’t affect your credit score.

Here are a few things to watch for as you shop for financing:

Annual Percentage Rate

A loan’s annual percentage rate (APR) tells you the amount you can expect to pay on top of the principal amount over the course of one year, including interest and any fees or charges you might incur. Because it gives you a complete picture of the cost of the loan (as opposed to just looking at the interest rate), the APR can be a useful tool for comparing various loan offers.

Recommended: APR vs. Interest Rate

Fees

Fees can add up quickly, and they can add to the cost of your loan. Some common fees to look out for could include an application fee, origination fee, late payment fee, returned payment fee, and a prepayment penalty. Low-fee or fee-free loans may save you money over the life of the loan.

Loan Amounts

Some lenders may have loan minimums that require you to borrow more than you need. Before you go loan shopping, you may want to get dental procedure cost estimates to get an idea of how much you’ll have to borrow. Then you can look for lenders who are willing to lend that amount.


💡 Quick Tip: Generally, the larger the personal loan, the bigger the risk for the lender — and the higher the interest rate. So one way to lower your interest rate is to try downsizing your loan amount.

Loan Terms

Another important factor to consider is the loan term, or how long you’ll be given to repay the money you’ve borrowed. Of course, you’ll want to find a loan term that feels comfortable (a longer-term can equal lower payments). But a longer-term also could increase the amount you pay in interest over the life of the loan. You may want to think about how the loan length could affect your future financial goals.

Eligibility Requirements

Before you settle on a particular personal loan for dental work, you may want to check out the lender’s eligibility requirements. In the process of checking your personal loan rate, most sites will review your credit scores, credit history, income, and other personal financial information to determine whether you qualify for a particular interest rate or other loan terms.

Many lenders will accept a fair credit score (a FICO® Score of 580 to 669 is considered fair), but a good FICO Score (670 to 739) could qualify you for a more favorable interest rate and other terms. If you have a poor score (lower than 580), lenders may consider you to be a high lending risk, which could affect your eligibility. You may be able to find a loan, but the interest rate will likely be more expensive.

Approval and Funding Timeline

If you can’t get your treatment until you can pay for it — and you need it soon — a quick approval time and rapid funding also could be an important consideration. One of the major pluses of using an online lender can be the convenience and fast application time. If you have all your information ready, it can be easy to apply using an online form. And if you qualify, the money generally can be available within a few days.

Customer Service

Does the lender have a reputation for good customer service? You may want to check into how various lenders deal with consumer questions and problems. At the same time, you can see if there are any perks to building a relationship with a lender that might benefit you in the future.

Applying for a Dental Loan

If you find a lender and loan terms you like, and you’re ready to apply, your next step will be to complete a formal application. You can expect to be asked to verify your identity, income, and current address, and it can make things easier if you gather up the necessary documents ahead of time. You’ll probably need your driver’s license, Social Security number, recent pay stubs and/or bank statements, and a utility bill or some other proof of address.

Once you apply, most lenders will do a hard credit check, which may cause your credit score to drop by a few points temporarily. The lender will evaluate your ability to repay the loan and, if you qualify, your loan will be funded.

Pros and Cons of Dental Loans

Whether you need money for a one-time emergency procedure or for a series of treatments that could add up to a big expense, a dental loan may be an option worth considering. Here are some pros and cons that could help you decide if a personal loan makes sense for your situation:

Pros

Convenient Online Comparison

Applying for a personal loan online can be convenient and quick. Many online lenders offer personal loans that can be used for dental treatment, so you can shop for the loan amount and terms that best suit your needs.You may be able to get your approval within a few hours (maybe even a few minutes) and you could receive your money within a few days.

Competitive Terms

If you have a solid credit history, a stable income, and fair or better credit scores, you may qualify for a competitive interest rate and a repayment period you feel comfortable with. (The interest rate on a dental loan is typically lower than the interest rate on a credit card.)

Fixed Payments

With a dental loan, borrowers typically receive a lump sum of money that is repaid in fixed monthly payments. This can make it easier to budget and manage your payments.

Cons

Fees and Penalties

Some dental treatment loans come with fees and penalties that can drive up the overall cost of borrowing. You may be able to keep your costs down, though, by finding a low- or no-fee loan.

Alternatives May Cost Less

If you can qualify for a credit card with a low or 0% promotional rate for purchases, it may be a less expensive way to borrow money — at least for a while. Zero-interest credit cards charge no interest during an introductory period, which typically lasts from six to 18 months. Paying the balance in full within the promotional period is essential to making the most of an offer like this.

Fixed Payments

Having a fixed monthly payment can make budgeting easier, but it doesn’t provide flexibility if you can’t make that payment for some reason. A different financing option, such as a credit card, might offer more adaptable minimum monthly payments.

Pros and Cons of Dental Loans

Pros

Cons

Easy to compare lenders online May come with fees and penalties that can increase the overall cost
Terms are competitive and interest rates are generally lower than on credit cards Alternatives like credit cards with a 0% interest introductory rate may be less expensive
Fixed monthly payments can make it easy to budget for the expense Fixed payments don’t allow for budget shortfalls

Alternatives to Personal Loans

If you can’t afford the dental work you need, there are options besides dental loans that you might want to check out. A few to consider include:

Credit Cards

If you already have a low-interest credit card, you may want to compare the interest you’d pay if you used that card vs. the cost of a dental loan. Or you might want to consider the pros and cons of applying for a low or 0% introductory-rate credit card — if you think you can pay off the balance during the designated promotional period. If you end up using a high percentage of your available credit, however, your credit score could be negatively affected.

Dental Office Financing

Your dentist may offer some type of in-house financing to patients who can’t afford to pay upfront for the treatments they want or need. The practice might partner with a lender that offers loans for dental procedures, for example, or the dental office might suggest a medical credit card with a low or 0% introductory rate. These offers may be worth reviewing and comparing to similar options, as long as you’re clear on all the repayment terms.

Grants

There are grant programs aimed at helping seniors, adults and children living in low-income households, and those who have special needs. The Dental Lifeline Network is a nonprofit organization that provides access to dental care for people who can’t afford it. Some dentists also may offer partial grants to attract new patients who need extensive and expensive treatment.

Explore Personal and Dental Loans with SoFi

A dental loan can be a quick and convenient solution if you need cash to pay for an unexpected dental procedure or an elective treatment you’ve been thinking about for a while (like braces, aligners, or implants). Whether you’re considering an expensive cosmetic procedure or you need a crown or root canal ASAP, SoFi may offer a personal loan that works for your unique financial situation.

SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

What credit score do you need for dental implant loans?

Many lenders will offer a dental loan to a borrower with a fair credit score. (A FICO Score of 580 to 669 is considered fair). But a good or better score could improve your interest rate and other terms. If you have a poor score (lower than 580), lenders may consider you to be a higher risk, which could affect your eligibility.

Can you get your teeth fixed with no money?

You may be able to find a research clinic or university dental program that provides free services to volunteer patients who need care. And some dental practices may occasionally offer free care to low-income patients. There are also grants that could help cover costs.

Can you put dental work on a credit card?

Yes, you can use a regular credit card or a medical credit card to pay for dental work. But if you come close to using up all the available credit on your card, it could affect your credit utilization ratio, which can have a negative impact on your credit scores. Putting dental work on a credit card can also considerably add to the cost of your treatment if you are not able to pay it off quickly.


Photo credit: iStock/Sanga Park

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.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

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.

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.

SOPL0324002

Read more

How Much Does a Travel Agent Make a Year?

The median annual pay for travel agents is $46,400, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent data.

Travel is a passion many people share, but not many people are fortunate enough to make their love of travel their full-time job. If someone is skilled at finding the best travel deals and building the perfect vacation itinerary, they may find that working as a travel agent is a rewarding way to earn a living.

To better understand what it’s like to work as a travel agent and how much they earn, keep reading.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


What Are Travel Agents?

Travel agents help their clients plan and book their trips. They may work for an individual client to plan their vacation or a corporate client to book their work travel. No two trips they manage are likely to be exactly the same, but they can help arrange everything from flights to hotels to excursions to dining reservations. Many travel agents can also give their clients access to deals through partner hotels and other travel vendors.

A travel agent can work independently. In-house at a large corporation, or for a major travel company. They may pursue this work full-time or as a side hustle. Given that a significant part of this career involves working with individuals to understand their travel aspirations and needs, it’s likely not a good job for antisocial people.

Travel agents can train in different ways: Some have a bachelor’s degree in an allied field or an associate’s degree in travel and tourism. There are many professional training programs and certifications available, such as ASTA, IATA, TIDS, and CLIA for different dimensions of travel planning.

As part of their work, travel agents may have the opportunity to visit various properties and destinations to make sure they would be a good fit for clients and learn about their selling points. This is often available at a reduced rate or for free and can be a major perk of working as a travel agent.

However, it’s worth noting that travel agents likely have to be available 24/7 and can deal with considerable stress, if, say, a client misses their flight or extreme weather ruins a vacation.


💡 Quick Tip: We love a good spreadsheet, but not everyone feels the same. An online budget planner can give you the same insight into your budgeting and spending at a glance, without the extra effort.

How Much Do Starting Travel Agents Make a Year?

If you’re wondering how much money a travel agent makes, the answer will depend a lot on how experienced the travel agent in question is. For example, entry-level travel agents can earn a lot less than more experienced agents. The lowest 10% of earners in this role make less than $29,650.

The highest 10% make more competitive pay north of $64,100. And there are those travel agents who work in the luxury sector who make considerably more.

Indeed, some could make an annual salary of $100,000 or more.

What is the Average Salary for a Travel Agent?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the latest median pay per year for travel agents is $46,400 and the median hourly pay is $22.31.

Alongside experience, location can majorly impact a travel agent’s earning potential. The following table illustrates how much a travel agent’s average salary can vary by state, arranged from highest to lowest. For example, in New York, travel agents make an average annual salary of $51,002, but in Arkansas, they earn almost $20,000 less at an average of $33,194.

What is the Average Travel Agent Salary by State for 2023

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
New York $51,002 $4,250 $980 $24.52
Pennsylvania $46,702 $3,891 $898 $22.45
New Hampshire $45,667 $3,805 $878 $21.96
New Jersey $44,975 $3,747 $864 $21.62
Wyoming $44,490 $3,707 $855 $21.39
Washington $44,429 $3,702 $854 $21.36
Wisconsin $44,110 $3,675 $848 $21.21
Massachusetts $44,109 $3,675 $848 $21.21
Alaska $43,993 $3,666 $846 $21.15
Oregon $43,637 $3,636 $839 $20.98
Indiana $43,568 $3,630 $837 $20.95
North Dakota $43,557 $3,629 $837 $20.94
Hawaii $42,711 $3,559 $821 $20.53
Arizona $42,667 $3,555 $820 $20.51
New Mexico $42,402 $3,533 $815 $20.39
Colorado $42,122 $3,510 $810 $20.25
Minnesota $42,111 $3,509 $809 $20.25
Montana $42,024 $3,502 $808 $20.20
Nevada $41,598 $3,466 $799 $20.00
Alabama $41,499 $3,458 $798 $19.95
South Dakota $41,167 $3,430 $791 $19.79
Vermont $41,101 $3,425 $790 $19.76
Ohio $41,077 $3,423 $789 $19.75
Rhode Island $40,418 $3,368 $777 $19.43
Iowa $39,934 $3,327 $767 $19.20
Delaware $39,881 $3,323 $766 $19.17
Connecticut $39,806 $3,317 $765 $19.14
Virginia $39,419 $3,284 $758 $18.95
Mississippi $39,257 $3,271 $754 $18.87
Tennessee $39,219 $3,268 $754 $18.86
Utah $39,017 $3,251 $750 $18.76
Illinois $38,900 $3,241 $748 $18.70
Georgia $38,659 $3,221 $743 $18.59
Maryland $38,651 $3,220 $743 $18.58
California $38,534 $3,211 $741 $18.53
Nebraska $37,909 $3,159 $729 $18.23
Maine $37,734 $3,144 $725 $18.14
Missouri $37,456 $3,121 $720 $18.01
South Carolina $37,087 $3,090 $713 $17.83
Kansas $36,952 $3,079 $710 $17.77
Idaho $36,789 $3,065 $707 $17.69
Louisiana $36,765 $3,063 $707 $17.68
Oklahoma $36,712 $3,059 $706 $17.65
Texas $36,475 $3,039 $701 $17.54
North Carolina $36,322 $3,026 $698 $17.46
West Virginia $36,068 $3,005 $693 $17.34
Kentucky $34,977 $2,914 $672 $16.82
Michigan $34,895 $2,907 $671 $16.78
Florida $34,212 $2,851 $657 $16.45
Arkansas $33,194 $2,766 $638 $15.96

Source: ZipRecruiter

Travel Agent Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

Working as a travel agent can be very flexible. While full-time positions are available in this role, some travel agents choose to work part-time or for themselves as entrepreneurs.

When working full-time for a travel advisory firm, travel agents can expect to gain access to benefits like health insurance and retirement contribution matching. If they work part-time or are self-employed, they will need to provide themselves with those benefits, which can eat into their take-home pay.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Pros and Cons of Travel Agent Salary

The main disadvantage of a travel agent’s salary is that the median annual salary is on the lower side at just $46,400. That being said, one of the main advantages of this salary is that it can come with hefty bonuses based on travel bookings with partners that offer commissions to travel agents. Also, travel agents often get discounts and freebies as they themselves travel to check out new resorts and attractions.

Travel agents who work for themselves can also choose to set their own rates and can potentially earn more. Or those who cater to high net-worth individuals may be able to raise their income.

Recommended: Work-from-Home Jobs for Retirees

The Takeaway

A travel agent who is super organized and passionate about travel can help make their client’s lives easier and their trips more enjoyable. In exchange for their savviness, some travel agents earn good salaries doing work that they truly enjoy and have perks that involve more travel at lower or no cost for their own purposes.

SoFi helps you stay on top of your finances.

FAQ

Can you make 100k a year as a travel agent?

While most travel agents don’t earn $100,000 per year, those who choose to work for themselves and set their own rates or cater to an elite clientele can possibly make six figures. Many travel agents work on commission, so they can also stand to earn more if their clients book a lot of expensive trips.

Do people like being a travel agent?

Many people like working as a travel agent because it’s a fun way to put their love of travel to use. It tends to be a good job for those who consider themselves to be a “people person” since there’s lots of interaction with clients. Also, it’s good for people who can “roll with the punches” since travel plans often change for various reasons.

Is it hard to get hired as a travel agent?

The demand for travel agents is on par with the average of other professions. So, while it’s not seeing a surge in need, there should be availability of jobs as a travel agent.


Photo credit: iStock/Dimensions

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi 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. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. 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 is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

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.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

SORL0124040

Read more

How Much Does a Physician Assistant Make a Year?

The most recent median annual salary for physician assistants is $126,010 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is significantly more (about twice) the average pay of all jobs in the US.

Working as a physicians assistant can be a fulfilling way to have a career in the medical industry without having to spend as much time or money on school as a doctor. Like doctors, physician assistants stand to make a lot of money, but can save on tuition costs since they typically only need a master’s degree to work in this role.

Keep reading to learn more about what physician assistants do and how much money they make.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


What Are Physician Assistants?

A physician assistant is capable of performing a lot of tasks a medical doctor would perform, such as conducting patient examinations, diagnosing illnesses, and delivering treatments. They complete their work under physician supervision and their day-to-day responsibilities can include tasks like:

•   Obtaining and reviewing medical histories

•   Ordering diagnostic tests

•   Prescribing medications

•   Collaborating with healthcare teams.

A physician assistant can specialize in a specific healthcare field like primary care, emergency medicine, and psychiatry, which can affect their job responsibilities.

As mentioned above, these individuals typically have a master’s degree; this is usually a requirement for licensing. However, you don’t need to go to and pay for medical school.

Job opportunities are likely to be plentiful. The projected growth over 2022 to 2032 is 27%, which is very well above the single-digit average for most professions.


💡 Quick Tip: We love a good spreadsheet, but not everyone feels the same. An online budget planner can give you the same insight into your budgeting and spending at a glance, without the extra effort.

How Much Do Starting Physician Assistants Make a Year?

Like any career, it takes time to earn a high salary when working as a physician assistant. When a physician assistant is entry-level, their salary may compare with the lowest 10% of earners in this role, who make $83,820 or less, but there is a lot of room for improvement here.

The highest 10% of earners make more than $168,120. In other words, it is indeed possible to earn $100,000 a year.

What is the Average Salary for a Physician Assistant?

The answer to the question—how much money does a physician assistant make—can vary depending on where a physician assistant works. Some jobs will pay more due to location. The following table illustrates the average salary for this role in each state and a quick glance makes it clear there is a lot of variance in pay by state. For example, a physician assistant in New York makes $44,095 more on average than someone in this role in Florida, which is quite a gap.

Below, this table shares how much a physician assistant job pays both by state and by different rates, including hourly pay, from highest to lowest.

Recommended: Best Jobs for Extroverts That Pay Well

What Is the Average Physician Assistant Salary by State for 2023

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly
New York $135,153 $11,262 $2,599 $64.98
Vermont $132,952 $11,079 $2,556 $63.92
Maine $127,291 $10,607 $2,447 $61.20
Pennsylvania $123,776 $10,314 $2,380 $59.51
Washington $123,029 $10,252 $2,365 $59.15
Massachusetts $121,192 $10,099 $2,330 $58.27
New Hampshire $120,808 $10,067 $2,323 $58.08
New Jersey $120,671 $10,055 $2,320 $58.02
Alaska $120,511 $10,042 $2,317 $57.94
Oregon $119,212 $9,934 $2,292 $57.31
North Dakota $119,074 $9,922 $2,289 $57.25
Wisconsin $118,753 $9,896 $2,283 $57.09
Wyoming $118,099 $9,841 $2,271 $56.78
Hawaii $116,804 $9,733 $2,246 $56.16
Colorado $115,983 $9,665 $2,230 $55.76
Indiana $115,955 $9,662 $2,229 $55.75
New Mexico $114,119 $9,509 $2,194 $54.86
Nevada $113,947 $9,495 $2,191 $54.78
Minnesota $113,836 $9,486 $2,189 $54.73
Arizona $113,557 $9,463 $2,183 $54.59
South Dakota $112,537 $9,378 $2,164 $54.10
Montana $111,846 $9,320 $2,150 $53.77
Ohio $110,903 $9,241 $2,132 $53.32
Alabama $110,449 $9,204 $2,124 $53.10
Rhode Island $110,419 $9,201 $2,123 $53.09
Delaware $109,969 $9,164 $2,114 $52.87
Virginia $108,760 $9,063 $2,091 $52.29
Connecticut $108,357 $9,029 $2,083 $52.10
Iowa $108,260 $9,021 $2,081 $52.05
Mississippi $107,125 $8,927 $2,060 $51.50
Illinois $107,052 $8,921 $2,058 $51.47
California $106,842 $8,903 $2,054 $51.37
Maryland $106,595 $8,882 $2,049 $51.25
Tennessee $105,885 $8,823 $2,036 $50.91
Utah $105,559 $8,796 $2,029 $50.75
Nebraska $104,594 $8,716 $2,011 $50.29
Missouri $103,224 $8,602 $1,985 $49.63
Georgia $102,891 $8,574 $1,978 $49.47
South Carolina $102,185 $8,515 $1,965 $49.13
1Idaho $101,964 $8,497 $1,960 $49.02
Oklahoma $101,291 $8,440 $1,947 $48.70
Texas $101,057 $8,421 $1,943 $48.59
Kansas $100,847 $8,403 $1,939 $48.48
North Carolina $100,075 $8,339 $1,924 $48.11
Louisiana $99,387 $8,282 $1,911 $47.78
Kentucky $96,173 $8,014 $1,849 $46.24
Michigan $96,099 $8,008 $1,848 $46.20
West Virginia $95,594 $7,966 $1,838 $45.96
Arkansas $91,350 $7,612 $1,756 $43.92
Florida $91,058 $7,588 $1,751 $43.78

Source: Ziprecruiter

Physician Assistant Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

It’s very common to work full-time as a physician assistant, which typically means that in addition to competitive pay, these professionals gain access to employer-sponsored benefits.

These may include:

•   Health insurance

•   Retirement plans

•   Paid sick days

•   Paid vacation

The tradeoff for a great compensation package can be having to work long hours or be on call. In addition, you may be exposed to medical emergencies, which can be stressful, and germs.

In addition, a career as a physician assistant requires much interaction with patients and the other members of the medical team. For this reason, it may not be a top choice as a job for antisocial people.


💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Pros and Cons of Physician Assistant Salary

The main advantage of a physician assistant salary is that it is well over the national average for all jobs, which is currently $59,384. As you see, a physician assistant can possibly make twice that amount.

This high take-home pay may make it easier to create and stick to a monthly budget.

The only real downside of this salary is that to earn it, a master’s degree is necessary which can lead to student loan debt.

Recommended: How to Calculate Your Net Worth

The Takeaway

Building a career as a physician assistant can lead to making a high salary of $125,000-plus on average, or more than $168,120 for the top 10% of earners in this role. Many find this career path preferable to becoming a doctor as it requires spending a lot less time in school and the degree requirements come with a much lower sticker price. It’s also a fulfilling role for those who enjoy helping others.

SoFi helps you stay on top of your finances.

FAQ

Can you make 100k a year as a physician assistant?

It is very possible to earn $100,000 a year or more as a physician assistant. The median annual salary for this job is $126,010, and only the bottom 10% of earners in this specific role make less than $83,820.

Do people like being a physician assistant?

Those who are passionate about the medical field and who enjoy working with people tend to get a lot of job satisfaction from working as a physician assistant. However, an introvert may dislike how social this job requires them to be.

Is it hard to get hired as a physician assistant?

The good news for prospective physician assistants is that there are plenty of job openings to be found in this field, with a rapid growth of 27% from 2022 to 2032, and there is an average projection of approximately 12,200 job openings annually.


SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi 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. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. 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 is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

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.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

SORL0124031

Read more

How Much Does a Photographer Make a Year?

The median pay for professional photographers is $40,170 per year, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That said, there is a broad range of earning possible, depending on what kind of photographer a person is and where they live.

Photography may become a more in-demand skill in the future, given what a visual culture exists today. Over the next decade, it’s anticipated that photographers will see job demand increase by 5% between 2022 and 2032, which is greater than the average for all professions.

Read on to learn more about the salary and other facets of a career as a photographer.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


What Are Photographers?

A photographer combines technical expertise with creativity and composition skills to produce photographic images. Photographers can get paid to take wedding, family, or pet portraits; cover news events; work for businesses and brands shooting products; or create art — among many other types of photography work.

Many photographers are also skilled in editing photos. If a photographer works for themselves, they can also be responsible for running their business and everything that entails, from advertising to accounting to operations. There are so many directions a photographer’s career can take. Some photographers also teach the art of photography, help plan creative direction for photo shoots, or use drone technology to capture shots from the sky.


💡 Quick Tip: Online tools make tracking your spending a breeze: You can easily set up budgets, then get instant updates on your progress, spot upcoming bills, analyze your spending habits, and more.

How Much Do Starting Photographers Make a Year?

When they are earning an entry-level salary, how much money a photographer makes is typically on the low end of the spectrum. Their earnings will likely grow as they gain skills and experience and make connections in the industry.

The lowest 10% of photographers earn less than $12.98 per hourly pay. That may be a good starting point if you are wondering about starting salaries.

Keep in mind that photographers in different locations and areas of focus will make an array of salaries. For instance, someone who takes baby portraits for new parents in a small town will likely never earn as much as a high-fashion photographer in a major city who is being paid by corporate clients. The latter could make $100,000 a year or considerably more.

Recommended: What Trade Makes the Most Money?

What is the Average Salary for a Photographer?

The average salary for a photographer can depend a lot, as already noted, on where someone lives. While the median annual income for this role is $40,170, the following table illustrates how the state a photographer chooses to work in can impact their potential earnings and determine if it’s a high-paying job.

What is the Average Photographer Salary by State for 2023

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
Oregon $48,870 $4,072 $939 $23.50
Alaska $48,629 $4,052 $935 $23.38
North Dakota $48,622 $4,051 $935 $23.38
Massachusetts $48,041 $4,003 $923 $23.10
Hawaii $47,595 $3,966 $915 $22.88
Washington $46,501 $3,875 $894 $22.36
Nevada $45,979 $3,831 $884 $22.11
South Dakota $45,953 $3,829 $883 $22.09
Colorado $45,377 $3,781 $872 $21.82
Rhode Island $45,265 $3,772 $870 $21.76
New York $43,131 $3,594 $829 $20.74
Delaware $42,656 $3,554 $820 $20.51
Vermont $42,118 $3,509 $809 $20.25
Virginia $42,039 $3,503 $808 $20.21
Illinois $42,025 $3,502 $808 $20.20
Maryland $41,311 $3,442 $794 $19.86
Nebraska $40,429 $3,369 $777 $19.44
Missouri $40,178 $3,348 $772 $19.32
California $40,067 $3,338 $770 $19.26
South Carolina $39,831 $3,319 $765 $19.15
Pennsylvania $39,512 $3,292 $759 $19.00
New Jersey $39,430 $3,285 $758 $18.96
Oklahoma $39,153 $3,262 $752 $18.82
Maine $39,132 $3,261 $752 $18.81
Wisconsin $39,049 $3,254 $750 $18.77
North Carolina $39,009 $3,250 $750 $18.75
New Hampshire $38,424 $3,202 $738 $18.47
Idaho $38,328 $3,194 $737 $18.43
Texas $38,071 $3,172 $732 $18.30
Kentucky $37,948 $3,162 $729 $18.24
Wyoming $37,814 $3,151 $727 $18.18
Minnesota $37,716 $3,143 $725 $18.13
Michigan $37,565 $3,130 $722 $18.06
New Mexico $37,504 $3,125 $721 $18.03
Indiana $37,314 $3,109 $717 $17.94
Ohio $36,661 $3,055 $705 $17.63
Arizona $36,543 $3,045 $702 $17.57
Connecticut $36,357 $3,029 $699 $17.48
Mississippi $36,102 $3,008 $694 $17.36
Iowa $36,056 $3,004 $693 $17.34
Montana $35,992 $2,999 $692 $17.30
Arkansas $35,860 $2,988 $689 $17.24
Alabama $35,543 $2,961 $683 $17.09
Utah $35,026 $2,918 $673 $16.84
Tennessee $35,001 $2,916 $673 $16.83
Kansas $33,992 $2,832 $653 $16.34
Georgia $33,110 $2,759 $636 $15.92
Louisiana $32,930 $2,744 $633 $15.83
West Virginia $30,515 $2,542 $586 $14.67
Florida $29,303 $2,441 $563 $14.09



💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Photographer Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

While photographers can often choose to set their own rates, they are also usually self-employed and therefore responsible for securing their own benefits. For instance, they won’t have access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan or healthcare benefits. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if a photographer works for a large corporation or photo studio, they may receive access to traditional employee benefits like paid time off and a retirement plan contribution match.

Other considerations can be how a career as a photographer can impact your lifestyle. If you are a news photographer, you may find that you have to be available for extended periods, whenever a situation comes up that needs documenting. If you are a travel photographer, which can sound like a dream job, you likely won’t have a typical week-to-week schedule. And if you are a wedding photographer, you will likely be spending many weekends shooting ceremonies vs. kicking back with your family.

There are some photography jobs, such as taking pictures of a product, that may not involve that much social interaction, but many kinds of photography careers do involve working with people non-stop. For this reason, it may not be the best job for antisocial people.

Pros and Cons of Photographer Salary

The main advantage of a photographer’s salary is there is no real cap on how much they earn. For example, in-demand wedding photographers or photographers who license their images for products can all demand high rates for their work. On the flip side, their salaries are often not consistent, which can be very stressful. Also, when you are self-employed, taxes can take a bite out of your earnings.

Recommended: What Is Competitive Pay?

The Takeaway

Working as a professional photographer can be a creatively fulfilling, fun, and lucrative career. Worth considering, though: How much a photographer stands to make depends a lot on their specialty, where they live, and their level of experience.

See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

Can you make 100k a year as a Photographer?

It is possible to earn $100,000 or more a year as a photographer — the sky really is the limit when it comes to income potential in this field. However, the median annual income for this role is $40,170, but photographers can earn more over time as they gain experience and a strong reputation in their industry.

Do people like being a photographer?

Many people who pursue a career in photography do so because it is a creative pursuit they are truly passionate about. Many positions can provide flexibility and fun experiences (say, if you are a travel or wedding photographer).

Is it hard to get hired as a photographer?

It can be very hard to find a job as a photographer if you don’t have the skill set required to get the job done well. Taking some time to build a strong portfolio of your work and then marketing your business can make it much easier to get hired.


Photo credit: iStock/ivan101

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi 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. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. 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 is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

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.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

SORL0124030

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender