Guide to Practicing Financial Self-Care

As nice as a spa day, vacation, or hot yoga class is, sometimes the best form of self-care doesn’t cost anything at all. In fact, you can practice financial self-care and grow your wealth.

Financial self-care involves taking the steps to avoid financial stress and meet financial goals. Given that 73% of Americans say money is their number-one stressor in life, practicing financial self-care and minimizing money worries can be a very good thing. It might even feel better than a massage.

But what exactly does financial self-care mean and how do you do it? Read on to find out the answer, as well as learn nine money moves to make now.

What Is Financial Self-Care?

Financial self-care is a form of self-care that focuses on financial wellness. Essentially, instead of more traditional self-care activities (like getting massages or enjoying dinners out), you find the best way to manage your finances and improve your financial situation. This may not sound fun, but worrying about debt, paying the bills, and falling short of savings goals can all lead to a lot of stress that can be draining both physically and mentally. Self-care and money can go hand in hand.

Here’s another perk: Once you get your financial life under control, you’ll have more money to put towards the more exciting areas of self-care. Whether that means finally splurging on that cleaning service or a new puppy is up to you.

Recommended: Are you financially healthy? Take this 2 minute quiz.💊

Tips for Practicing Financial Self-Care

Self-care and money can combine in the pursuit of financial self-care. Here are some strategies that make it easy to incorporate this form of self-care into daily life.

Creating Realistic Financial Goals

To make strides in the area of financial self-care, it’s important to set reasonable goals. That way, you can make progress and feel a positive boost when you finally do reach a goal. Here’s an example: Paying off your student debt in a single year would be hard even on a high salary. Instead, having a goal of paying off your highest-interest debt (perhaps a credit card balance) in a year is likely more obtainable. Look at your income versus your monthly necessary expenses (the “musts” in your life), and see if you can begin funneling some of the funds left over after bill-paying towards your debt.

Tracking Your Expenses Daily

Impulse spending can feel good in the moment, but it can do a lot of harm. You can be more mindful about your spending by reviewing your personal finances daily, focusing on where your cash was spent. You may not realize just how much money flows away from you on a typical day. Expense tracking will reveal that. On days that you don’t spend much or anything at all, give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve just taken care of yourself financially by adding to your wealth.

Checking Your Banking Accounts Frequently

Good cash management is an important part of hitting your financial goals. Alongside tracking your daily spending, it can be helpful to check bank account balances daily or at least a couple of times a week. You’ll see where you stand financially and won’t be caught unaware by a low balance. This process will also give you a deeper look at how any automatic bill payments are impacting your cash flow.

After all, most of us don’t see the money we earn or spend in cold hard cash, so it can feel less tangible. When you know exactly where you stand financially, it can empower you and help better inform your purchasing decisions.

Making Any Needed Changes to Budgets

After keeping an eye on spending habits and account balances, it’s a good idea to review your monthly budget goals and see how you’re doing. Perhaps you put a reminder in your calendar to do a quick check-in on the last day of every month and see how things look. Maybe eating lunch out on weekdays has made it hard to stick to your food budget for the month. Perhaps having too many subscription services left no wiggle room in the entertainment section of the budget.

The end of the month is the perfect time to reevaluate spending habits, to see where you can cut back on spending, and to figure out how to increase savings.

Recommended: Post-Pandemic Money Lessons

Focusing On Getting Rid of Debt

Debt is likely part of your life, but it can also cause a lot of worry. Thanks to interest charges, debt can mount and be hard to pay off. It’s not a fun cycle. So when you have some extra money, sure, you might spend it on a new outfit or a weekend getaway and lift your spirits that way. Or you could pay down your debt instead.

By prioritizing debt, you’d be a step closer to eliminating some money stress from your life. Getting rid of debt can be a key aspect of financial self-care and can boost your peace of mind.

Improving Your Mindset on Money

Self-care has just as much to do with our mental health as our physical health. Feeling negative about money can really drag a person down. That’s why it can be helpful to focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have.

If you are feeling as if you can’t compete with other people’s lifestyles, it may be that your comparison framework is skewed. It may be beneficial to delete social media (or unfollow certain luxury accounts), stop watching reality T.V., or to skip hanging out with that friend who earns and spends big.

Recognizing what your money can do for you rather than feeling deprived is an important step. It can be a very empowering mindset to adopt.

Recommended: Tips for Managing Finances When Facing Depression

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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


Improving Financial Literacy

Money can be intimidating in part because most of us lack a basic financial education. While you may not have learned about money management in school, you can teach yourselves the financial basics and beyond. Knowledge is power, after all.

From learning about how credit scores work to the investing basics, take some time to read up on the financial topics that seem confusing. Also look into apps that help you with budgeting, saving, and tracking your spending. These tools can be part of financial self-care, helping to boost your financial literacy and wealth.

Visualizing Retirement and Investing in It

Financial self-care means taking care of today’s and tomorrow’s needs. Retirement can seem like a distant concept, so try picturing your future self at retirement age and how you’d want to live then. That way, you may feel more motivated to save even though retirement is far away. Look at your budget again to see if there is room to improve your retirement savings. Even saving an extra 1% a month can make a major impact.

Respecting Money

Money is a tool and a very valuable one at that. Embracing financial self-care means recognizing that money isn’t just about buying things. That may be the easy and fun part, but saving and investing it is what really makes the most of your cash. Educating yourself on investing or seeking professional advice can help you harness the full power of the money you make. It’s a force to be reckoned with; respecting its importance can help you achieve your financial and lifestyle goals.

Why Financial Self-Care Is Important

Financial self-care is equally important, if not more so, than more traditional forms of self-care like heading to the spa or taking a personal day off of work. When you prioritize financial self-care, you can reduce money stress and move closer to your short- and long-term goals.

Banking With SoFi

Financial self-care can help you reduce money stress and make the most of what you earn. Being smart about your cash and helping it grow can unlock the good things in life today and in the future. Try practicing some financial self-care ideas, and see if you don’t feel more in control of your money and less stressed about it.

The right bank can also help boost your finances. For instance, you can bank smarter with SoFi. When you open an online bank account with direct deposit, you’ll earn a competitive APY and pay no account fees, plus have access to more than 55,000 fee-free Allpoint Network ATMs. Higher interest and no fees mean your money could grow that much faster.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall. Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Why is financial self-care important?

Financial self-care can help eliminate financial stress from your life. Specifically, prioritizing financial self-care can make it easier to reach financial goals like paying down debt or saving for retirement.

How do you take care of yourself and your money?

Budgeting, focusing on debt repayment, and setting clear savings goals are all great ways to take care of yourself and your money. Not having to worry about debt or overdue bills are other benefits of financial self-care.

How do I respect my money?

Respecting money involves not wasting it and instead looking for ways to make the most of it. Being mindful about purchases, sticking to savings goals, and not taking on high-interest debt are all ways someone can respect their money.


Photo credit: iStock/hatman12

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


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

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

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

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

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


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.

SOBK0622014

Read more

Changing a Secured Credit Card to an Unsecured Card

A secured credit card can help you establish credit for the first time, or rebuild your credit if you’ve damaged yours with missed payments, defaults, or bankruptcy. While secured credit cards offer many of the same advantages as traditional credit cards, they do have some limitations.

Eventually, those who start out with a secured card may want to switch to a traditional credit card. Here’s a closer look at how to transition from a secured credit card to an unsecured card.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

What Is A Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card requires that you put down a cash deposit, which serves as collateral for the charges you make with the card. Usually, the amount of the deposit is the same as your credit limit. So if you deposit $1,000, you’ll be able to borrow up to that amount.

If you miss payments, the bank can cover their losses by drawing on money from the deposit. That said, making on-time payments is just as important with secured credit cards as it is with traditional cards, especially if you are using the secured card to build credit.

As with traditional credit cards, secured cards require that you make a minimum monthly payment. Beyond that, you can carry a balance from month to month, but you will be charged interest on that balance. Pay your balance off in full each month to avoid interest payments.

Recommended: Differences Between a Secured and Unsecured Credit Card

Benefits of Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards offer users and banks a number of advantages.

Easier to Qualify

Because secured cards require users to put down a deposit, banks are taking on relatively little risk. As a result, it can be much easier to qualify for a secured card than it would be a traditional credit card.

Can Help Build Credit

If you have no credit or poor credit, it can be difficult to get approved for credit cards or loans. Making small purchases regularly with a secured card and paying off your bill in full and on time can help you establish credit or rebuild your credit.

If you’re looking to build credit, you may also consider becoming an authorized user on a credit card.

Convenience

You can use secured credit cards anywhere traditional cards are accepted. Secured credit cards allow you to shop in person or online without carrying cash around with you. It’s also difficult to accrue too much debt because you’re limited by the amount of your deposit.

Drawbacks of Secured Credit Cards

Alongside the benefits offered by secured cards, there are limitations to be aware of.

Coming Up With the Deposit

In order to get a secured card, you will have to come up with the cash that will serve as your deposit. That may require you to save for a period of time before you apply.

Once you deposit that cash, you can’t access it while your secured card is in use. That said, your deposit is refundable when you close the account or convert your secured credit card to an unsecured card.

Higher APR

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the interest rate you’re charged when you carry a balance on your card. Secured credit cards may offer higher interest rates than traditional cards, which can end up costing you more money if you carry a balance.

Spending Is Limited

Most credit cards, whether they’re secured or unsecured, have spending limits. For a secured credit card, your limit will depend on the size of the deposit you make, which will typically range from $200 to $2,000. If you’ve only deposited $1,000 and need to replace your transmission for $1,800, you won’t be able to put the repair on your card.

In comparison, the average credit limit across all cards is upwards of $30,000, according to a recent report from the credit reporting bureau Experian.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

What Is an Unsecured Credit Card?

An unsecured credit card is a traditional credit card that does not require a deposit as collateral. Instead, your credit limit is determined based on your creditworthiness. If you fail to pay off your credit card, your card company can send your bill to a collections agency, and your credit score will take a hit.

There are a variety of types of credit cards to choose from when it comes to unsecured cards, including rewards cards and balance transfer cards.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

When You Might Keep Your Secured Credit Card Open

The biggest reasons to keep your secured credit card open have to do with the potential implications closing the account can have for your credit score.

For one, closing an account may result in a dip in your credit score. Additionally, closing the account may decrease the age of your credit history, another factor that goes into determining your credit score.

When You Might Upgrade to an Unsecured Credit Card

You may consider upgrading to a traditional, unsecured card if you’re able to manage a secured card responsibly and are looking for a lower APR or a higher credit limit. Ultimately, making the move requires that your credit is in decent shape.

To do so, it’s important that you stick to credit card rules. That includes being sure that you’re not in the habit of overspending, you’re able to pay your bills on time and in full, and you can keep your total purchases lower than your available credit. Experts suggest keeping your total balance at 30% or less of your available credit.

However, whether you can change a secured credit card to unsecured will also depend on your credit card issuer. Not all card companies offer unsecured options that you can upgrade to. In those cases, you’ll need to apply for a new card.

Guide to Upgrading from a Secured Card to Unsecured Credit Card

If you’re looking to upgrade to an unsecured card, make sure you’re following these steps.

Watching Your Credit Score

Many credit cards require that you have at least a good credit score to qualify. That means, you’ll need a FICO score of 670 or higher. Not only are you more likely to qualify for a card with a higher score, you’ll also be more likely to secure more favorable terms and lower interest rates.

If you’re considering trying to convert a secured credit card to an unsecured card, monitor your credit score regularly. You might check with your card issuer to see if they offer you free access to your credit score.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Making the Minimum Monthly Payment

Getting approved for a change from a secured credit card to an unsecured credit card requires displaying responsible credit card behavior. Ideally, you’d avoid interest payments by paying off your credit card in full every month. But if that’s not possible, be sure you are making at least your minimum monthly payment, as payment history is one of the biggest determinants of your credit score.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Managing All Your Accounts Responsibly

Before opening an unsecured credit card, make sure you’re able to make other debt payments on time as well. This includes student loans, car payments, or a mortgage. If you’re not displaying good credit behavior elsewhere, that will show up on your credit report and potentially hurt your chances of qualifying for an unsecured credit card.

Limiting the Number of Credit Accounts You Open

Opening new accounts requires a hard inquiry, which will result in a temporary dip in your credit score. Additionally, if you open too many new accounts in a short period of time, it can lower the average age of your credit accounts, which is another factor that influences your credit score.

Ideally, you’ll avoid activities that will cause your credit score to drop as you’re trying to work toward being able to qualify for a secured credit card. A better score will improve your chances of getting approved.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

The Takeaway

A secured card is an important tool for building or rebuilding credit. However, once you’ve established healthy credit card habits and good credit score, it may serve you to switch from a secured to unsecured credit card.

In the market for a new card?

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Can I upgrade my secured credit card to unsecured?

Some lenders will allow you to change a secured credit card to an unsecured card. However, others will require that you apply for a new card.

How long does it take to convert a secured credit card to an unsecured one?

To move from a secured credit card to an unsecured one can take anywhere from several months to a couple of years. How long it takes will depend on the credit card issuer’s policies as well as what your credit score was when you opened the account.

Does converting a secured credit card to an unsecured card hurt your credit score?

Closing your secured card to open a traditional credit card may cause your credit score to take a temporary dip. However, you shouldn’t notice a huge impact.

Do all credit card issuers allow the conversion from a secured to unsecured card?

Not all credit card issuers will convert a secured card to an unsecured card. More often than not, you’ll have to close your secured account and open a brand new card.


Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz

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.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

SOCC0622016

Read more

Guide to Saving Money on Hotels for Your Next Vacation

Along with flights, lodging costs are one of the biggest expenses for many vacationers. As such, savvy travelers are likely on the lookout for how to save money on hotels when planning their vacation.

While hotel prices often rise and fall over time based on supply and demand, there are ways to save money on hotels on vacation. This ranges from being flexible about when and where you travel to getting a hotel credit card and taking advantage of cashback rewards. Read on for a full rundown of the best ways to save on hotels for your next vacation.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

Tips to Save on Hotels While Traveling

Wondering how to save on hotels when traveling? Here are some tips to try.

Getting a Hotel Credit Card

Using credit card rewards to travel for less is one way to save money on hotels while traveling. Most major hotel chains have a co-branded credit card that allows you to earn points for staying with them as well as on your everyday spending.

Additionally, many of these hotel credit cards offer sign-up bonuses. With these bonuses, you may be able to earn enough credit card points for a few free nights just by meeting a minimum spending amount.

There are different credit card rewards programs, so just make sure to choose the one for the hotel where you’re wanting to stay.

Earning Hotel Cashback

One of the downsides of getting a hotel credit card is that in most cases, you’re limited to using your points to stay with that particular hotel chain. If you have a Marriott credit card that earns Marriott Bonvoy hotel points, for instance, you can’t use them to stay at a Hilton or Hyatt.

One way to get around that is to use a credit card that offers cash back rewards. These cards allow you to redeem cash rewards from your everyday purchases that you can then use to pay for any hotel you want.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

Keeping an Eye Out for Deals

Flexibility is key to saving money on hotels, and the earlier you start planning your vacation, the more luck you’ll have in finding travel deals. Many successful vacationers start planning their trips up to a year before they actually plan to travel. That gives you plenty of time to explore your options, wait for deals to pop up, and keep an eye out for sales.

Checking All the Conditions While Booking the Hotel

When you’re booking a hotel room, you’re generally presented with several different room rates. You might have a different rate if you’re a member of the hotel loyalty program, if you prepay for your stay, or if you belong to a specific organization.

These different rates also usually come with different cancellation policies. Make sure to read the fine print before you book, so you can know what to expect during your stay. The fine print could also detail additional fees that the rate doesn’t clearly include.

Looking Out for Free Breakfast

One way to plan a budget family vacation is to look for hotels that include complimentary breakfast with the room rate. If you’re traveling with a family, getting the breakfast that’s included in your hotel reservation might save you anywhere from $20-$50 per day. This can free up some of your hotel funds for other vacation activities, and can make a difference when comparing rates from different hotels.

Joining a Hotel Points Program

Even if you don’t sign up for a hotel chain’s co-branded credit card, you’ll want to make sure to join their loyalty program. There’s typically no cost to join the hotel’s loyalty program, and you’ll generally get perks like lower nightly rates or complimentary Wi-Fi. This can be a great way to save money for a trip.

Taking Advantage of Falling Rates

One strategy for saving money on hotels is to only book a refundable rate that you can cancel at any time. Then, periodically check back to see if the rate has fallen. If the rate is lower than when you first booked the hotel, cancel your original reservation and book at the new lower rate.

There are also services that you can take advantage of if you don’t want to stay on top of price tracking yourself. For example, websites and apps like Hopper and Rebookey can monitor hotel prices and notify you if the price drops after you’ve booked.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Making Payments in Advance

Alternatively, you can prepare financially for travel by making your hotel payments in advance. Many hotels offer a lower rate when you prepay as compared to a refundable hotel rate where your credit card isn’t charged until your stay. You could save anywhere from $10 to $20 per night by prepaying in advance.

Plus, if you pay with a credit card that offers credit card travel insurance, you’ll have peace of mind that your prepaid funds aren’t lost if your travel plans change unexpectedly.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

Sticking to Your Budget

Like most financial purchases, one of the best ways to save money is to establish a written budget and then stick to it. If you plan for a trip a year in advance, you can make a budget for your trip and then create a travel fund where you put 1/12 of the cost into your travel fund each month.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Being Spontaneous

While hotel prices go up and down — sometimes multiple times per day — based on supply and demand, you can sometimes get great deals by booking at the very last minute. If you have a ton of flexibility, you can sometimes find cheap cruises or outstanding last-minute weekend hotel deals. This strategy is best used if you don’t have concrete plans and don’t have a strong preference for where you go.

Using Discounts You Already Have

If you’re a frugal traveler, you’ll want to also take advantage of any discounts that you already have. This could include saving on gas using grocery fuel points, buying discounted gift cards, or using credit card points to offset some of your travel costs.

This is another reason why planning in advance and being flexible can help — the more time you have to plan, the more time for you to take advantage of some of these deals.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Apply for a New Rewards Credit Card With SoFi

Lodging costs can be one of the most expensive parts of any vacation, so it’s a good idea to know how to save money on hotel rooms. Hotel prices fluctuate often based on supply and demand, so plan as far in advance as your schedule allows. The more flexible you can be in terms of when you travel, where you go, and what hotel you want to stay at, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to save money on hotels.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

What days are the cheapest to stay in hotels?

Determining which days are the cheapest to stay in hotels depends quite a bit on where the hotel is and who their clientele typically is. If you’re looking to stay in a tourist-heavy vacation spot, it’s likely that weekends are most expensive. On the other hand, a hotel that caters to business travelers might be more expensive during the week and cheaper on weekends.

What time of the year do hotel prices drop?

There isn’t a set time of day or year when hotel prices drop. Instead, hotel prices vary according to supply and demand. One strategy to save money on hotels is to book a refundable rate initially. Then, you can monitor prices and if the price goes down, you can just rebook.

Are hotels cheaper last minute?

Hotel prices vary all the time, both up and down. It’s possible for hotel prices to go down if you wait until late in the day on the night you want to stay. This can be an option if you have flexibility in your plans.


Photo credit: iStock/aquaArts studio

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.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

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.

New and existing Checking and Savings members who have not previously enrolled in direct deposit with SoFi are eligible to earn a cash bonus when they set up direct deposits of at least $1,000 over a consecutive 25-day period. Cash bonus will be based on the total amount of direct deposit. The Program will be available through 12/31/23. Full terms at sofi.com/banking. SoFi Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 3/17/2023. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

SOCC0622009

Read more

Investing With Credit Card Rewards: Tips for Maximizing Cash Back Earnings

Responsible credit card usage can add hundreds if not thousands of extra dollars to your bottom line each year. Many credit cards offer rewards that you can earn with each and every purchase. You can choose a credit card that helps you earn airline miles, travel rewards, or cash back.

Before applying for or using a credit card, you’ll want to make sure that you have the financial ability and discipline to pay off your credit card statement in full, each and every month. If you don’t, the interest and/or fees will likely exceed any rewards you might earn. But if you do, you might consider investing with credit card rewards to further grow your funds.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

What Are Credit Card Rewards?

Just like knowing what a credit card is, it’s important to understand what credit card rewards are. Many credit card companies offer credit card rewards as an incentive for you to apply for and regularly use their credit card.

These rewards can be airline miles, other types of travel rewards, bank-specific points, or straight cash back. The credit card you choose determines the kind of credit card rewards that you’ll earn.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Types of Credit Card Rewards

If you have a rewards credit card, there are several different kinds of credit card rewards that you can earn.

Cash Back Rewards

If you have a cash back credit card, you’ll earn cash back with every purchase. Some cash back credit cards earn different rates of cash at different types of merchants, while others earn a flat cashback rate no matter where you use the card.

Travel Rewards

Another popular type of credit card rewards are a variety of different kinds of travel rewards. You might get an airline credit card that earns airline miles for a specific airline or hotel points good for stays at a particular chain of hotels. Other travel rewards credit cards offer rewards points that you can use at a flat rate on any type of travel purchase.

Bank Points

Some banks offer credit cards where you earn points that are proprietary to that bank or credit card company. Many times, these points can be used like cash on purchases, or for travel-related purchases.

Guide to Investing Your Credit Card Cash Back Rewards

If you have a credit card that earns cash back rewards, you can often redeem them in many different ways.

Direct Deposit

One way to get your credit card cash back rewards is through direct deposit to a checking or savings account that you own. You might set up your cash back rewards to automatically transfer to your account once they reach a certain threshold, like $25. You might also be able to set up your account to regularly transfer your cash back rewards every month or every quarter.

Paper Checks

If you prefer something that you can tangibly hold, you can also request that your credit card cash back rewards are mailed to you via a paper check. Some credit card companies may charge a fee for mailing paper checks, so make sure you won’t be charged a fee before choosing this option.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Statement Credits

Another way you might access your cash back rewards is through a statement credit. With a statement credit, your cash back rewards are applied directly to your credit card balance. This will lower the amount that you need to pay in order to completely pay off your balance off in full.

How Do Credit Card Rewards You Can Use for Investing Work?

Before using one, it’s important to understand how credit cards work, and how credit card rewards that you can use toward investing work. An investment credit card is similar to a cash back credit card in that you earn rewards that work like cash. But instead of redeeming your rewards for a statement credit or via direct deposit, you invest your cash back rewards in an investment account.

Tips for Maximizing Your Credit Card Cash Back Reward Earnings

Enjoying credit card bonuses is one way that you can maximize your credit card cash back earnings.
Many credit cards offer an initial welcome offer where you get a bonus amount if you meet certain spending or other criteria in the first few months of having the card. That can really supercharge your credit card cash back reward earnings.

If your cash back credit card earns a higher rate in certain categories or at certain merchants, make sure to use it where it gets the highest value.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

Pros and Cons of Investing Your Credit Card Cash Back Rewards

Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of investing your credit card cash back rewards:

Pros of Investing Your Credit Card Cash Back Rewards Cons of Investing Your Credit Card Cash Back Rewards
Cashback and other rewards are not taxable. If you’re not paying off your balance in full each month, interest and fees can offset any rewards earned.
Investing your rewards can help supplement other investing efforts. It’s hard for small amounts to make a meaningful impact on overall investing goals.
Investing your credit card rewards doesn’t require dipping into your budget. If your brokerage doesn’t support fractional shares, your investment options might be limited.

Recommended: How to Buy Stocks With a Credit Card

Other Investment Options

One of the best things about the cash that you earn from cash back rewards is that it’s actually cash. Cash can be used for just about anything in your budget, and so can cash back rewards.

For example, you can use your cash back rewards in an online trading platform to invest in stocks or index funds. You can also use them to invest in real estate or other types of investments, or even use them to invest in yourself through education or job training classes.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

The Takeaway

If used wisely, credit cards and credit card rewards can serve as a valuable addition to any financial plan. Cash back credit cards allow you to earn money back on every purchase, as well as possibly a larger initial bonus. It’s a good idea to have a plan for how you want to use your cash back rewards, and always make sure to pay off your credit card statement in full, each and every month.

One way to use credit card rewards to fund your investments is to get a cash-back credit card like the SoFi Credit Card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Should you invest your cash back rewards?

One of the best things about cash back rewards is that they function pretty much the same as cash in any other format. So whether you directly invest your cash back rewards or use them as a statement credit and invest money from your checking account, it works out pretty much the same. The important thing to do with your credit card rewards is to not spend them mindlessly. Be intentional and make a conscious decision on the best way to spend them for your specific financial situation.

Can I buy stocks with my credit card?

Most brokerages will not allow you to directly buy stocks with a credit card. Instead, one way to invest your credit card rewards is by using a cash back credit card like the SoFi credit card. You can earn cash back with each purchase and then directly invest those funds with your SoFi Invest account.

What is the smartest way to use a credit card that has rewards?

The first thing that you’ll want to do when using a credit card is make sure that you have the financial discipline and ability to pay off your credit card in full each month. This ensures that you won’t be charged any interest or fees. Then, decide how your credit card rewards will make the biggest impact in your financial life.


Photo credit: iStock/MStudioImages

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

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.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

New and existing Checking and Savings members who have not previously enrolled in direct deposit with SoFi are eligible to earn a cash bonus when they set up direct deposits of at least $1,000 over a consecutive 25-day period. Cash bonus will be based on the total amount of direct deposit. The Program will be available through 12/31/23. Full terms at sofi.com/banking. SoFi Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 3/17/2023. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

SOCC0622002

Read more

Guide to Lowering Your Credit Card Interest Rate (APR)

The annual percentage rate (APR) of a credit card represents how much someone pays in interest on an annual basis if they carry a balance on their credit card. The lower someone’s APR is, the less they would pay in interest. Because of this, it makes sense to try to secure the lowest APR possible.

Keep reading to learn how to lower the APR on a credit card.

What Is Credit Card APR?

A credit card’s APR represents the total cost of borrowing money using a credit card. The APR on a credit card is the interest rate charged to carry a balance. In the case of credit cards, annual fees and other fees like late fees are not added to the APR like they are with installment loans. A credit card can have a fixed or variable interest rate, meaning the rate can either stay the same or change over time based on index rates.

Understanding what APR is can help credit card users know how much they’d need to pay in interest if they don’t pay off their credit card balance in full each month. If they don’t carry a balance, they can avoid paying credit card interest.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Ways a Lower Interest Rate Can Help

Having a good APR for credit cards is important for a number of reasons. A lower interest rate can save consumers money. In turn, this can make it easier and faster to pay off debt. This can also help them to improve their credit score.

The higher someone’s interest rate is, the harder it is to chip away at their credit card balance, as the bulk of credit card payments will go toward interest. This is why achieving a lower credit card APR can make escaping high-interest credit card debt easier.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

How to Lower APR on a Credit Card

If someone is interested in lowering their credit card APR, there are steps they can take to try to do so.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Apply for a Balance Transfer Card

If someone has a high APR, one option for how to get a lower interest rate on a credit card is to get a balance transfer card with a lower interest rate. They can then transfer their balance from the high-interest credit card to the balance transfer card.

Usually, this new balance transfer credit card can’t be issued by the same company or any affiliates of the original card. Balance transfer cards may offer a 0% APR promotional period. During that period, the cardholder won’t pay any interest, which means all of their payments will go toward paying down the principal.

However, once the promotional period ends, a higher APR will kick in (this is one example of what can increase your credit card’s APR). Additionally, a balance transfer fee may apply to move over the existing credit card balance to the new card. It might make sense to calculate your credit card interest rate on your old card to ensure you’ll save money.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

Negotiate With Your Credit Card Issuer

When it comes to figuring out how to get lower APR on a credit card, it’s possible to simply ask for an APR reduction with a credit card issuer. This strategy may be particularly effective if the cardholder has used their credit card responsibly and consistently paid their credit card bill on time — one of the cardinal credit card rules.

The account holder also can provide a reason why they’re requesting a reduction. They may have experienced a job loss or have unexpected medical bills to pay. Maybe they got a raise and are really motivated to pay off their debt, and having a lower interest rate would help them do that. It’s also possible to leverage new credit card offers with lower interest rates to try to negotiate a current APR down.

Consumers can also ask for a temporary reprieve if the credit card issuer won’t offer a lower rate indefinitely. For example, it may be possible to request a one-year rate reduction of 1 to 3 percentage points.

Low-Interest Credit Cards

If someone can’t quite figure out how to get a lower interest rate on a credit card with their current issuer, they also can step away from using that specific credit card. Instead, they may apply for a low-interest credit card to use in lieu of the card with the higher APR.

Cardholders who have consistently made on-time payments and taken other steps to improve their credit score may be able to secure a new card with a lower interest rate. As an added bonus, doing so can make it easier to negotiate a lower APR with a current credit card.

Some different types of credit cards even reward cardholders for their good behavior by lowering their APR.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

The Takeaway

Can you lower your APR on a credit card? In short, yes.

If someone pays off their credit card balance in full each month, they won’t have to worry about their APR too much. That being said, it’s always smart to try to secure the lowest APR possible in case it’s necessary to carry a balance from time to time.

Having a lower APR on a credit card means the cost of borrowing money is lower. When someone has a lower APR, more of their monthly payments can go toward paying down their principal balance instead of interest. In turn, this can help them pay off their debt faster, save money, and even improve their credit score.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

How can I reduce my credit card interest rate?

Cardholders have a few different options for figuring out how to lower the interest rate on credit cards. To start, they can try to negotiate a lower interest rate on any current credit cards by calling their issuer and trying to come to an agreement. If that doesn’t work, they can simply apply for a new credit card or a balance transfer card. If they can secure a lower interest rate on a new credit card, they can choose to use that credit card instead. Or, they might take that offer back to their current lender to try to negotiate a lower APR.

Why do credit card issuers charge varying APRs?

Credit card issuers use a consumer’s credit score to help determine what the APR on a credit card should be for a specific consumer. The reason that APRs vary is because credit card issuers give a custom APR to each applicant based on their financial history. Generally, the lower someone’s credit score is, the higher their APR will be.


Photo credit: iStock/Charday Penn

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.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

SOCC0522014

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender