10 Tips for Spending Your Money Wise

10 Tips for Spending Your Money Wisely

If you feel like your money vanishes almost as soon as you get paid, you’re not the only one. Fortunately, there’s a way to remedy the problem — by learning to spend your money wisely.

Being wise with your money means being thoughtful and accountable and helping it go further to get what you want. It’s about having a plan so you can spend as well as save money for a vacation, an emergency fund, or even start that business you’ve been dreaming about.

Being wise with money is not about how much you make. It’s how you spend it and manage it so you can optimize your quality of life.

Why Spending Wisely Is Important

How to spend money wisely is not a skill taught in school, and many families don’t feel comfortable discussing money openly. Which means many of us are in the dark when it comes to putting money in a savings account and understanding how to budget and not overspend.

Plus, the world is full of enticing new things to buy, and our phones, computers and TVs are full of images of people dining out, shopping, and traveling. The idea of spending limits is often absent.

But if you’re serious about learning about how to reach your financial goals and not having too much debt, you can adopt habits that will help. It’s not about living a life of deprivation at all. But spending money a little differently is likely to be on the agenda.

When you start learning how to spend money correctly, you can get on top of your budget and your financial life. That’s a great feeling of accomplishment and independence. Plus, it sets you up for good money habits for years to come.

Here are 10 ideas for how to spend your money wisely.

10 Tips for Wise Spending

1. Not Trying to Impress Others

When you buy something, check in with yourself and make sure it’s something that is truly for you and not something you’re buying because you feel you’re “supposed to,” or “everyone else is getting one.” These purchases can wind up being very expensive and even disappointing.

Cars are a great example. There are many vehicles that may be adequate for your needs, but you might end up buying an expensive car that looks impressive and wind up living above your means. Being stuck with an unmanageable monthly payment is uncomfortable and adds a level of stress to your daily life. What’s more, if you default, it could hurt your credit score. So work towards buying just what you need, not status items.

2. Not Eating Out or Splurging Every Day

Small splurges every once in a while aren’t going to kill your budget, but a regular habit of them can put a dent in your financial fitness. Everyday spending habits can make or break your budget. Perhaps it’s not eating out that is costing you; maybe it’s ordering things online or picking up the tab too often when you and your best work buddy have a quick drink. All the small purchases you make add up over time and wind up undermining your plans to improve financial health.

To make sure you’re spending wisely, be sure to have a budget for your splurges. It’ll feel good knowing you have a plan to spend on fun things while also putting money away in your bank account. For instance, if you’ve been getting a pricey takeout coffee most mornings as a treat en route to a busy workday, try dialing it back to a Monday and Friday splurge. Eventually, you may decide to skip it completely and drink your java before you leave home.

Recommended: 6 Tips for Making a Financial Plan

3. Setting Reminders for Bills to Avoid Late Fees

One thing you don’t want to do is spend money on late fees, interest, and other costs.To make sure your bills are getting paid on time, automate your payments as much as possible and set reminders so you’re never late.

4. Using a Journal of Transactions to Avoid Frivolous Spending

A journal of transactions can help keep you accountable to yourself about where your money goes. Truly, there’s nothing more eye-opening than seeing how much you’re really spending in a month. Reviewing your transactions can help you learn how to spend wisely.

For example, you might not realize how often you use ride-share services. You may think you only call an Uber “in emergencies” but then realize those emergencies are happening a couple of times a week. A journal can help you truly get a grip on overspending and dial it down.

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!


5. Having a Monthly Budget

A monthly budget is nothing more than a plan for how you want to spend your money for the month. When you have a plan and a goal, you can train your brain to forgo things that are not important and save for things that really matter to you.

Which kind of monthly budget to set up depends on your personal preferences and needs. Some people love apps which automate the process and can show you how your money and spending break down. Others prefer using a spreadsheet or journal. Some find systems like the envelope method or 50/30/20 rule helpful. Do a bit of online research; you may spend more wisely once you find a system that suits you.

6. Figuring Out What Habits Eat Up Your Budget

After you’ve tracked your expenses, it might be shocking to see where your money is going. You might have a few habits, such as shopping too often or splurging on gourmet dining, that take up more of your budget than you would like. Or you might have signed up for a number of streaming services when you only really watch a couple of them.

By identifying what is burning through your money, you can then take steps to spend more wisely. Changing up a few of these habits can help you stretch your budget, save more, and spend your money wisely.

7. Putting Money on Your Credit Card When You Can Afford to Pay It Off

As of June 2024, the average credit card interest rate is more than 24%, making this one of the most expensive ways to finance a purchase. In a nutshell, you wind up paying a 24%-plus surcharge if you buy things with plastic and don’t pay it off right away.

Using a credit card wisely is key. Charge up no more than 30% of your credit limit (though less is better) to keep your credit utilization ratio low. And pay the bill off ASAP to avoid owing interest.

8. Thinking About Long-Term Effects of Purchases

The average American spends approximately $150 on impulse purchases each month, data shows. That’s $1,800 a year for unplanned purchases. If spending wisely is your goal, you should ask yourself: Wouldn’t that money be put to better use elsewhere, such as a vacation or in savings?

One way to curb impulse spending is to acknowledge the emotional component. Some of us shop when we are feeling bored, angry, or sad. Purchasing some cool new gizmo or a great jacket can be a distraction and a mood booster. One strategy to help short-circuit this emotional spending can be to imagine the item in your house and how it will look used a few years from now. If you can visualize its future (being out of style, faded, worn, or broken), you might not want to purchase it in the first place. That may help you realize that the item isn’t as vital as it feels when you are shopping.

You might also want to consider the long-term financial impact the purchase will have. If you make a lot of impulse buys, these costs can either snowball due to interest or shadow your finances for years to come.

9. Tracking Your Finances Daily

Following your money closely can help you spend wisely. Fortunately, there are easy ways you can keep track of your spending in today’s technology-rich world, including money-management apps. These can connect your bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and more to give you a snapshot of your financial health.

If, say, you see that your credit card balance is climbing, you might decide to cook pasta versus ordering takeout that night. Or perhaps you notice that with a recent rent increase, you are struggling a bit to cover all your expenses. That trend might convince you to economize some of your spending or start a side hustle to bring in more cash.

10. Knowing How Much You Can Actually Spend

A key part of your budget should be knowing how much you can actually spend in a month, as well as how much you should save per month. It sounds obvious, but many people don’t do the math. Figuring out and then hitting those numbers is important when you are focusing on spending wisely.

While the average household spends more than $6,000 each month, your number will likely be different as it is unique to your circumstances. It’s wise to look at your take-home pay and see how much the “musts” (food, shelter, health expenses, and anything else needed to survive) cost every month. Next, assess what debts need to be paid. Do you have student loans you are paying off? Credit card debt you are whittling down? Subtract that from your earnings, too.

Then, you don’t want to spend every penny of what’s left. It’s important to also dedicate some funds to saving, whether that means for a down payment for a home, for retirement, or for an emergency (or for all of those). Budgeting $25, $100, or more a month to savings can help you reach your money goals. You might have that amount automatically transferred on payday from your checking account to savings accounts so you can help keep your cash safe vs. spent.

Managing Your Finances With SoFi

Spending wisely is a key step towards financial health. Often, we fall into shopping and splurging habits without realizing where our cash is going. By tracking your spending and starting some smart new habits, such as finding the right bank account and regularly making deposits into it, you can save more and rein in spending without feeling deprived.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

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

What is the smartest way to spend money?

The smartest way to spend money is to spend according to your means and your values. Figure out how much you want to save, whether for a vacation, a new car, retirement, or something else, and how much you owe for expenses, and create a budget. Then, your spending needs to fit within that budget, including planned-for splurges. Be sure to track what you spend to stay accountable.

How can I manage my money wisely?

If you’re looking to manage your money wisely, use the tools available to you. There are apps that help you track your money and budget, or you could use a journal or spreadsheets. Put some time into finding a system that suits your goals and lifestyle.

How do I start saving?

One way to start saving is to open a savings account and automate your deposits. Have a certain amount transferred regularly from checking into savings, for example.


Photo credit: iStock/millann

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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Differences Between Time Deposits and Demand Deposits

Differences Between Time Deposits and Demand Deposits

A demand deposit account is a type of bank account that allows you to withdraw money “on demand,” without having to provide advance notice beforehand. Time deposit accounts only allow you to withdraw funds once the account reaches maturity.

Banks and credit unions typically offer both kinds of accounts: demand deposit (checking and savings accounts, for instance) and time deposit (such as certificates of deposit, or CDs). These two types of accounts are designed to meet different financial goals. Understanding the difference between demand deposits vs. time deposits can help you decide where to put your money.

What Are Time Deposits?

Time deposit accounts are savings accounts that require you to keep your money in the account for a set time frame. They can also be called term deposit accounts or term deposits since the bank can specify the term that the money must stay in place.

If you’d like to withdraw money before the term ends, the bank may allow that. However, they will likely charge you a penalty fee. They may also require you to give them a certain amount of advance, either in writing, in-person, or over the phone. Once you open a time deposit account, you typically can’t add any additional funds at a later date.

How a Time Deposit Works

A time deposit works by effectively locking in your money for a set time period or term. During this term, your money can earn interest at a rate specified by the bank.

A certificate of deposit account is the most common type of a time deposit or term deposit account. Banks often offer CDs with varying maturity terms, which can range anywhere from one month to five years or more.

While your money is in the CD, it earns interest. Once the CD matures, you can do one of two things:

•   Roll the principal and interest earned into a new CD with different terms

•   Withdraw the principal and interest earned

If you take money out of the CD before it matures, the bank will likely impose an early withdrawal penalty. This penalty usually involves forfeiting some of the interest earned. The size of the penalty can vary depending on how early you withdraw the money and the length of the CD.

What Are Demand Deposits?

With a demand deposit account, you are allowed to put money into the account or take money out of the account when you want and without giving any advance notice. Demand deposit accounts include checking accounts, savings accounts, and money market accounts.

The money in a demand deposit account is generally considered to be liquid, or ready cash, and you can withdraw any amount (including the entire balance) at any time without paying a penalty. However, some banks may charge a fee if you exceed a certain number of withdrawals from a savings account within one month.

How a Demand Deposit Works

Demand deposit accounts work by allowing you convenient, flexible access to your money. The most common example of a demand deposit account is a checking account. With a checking account, you can deposit money, then access it by:

•   Using a debit card to make purchases online or in stores

•   Withdrawing cash at ATMs or through a teller

•   Scheduling online bill payments

•   Linking it to mobile payment apps

A trade off for this easy access to your money is that demand deposit accounts typically don’t pay high rates of interest, and checking accounts generally don’t pay any interest at all. While you can sometimes find an interest-bearing checking account, checking account interest rates tend to be on the lower side.

There are other types of interest-bearing accounts that fall under the demand deposit umbrella. They include: traditional savings accounts, high-yield savings accounts, money market accounts, and kids’ savings accounts.

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!


Federal Insurance for Demand and Time Deposits

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides insurance coverage for member banks, which is passed on to account holders. The FDIC insures both demand and time deposit accounts, including:

•   Checking accounts

•   Savings accounts

•   Money market accounts

•   CD accounts

The standard FDIC coverage limit is $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership category, per insured financial institution. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) offers similar coverage for time and demand deposit accounts held at member credit unions.

Recommended: How Do Calculate Interest on a Savings Account?

Demand Deposit Pros

When comparing demand deposit vs. time deposit accounts, it helps to understand the pros and cons of each type of account.

Here are some of main benefits of demand deposit accounts:

•   They give you access to your money without being required to give the bank advance notice.

•   They offer multiple ways to manage and access money, including online and mobile banking, automated clearing house (ACH) transfers, direct deposit, ATM banking, and branch banking.

•   There is the potential to earn interest on balances and, in some cases, rewards on purchases.

Demand Deposit Cons

While demand deposit accounts can make managing money and growing savings convenient, there are some potential downsides to keep in mind. These include:

•   There may be monthly fees or other fees.

•   Since interest rates can vary, you may need to shop around to find the best rate.

•   Banks may limit the number of withdrawals you’re allowed each month.

Time Deposit Pros

Time deposit accounts can be a great place to keep your savings — if you understand how they work. Here are some of the advantages of opening a time deposit account:

•   They offer a guaranteed rate of interest, so there’s very little risk of losing money.

•   They typically offer a higher interest rate than you can get on a demand deposit account.

•   There are generally no fees if you leave the money in the account until maturity.

Time Deposit Cons

Opening a time deposit account could make sense if you want a place to park your money for several months to years and earn a higher rate of interest. But it’s important to keep these cons in mind:

•   You may pay an early withdrawal penalty if you need to take any or all of the money out prior to maturity.

•   There is often a minimum deposit required.

•   Most time deposit accounts do not allow you to make additional deposits once the account is open.

How to Choose Between a Demand and Time Deposit Account

Demand deposit vs. time deposit: which one should you pick? The answer will depend on your financial needs and goals.

You might choose a demand deposit account if you:

•   Want convenient access to your money via a debit or ATM card, online banking, mobile banking, or at a branch

•   Want to be able to earn some interest on your savings while still having easy access to the money

•   Don’t mind the possibility of paying checking or savings account fees

A time deposit account, on the other hand, may be more appropriate if you:

•   Want to earn a higher interest rate than you can get on a standard checking or savings account at a bank

•   Have a sum of money you don’t need to touch for the immediate future

One good solution is to have a mix of demand deposit accounts and time deposits. This might include a checking account (for paying bills and everyday spending), a savings account (to hold your emergency fund), and one or more CD accounts to fund your longer-term goals. Just be sure to pay attention to minimum balance requirements and fees for each account you open.

When choosing between different types of savings accounts and CDs, you’ll also want to consider the interest rate and the annual percentage yield (APY).

The difference between the interest rate vs. APY is that the APY tells you the total amount of interest you earn on the account over one year. While it’s based on the interest rate, the APY also takes into account the compounding interest (when interest accrues on previously accrued interest) to give you the most accurate idea of what you’ll earn in a year.

APY, however, is not to be confused with annual percentage yield, or APR, which refers to what you can owe in interest charges on a loan.

Recommended: What Is a CD Ladder?

The Takeaway

There are two key differences between demand deposit and time deposit accounts: how easily you can access the money in the account and how much interest the account earns.

Demand deposit accounts (which include checking accounts, savings accounts and money market accounts) allow you to withdraw money from the account at any time, whereas time deposit accounts (such as CDs) require you to deposit your money for a specific length of time. While demand deposit accounts offer more flexibility, they typically offer lower interest rates than time deposit accounts.

One option to consider for your day-to-day banking: See what SoFi offers.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


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

What is the difference between demand deposit and time deposit?

The key difference between demand deposit vs. time deposit is access. With demand deposit accounts, you generally access your money at any time without paying a penalty or giving the bank any advance notice. With time deposit accounts, you generally can’t withdraw money until the account reaches maturity.

Which type of deposits with the banks are called demand deposits?

Demand deposit accounts include checking accounts, savings accounts, and money market accounts. Checking accounts can allow you to use a debit card, pay bills online, and manage money through online and mobile banking. Savings accounts are used to hold money you don’t plan to spend right away and may offer interest. Money market accounts combine features of both checking and savings accounts.

Why are demand deposits considered money?

Demand deposit accounts hold money that you can withdraw whenever you want. You can use this account to get cash, pay bills, make purchases, or complete other financial transactions. The money in these accounts is a liquid (or easily accessible) asset.


Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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.

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

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Guide to a Commercial Letter of Credit

Guide to a Commercial Letter of Credit

If you’re doing business internationally, you may have come across a requirement for a commercial letter of credit. This financial document serves as a guarantee of payment for goods or services, thereby playing an important role in facilitating international trade and industry growth.

These letters can help businesses work successfully with new clients and can build trust. Learn more about how they work and their pros and cons here.

What Is a Commercial Letter of Credit?

A commercial letter of credit, also known as a documentary credit, is an aspect of business banking. It’s a document issued by a bank to guarantee payment for goods or services for a seller (also called the supplier or exporter). It is issued on behalf of the company acquiring the supplies (the importer). It ensures that suppliers are paid for the services and/or goods they provide and that buyers receive the goods or services promised. This can be an important tool when doing business internationally or working with a new supplier. Simply put, it supports the deal and inspires trust.

Most of us know that good credit is important, and with a bank’s assistance, a commercial letter of credit can vouch for a new and/or foreign business partner. Let’s say an American company has never done business with Thailand before but wants to. Or it’s found some goods it would like to buy from a company in France, but that business only started a few months ago. There can be an element of risk to this kind of deal. The commercial letter of credit can reduce that worry since a bank steps in as a third party.

Commercial letters of credit are considered to be a very secure form of payment and are able to power many international trade transactions. The parties involved typically have every reason to believe the deal is solid, thanks to the bank’s participation.

💡 Quick Tip: Help your money earn more money! Opening a bank account online often gets you higher-than-average rates.

How Does a Commercial Letter of Credit Work?

A commercial letter of credit is more than a piece of paper promising payment. It acts a bit like an escrow agent between buyer and seller.

To explain it in more detail, a business (the buyer) can obtain a commercial letter of credit by applying for one at a bank or commercial lending institution. The seller may require this when the relationship is new (or perhaps the buyer is new and their credit history is not yet solid) or when exporting to another country.

After approval, the bank issues a letter of credit for the supplier (also called the beneficiary). This letter signals to the seller that the funds are guaranteed and will be paid by the bank, making it safe for the seller to produce goods or provide services for the buyer.

Once the seller shows evidence of having provided services or shipped the goods to the buyer (such as a bill of lading), the seller can draw on the letter of credit using their own bank. After payment has been made to the seller, the buyer must reimburse the bank before receiving the documents necessary to take delivery of the goods from the supplier.

By using a bank in this way, both the buyer and seller can feel confident in the business transaction.

Recommended: Is a Bad Credit Score a Big Deal?

Protections Offered by a Commercial Letter of Credit

A commercial letter of credit offers protections for both the buyer and seller. This is one of the reasons why it’s such an important tool.

•   For the seller (or supplier), the letter guarantees payment for goods or services.

•   For the buyer, the letter requires sellers to provide these goods or services before payment is issued.

These are particularly important in international trade where market conditions vary around the world and trust comes at a premium. For instance, a location might have intense climate conditions that threaten production or perhaps there’s political instability at a given moment. With a commercial letter of credit, participants in a deal can feel more secure about the deal going smoothly and successfully.

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What Parties Are Involved in a Commercial Letter of Credit?

There are always four parties involved with executing a commercial letter of credit. These are:

•   Buyer: The party who applies for a letter of credit from their bank.

•   Supplier: The seller of goods or services the buyer desires.

•   Issuing bank: The bank of the buyer who has approved a letter of credit.

•   Supplier’s bank: The financial institution from which the supplier can draw on the letter of credit. The supplier will then receive payment via the issuing bank.

Recommended: Can Personal Loans Hurt Your Credit?

Commercial Letter of Credit Process Example

Here’s an imaginary example of how a commercial letter of credit might be used during an international business deal: The Winter Company makes blankets in the U.S. and needs to order raw material from China. They want to order from a new supplier, Fine Fibers, and that new supplier wants to be sure this is a legitimate, reliable deal before beginning work. Therefore, Fine Fibers asks for a commercial letter of credit in order to start manufacturing the material for the blankets.

The Winter Company (the buyer/importer) applies for a commercial letter of credit from their bank and is approved. The letter is sent to the seller/supplier/exporter, Fine Fibers. It then begins manufacturing the material needed by the blanket-making company.

After finishing the order, Fine Fibers ships the order and provides the bank with the bill of lading. The fiber company can collect payment from the bank using their own bank.

The Winter Company, the buyer, can pay their bank back, and the bank will release information to receive the shipment. The buyer now has possession of the goods shipped. The deal is done without any hitches.

Difference Between a Commercial Letter of Credit & a Standby Letter of Credit?

There are many different types of letters of credit. One of the other commonly used letters of credit is a standby letter of credit. There are a few differences between a commercial letter of credit and a standby letter of credit, which are explored here.

Commercial Letter of Credit

Standby Letter of Credit

Bank pays the beneficiary Bank pays the beneficiary only if the buyer cannot
Acts as payment Acts more like a default or back-up payment method
Buyer must apply and be approved for a commercial letter of credit Buyer goes through underwriting to examine their creditworthiness
Used as the primary financing instrument Used when a deal is threatening to fall through

Recommended: Are Credit Scores Supposed to Be Different?

Examples of Commercial Letters of Credit

For both domestic and international transactions, commercial letters of credit can fulfill payment according to the contract’s specifications and help identify the goods’ delivery so a final payment can be made.

For example, Wells Fargo offers these letters to business clients. The letters of credit have a renewable term and typically take two weeks to process once the Letter of Credit application has been completed. Many other banks (Citibank, for instance) also offer these letters of credit too, facilitating business deals.

Pros of a Commercial Letter of Credit

There are benefits for both the seller and the buyer for using a commercial letter of credit.

For the seller/exporter

•   Ensures supplier is paid when requirements are met, building trust

•   Payment can be remitted to a bank of their choice

•   Can access financing in many countries by having a letter of credit

•   Helps develop new trade relationships, especially internationally

For the buyer/importer

•   Reduces the amount of money tied up in a lengthy transaction

•   Allows the buyer to stipulate terms and conditions for fulfillment of the contract before payment is made by the issuing bank

•   Ensures goods or services are provided to the buyer, building trust

•   Helps develop new trade relationships, especially internationally

Recommended: How Often Does Your Credit Score Update?

Cons of a Commercial Letter of Credit

There are a few drawbacks to consider, however, when using commercial letters of credit. These include:

For the seller/exporter

•   Payment takes longer than with an all-cash transaction.

•   Compliance with conditions of the contract may delay payment.

For the buyer/importer

•   Application process can take two weeks or longer.

•   Can be pricey. The bank fee for a letter of credit is usually taken as a percentage of the amount of goods sold.

Recommended: Differences Between a Bank Guarantee and a Letter of Credit

The Takeaway

A commercial letter of credit can help you businesses conduct transactions by guaranteeing payment from the issuing bank once requirements are met. This way, you can work with new businesses to dependably complete deals domestically and internationally. Commercial letters of credit can be a valuable asset in building trade and trust.

If you’re looking for solutions for your day-to-day personal banking needs, take a look at what SoFi has to offer.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


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

Who is the beneficiary in a commercial letter of credit?

A commercial letter of credit facilitates trade by guaranteeing funds (payment) for a supplier. The beneficiary is the receiver of the funds, whether the seller or the bank named by the recipient.

What is a letter of credit in commercial banking?

A letter of credit in commercial banking is a document from a bank guaranteeing payment to a supplier once a deal’s conditions are met. Typically, it is used in international trade and/or between companies that have not done business previously.

Why do you need a letter of credit?

You may need a commercial letter of credit if your company is working with a new supplier that doesn’t offer trade credit, your supplier is outside the country or your normal trading area, or your company doesn’t have enough credit history for a supplier to trust your ability to pay.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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.

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

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Guide on What to Do When You Get a Pay Raise: 12 Tips

Guide on What to Do When You Get a Pay Raise: 12 Tips

If you received a raise at work, first things first: Congratulations! Your first impulse may be to celebrate with a big purchase or party. But rather than blowing your salary bump right away, it’s wise to be strategic. Take a little time and consider how you might use that extra cash. It could help you reach some short- and long-term financial goals.

There can be a lot to consider, but keeping a few things in mind may help you figure out the best course of action.

How to Financially Handle a Pay Raise

To help you decide what to do with a pay raise, you’ll want to think broadly, and about the future. Here are a dozen tips that may help you be better informed as you make your decision about what to do when you get a raise.

1. Using It to Get Rid of Debt

Your raise may be able to help you get rid of some debt that is dragging down your finances. It’s worth noting that some debt can be good, like a mortgage on your home, which tends to have a relatively low interest rate. Every time you make a payment, you are building equity and wealth.

But if you have debt that carries a high interest rate and doesn’t have a long-term benefit, you may want to pay it off as soon as you are able. Credit card debt is the classic example of this. Interest rates on new cards can be as high as 20% or more, which means this kind of debt can grow quickly. With a raise, you can pay that debt down sooner rather than later. This can help free up your finances to focus on other money goals.

💡 Quick Tip: As opposed to a physical check that can take time to clear, you don’t have to wait days to access a direct deposit. Usually, you can use the money the day it is sent. What’s more, you don’t have to remember to go to the bank or use your app to deposit your check.

2. Using It to Build Your Emergency Fund

Having extra cash is a perfect opportunity to build an emergency fund if you don’t have one or if yours could use a boost. Financial experts advise having at least three to six months’ worth of basic living expenses in the bank. This can tide you over if, say, a big medical bill or car repair hits or if your family were to endure a job loss. A raise can allow you to set a lump sum of money aside or motivate you to regularly allocate toward your emergency fund so you are financially secure in times of need.

3. Re-Evaluating and Updating Your Budgeting

When you get a raise, you may be wondering how to manage this extra cash. There are probably a lot of wish-list items tempting you to increase your spending. Instead of shopping, it may be a good time to reevaluate your budget to see how you can best put your money to work.

Typically, budgets recommend that you first allocate funds toward your mandatory monthly expenses like mortgage, rent and other bills. Next, don’t forget to pay down debt, followed by adding some money to your emergency stash if needed. Have you also thought about retirement funds?

Make sure to figure out how much to save every month and put some of your money to work in a 401(k) or another retirement fund. With the money that’s left, you can spend as you see fit, invest it in the stock market, make charitable donations, or decide other ways to use it.

If you need more guidance on budgeting, look online at different techniques, such as the 50/30/20 budgeting rule, or test-drive some apps that help you see where your money is going and determine how to best manage it.

4. Avoiding Lifestyle Creep

If you are contemplating what to do with a raise, one thing to sidestep is lifestyle creep. That happens when a person makes more money but also spends more of it, typically on luxuries. So if you get a raise and then rent a more expensive apartment or sign up for a luxury-car lease, that’s lifestyle creep. You have bought into some of life’s finer things, but you may wind up just breaking even. In fact, even with more money, you may feel as if you are living beyond your means.

It can be smart to try and avoid this behavior because you don’t want to spend every penny you make. That’s not a healthy financial habit; it doesn’t help you build wealth over time. Yes, you can allow yourself to enjoy some discretionary spending (more on that in a minute). But if you let lifestyle creep happen, it may be hard to make ends meet and find opportunities to save for longer-term goals.

5. Re-Evaluating Your Retirement

When you get a raise, you have a prime opportunity to increase your retirement savings. It may not sound like fun compared to taking a vacation, but allocating money this way can be a good financial strategy to reach your goals.

If you have, say, a 401(k) plan with your employer, you can increase your monthly contribution and possibly snag the employer match, too, which is akin to free money. While it may not feel like a fun use of your raise now, your future self will thank you when you see how well your retirement savings are growing.

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6. Invest in Yourself

Consider how your raise might help your long-term wellbeing, your mood, and your quality of life. Would it be wise for you to get in better shape? Have you been having trouble sleeping for a while? Do you feel hungry to learn a new skill? A bit of extra money might help you resolve those situations. Sometimes, not having enough money is a common and valid reason for not doing more of this kind of self-care.

Maybe, with your raise, you can now afford to take a few fitness classes and learn some moves you can do on your own. Perhaps you can work with a therapist on what’s keeping you up at night. Or maybe it would bring you joy to take some guitar lessons or pursue a continuing-ed class in a topic that has always fascinated you. Putting a portion of your raise to work this way can be rewarding on so many levels.


💡 Quick Tip: Want to save more, spend smarter? Let your bank manage the basics. It’s surprisingly easy, and secure, when you open an online bank account.

7. Considering Inflation

Inflation has been very much in the spotlight lately. In recent years, inflation has reached highs not seen in decades. When inflation is high, your purchasing power declines. Simply put, your dollar doesn’t go as far.

If you get a raise during a period of high inflation, do the math. If you receive a 5% raise and inflation is 3.6%, then you are staying (just barely) ahead in terms of your finances. That raise is helping to protect your money against inflation but unfortunately it won’t stretch much further. This perspective is good to keep in mind so you don’t overspend and wind up with debt.

8. Preparing for Taxes

Getting a bump in your salary may impact your tax liabilities; it may nudge you into a higher tax bracket. If this is the case, your tax rate will rise, and you may need to pay out a higher percentage in taxes. Typically, this will only take your effective tax rate up a couple of percentage points, but it can make a difference to your bottom line.

To offset that, you may want to adjust your withholdings with your employer. If more money is withheld during the year, you could owe less or get a refund at tax time. This could help you avoid an unpleasant surprise (namely, a tax bill) come April.

9. Saving up More for a Large Expense

Are you saving for a vacation, a wedding, a home renovation, or a new car? If you have a big-ticket item on the horizon, you may want to put part of your raise towards that goal. It can be a good move for your finances in the long-run. The extra money can help you afford what you are saving toward. You can sidestep debt as you make your dream a reality. By doing so, you’re likely improving your credit and building wealth — it’s a win-win situation.

10. Investing Your Money

Investing your hard-earned money is historically one of the best ways to build wealth. For some, that can be a good reason to allocate some of your raise to increasing their investments.

A good place to start is by creating an investment portfolio with stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other assets. This can be a vital part of making your financial plan.

11. Funding and Starting a Side Hustle

If you dream of building your own business from a hobby someday, you could use money from your raise to start a side hustle. If, say, you love making pastry, you might invest in cookware that will take your game up a notch. Or if creating apps is your passion, perhaps there’s a weekend class that could boost your skills. Keep tabs on how much money you allocate toward this side hustle and make sure these funds put you on a path to building a business.

12. Enjoying Your Financial and Career Successes

Many of these tips for using your raise wisely revolve around paying down debt, achieving long-term financial goals, and building wealth. But of course, do use a portion of your raise to reward yourself. You’ve received a financial award because of your hard work and dedication. You deserve to treat yourself! Whether that means having a fantastic dinner out with a couple of close friends or buying a coat you’ve been eyeing for a while now, you should find a way to mark this happy moment.

Managing Your Finances with SoFi

Getting a raise is an exciting life event. It shows that your hard work has paid off and your career is making progress. But it also means that you need to make some decisions about what to do with your money – it can be both exciting, and nerve-wracking.

Making some smart decisions about saving, investing, or even investing in yourself may be a good path. But again, it’ll come down to you, your goals, and your preferences. It may be helpful to speak with a financial professional, too.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


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

How do I avoid spending too much after I get a raise?

Create and stick to a budget. Even though you are making more money, you still have to be conscious over where your cash goes and avoid lifestyle creep, which involves spending more as you earn more. This can make it harder to achieve your financial goals.

Is it okay to treat myself when I get a raise?

It’s definitely reasonable to treat yourself when you get a raise; you earned it! But it’s not a habit that you want to get out of hand. You want to make sure you’re spending within your means and not accumulating debt.

Can a pay raise be a negative?

A raise can potentially be a negative if you spiral into unreasonable spending. You could wind up with debt to deal with. Also, take note if your raise pushes you into a higher tax bracket, which still means you’re making more money, but you’d be paying a higher tax rate on a portion of your earnings.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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25 Items That Are Worth Saving for

25 Items That Are Worth Saving For

Each of us has our own agenda in terms of what makes stashing our cash away worthwhile. For some of us, it’s the anticipation of doing something fun or buying something beautiful. For others, it’s all about using our money to secure some quality of life and peace of mind.

Regardless of what gets you saving, whether you’re stashing funds to buy a new computer, a used convertible, a house, or even retirement funds to ensure your future, you’ll be honing your saving skills and likely boosting your financial wellness as well.

Why Saving Is Important

The importance of saving cannot be overstated; it’s a very big part of successful money management. Consistently putting away cash can make a major difference over time, especially in your quality of life. By planning and prioritizing what expenses to fund, you’ll have the means to achieve your goals. It’s incredibly rewarding when you make a plan for your money and then realize it.

To jumpstart your savings, try one or more of these creative strategies.

•   Budget first. The mere mention of the word budget can stress some people out, but a budget is simply a plan for how you will spend your money. Having a strategy in place can really help keep your spending and savings on track. There are a number of methods you can use to budget, including the good old cash envelopes system and the 50/30/20 rule, as well as a number of mobile apps. Research your options online, and find the one that works best for you.

•   Automate savings. One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re saving toward your goal may be to automate your savings. This can take much of the stress out of saving. For instance, you could set up an automatic bank transfer from your checking to your savings account every payday.

•   Save consistently. Once you open a bank account, over time, you have a great chance of meeting your goal. Maybe it’s only $5 or $25 a pop, but contributing to your savings account regularly is vital. Be consistent and trust the process.

•   Save bonuses, tax returns, and other unexpected windfall amounts. These extras can give your savings account a tremendous boost.

•   Match your own purchases. For every amount that you spend on a treat, transfer that same amount into savings.

•   Save every $5 bill. By setting aside every $5 bill you encounter (as change from a purchase, from an ATM, etc.), you can save quite a bit in a year’s time.

•   Use the 30-day rule to control impulse purchases. Write down that shiny new thing you want, whether it’s a pricey new mobile phone or a designer bag, and wait 30 days to see if you still want it. You may find that your urge to spend on it has passed. If so, you can put the money you save this way into savings to fund something that’s on your wishlist.

Recommended: How Much of Your Paycheck Should You Save?

25 Smart Items to Save Up for

Spending money according to your own personal preferences — whether it’s a vacation, a new car, or a comfortable home for your family — should be the driving force behind your saving goals. This is how to make saving fun: Make a list of cool things to save up for. Create a vision board if you prefer; the idea is to entice yourself to perhaps pass up some unnecessary spending (takeout meals, a multitude of streaming services, and so on) and achieve those things you really crave. Not sure what to start saving for? Here are 25 ideas to get you going.

1. Vacations

You may have heard that vacations are good for both your physical and mental health. Even the act of looking forward to a vacation can improve your happiness. Whether the vacation you crave is a week at a nearby beach, a long weekend with your college besties, or a jaunt through Europe, the prospect of travel can be great motivation to save money.

2. Brand New Electronics

Buying new electronics isn’t just a leisure pursuit. New electronics can help with your productivity and ability to earn an income (or a higher one). It may be worth it to you to save for and invest in tools, such as a new laptop or video equipment, that can make your life better.

3. Starting a Business

If starting a business and becoming your own boss is a dream of yours, savings can go a long way toward making it happen. In fact, 82% of small businesses fail because of cash flow problems. Start accumulating capital so you can hopefully avoid becoming part of that statistic.

4. Home Maintenance

Keeping your home in tiptop shape can not only make living in it more enjoyable and enhance its looks and curb appeal, it can be helpful when you decide to sell it. Maintenance can include such things as getting your furnace and air conditioner checked regularly and getting your carpets cleaned, to lawn care, landscaping, and painting.

5. Weddings

This is a popular motivation to save. Most people dreaming of their big day know that it doesn’t come cheap. The average cost of a wedding in 2024 was about $33,000, according to one survey. Saving for this expense means you can celebrate the special day with loved ones, just the way you want to, while minimizing money stress.

6. Pet care

Owning a pet is enjoyable and rewarding, but it can also be expensive: The annual costs of owning a dog can run anywhere from $1,000 to more than $5,000. Pet care costs include, food, treats, veterinary bills, toys, grooming, and supplies such as beds, collars and leashes. Saving up for these expenses can help you enjoy your furry family member without being stressed out about paying for the things they need.

7. Brand New Car

Most people need wheels to get around, but cars aren’t just about function. Maybe you are dreaming of a low-slung sports car or an SUV that’s ready to offroad. When you get the keys to a new car, you’ll likely know that your time and energy spent saving was worth it.

8. Down Payment on a Home

Saving for a home is a top priority for many and for good reason. Home prices will typically rise 18% to 20% in the next five years, based on historical averages, meaning the value of your home will rise and likely continue to do so. Aside from the potential financial benefits, owning your dream home is a major boost to your and your family’s quality of life.

💡 Quick Tip: Want a simple way to save more each month? Grow your personal savings by opening an online savings account. SoFi offers high-interest savings accounts with no account fees. Open your savings account today!

9. Clothing and Shoes

There’s something about fresh clothes and shoes that can give you a psychological boost. For a household, costs averaged $1,434 for apparel for the year. Saving a little toward making yourself look good is one of the fun things you can save up for. It could be a whole wardrobe upgrade or a special splurge piece, but clothes can be excellent saving motivation.

10. Hobbies

If there’s something you enjoy doing in your free time, be sure to save enough money to fully invest yourself in the activity. Do you want a new acoustic guitar or perhaps a pottery wheel? Save for it. You may even be able to monetize your hobby or start a business from it.

Earn up to 4.60% APY with a high-yield savings account from SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings account and earn up to 4.60% APY - with no minimum balance and no account fees.


11. A Quality Mattress and Mattress Accessories

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of three Americans don’t get enough sleep. Being deprived of sleep can have a major impact on how you feel and function. Which is all the more reason to save for the comfiest mattress you can find.

12. Exercise Equipment

The right exercise equipment can help you make your health a priority and work out regularly. It’s not cheap, though. Equipment can cost less than $20 for a kettlebell or thousands for a top-of-the-line rowing machine, exercise bike, or Pilates equipment.

13. Professional Lessons (Sports, Dancing, Cooking, etc.)

Whether you want to dance more smoothly or perfect your golf swing, saving toward developing those skills can bring a lot of joy and satisfaction.

14. College

So many people feel the thrill of pride and achievement when earning a college degree, and it can help fuel a career. But college is expensive. As of 2024, the average cost of college in the U.S. is more than $38,000 per student per year, according to the Education Data Initiative. Saving toward these expenses, whether for yourself or your dependents, can help them get the education they need and dampen the blow of the cost of education.

15. Quality Home Appliances

Maybe you’d like to remove that old eyesore of a dishwasher and replace it with a top-notch new one, or swap out your old washer/dryer for an eco-friendly new model. Or, say, a professional-grade stove is calling to you to live out your gourmet dreams. Once you get the appliance you were dreaming about, you’ll likely feel that saving for it was worthwhile.

16. Home Security

While it may not exactly be a cool thing to save up money for, a home security system can give you peace of mind. As a bonus, you may have fun doorbell footage to look at once you buy your system.

17. Jewelry

If you love shiny baubles, they can certainly be worth saving for. Maybe there’s a dream piece you’ve been pining for. With the cost of some custom jewelry ranging from about $500 to $10,000 or more, you’ll definitely want to have a plan to save for it.

18. Home Furniture

If you value updated and stylish furniture, you’ll want to put it on your list. New furniture can uplift the comfort, function, and look of your home. Not to mention, when (or if) you sell your home, it can possibly help your place fetch a higher sales price.

19. Events & Special Occasions (Concerts, Dinners, Sports Games, etc.)

Many of us look forward to making lifelong memories at special events, from a Taylor Swift concert to the Super Bowl to a local gala. These occasions can both entertain and help you feel connected to the people who accompany you. Indulging in tickets every now and then is an incredibly fun and cool thing to save up for.

20. Home, Car and Health Insurance

Putting money toward insurance premiums may not always be fun, but it may give you peace of mind. It helps you know that you’re covered in case of accidents, unexpected health problems, and natural disasters. Saving up to afford a policy is wise if you are, say, planning to buy a house or car or are prepping for a big live event, like marriage or becoming a parent.

21. Retirement

Saving for retirement is a critical part of your financial health. A Federal Reserve survey found that only 34% of adults felt their retirement savings were on track. If you want to give yourself a healthy cushion for some of the most vulnerable years of your life, you may want to add to your retirement savings. While it doesn’t give you a tangible payoff now, you may rest easier knowing you’re prepared for tomorrow.

22. Anniversaries

Have someone (or something) special you want to celebrate? Put aside some money to do it up right, especially if it’s a nice round number that’s coming up. It’s up to you whether the funds go towards a gift, a trip, or a special night out with friends and family.

23. Repairs and Remodels

Home improvements can make your home more comfortable and functional but they are likely a major expense. With the average remodel topping $41,600 in 2024, it will take quite a chunk of change to make it happen. Saving for this type of cost can help you turn your place into the showplace you know it can be.

24. Birthdays

Celebrating birthdays is a fantastic way to nurture the relationships in your life. Maybe it’s with a candlelit dinner or tickets to a show, but it can be a great excuse to save and then spend some cash.

25. Holidays

Creating holiday memories is important for many of us. Saving up for the holidays and seeing your vision for your family come to life can be incredibly rewarding. Americans spend around $866 each holiday season, according to data from the National Retail Federation; 71% of that goes toward gifts. Stashing some cash in advance can help alleviate stress during the most wonderful time of the year.

Banking With SoFi

Focusing on a wish-list item can give you the motivation and discipline to start saving. Of course, the savings goal will vary with each person. One person may want a trip to Bali, another may need a new car, and a third may be focused on getting a down payment together for a home.

Whatever the goal, opening a bank account and consistently depositing your cash into it to save for an important purchase can be a great way to help build your financial skills, improve your financial foundation, and elevate your quality of life.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

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

How can I develop the mindset to save long-term?

To develop a mindset to save for the long term, be sure to start with a goal. Brainstorm some important, meaningful things to save up for. Then, automate regular transfers to your savings account. If you don’t see that money in your checking account, you likely won’t spend it.

Is saving money long-term hard?

Saving can be hard, and even a small amount stashed regularly can make a big difference in your financial wellness. The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis reports that the personal savings rate in April 2024 was 3.6%. It may not be a huge amount, but it can be a good start.

How do I make saving money easier?

Saving money is easier when you have a plan in place. Automating money transfers to your savings account when your paycheck hits is one easy way to start saving towards a goal. You can also experiment with different budgeting methods to help “find” more money to put into your savings.


Photo credit: iStock/Borislav

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

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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4.60% APY
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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

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

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

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

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


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*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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