CIT Bank Review 2021

When it comes to banking, most of us are just looking for something convenient and free … but it’s that much better when your checking account can actually help you earn money, too. For that, CIT Bank is your answer.

If you’re willing to move to an online banking system — that is, one where your account is entirely online and you don’t have access to a brick-and-mortar banking location — CIT Bank offers both checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees and high interest earnings potential. There is a minimum opening deposit of $100, though it’s pretty reasonable given the bank’s high rates.

Although foregoing the in-person franchise can be a little daunting, CIT Bank makes it that much easier by offering up to $30 in third-party ATM fee reimbursement per month, and you’ll never be assessed an ATM fee on their end. However, if you’re looking for a bank that also offers small business accounts, you’ll want to keep looking (try these business checking accounts); CIT doesn’t have business checking or savings accounts available.

Here’s what we love about each of CIT Bank’s online deposit accounts and what we think could use some work.

CIT Bank Checking Account

CIT Bank has one checking account option which has a lot of perks, including no monthly fees and the ability to connect the account with the high-yield savings account. CIT does still charge overdraft fees but they can be avoided if you sign up for the protection plan.

CIT Bank eChecking Account

Best for Digitally-Savvy Users
Key Features
  • Interest earning
  • Connects with high-yield savings
  • Charges overdraft fees
4 out of 5 Overall
CIT Bank combines the best of both possible worlds when it comes to checking: an account with no monthly fees and the ability to earn interest. Their eChecking account earns up to 0.25% APY on balances with $25,000 or more, and 0.10% APY on balances less than that. (That’s better than the average savings account interest of 0.03% APY, per the FDIC.)
CIT Bank eChecking Account
APY
Up to 0.25%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None, but reimbursement up to $15
Minimum starting balance
$100

The checking account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100, and certain fees can be assessed under specific circumstances. For instance, if you make an outgoing wire transfer and carry an average daily balance of less than $25,000, it will cost $10. CIT Bank’s insufficient funds fee is $30, and no daily limits are advertised.

Still, these fees are relatively easy to avoid, especially given CIT Bank’s free overdraft protection option. They also avoid charging their own ATM fees when you withdraw money, and you can receive up to $30 per month in third-party ATM fee reimbursements.

When you sign up, CIT Bank will send you a complimentary debit card with EMV chip technology, but if you’re looking to use physical checks, keep moving. The mobile app allows you to easily deposit checks made out to you, but doesn’t allow you to write a check from this account.

Finally, we love the way the eChecking account connects with CIT Bank’s new high-yield savings account, Savings Connect Account, to maximize your savings. We suggest you take a look at signing up for both simultaneously.

CIT Bank Savings Accounts

CIT Bank provides customers with three savings account options:

  • Savings Builder
  • Money Market
  • Savings Connect

All carry a minimum opening deposit between $100 to $200, but none assess monthly fees.

CIT Bank Savings Builder

Best for Monthly Savers
Key Features
  • No monthly fee
  • Daily compounding interest
  • Up to .40% APY
3.5 out of 5 Overall
The Savings Builder account allows account holders to earn up to .40% APY depending on their average daily balance and/or monthly deposit behavior; if you keep a balance of at least $25,000 or make at least one monthly deposit of $100 or more, you’ll earn the .40% APY maximum. Interest compounds daily to maximize earning potential, and deposits and transfers can be made through the mobile app.
CIT Bank Savings Builder
APY
Up to 0.4%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None
Minimum starting balance
$100

The Savings Builder account is a decent option for a high-yield savings account, boasting rates over 6X the national average.  If you jump through the tiered interest hoops, then you can walk away with 0.40% APY, but if you’re looking to just put your money in and sit, you’ll most likely receive the lower-tiered rate of 0.28% APY (unless your balance is more than $25,000).

Basically, if you need motivation to save money monthly for a goal like a house or college, the reward of earning higher interest with a Savings Builder account might be just the trick. In fact, right now, the Savings Builder account offers the higher-tiered interest as a special introductory rate for your first period regardless of balance or savings. So if you’re thinking this is the right savings account for you, you’re at least guaranteed 0.40% for one cycle.

Overall, however, we think CIT Bank’s other savings accounts are worth taking a look at for slightly higher APYs and a little less fuss.

CIT Bank Money Market Account

Best for No Fuss Saving
Key Features
  • No monthly service fee
  • Up 0.45% APY
  • Scheduled bill pay feature
4 out of 5 Overall
The Money Market account earns 0.45% APY without any fees regardless of account balance or deposits, and its interest, like the Savings Builder account, is also compounded daily.
CIT Bank Money Market Account
APY
0.45%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None
Minimum starting balance
$100

Coming in at 0.45% APY, CIT Bank’s Money Market account is definitely a strong contender among online banks’ savings options. Unlike the Savings Builder account or Savings Connect account, Money Market has no hoops to jump through. You just put your money in and receive the 0.45% APY. Combined with no monthly fees, we love the ease of earning it offers.

Unlike some other money market accounts, CIT Bank’s Money Market account is limited to electronic transfers only. You can arrange a direct deposit, bill pay, and check cashing on its great mobile app, but there’s no corresponding debit card or checks.

Like the Savings Builder account, the Money Market account is also limited to six transactions a statement cycle with a $10 for each additional excessive transaction. But we think for most, these little inconveniences are worth the high annual percentage yield.

CIT Bank’s Savings Connect account has no monthly fees and a solid APY. You have to open a Savings Connect account and an eChecking account and CIT Bank will link them. If you already have an eChecking account, then CIT Bank will link them automatically.

CIT Bank Savings Connect Account

Best for eChecking Users
Key Features
  • No monthly service fee
  • Up 0.50% APY
  • Linked to eChecking account
5 out of 5 Overall
CIT Bank’s new Savings Connect account allows you to connect this savings account with your CIT Bank checking account—again, with no monthly service fee. To qualify, you must open a Savings Connect account and an eChecking account and deposit $100 in each. Once connected, Savings Connect account holders can earn up to 0.50% APY with a qualifying monthly deposit of $200 to their checking account.
CIT Bank Savings Connect Account
APY
Up to 0.50%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None, but reimbursement up to $30
Minimum starting balance
$100

From there, to earn the highest tiered APY, you simply have to set up an automatic deposit of $200 or more into your linked checking account from your Savings Connect account. This monthly deposit locks in 0.50% APY for the cycle. If you don’t meet this requirement, you’ll still bring home 0.42% APY for simply having the linked accounts, which is a more than respectable APY.

Besides a good APY, a linked Savings Connect account gets you access to a debit card and overdraft protection. For the debit card, the same rules apply as before with no CIT Bank ATM fees and other ATM fee reimbursements up to $30 a month.

Some people might find opening two accounts a bit annoying, but the high APY makes it a great option for most who are looking for a fully online banking experience.

Other CIT Bank Products

While we mostly come to CIT Bank for the savings and checking accounts, it doesn’t stop there. Check out the other services available from CIT Bank  that might fit your needs below.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

CIT Bank offers three different CDs for new customers seeking to hit their savings goals:

  • Term CDs
  • No Penalty, 11 Month CDs
  • Jumbo CDs

CIT Bank’s CDs work pretty much like other standard CDs with varying rates and lengths. The Term CDs offer between 0.30% to 0.50% APYs depending on the CDs term. There’s no maintenance or opening fee, but it does have a $1000 minimum.

The No Penalty 11 Month CDs also have a $1,000 minimum but can be accessed early with no penalty—that flexibility, however, costs you a little APY with rates of 0.30% APY.

With a $100,000 minimum, the Jumbo CDs are definitely channeling a specific type of customer. These term lengths are longer—between 2 to 5 years—and have 0.40% – 0.50% APYs depending on the length.

It is worth just mentioning that previous customers do continue to have access to their RampUp CDs, but they’re not offered to new customers.

So do we believe CIT Bank CDs are worth it? CIT Bank’s CDs are a solid option for CDs; however, there are CDs on the market with better rates and lower minimums, so we’ll probably stick to CIT Bank’s savings and checking accounts.

Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.

Home Loans

CIT Bank offers home loans with relationship pricing options:

  • .10% with 10% of the loan amount in new deposits
  • .20% with 25% of the loan amount in new deposits.

Plus, you can get $525 cash back deposited into your CIT Bank account after you close on your new home loan with CIT Bank.

CIT Bank Custodial Accounts

If you’re looking to grow wealth for a minor, CIT Bank can help you open a Custodial Account. You can set up most of the savings accounts in the minor’s name for them to gain control of at 18. With some federal tax benefits and no maximum limit, it makes a great place to save for the future.

Small Business Banking

CIT Bank focuses on personal accounts and doesn’t offer small business checking and savings accounts. They do have some small business financing options, specifically focusing on Equipment, Working Capital, or Franchise financing. The terms vary in length and rates, but all can be funded in as fast as 1 day.

CIT Bank Mobile App

Like most online banking options, CIT Bank’s mobile app provides digital solutions to help its members access and manage their funds from the convenience of their smartphones. Its mobile apps are well received, with ratings of 4.2 stars on Google Play and 4.6 stars on the Apple App Store.

The apps allow users to make transfers between their own accounts (and to others using third-party platforms like Zelle and Samsung or Apple Pay), as well as to make mobile check deposits using the onboard smartphone camera.

Pros and Cons of CIT Bank

So what’s the breakdown of CIT Bank overall? Below, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of CIT Bank to help you streamline your decision.


Pros
  • Free eChecking account earns interest at a rate higher than the average savings account.
  • No monthly fees on any of its deposit accounts.
  • Free overdraft protection.
  • Competitive APYs.
  • Low minimum deposit requirements.
  • Refunds ATM fees up to a certain amount.

Cons
  • Insufficient funds fee of $30 per transaction item.
  • No physical locations and no ATMs for the actual service.
  • No small business banking option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About CIT Bank

Still have a few questions? Below we’ve tracked down the answer to the most common questions people ask about CIT Bank.

Is CIT Bank FDIC Insured?
Absolutely. All CIT Bank savings and checking accounts are FDIC insured against bank failure and theft. You should feel safe and secure using CIT Bank, knowing it’s backed by the FDIC.
Does CIT Bank Offer Loans?
CIT Bank does offer home loans and small business financing with relationship pricing mortgages and competitive rates.
Who Owns CIT Bank?
CIT Bank is owned by the CIT Group Inc, a North American financial holding company.

Jamie Cattanach and Whitney Hansen are contributors to The Penny Hoarder. Both are experienced writers in personal finance, banking and investing.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

M1 Finance Review: Pros and Cons

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M1 Finance is a fee-free way to invest that lets you be as hands-on or hands-off as you want to be. The M1 Basic account is completely free (minus the typical fees associated with investing), but you can unlock even more potential out of M1 Plus, which is free for the first year and then $125 thereafter. Supported investment accounts include individual and joint taxable accounts, retirement accounts and event trust accounts.

Both M1 Basic and M1 Plus go beyond traditional investment accounts with cash management options like Borrow (loan) and Spend (checking) accounts that fit in nicely with the portfolio. M1 Plus members even have access to the special Owner’s Rewards Card by M1, with the annual fee waived.

In our M1 Finance review, we’ll start with a quick comparison of M1 Basic and M1 Plus, then dig into each of the components of an account: investing, retirement, checking, loans and the credit card.

M1 Finance Basic

Best for Basic Investing
Key Features
  • No annual fee
  • 1 ATM reimbursement per month
  • $100 minimum investment
4 out of 5 Overall
The M1 Basic account through M1 has no monthly management fee and is great for beginners. If you aren’t sure that M1 is right for you long term, start with this account and upgrade to M1 Plus down the road if you’re satisfied.
M1 Finance Basic
Trading commissions
$0
Borrow rate
3.5%
Checking account APY
0%
Credit card
n/a

The no-frills M1 Basic account from M1 Finance boasts $0 trading commissions with an AM-only trading window. With M1 Basic, you can still open a checking account (Spend) and take out a personal loan. You just miss out on lower borrowing rates, checking account rewards and the rewards credit card.

The Borrow account comes with a 3.5% rate and requires a $5,000 minimum balance. The Spend account has a $0 minimum balance requirement, 0.8% to 1.0% international fees and one monthly ATM fee reimbursement.

If you just go with M1 Basic, this will serve you well as an investment account (the lack of fees is the big appeal), but you should seek out personal loans and a checking account elsewhere.

M1 Finance Plus

Best for Account Extras
Key Features
  • $125 annual fee
  • 4 ATM fee reimbursements per month
  • $100 minimum investment
4.5 out of 5 Overall
The M1 Plus account through M1 may cost $125 a year (first year is free!), but the perks that come with the account are well worth the cost for those who will take advantage of them: cash back debit card, lower interest rate on personal loans, larger trade window and rewards credit card.
M1 Finance Plus
Trading commissions
$0
Borrow rate
2.0%
Checking account APY
1%
Credit card
Owner’s Rewards Card by M1

When you upgrade to the M1 Plus account, you’re getting far more than a basic investment platform; you’re getting a banking experience that rewards you for spending (plus more competitive borrowing options).

For starters, M1 Plus gets you AM and PM trade windows, rather than just AM. The minimum balance for the Borrow account is still $5,000, but the rate drops to 2%.

The Spend account is far more attractive with M1 Plus. For starters, you’ll get 1% APY on your checking, which is more competitive than most banks’ savings accounts. On top of that, you will pay no foreign transaction fees, get four monthly ATM fee reimbursements and can send paper checks from the M1 app. And did we mention 1% cash back on debit card purchases? With checking rewards this good and your own investment account, you could do away with a traditional savings account altogether.

M1 Plus members can also apply for the Owner’s Rewards Card by M1, a rewards credit card that incentivizes shopping with merchants that you’ve invested in. The $95 annual fee is automatically waived as long as you keep your M1 Plus account active. Cash back rewards range from 1.5% to 10% with a maximum reward value of $200 per month (or $2,400 per year). Those rewards are then automatically reinvested in eligible accounts.

Sign-Up Bonus

M1 Finance is currently running an enticing sign-up bonus. When you open a new M1 account and make a qualifying deposit within the first two weeks, you’ll get a bonus ranging from $30 to $500.

M1 Finance Bonus Breakdown

Deposit Amount Bonus Amount

$1,000 to $4,999.99

$30

$5,000 to $9,999.99

$75

$10,000 to $29,999.99

$150

$30,000 to $49,999.99

$300

$50,000+

$500

This promotion is running through the end of 2021. It is likely that M1 will run a similar promotion in 2022, but M1 has not released details on the bonus amounts for various deposits yet.

The bonus is only available to new M1 customers. If you have opened an M1 investment account previously, you are not eligible for the bonus payout.

M1 Finance Fees

The M1 Basic account has no annual fee while the M1 Plus account costs $125 a year (the first year is free). While other investment platforms often charge you commissions on trades, M1 Finance is truly fee-free.

However, you will pay fees for some less common tasks, like paper statements, account transfers and account inactivity. These are all very transparent on the M1 site, and it is not likely the typical customer would be paying these fees.

The full rundown on M1 fees.

M1 Finance App

As an online robo advisor, M1 Finance offers a great online platform that is relatively easy to use once you get used to it. Even more important, M1 offers a mobile app that is ideal for tech-savvy investors

Within the app, you can buy and sell individual stocks, mutual funds and ETFs; set up smart transfers (rules that automatically move money within your account); and manage your Borrow and Spend accounts.

At the time of publishing, the M1 mobile app had nearly 36,000 ratings on the Apple App Store with a star rating of 4.6. On Google Play, it has almost 17,000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating.

M1 Finance Customer Support

M1’s client success team is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on any day the U.S. stock market is open. The limited access to customer support agents can be difficult, especially for those accustomed to 24/7 customer service.

Because M1 is a robo advisor, you cannot contact financial advisors for investment advice or personal finance advice. If you need more tailored investment advice, consider a company with physical locations or real human advisors.

M1 Finance Review: Key Features

Below, we’ve spelled out the fine print of each part of an M1 Finance account. Look for Our Take at the end of each section for a quicker read.

M1 Invest

The M1 Invest platform includes automatic rebalancing of your accounts, which means the investment platform will automatically manage your investments (selling and buying various individual stocks, mutual funds, bonds, etc.) to keep your account proportioned how you want it (based on your risk tolerance, preferred asset allocation and investment goals). The auto rebalancing feature also includes tax loss harvesting.

While automatic rebalancing is a common feature among robo advisors like M1 Finance, the option for fractional shares is a little more unique and a hard sell. Fractional shares allow you to buy into part (i.e., a fraction) of stocks and ETFs (exchanged-traded funds) that might otherwise be too expensive for you to invest in.

The selling point of an Invest account with M1 is “The Pie.” This is M1’s solution for easy portfolio management. You can create custom pies via an interactive dashboard that lets you browse 6,000+ stocks and ETFs to truly customize your investment portfolio. But if you don’t have the time or knowledge to customize your portfolio, you can select from “Expert Pies” that the M1 Finance team has “baked.” With more than 80 curated Expert Pies, there is likely to be one or more that suits your investment strategy and risk tolerance.

Some examples of Expert Pie categories include:

  • General Investing
  • Plan for Retirement
  • Responsible Investing
  • Income Earners
  • Hedge Fund Followers
  • Industries & Sectors
  • Just Stocks & Bonds
Community Pies allow you to find and share portfolios that align with personal values. You can build and invest in pies that focus on publicly traded companies led by Black, female, or LGBTQ+ leaders.

You can make your portfolio as diverse as you’d like with M1, with access to stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds and options. If most of this goes over your head, however, you will benefit from the Expert Pies already fresh out of the oven and served up for you.

Note: There is a $100 investment minimum for M1 Invest.

Our Take: For those who want hands-off investing through a robo advisor, rather than a real human financial advisor, M1 Finance is a great platform. And if you learn more about the market and want to play a more direct role in your investment strategy, the customizable Pies allow you to do so without needing to close your M1 account. If you simply want the investment aspect of M1 (and don’t care about the Spend, Borrow, or credit card portions), we recommend the free M1 Basic account.

M1 Retirement

The M1 Invest platform is designed for investing in the stock market for goals of any length, but you can also specifically open tax-advantaged accounts for your retirement. M1 has options for an IRA, a Roth IRA and even a SEP IRA.

These accounts share the same benefits of a traditional investment account with M1: access to Expert Pies, fractional shares and auto rebalancing. If you already have an IRA or 401(k) elsewhere and would like M1 to manage it, you can roll over your account.

Our Take: Try out M1 Invest first to make sure you are satisfied with the platform. If, after a few months, you find this robo advisor is the right match for you, roll over your retirement accounts to keep them under one roof. But if you are happy with how your retirement account portfolio is being managed elsewhere (and the fees are negligible), it’s perfectly fine, albeit a little more confusing, to have the accounts managed separately elsewhere.

M1 Borrow

M1 Finance is a portfolio line of credit, meaning it offers its customers a flexible line of credit that is borrowed against their own investments. Use it to start a business, fund a wedding or as a down payment on a house. There is no application involved and no payment schedule, and it takes just three clicks to borrow.

You can borrow up to 35% of your account value. Rates are 2% for M1 Plus members and 3.5% for M1 Basic members. This is an ideal scenario if you have high-interest loans, like student loans or credit card debt, that you would like to pay off; then you’d have a more manageable loan to pay off via M1.

This could also come in handy if you do not have the means to save toward an emergency savings fund. Instead, take out a low-interest personal loan through M1 Borrow to avoid high-interest medical debt or credit card payments.

Our Take: Never borrow unless you have to. Don’t take out a loan just to have some cash to play with. That said, if taking out an M1 Borrow loan can eliminate monthly payments on predatory loans, take advantage of this option.

M1 Spend

You can also utilize cash management account features via M1, which is a more recent addition to the platform. The M1 Spend account is ideal if you are an M1 Plus member because of the extra perks. We do not recommend the Spend account as a checking account alternative to those using M1 Basic.

M1 Plus customers with a Spend account will get the following cash management features:

  • 1% cash back on debit card purchases
  • 1% APY on your cash balance
  • Four ATM fee reimbursements each month
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

Other notable features of the Spend account (for both M1 Basic and M1 Plus) include early direct deposit access and a $0 account balance minimum. Both accounts come with the M1 Spend Visa Debit Card, but again, only M1 Plus members get the 1% cash back perk.

M1 Plus members can also set up smart transfers; if your cash balance in the Spend account hits a certain threshold, M1 will automatically transfer and invest it.

Because M1 is not a bank but a brokerage, it partners with Lincoln Savings Bank to service its checking account.

Our Take: This Spend account is much better than a lot of the high-interest checking accounts from other online banks. However, you do have to pay to get these perks. If the cash back and APY will more than cancel out the cost of the account, this is a must-have for M1 Plus members.

M1 Credit Card

The Owner’s Rewards Card by M1 is a standout feature of the M1 Plus account. You can earn cash back on purchases with brands that you’re invested in; the standard cash back is 1.5%, but select brands offer 2.5%, 5% or even 10% cash back.

Some of these popular brands include Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Spotify, Netflic, Peloton, Popeyes, Victoria’s Secret, Converse, Delta and Starbucks.

You can even choose to reinvest this cashback into your portfolio for continued growth.The credit card account comes with a contactless metal card with tap-to-pay.

Our Take: If you want a rewards credit card and plan to invest with M1, this should absolutely be on the top of your list. Even if you have another rewards credit card, the 10% cash back on select merchants is too good to pass up. Since the fee is waived for M1 Plus members, you could even open this credit card and only use it when you’ll get the 10% cash back if you have another rewards credit card to utilize in other scenarios.

M1 Finance Pros and Cons

If our M1 Finance review has not given you a clear decision on whether to invest quite yet, check out these pros and cons of M1 Finance.


Pros
  • Automatic rebalancing for preferred asset allocation
  • Fractional shares
  • Hands-off investing for beginners
  • More customization for advanced investors
  • Cash back debit and credit cards
  • High-interest checking account
  • Low-rate loans

Cons
  • No savings account
  • No checking account perks for M1 Basic account
  • $125 fee for the M1 Plus account
  • No access to human financial advisors

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About M1 Finance

Still have some questions about M1? Here’s what other readers like yourself are asking — and the answers to those questions:

Is M1 Finance Trustworthy?
M1 is a trustworthy automated investment platform. M1 is a registered broker/dealer with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and a member of SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation).

In addition, your funds in the Spend account are insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).

What are the Cons of M1 Finance?
M1 Finance’s pros far outweigh the cons; however, we have determined a few downsides to M1:

1. There is no savings account.
2. There are no checking account perks for an M1 Basic account.
3. To unlock the checking account perks, you must pay the $125 fee for the M1 Plus account.
4. There is no access to human financial advisors.

Is M1 Finance Good for Beginners?
Because of the Expert Pies that allow users to choose among investment portfolios curated for their specific needs, M1 Finance is great for beginners. Even better, the M1 Basic account is free and has no commission fees.
Is M1 Finance Really Free?
M1 Finance is a free automated investing platform. The M1 Basic account is free, and there are no commissions on trades. However, the M1 Plus account is $125 a year, though the first year is free.
Should I Get M1 Plus?
If you plan to take advantage of the M1 Borrow loan, the perks of the M1 Spend checking account and/or the cash back from the M1 credit card, paying $125 a year for an M1 Plus account makes a lot of sense.
Is M1 Finance a Bank?
M1 Finance is a brokerage account, but it also operates a digital bank account with cash management account features like a checking account. The checking account is interest bearing if you pay for an M1 Plus account. However, you cannot open a savings account with M1, nor can you apply for auto loans or home loans. In that sense, it does not operate like a traditional bank account.
Does M1 Finance Offer Tax Loss Harvesting?
Yes, M1 offers tax loss harvesting. Tax efficiencies are built into the M1 robo advisor platform.

Timothy Moore covers bank accounts for The Penny Hoarder from his home base in Cincinnati. He has worked in editing and graphic design for a marketing agency, a global research firm and a major print publication. He covers a variety of other topics, including insurance, taxes, retirement and budgeting and has worked in the field since 2012.

Investing in securities involves risks, including the risk of loss. M1 Finance LLC is an SEC registered broker-dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC.

Borrow rate may vary. Borrowing involves additional risks, including the risk to lose more than deposited. Not available for retirement, custodial, or trust accounts.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

30 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes You’ll Love

One thing you can count on every Friday after Thanksgiving: There will be leftovers.  For some people, that’s one of the best parts of turkey day.

But even the most avid turkey sandwich enthusiast gets a little tired of them after a few days.

Of course, “I’m sick of it” is no excuse to throw away perfectly good food.

So before you’re tempted to toss the remains of your turkey dinner in the trash, check out these delicious and creative Thanksgiving leftover recipes.

30 Ways to Repurpose Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

From classics like soup to surprises like nachos, you’re sure to find something to reignite your holiday appetite.

Although many of these dishes contain more than one traditional Thanksgiving ingredient, we’ve organized them by their main component so you can easily find a recipe that fits your unique Thanksgiving leftover situation.

That said, some of them look so good, you might want to make Thanksgiving dinner all over again…

Turkey

The main event is also the one most likely to leave a lot behind — no matter how insistent mom is that each guest takes some home.

Here’s how to transform that pile of leftover turkey meat into a delicious new dish.

1. Turkey Salad

leftover turkey recipes

The day after Thanksgiving, a big, hearty meal might be the last thing on your mind.

Lighten up your menu by making leftover turkey into a salad — either the creamy, mayo-based kind you serve on bread, or the kind with actual lettuce — like a chicken salad, but with turkey instead!

This cranberry pecan version from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen looks lovely, and Self Proclaimed Foodie’s Krissy substitutes Greek yogurt instead of (or in addition to!) mayonnaise.

2. Turkey Frittata

What’s eggy, delicious and perfectly appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

A frittata, of course!

Jackie at Domestic Fits offers a recipe that’ll use up your leftover turkey and rolls in a snap, and Yasmin Fahr suggests dipping her frittata in leftover cranberry sauce mixed with a little bit of dijon mustard.

But just like an omelette, the possibilities are endless. Just crack some eggs and put on your thinking cap. Bonus if you can use more of your holiday leftovers in this dish.

3. Leftover Thanksgiving Nachos

Here’s a new take on nachos.

Food Network offers this appetizing tray of leftover Thanksgiving nachos, including leftover turkey, roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash.

It even uses up the last of that can of French-fried onions you put on your green bean casserole.

4. Turkey Tetrazzini

A pan full of turkey tetrazzini.

What’s a better mate for your leftover turkey than mayonnaise?

Try a creamy, cheesy mushroom sauce — complete with spaghetti.

Tetrazzini, a classic American pasta dish, works well with all kinds of poultry and fish, and leftover turkey is no exception. Plus, The Pioneer Woman’s version calls for an entire block of cream cheese.

5. Turkey Milanese

This fancy-sounding dish by Bobby Flay actually looks pretty darn easy to put together.

And if you skip the pomegranate molasses, you probably already have most of these ingredients in your pantry.

6. Turkey Pizza

Sound unconventional? Sure — but the best part about making pizza at home is going beyond your local joint’s usual repertoire.

If you’re still unconvinced, check out ReadySetEat’s artichoke turkey pizza. Just grab a premade crust and add some leftover turkey, diced tomatoes, canned artichokes and olives, and two types of cheese (because, yes).

7. Turkey Enchiladas

Repurpose an American classic into a Mexican dish that predates the birth of our country.

There are lots of versions out there. Here’s one of the best Thanksgiving leftover recipes we’ve found.

You’ll need:

1.5 onions

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups cooked, leftover turkey, shredded
  • 8 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 2 fresh jalapenos
  • 1 cup smoked barbecue sauce
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon each cumin, oregano and sugar
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (or your own homemade turkey stock; see item #13 on this list!)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in 4 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese
  • 12 tortillas
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil (such as olive)
  • frying oil (such as canola)
  • sour cream
  • green onions

Make your enchilada sauce by pureeing the mild chili powder, fresh jalapenos, barbecue sauce, one quartered onion, one clove of garlic, the can of tomato sauce, the cumin, oregano and sugar, a teaspoon of salt, an eighth of a teaspoon of pepper and two tablespoons of cooking oil.

Fry the mixture up in hot oil for about five minutes, stirring constantly.

Then add the broth, a cup of half-and-half, plus the two tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in an additional 4 tablespoons of half and half. Simmer for two minutes.

Then, saute the remaining half onion and clove of garlic, diced finely, in hot oil. Add the shredded turkey, brown slightly, and stir in sauce (reserving some) and salt and pepper to taste. Heat, and keep warm.

Fry the 12 tortillas quickly in hot oil. Drain and keep them warm in a casserole dish. Dip the tortillas in heated sauce, put a strip of filling across each, and roll tightly. Arrange side-by-side in pan, sprinkle with cheese and heat in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Spoon heated sauce over enchiladas and serve with sour cream and chopped green onions. Muy bien!

8. Turkey Chili

Turkey chili with bread.

What better way to weather the cold winter months than with a hearty chili?

And since you’ve likely got more leftover turkey than you know what to do with, this lightened-up version from Ambitious Kitchen is a perfect fit.

And if you’re feeling fiery, check out Food Network’s leftover turkey chili recipe, which brings the heat with fire-roasted tomatoes.

9. Turkey “Shepherd’s” Pie

So, let’s assess the Thanksgiving leftover situation. You’ve likely got the following leftover turkey, gravy, stuffing or dressing and mashed potatoes. Obviously, you need to put all those things together in one dish with the mashed potatoes on top.

Although it’s called “shepherd’s pie” because it traditionally comes with lamb, this dish is as simple and cost-effective as it is tasty. You don’t have to use any ingredients other than the Thanksgiving leftovers themselves.

Although it’s called “shepherd’s pie” because it traditionally comes with lamb, this dish — poulterer’s pie? — is as simple and cost-effective as it is tasty. You don’t have to use any ingredients other than the Thanksgiving leftovers themselves.

And if you want a full-sized pie, check out Martha Stewart’s recipe, which sweetens the deal with leftover cranberry sauce and glazed carrots.

Seriously, how lame does that sandwich sound now?

10. Turkey Pot Pie

Got a leftover pie crust or two, or even a frozen puff pastry?

You could make a perfect turkey pot pie, crammed full of all your favorite fixings from your Thanksgiving feast. This one, for example, will use up your leftover green bean casserole, too.

Want something a bit more handheld?

Check out this recipe for “pocket” pies, stuffed with cranberry sauce, sweet and mashed potatoes, stuffing and, of course, leftover turkey. Make them ahead of time and pop ‘em in the toaster oven.

11. Turkey Quesadillas

Quesadillas are a perfect vehicle in which to stuff a Thanksgiving leftover.

This one calls for brie and cranberry chutney. Yum.

12. Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

thanksgiving leftover recipes

Casseroles are cheap, filling and delicious, not to mention a great way to get those turkey leftovers into hungry stomachs.

There are tons of ways to make your Thanksgiving leftovers into a casserole. This recipe calls for canned soups and frozen peas, which you probably already have at your disposal.

13. So Many Delicious Winter Soups

First things first: If you’re not making fresh turkey stock with that picked-clean carcass, you’re doing it wrong.

Throw some root veggies, spices and what’s left of the bird in a pot, cover with water and simmer as long as you can stand it — it’s going to smell incredible. (This recipe says two to three hours, but you can go as long as six, adding extra water as needed).

Then, make that stock into delicious soups. This is a common tradition, so there are endless Thanksgiving leftover recipes for soup to try. We suggest Alton Brown’s super-simple “bird to the last drop” or this delicious version from The Pioneer Woman.

And check out Pinch of Yum’s Easy Turkey Pho, which calls for savory fish sauce and sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves.

14. OK, Fine, Turkey Sandwiches

Some things are traditional for a reason. Consider elevating your turkey sandwich game with these creative leftover recipes:

Mashed Potatoes

leftover mashed potatoes

In the category of foods that make you go, “I made too much of this and I’m not sorry,” mashed potatoes are second only to the turkey itself.

And although they’re just as yummy reheated and piled up with leftover gravy, here are some more creative options.

15. Potato Pancakes

Potato pancakes might already be the perfect Penny Hoarder food.

They’re delicious, filling, versatile and, of course, inexpensive — especially when you have a ton of leftover mashed potatoes to use up.

Dress this basic recipe up with your favorite toppings… like, say, all that leftover cranberry sauce.

Food Network Chef Giada De Laurentiis gets eggs and parmesan involved in her “eggs in purgatory” dish.

Or, you could experiment with throwing additional ingredients right into the mix before cooking.

Kelly, who blogs at Just a Taste, suggests cheddar cheese and scallions.

16. Mashed Potato Soup

Yes, more delicious soup.

You’d be hard-pressed to argue against this loaded mashed potato soup from Mommy Hates Cooking.

Instead of chicken broth, sub in that delicious turkey stock you made.

17. Mashed Potato Muffins

Who knew that if you add an egg to leftover mashed potatoes, they’ll bake into fluffy, delicious muffins?

Just a Taste offers this simple recipe for mashed potato muffins, or try this slightly more involved recipe for mashed potato “puffs” from The Kitchn.

18. Croquettes

Croquettes are photographed on a white plate.

Want a quick and easy way to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey, leftover potatoes and leftover cranberry sauce all in one go?

Check out Martha Stewart’s recipe for turkey croquettes.

Already used up your turkey? John Torode’s “bubble and squeak” croquettes call for bacon, turnips and cabbage for a total repackaging of a Thanksgiving fave.

19. Gluten-Free Cake

Bet you didn’t know mashed potatoes could have a place on the dessert table.

This lemon drizzle cake ditches flour in favor of ground almonds and mashed potatoes to stay fluffy and flavorful, even though it’s gluten-free.

Stuffing

leftover stuffing

It’s kind of a rarity to have any of this left, at least in most houses.

That said, if you do have leftover stuffing, you’re in for a treat.

20. Fried Stuffing Bites

This recipe is trouble.

Fried leftover stuffing served with a cranberry pesto really is next-level Thanksgiving leftover creativity.

21. Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms

This Food Network recipe is super simple and super tasty. Do yourself a favor and spring for fresh parmesan — the stuff in the green tub has no place on this dish.

Cranberry Sauce

leftover cranberry sauce

It’s  sweet but tangy and a perfect compliment to that overzealous mound of savory Thanksgiving recipes.

But shockingly, many people eat only a tiny bit of cranberry sauce, or consider it merely obligatory. Buck that trend and give these leftover recipes a try.

22. Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Cranberry Upside-Down cake? Yes, please!

This version from Baked In looks as good as it sounds. Just substitute your sauce for the fresh cranberries it calls for — or use the leftovers that didn’t make it to your table in the first place.

23. Cranberry Tartlets

Calling for little more than dough, an egg and some sugar, these cranberry tartlets are as elegant as they are delicious, and make a great alternative to heavier desserts like pumpkin pie.

24. Cranberry Pancakes

Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast doesn’t have to mean hash — not that we don’t love hash!

Spoon your cranberry sauce into pancake batter for a sweet breakfast that might become your new favorite Friday-after-Thanksgiving tradition.

25. Cranberry Muffins

Transform that cranberry sauce into next week’s breakfast for the whole family by whipping up a batch of muffins.

This recipe from Kitchen Treaty looks delectable, as does Wes Martin’s cranberry-carrot version.

Green Bean Casserole

leftover green bean casserole

Honestly, you won’t find  a whole lot of ways to repurpose this one — probably because it’s so darn good reheated and eaten as-is.

But aside from spooning it onto salads (or directly into your mouth) try this easy way to use up your green bean casserole.

26. Green Bean Quiche

This quiche has nine ingredients, one of which is your leftover green bean casserole.

Sweet Potatoes

Whether you sweeten your dinner with candied yams or opt for a savory dish, this spud probably has a place at your Thanksgiving table.

Here’s what to do with the leftovers.

27. Breakfast Hash

thanksgiving leftover recipes

DIY your hash using leftover sweet potatoes, turkey and poached eggs.

Or, if you’re looking for a more structured recipe, try this one from EatingWell – a lightened-up hash which brings in an apple to balance the mix.

28. Sweet Potato Biscuits

Want a slightly sweetened roll, once all the Thanksgiving crescents have been eaten up?

Try out these sweet potato biscuits courtesy of Spinach Tiger.

29. Sweet Potato Pie

Transforming your yams into a sweet potato pie is pretty much as simple as adding crust — and some evaporated milk or eggs to get the pie’s texture right.

Try Taste of Home’s version, complete with pecans, or this one from Spinach Tiger.

30. Sweet Potato Cake

Here’s one more way to make this Thanksgiving leftover even sweeter: Transform it into cake.

This recipe is reminiscent of good, homemade gingerbread. Be sure to adjust the amount of sugar you add to the mix depending on how much sweetness is already in your yams.

Robert Bruce is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Jamie Cattanach is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Best Banks for Freelancers Keep Up with Unique Challenges

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Making money as a freelancer can be hard enough — but then you have to figure out how to manage it.

With a slew of bank account options out there, it can be difficult to narrow down all the financial institutions and determine the best place to stash that hard-earned cash, especially if your financial lifestyle is a little less regular than most 9-to-5 workers’.

To help, the Penny Hoarder team has put together this post to compare some of the best bank accounts for freelancers. That way, you can make an informed decision with minimal fine-print reading.

What Is a Freelancer?

Before diving into the top banks for freelancers, it might be helpful to explain just what’s meant by “freelancer.” In short, a freelancer is someone who does work on a per-task or per-project basis and is paid by the task. Freelancers are self-employed and they don’t receive medical benefits or other perks such as vacation or sick time like company employees do.

Freelancers typically work for several companies, called clients, as independent contractors. The term often has a creative connotation — fields like writing, editing, web design, or photography — but there are exceptions.

What Makes a Business Bank Account Ideal for Freelancers?

Since freelancers are self-employed, they have some additional needs and responsibilities that the average full-time employee might not. For example, freelancers need to pay taxes themselves — nothing is withheld from their paychecks automatically.

Additionally, since freelancers are self-employed, they can count a number of purchases as business expenses, and keeping track of these is important for tax purposes.

Here are the major features to consider when choosing bank accounts as a freelancer:

  • Fees: Nobody wants to pay money just to keep their money, especially when you have a variable income. Ideally that means no monthly fee and unlimited transactions.
  • Customer Service: Knowing you’ve got a reliable team on your side when you have questions or concerns is vital.
  • Accessibility: Since freelancers often work out of their own homes and remotely, accounts that are tech optimized, with intuitive online banking options and high ATM or branch availability, are generally best. ATM access is especially important for cash deposits.
  • Business Account Offerings: Don’t forget to look at business account offerings for each bank, which can be helpful if you decide to incorporate your business or start an LLC.
  • Mobile-friendliness: A usable mobile app is extremely important, especially for banks that don’t have brick-and-mortar locations.

Help with budgeting and money management will also earn bonus points since everything’s a bit more complicated when you aren’t relying on a regular paycheck. However, these are nice-to-have features, rather than necessities.

Taking into account these features, we have rounded up the best banks — and in once case a well-known online payment system — for freelancers.

The 4 Best Banks for Freelancers

Bank Top Feature Prime Perk

Axos Bank

Selection of accounts

Generous support hours

Chase Bank

5,100 branches

Support options

PayPal

Free business account

Invoicing features

Lili

Freelancer friendly

Top notch on mobile

Axos Bank

Best for Online-First Banking
Key Features
  • Lots of experience in online banking
  • Generous support hours
  • Wide selection of accounts
4 out of 5 Overall
Axos was one of the original online-only banks from way back in 2000. As such, it has a unique understanding of what it means to be online-first — ideal for freelancers who consider themselves digital nomads. Axos offers a number of solid personal bank account and business bank account options, as well as fee-free IRAs and other useful services for freelancers.
Axos Bank
Fees
Business checking accounts available with no monthly fee and low or no minimum balance requirements.
Customer service
Business customers can get help weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST.
Accessibility
There are no branches, and ATM fees are only reimbursable for certain partner institutions.
Business bank account options
Plenty of account options with high interest rates.
Mobile-friendliness
Mobile apps for iPhone and Android.

Axos offers relatively high-yield checking accounts on both the personal and business sides. Their personal savings account offers up to 1.3% APY, and their business interest checking account earns 0.8% APY. That makes it one of the best business checking accounts available for freelancers (or anyone else, for that matter) that want their money to earn interest.

However, if you’re used to in-person banking, Axos might not be for you. Although they offer ATM fee reimbursement at specified locations, you won’t be able to walk into a branch and speak face to face with a teller.

Chase Bank

Best for a Traditional Business Checking Account
Key Features
  • Physical locations nationwide
  • Useful support options
  • Variety of business accounts
4 out of 5 Overall
If you want brick-and-mortar access to your business checking account, Chase might offer the best bank accounts for freelancers among the big national players with the Chase Business Complete Banking. It regularly offers new subscribers large opening bonuses, carries low minimum deposits, and offers a number of ways to waive its already-low maintenance fees. You can open personal checking accounts
Chase Bank
Fees
Monthly fees can be waived in account minimums met.
Customer service
You’ve got all the options: email, phone and walking into a branch.
Accessibility
More than 5,100 branches nationwide and 16,000 ATMs.
Business bank account options
Lots of different options though eligibility depends on where you live.
Mobile-friendliness
Online banking and a mobile app mix real-world and on-the-go banking. Mobile check deposit handy.

As a major financial institution, Chase also offers a host of business bank accounts and tools, including merchant services that make taking credit card payments easy — even if your brand of freelancing has you out in the world and not constantly behind a computer screen.

Chase also offers a discount for those who sign up to use ADP payroll, which could be useful if you go the S-corp route (or have an employee or two). All together, the Chase business checking account is an excellent option.

To learn more, read our Chase Bank review.

PayPal

Best for Accepting Payments
Key Features
  • Business banking with no monthly fees
  • Built-in invoicing and payment features
  • Fast transfers to other accounts
3 out of 5 Overall
Okay, this one isn’t really a bank and you know it as a digital payment system. But PayPal’s business account upgrade has a lot of useful features for freelancers, including built-in invoicing and an easy-to-use app with mobile check processing. Even if you have a standard bank account, it’s worth having a PayPal account as a freelancer, since many clients will want to use it to process payments.
PayPal
Fees
Minor and mostly possible to get around, except in the case of invoicing.
Customer service
Excellent and readily available, both online and via phone.
Accessibility
While there’s no such thing as a PayPal branch, it’s easy to move funds to other bank accounts.
Business bank account options
PayPal offers a free upgrade from personal to business accounts, adding a host of tools.
Mobile-friendliness
Intuitive and user-friendly, both in a web browser and via mobile app.

There’s no monthly fee with a PayPal business account, though you may pay fees for certain types of transfers. (It’s free to transfer funds to your personal bank accounts as long as it’s not a rush, however.) There’s also a cost to the business owner when invoices are paid — PayPal’s fee is 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. This is fairly standard for the payment processing industry, though.

Lili

Best All-In-One Solution
Key Features
  • Built-in expense and tax tracking
  • Handy referral program
  • Unlimited transactions with no monthly fee
4 out of 5 Overall
Lili is a tailored checking account that aims to help tackle the unique challenges that come with freelancing. As a freelancer, there are a number of financial tasks that are entirely up to you to handle, like setting aside money for taxes. Lili promises to help with a dedicated business checking account. The app, available for iOS or Android, is laser-focused on specific freelancer needs.
Lili
Fees
None.
Customer service
Standard phone support and a useful online help center.
Accessibility
No physical locations, but access to 32,000 free ATMs across the country.
Business bank account options
Solid — it’s designed for freelancers, after all.
Mobile-Friendliness
This is a mobile-only bank, and the mobile app is quite good.

The Lili business checking account comes with its own Visa debit card. Whenever you spend any money, you’ll get a push notification asking you to swipe left or right to instantly categorize the expense as either “personal” or “business.” At tax time, this will allow you to easily maximize your expenses and reduce your taxable income, lowering your tax bill.

Even better: You can earn cash by referring up to 10 friends to join Lili. Once they sign up and spend $250 on their Lili card in the first 45 days, you’ll each get $100. You can also earn a $50 bonus when you open a Lili Pro account and spend at least $1,000 with your debit card within 60 days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Bank Accounts for Freelancers

Which Bank Account is Best for Freelancers?
While it really depends on your needs, the best bet for most freelancers is combination of Chase or Axos (Chase if you want physical branch access for cash deposits, Axos if not) and PayPal, the payment system fintech that’s built for business. This gives you a feature-rich business checking account and the additional payment options of a PayPal account.
Which Bank is Best for the Self-Employed?
Chase (specifically Chase Business Complete Banking) tends to be the best option overall for self employed bank accounts due to the presence of thousands of physical locations, as well as a solid online experience. This gives the most options to the widest possible group of self-employed individuals.
Do I Need a Separate Bank Account as a Freelancer?
Technically, no. However, it’s a good idea to separate your business and personal accounts using a separate business checking account. You may also want to look at business savings accounts. This makes it easier to track income and expenses. Additionally, depending on how you structure your business, you may be required to maintain a business banking account to show that your business is a separate entity apart from you.
How Do I Open a Bank Account as a Freelancer?
This is the easy part! Simply head to a physical location or the website of your chosen bank and let them know you want to open a business checking account (and possibly a business savings account). The bank will take care of the rest.

Penny Hoarder contributors Dave Schafer and Jamie Cattanach did the reporting and writing for this story. 

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Cheap Gifts Under $10 (That Your Friends Won’t Regift)

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year and for many of us, it’s also the most expensive. Finding the ideal gifts can be challenging and end up hurting your wallet more than you’d like. It’s enough to fill even the most savvy shopper with dread.

You might have been able to avoid buying some gifts last year since your office probably didn’t have a holiday party with a white elephant gift exchange, and your friend group may have skipped the secret Santa due to concerns about COVID.

But 2021 is different. While the pandemic is still with us, people are more comfortable gathering now that vaccines are available.

The pandemic will affect gift-giving in other ways this year, though. Factory shut-downs early on in the pandemic caused shipping companies to cut their schedules to accommodate for what they expected would be a lower consumer demand.

But instead, people around the world started buying more stuff than ever online. Items for the house in particular were selling like crazy. This caused a supply chain issue that is still a concern today, and it’s expected to make holiday shopping harder than ever, as items you might typically buy (including the hottest toys) may sell out much earlier than usual.

Despite all this, finding the best gifts or stocking stuffers for your friend or family member doesn’t have to stress you out. (Although it’s a good idea to start shopping early, if you haven’t already, to make sure the gifts you want to buy are in stock.)

Here are 40 cheap gift ideas for $10 or less that will please even the pickiest of recipients at your next gift exchange.

Note: All prices are accurate as of Nov. 7, 2021.

Around the House

These great holiday gift ideas will please everyone on your Christmas gift list — not just the homebodies. And to make it even better, these are all practical gifts as well! Pretty much anyone on your gift list would be thrilled to unwrap one of these presents this year.

1. Novelty Tea Infusers: $9.99

Got a sloth-loving tea enthusiast on your list? This tea infuser is dishwasher-safe, super cute and the best gift idea.

Or try this adorable Mr. Tea infuser, who looks like he’s enjoying a hot soak in your cup, also for $9.99.

There are several tea infuser options to choose from depending on the tea lover’s interests. This is one of the best gifts (and the most practical) for your friend who sips tea all winter long

2. Cat Coffee Cup Cozy: $10

Who doesn’t love sipping a hot cuppa while curled up on a frosty day?

For the friend whose lap cat will inevitably complete that picture, consider this cute hand-crocheted cozy. They could even use it at coffee shops and help save paper sleeves.

Friend not into cats? The same Etsy seller has options for LGTBQ pride, unicorn fans and even aspiring pirates, all for $10 apiece.

3. “Corki” Wine Stopper: $9.99

If your friend is more of a dog person than a cat person, this corgi-shaped wine stopper is the perfect present  for keeping bottles of wine fresh between glasses.

A wine stopper makes the perfect stocking stuffer for a gift recipient who loves wine, and you can find affordable ones to match your friend’s personality.

Oh, and don’t forget …

4. Drinking Buddies Glass Markers: $9.99

— so your friends won’t lose their drinking glasses at parties. These “Drinking Buddies” glass markers feature men in uniforms so your friends remember whose glass is whose.

If your friend isn’t into men in uniform, there are plenty of other glass markers to choose from, including koalas ($9.90) and emojis ($7).

5. Cheese Knives: $7.95 each

If you thought the perfect gift for the cheese-lover in your life didn’t exist, think again. Just one of these cheese knives takes a plate of cheese from an appetizer to a display worthy of any get-together.

Or, you know, a fancy Friday night by themselves. We don’t judge!

6. Kitty Ice Cube Molds: $6.99

Did you know that you can get ice cube molds in a variety of fun shapes, including kittens? If your friend isn’t into cats, you can choose from penguins ($4.80), fish ($4.99) or even pineapples ($7.98).

In addition to using the molds for ice, you can also use them to make novelty chocolate or gummies! Talk about a two-for-one deal.

7. Bonsai Tree Seeds: $4.21

Who knew bonsai tree seeds were so cheap?

If you know someone with a green thumb who’s interested in making a new hobby of an ancient tradition, these bonsai seeds might be perfect — although the planting material and container are not included. You could pick those up to make a gift pack, or club together with some mutual friends to keep the cost-per-person down while giving your friend everything they need to start their bonsai tree hobby.

8. Ceramic Planter: $5.95 plus plant

It doesn’t take a green thumb to throw a plant into a pot.

With this cute planter and the succulents you can buy at Trader Joe’s or Home Depot for $2 to $3 apiece, you’ll spend about $9 per recipient of each adorable final display.

If your gift recipient is still working from home, this is an ideal gift to help them decorate their desk and make it feel more homey. Even your gardening-challenged friends can handle a succulent or two.

Blue bath bombs are on display.

9. Handmade Soaps or Bath Bombs: $3.50+

Receiving handmade soap or bath bombs as a gift is far from insulting when the products look good enough to eat!

There are tons of options on Etsy or at your local craft fair, but higher-traffic brick-and-mortar stores offer quality products at only slightly higher prices. You may even be lucky enough to find cute handmade beauty items at your local grocery store.

10. Stretchy Bookmark: $8

Do you know a bookworm who frequently loses their place? No more with this stretchy, silicone bookmark, which will point at the exact line where they leave off. It’s designed to fit around the entire book, which will hold it in place even if a kid or pet gets hold of it, so your book-loving friend will never have to worry about trying to remember where they left off again.

11. Scarf Hanger: $9.97

If your loved one struggles with storage tactics for their plethora of scarves, here’s a gift that’ll help get them organized. They likely don’t even know they need a scarf hanger.

This hanger displays and organizes scarves (or belts! or ties!) in your closet so they’re easily accessible and wrinkle-free. Plus, it’ll make your closet look much more tidy and organized, and might even encourage you to organize the rest of it!

12. Lip Balm Set: $7.99

Lip balm is a great gift because it’s practical, but you can also get it with fancy scents and packaging to make it feel more special.

This organic lip balm six pack is a steal at $7.99. You can also check out this one, which was on sale for $7.95 at the time of writing. Alternatively, check out the beauty aisle next time you go grocery shopping for even more options. You can even grab a pack of hair ties for a couple of bucks to make a super practical beauty gift.

13. Scented Candles: $9

A beautiful scented candle can brighten any space. You can find them in a variety of scents to fit any mood or preference.

If you’re shopping for 50 or more people, you could even check out listings for wedding favors and get a really nice gift quite cheaply (like a bit over a buck a piece).

14. Moon-shaped Ceramic Dish: $7+

Whether it’s to wrangle stray jewelry or set down a spent tea bag, these little moon-shaped dishes come in a variety of colors and work for anyone on your list. As an added bonus, they won’t cost you much at all.

15. Personal Photos: 12 Cents+ Each

There’s just something about a tangible personal photo that the digital file lacks. You can get prints of your best memories online at vendors like Mpix for cents on the dollar; or you can check out what Target and Walmart have to offer.

You don’t have to buy a frame — you could string up your photos with wooden clothespins for a cheap, but romantic, option. Many vendors also sell canvas prints or other configurations of your photos at good prices.

If you do go shopping for frames, though, you can find cheap ones in a variety of sizes. They make the best gifts for the friend who loves to display photos around the house.

16. Just Crunch Anti-Soggy Cereal Bowl: $7.99

Nothing ruins your Raisin Bran like a slightly too-long milk bath. Get the breakfast lover in your life the Just Crunch Anti-Soggy cereal bowl to keep them crunching all the way through the Saturday morning news — or cartoons.

On a similar note:

17. French Fry Dipping Cone: $5.99

Dishwasher safe and not just for fries, the french fry dipping cone is a convenient and attractive way to serve finger foods and dip. Your lucky recipient can make burger and fry night at home feel like a night out at the local diner!

Less mess on the cheap! What’s not to love?

18. Flexible Pot Clips: $8.99

Flexible pot clips are the perfect gift for your aspiring-chef friend who’s still a little messy in the kitchen. Help them get organized and stop splattering chili on their countertops with this convenient gadget.

You might even want to add an extra one to your cart if your cooking style tends to include a lot of splatters.

Edibles

The way to pretty much anyone’s heart is through the stomach. Even if you’re no gourmand, you can give awesome edible gifts this holiday season! These are sure to be the favorite gifts for the foodies in your life.

19. Beer Marshmallows: $8.50

Um, yum? You can get a dozen Guinness beer marshmallows for less than $10.

If beer isn’t your style, you can choose from Peppermint, Fluffernutter or even Maple Bacon.

While you’re at it, grab a few sets for yourself to roast over the open fire this holiday season!

A box of chocolates.

20. Good Chocolate: $3 to $5

This listing on Amazon for Ghirardelli chocolate with sea salt is $33.48 for 12 extra-dark chocolate bars, which means you’d spend about $3 on each lucky recipient (and maybe even keep a bar for yourself). But you can head to your local grocery store and stalk the candy aisle for lots of options for less than $5.

If you want to get really fancy, some single-origin, small-batch chocolate bars can cost up to $10 or even more — but are well worth the price to the true chocolate snob on your list.

21. Good Tea: $10

Shop around; there are tons of flavors available for good teas. You can find a large selection of flavored tea bags online or even at the store while you’re grabbing your weekly food haul.

Plus, lots of tea bags come in pretty, reusable tins that serve as decorative organization — all for less than $10.

22. Really (Really) Good Honey: $9

Stubbees specializes in raw, creamed, flavored honeys. Pioneered by a 21-year-old beekeeper in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, this honey isn’t just delicious; it also supports a cool small business co-founded by a young entrepreneur.

The cinnamon flavor is a popular one, but there are tons of flavors to choose from, including seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice and vanilla bean.

If you’d rather shop for local honey, check out this website to help you find honey farmers in your area. Local honey is said to be good for seasonal allergies, so this can be a wonderful gift if your friend or family member suffers from allergies.

23.  Gourmet Barbecue Sauces: $7.95+

There’s nothing like a good barbecue sauce to put the finishing touch on a backyard grilling session.

And with options like boozy bacon and roasted peach whiskey, there’s no way your recipient’s smile will be anything but genuine.

24. Cookie or Brownie Mix in a Jar: $3

You don’t have to be super-crafty to DIY a great gift like cookie or brownie mix in jars. Mason jars usually come in packages of 12 for a couple of bucks apiece — or, check out your local thrift store to find ‘em for as low as a quarter.

Then, scour the web for tons of creative recipe ideas. In most cases, the ingredients for a single jar shouldn’t cost you more than a dollar, especially if you’re planning to make quite a few and buy your sugar and flour in bulk.

Write an instruction card for your recipient and decorate the jar with ribbon. You just gave someone a cheap, useful and beautiful gift!

A Christmas party happens at an office.

For Work Friends or Secret Santa

You might not know some folks on your list that well; maybe you only see them around the office. Here are some non-Starbucks-gift-card gift options.

25. Picture Message Desktop Flipbook: $9.87

Looking for the perfect gift for your office worker friend? Look no further than this desktop picture flipbook.

This flipbook is a cute cubicle addition with 29 messages to choose from, from “Out of Office” to “Longest Day Ever!”

26. The Seven-Year Pen: $8.95

Work with someone who takes a ton of notes? This unassuming, eco-friendly seven-year pen can write five and a half feet per day for seven years! That’s a lot of on-hold scribbling for a bit over a buck a year.

27. Mini Tabletop Zen Garden: $9.99

Got a coworker who could use a mini vacation? Help them relax and focus with this thrifty desktop zen garden.

28. Cute Food-Themed Erasers: $6.99

Come on, these food-themed erasers are pretty adorable, right? A quick, cheap, safe bet for any secret Santa recipient — even if you only ever exchange niceties around the Keurig.

Wearables and Accessories

Buying for a fashionista this year? Here are some independently selected options that make the best gifts.

29. Scarves: $10 or less

You can never go wrong with scarves. They’re fashionable and versatile, and come in enough colors to get your loved ones a couple.

Plus, your recipient will have a use for the scarf hanger listed above!

30.Fingerless Gloves: $8.95

Keep your loved one’s hands warm with funky fingerless gloves — they’re stylish and still let you use your touch screen.

31. Heart Earrings: $10

Tiny heart earrings are unassuming and adorable, plus they’d go with anything.

You can also find tiny flowers ($3.99) or even these adorable tiny dinosaur earrings ($8.40)for the pierced person on your shopping list.

32. Wildflower Crown Knitting Pattern: $4

If you’re crafty, you could make a friend this everlasting flower crown for $4 plus the cost of yarn. If you know a crafty person, you could give her the pattern itself as a gift!

33. T-shirts: $6

Since there are so many options for novelty T-shirts, you’re sure to find something for anyone on your list. Even those hard-to-buy-for folks who seem to have everything need T-shirts!

Threadless has lots of funky designs and often has sales that take their tees to less than $10.

A group of people exchange Christmas presents.

Novelty Gifts and Other Useful Stuff

From an on-the-go light to blank pages to carry in your pocket, these best gifts will make anyone on your list grin.

34. Pocket Light: $10

Ever get home late at night and can’t get your key in the door? Or maybe you’re out at a bar and someone loses an earring?

No more scrambling to keep your cell phone screen active with a pocket light that’s the side of a credit card. Flip open your wallet and save the day.

35. Cell Phone Propper-Upper: $9.44

Is your techy friend getting carpal tunnel from holding her phone so much?

The cell phone propper-upper holds up your Android or iPhone so you can scroll through the screen with ease.

Want a more stylish option? Try the Pumped Up smartphone stand for $9.02 or the hilarious “iPlunge” for $8.99.

36. Cable Management System: $7.99

Wires, wires everywhere. How many of us suffer from this problem?

This cable management system is sleek and would help streamline anyone’s workspace.

37. Harry Potter Keychain: $6.98

For the die-hard Harry Potter fan on your list, you can’t go wrong with a Platform 9¾ keychain that costs less than $7.

38. Novelty USB Flash Drive: $8.99

Everyone needs portable storage these days, so why not pick a cute flash drive?

Even better: Fill it with fun personal stuff, like date photos or favorite songs. It’s the 21st century mix tape!

39. Notebooks: $9.80 for six

You can never go wrong with a notebook, even in our deeply digital days. There are still plenty of people out there who like to use notebooks for journaling or writing lists. A notebook might even be the place where your bestie starts the great American novel or your honey scribbles a poem for you.

Moleskines are quality, beautiful and come in lots of different colors, and you get three for less than $10!

40. Gift Cards: $10 or less

A $10 gift card to Starbucks or Panera can actually get you a decent amount of stuff, and you might even be able to buy it for less than $10. Check out our list for discounted gift cards and save even more money.

With a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, you can find the perfect holiday gift without breaking the bank. Sometimes, the best gifts don’t necessarily cost you an arm and a leg. Good luck, and happy shopping.

Jamie Cattanach and Catherine Hiles are contributors at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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