How Often Can You Buy I Bonds?

As often as you’d like! Until you reach the limits, of course.

Written by Jess Ullrich / September 26, 2022

Quick Bites

  • Series I savings bonds, or I bonds, are linked to inflation, helping to protect against rising costs.
  • You can buy I bonds as often as you’d like!
  • However, you can’t buy more or be gifted more than a total of $15,000 in I bonds per year. Bummer.

If you’re thinking about buying I bonds, you’re not alone. Currently paying a historically high rate of 9.62%, these relatively low-risk investments are capturing the public’s attention. There are limits, however, as to how much you can purchase each year. Let’s delve deeper into how often you can buy I bonds and other rules to be aware of.

Inside this article

  1. How often can I buy I bonds?
  2. How much can I buy?
  3. How about gifting I bonds?
  4. Where can I buy I bonds?
  5. When should I buy I bonds?
  6. How to check returns and sell

What’s an I bond and how often can I buy them?

First off, the details of I bonds:

An I bond is an investment issued by the U.S. government. It pays an interest that includes a fixed rate, at 0% now, and an inflation-linked rate, currently at 9.62%. That rate changes every two months based upon inflation as measured by a consumer price index.[1]

It’s a Great Time to Buy I Bonds

It’s a Great Time to Buy I Bonds

If you purchase an I bond anytime from May to Oct. 31, you’ll get an annualized 9.62% return for the first six months—that’s pretty impressive.

Find out more

OK, now that we’ve defined I bonds—they sound pretty good right now—how often can you buy them?

The good news is that you can buy I bonds as often as you’d like! The bad news is that you can’t surpass the limits, and they are pretty tight:

  • You can buy up to $10,000 in bonds online.

  • You can buy up to $5,000 in additional bonds on paper using your federal income tax return.

How much can I buy?

Individual purchase limits for I bonds are $15,000 per calendar year—$10,000 worth of electronic I bonds and $5,000 worth of paper I bonds. Paper I bonds can only be purchased using your federal tax refund and cannot be purchased digitally.

So if you chose to buy $5,000 worth of I paper bonds with your tax refund in April 2022, you can still buy up to $10,000 worth of electronic I bonds throughout the calendar year.[1]

Can I give and get I bonds as a gift?

You can both give and get I bonds as a gift. Be aware that the $15,000 limit applies to both I bonds you receive as gifts and purchase on your own.

For instance, if someone gifts you $10,000 worth of electronic bonds in the calendar year, and you want to buy more for yourself, your only option would be to buy $5,000 worth of paper bonds with your federal income tax refund. You’d have to wait until the following calendar year to buy more electronic bonds.

Can I Buy I Bonds as a Gift for Someone Else?

Can I Buy I Bonds as a Gift for Someone Else?

Yes! You can buy I bonds as a gift for a loved one. We’ll walk you through the process.

Find out more

Where can I buy I bonds?

Those interested in buying I bonds have two options for doing so:

  • You can purchase I bonds electronically (up to $10,000) through the U.S. Treasury website. Your electronic bonds will be accessible online through your TreasuryDirect account.

  • You can purchase paper I bonds (up to $5,000) with your federal tax return. To do so, you’ll need to file IRS form 8888 with your taxes, and the IRS will send your paper bonds in the mail a few weeks later.[2]

When should I buy I bonds?

You can buy I bonds any time. I bonds are currently offering impressive interest rates, so now could be an excellent time to buy. From May 1 to Oct. 31, I bonds are paying 9.62%. That will change depending on inflation.

“I bonds offer an opportunity to lock down a certain attractive yield in an uncertain market,” says Riley Adams, a certified public accountant and creator of Young and the Invested, which provides financial literacy targeted at younger generations. “In the market tumult we’re seeing, anything with a guaranteed positive return can be a valuable asset to hold.”

The 9.62% rate remains in effect for six months for bonds issued during the May to October time period. So if you buy I bonds on Aug. 1, 2022, for example, the 9.62% rate would apply until Feb. 1, 2023.[3] With the annual inflation rate increasing 8.3% from April 2021 to April 2022, I bonds could help keep some of your cash safe from inflation.[4]

Are I Bonds a Safe Investment?

Are I Bonds a Safe Investment?

I bonds are safe in the sense that they’re backed by the U.S. government. But there’s more to know about this inflation-protected investment.

Find out more

How can I check returns and sell?

Checking returns on your I bonds is pretty simple. If you bought your bonds electronically, you can log in to your TreasuryDirect account to see how much interest you’ve earned. Those who purchased paper bonds can calculate returns using the TreasuryDirect Bond Calculator.

You can sell back your I bonds through the federal government’s TreasuryDirect site or by snail mail via its Treasury Retail Securities Services.

For investors interested in hedging against inflation, I bonds can be an option worth considering. They do have limits on how much you can buy, but the current composite rate of 9.62% is desirable during a period of high inflation.

Article Sources
  1. “Buying Series I Savings Bonds,” U.S. Treasury, https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/indepth/ibonds/res_ibonds_ibuy.htm.
  2. “Using Your Income Tax Refund to Buy Paper Savings Bonds,” U.S. Treasury, https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/faq/faq_irstaxfeature.htm.
  3. “Series I Savings Bonds Rates & Terms,” U.S. Treasury, https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/indepth/ibonds/res_ibonds_iratesandterms.htm.
  4. “Consumer Price Summary,” U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm.

About the Author

Jess Ullrich

Jess Ullrich

Jess Ullrich is a personal finance writer who's been creating online content since 2009.

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