I’ll be honest: Furniture financing can sound like a horrible, unnecessary idea when you’re struggling with other, more urgent financial issues. However, I’ve done it twice now, and I don’t regret it. Here’s why:
Moving to a New Apartment: Few Options and Bad Credit
The first piece of furniture that I financed was a couch when I was 19 years old. I'd made a few credit “mistakes” and had very little money while in college, but I needed to furnish my apartment. I wasn’t looking for designer-built couches or beveled-glass tabletops. All I wanted was something simple so that I could live comfortably.
I already had many useful items that I’d found at a low price through a community program. Now all I needed was a decent couch. Since I had no money and bad credit, I couldn’t even qualify for a loan or an unsecured credit card.
A furniture store that I visited had a special financing program to help people build their credit. I was approved, and I paid my couch off in six months.
I didn’t like how the price of the furniture was marked up, but I understood that was one of the downsides of furniture financing. After everything was said and done, it seemed like I ended up paying that extra money each month in exchange for boosting my credit score and establishing some credit history.
After I’d paid off that furniture, I finally had some credit history so I could qualify for a regular, unsecured credit card and start using it wisely.
A Zero-Percent-Interest Furniture Financing Offer
When my husband and I first moved in together (before we married), I started having back problems. I was considering getting a special bed that would allow me to sleep better when I saw a promotion for Tempur-Pedic mattresses with a zero-percent APR for five years.
We loved everything about the bed once we saw it — especially the fact that it came with a 10-year, full-replacement warranty. I couldn’t afford a $3,500 bed at the time, but I really needed something better due to my back problem. We decided to finance it in his name so that he could build his credit, and we split the monthly payment.
We still have the bed today, and I don’t regret financing it one bit.
My husband had hardly any credit at the time, so doing this really helped him improve his score. Plus, we’re not spending any extra money in interest because we’ll have the bed paid off before interest even kicks in. We also plan to use the bed for many more years to come, so it's worth our money.
Should You Finance Furniture? Be Skeptical!
While furniture financing has worked out fine for me in the past, I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. There are some serious drawbacks.
For starters, the price of the furniture is often marked up when you finance it. If you’re paying a ton of interest on that couch or bed, you’ll be losing out on money while the value of your furniture decreases (similar to financing a car).
Plus, when you finance furniture, you’ll eventually have to close the account when you pay it off, which won’t really help your credit long-term. If you get into the habit of financing couches, kitchen tables, and entertainment centers all the time, it can really hurt your finances.
Furniture financing should be a last resort. If you don’t have any credit or savings — and don’t see any solid used furniture options — but you still need furniture for your home, taking out a loan and paying it back on time can help build your credit. Just make sure the retailer agrees to send your payment history to all three major credit bureaus each month. That's a must, or else your loan and payments won’t really make a difference when it comes to improving your credit.