Most of the time, furniture finance isn’t worth it. The pitfalls and downsides easily outweigh the allure of having a new couch or dining set. Not to mention you could go into debt or pay up to triple the price of the original items.
It might be worth it if you can get a 0% APR interest deal. But if you fail to repay your balance in full before the rate expires, you could get hit with tremendous interest charges. And even if you can repay on time, furniture depreciates the second you take it home.
So unless you have a need for brand-new furniture, you can save much more getting your furniture other places.
Here are a few options to consider.
What to do instead of furniture financing
New furniture can be great, but with folks moving frequently and trying to catch up on bills, it’s usually not the best way to spend your money. Still, you don’t have to settle for flimsy furniture in lieu of buying expensive new items direct from a furniture store.
1. Buy used furniture from individual sellers
There are so many places to buy nice used items these days. Apps like LetGo and OfferUp put you directly in contact with the individual looking to sell their stuff.
You can also try Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and the tried-and-true Craigslist.
But you might not want to buy everything used. A desk, table, or nightstand should be fine because they’re made of wood, metal, or other solid materials. But things like beds, couches, and sofas are covered in fabric – and that can carry odors, allergens, and even mites and bedbugs.
So if you want to buy a used couch, for example, you might want to take a steam cleaner or disinfectant with you to be on the safe side. And you can always ask if there were smokers or pets in the home and use your best judgment regarding the condition of the item. If the rest of the place looks to be in good order, there’s a good chance the item will be OK, too.
Always remember to conduct a full visual inspection – and don’t forget to make sure it smells OK, too.
2. Buy used furniture from shops or big sales
There are always local thrift stores selling unique pieces. When you buy from a shop, you get the chance to ask if they have any sterilization or disinfectant process. It’s a good idea, because many do!
Or you can hit up an estate or garage sale where you can buy items at steep discounts because the sellers are trying to get rid of everything. That’s why these types of sales are so popular.
Finally, you can check out places that sell overstock like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Tuesday Morning. These items are still new, so you can get solid items at a discount. And don’t forget to stay alert for when a traditional furniture store has a blowout sale. If you still want to buy new, at least save some cash – and again, it’s rarely a good idea to finance furniture.
3. Pay nothing by asking around
Free is the best price tag, don’t you think? Lots of people have like-new furniture hanging around. Ask your friends and family if there’s an item they’re looking to part with. If you’re lucky, you can furnish a big part of your place for free (or really cheap!).
There’s also a free section on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and similar apps with people giving items away – all you have to do is show up and haul them away. This is usually because they have to move unexpectedly, or experienced a life change, like a new baby or family member needing a place to live. In these cases, they don’t have the time to list and sell their things. Rather, they want them gone as soon as possible.
Again, make sure to fully inspect anything before you bring it home. You don’t want to cause more problems with less than expected quality used furniture. But if you can verify it is in good condition, this is an excellent way to save money while snagging yourself free furniture.
A few more tips before you bring any furniture home
Most of the furniture out there will be fine. But you should still take a few basic precautions.
If an item for sale seems too good to be true, or if the seller won’t answer your questions, take a pass. There are still scammers out there, and you don’t want to lose money while trying to save money.
When you inspect the furniture, be on the lookout for missing parts, rips, stains, or any other damage. Remember, you’re not obligated and free to walk away.
Finally, if the item is self-assembled, it might not have been put together well, and weakened over time – especially if it is made of less durable materials like particle board and plastic. It’s best if the items are made of wood or metal and assembled by the manufacturer.
That said, if the price is right and it’s a good deal (and you don’t pick up any red flags along the way), you could save a lot of money on things you need for your home.
Furniture financing bottom line
Furniture financing is hardly ever worth it unless you can get 0% financing and plan to pay it off before the promotional rate expires. Instead, consider buying lightly used furniture from shops, sales, and individuals. And even better if you can ask around and get free pieces from your friends and family.
Remember to take basic precautions and only do what you’re comfortable with. There are lots of genuinely good deals out there and reputable places to buy new, used, and vintage furniture. And you’re better off paying cash (or nothing!) as opposed to financing it in most situations.