Shopping for Furniture with a Bad Credit Score? Here’s What You Need to Know
Store financing can be a good option, but so is scouring college neighborhoods around graduation and buying furniture that you assemble yourself.
When you’re trying to rebuild your credit score, there are plenty of expenses you can put on hold. It’s not that difficult to stop eating out, cancel subscription services, and stop buying groceries from an expensive health food store, for instance.
But some things are a little more difficult to hold off on—like furnishing a new apartment or house. You can’t just eat off cardboard boxes and sit on old crates until your credit improves. You need to find a way to buy some furniture.
Thankfully, shopping for furniture with bad credit is far from impossible. Here are some of the best ways to make it work.
Ask the Furniture Store.
Furniture stores often provide financing to their customers who don’t have a credit card to use for their new bedroom set. Because customers who apply for furniture store financing tend to have bad credit, their standards are lower than other lenders.
Before you pick out a mahogany dresser, ask the sales rep about their financing plans. They may have a monthly payment option or a store credit card you can apply for. Look at the terms carefully to see what the APR is, what fees they charge, and if you can repay the loan ahead of schedule.
Make sure to do the math carefully before you buy. Financing is always the most expensive option and should be a last resort, so know what you’re getting into before taking this route. Even smaller expenses like furniture can lead you down a spiral of debt that harms your credit score even further.
Watch Out for 0% Rates.
Some furniture stores will have signs advertising 0% rates for a certain number of months, which means you’ll pay no interest if you repay the loan before that time.
However, these deals can be tricky to navigate and easy to lose. If you pay your bill late, the 0% offer may be withdrawn and any interest you saved would then be added to your balance. You can avoid this by simply paying your bill on time every month and signing up for their autopay service if possible.
Read the contract carefully to make sure they won’t charge an early repayment fee if you pay off the balance ahead of time.
Look for Other Options.
Furniture stores that offer financing know their customers have bad credit scores, so they often mark up the prices to take advantage of impulsive spenders. (It’s not too different from how sketchy lenders offering bad credit loans and no credit check loans exploit people in desperate financial circumstances.) Even if you don’t pay any interest fees on your furniture purchase, you could still be paying a premium because you have bad credit.
Do your research before setting foot inside a furniture store. Salesmen are notoriously talented at leading you down a dangerous path while making it seem like a shrewd financial decision. By the time you’ve realized your mistake, the paperwork is filed and the deal is struck.
But instead of shopping at a furniture store, why not look at some more creative options? You can find decent furniture at resale shops such as Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Goodwill and Salvation Army. Local consignment stores can also be a good spot to snag a bookcase or end table. Estate sales are yet another excellent source of high-quality furniture, decor, and accessories.
Don’t forget to look at Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace where people often sell and give away perfectly good furniture at a huge discount. The Freecycle Network is worth browsing—it’s a geographically-based network where people can post free items for others to take. You’d be surprised how many people get rid of high-end pieces just because they’re redecorating or moving far away.
Mainstays like Ikea are still popular if you don’t mind assembling furniture yourself. You could buy the basics like a bed frame, coffee table, and chair for a few hundred bucks in exchange for a couple hours of hands-on work. Ikea also delivers furniture for a small fee in case your car isn’t big enough to load up your new gear.
Ask Your Friends.
No matter what kind of furniture you’re looking for, use the power of social media to help. You never know who in your circle has a dining room set they’re looking to unload. People will often give you their stuff for free if you can transport it yourself.
Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to accept help. Most of us start out with hand-me-down furniture and don’t mind helping someone in a similar situation. If your pride gets in the way, just make sure to pay it forward when you upgrade to nicer stuff.
Ever find the perfect dining room table at your local Salvation Army, but you hate the color so you don’t buy it? Cosmetic details like color or finish are easy to change and don’t require more than a standard set of tools or brushes. You can find tutorials on YouTube on how to remove paint and apply a different finish.
New knobs on a dresser or nightstand can also make a big difference and transform a drab piece of furniture into a centerpiece. Applying decals and sticky wallpaper can completely change a boring bookshelf into a charming and unique item.
If you see a used piece of furniture with good structure and no weird smells, consider the possibilities. Could a coat of teal paint make it fit your aesthetic? Would funky Turkish knobs completely change how that entertainment center works in your living room? Don’t say no to furniture that doesn’t look perfect until you’ve considered its potential.
Scour College Curbs.
If you live near a college campus, you should check out the dorms and apartments close to graduation time. Many students put their furniture on the curb where it’s up for grabs. Universities with lots of international students are famous for having TVs and other pricey electronics available for free if you’re in the right place at the right time.
Borrow a truck or bring a friend with a spacious SUV and drive around a few neighborhoods. You never know what you might find for free.
To learn more about living with bad credit, check out these related posts and articles from OppLoans:
- Want to Avoid No Credit Check Loans? Build an Emergency Fund
- How Bad Credit Can Affect Your Utilities
- How to Get an Apartment With Bad Credit
The information contained herein is provided for free and is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. We are not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law and we do not provide "credit repair" services or advice or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit. Articles provided in connection with this blog are general in nature, provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for individualized professional advice. We make no representation that we will improve or attempt to improve your credit record, history, or rating through the use of the resources provided through the OppLoans blog.