So you just laid out a bunch of cash for your down payment and closing costs, and don't forget about the moving company. Or, maybe you're just getting ready to buy or move into your first home, and you're not sure how you're going to furnish and fill up your great new space after draining your savings account. The same-old hand-me-downs you've been putting up with just aren't going to cut it in your new place, right?
You don't have to drag your beat-up college futon with you, nor do you have to settle for IKEA everything with a 20-year-old, 300-pound TV thrown in. By making smart use of available zero-interest credit programs, you can get all kinds of cool stuff for your home and pay it off monthly. Choose right, and it may only take a homemade lunch here and there instead of going out with coworkers every day to afford that great couch, flat-screen TV, and new fridge. Here's where to go and what to check out.
Home Depot's Consumer Credit Card can have an interest rate as high as 26.99%, but get in on their special promotion and you can pay your principal balance over 24 months with no interest. That means you can use the money to buy new floors, redo your bathroom, or put in new kitchen countertops, and, as long as you make your minimum payment on time each month and pay the balance in full by the end of the promotional period, you're good to go. Keep in mind that the more you spend, the higher your payment will be. So if you spend a couple grand on new doors and windows, your monthly payment may be closer to dinner than lunch.
It's important to note that the zero interest on this and any of these retailers' programs, is really deferred interest. You'll definitely want to keep in mind what happens if you get behind or fail to pay off the balance in time.
"When a card offers deferred interest, it's not waiving the interest. Rather, it's setting it aside until later," said Nerdwallet. "If you pay off your purchase by the end of the deferred-interest period, you're fine. But if you carry a balance past the end of the period, you'll be charged interest on your entire purchase, going back to the day you made it."
Lowe's offers a similar program to Home Depot, but the promotional period tends to be shorter. If you prefer this store over Home Depot or if they have the tile you can't find anywhere else, you'll have to be OK with a promotional period of 12 months instead of 24 months.
Best Buy typically offers a few different options for interest-free financing, including six- or 12-months financing on purchases of $199 and $399, respectively, throughout the store, 18 months for appliance purchases over $599, and 24 months on home theater purchases of at least $799 and up. New dishwasher or 60-inch TV. Hmmmm...
Like other interest-free programs, you have to make your minimum payments on time every month. Miss one dollar or one day, and you're looking at a hefty interest dump.
Zero-interest programs are helpful for those who are looking to get a few key pieces or furnish entire rooms (or a whole home!) and don't have several thousand dollars to pay out at once.
Furniture and more
At Sears, you can buy a dining room set, a lawnmower, a microwave, and a treadmill with no interest. The retailer offers zero interest for 12 months on various items, including appliances, home fitness, lawn and garden, furniture, mattresses, and outdoor living. Spend requirements vary depending on the item ($499+ for furniture, $599+ for mattresses), so make sure you're hitting the minimum to qualify for the zero-interest promotion.
Step up your furniture game at Macy's, and get a new mattress at the same time! Furniture and mattress purchases at Macy's qualify for 12 or 24 months of interest-free financing with a minimum purchase of $999 or $1,999.
Speaking of mattresses, this can be an expensive purchase, and, if you're currently sleeping on something lumpy, bumpy, and backache-inducing, you're not alone. Being able to spread out payments over time without paying interest makes it infinitely less painful. Check out Mattress Firm's no-interest-for-12-months deal and Sleep Experts, which has a 48-month, interest-free program. Want to go super upscale with your mattress? You can get zero percent interest for 60 months on a minimum Purchase of $4,499 at Sleep Train. (They also have no-interest plans for 6, 12-, 24-, and 36 months with smaller purchase amounts.)