Using a Credit Card to Furnish Your New Apartment

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So, you’ve finally done it. You’ve found the perfect apartment, have the keys in hand, and now it’s time to relax and enjoy the new digs. Of course, the only problem is you don’t have much furniture to sit and relax on. It may make sense to use your credit card to furnish and decorate your new apartment. Here are four reasons why:

1. Access to money when you need it most. You’ve just paid out your first and last month’s rent and possibly a security deposit to land the apartment. It could be several weeks or months before you have more money available to start buying furniture. Credit cards with 0% financing give you an opportunity to make payments without interest over a longer period of time. Look for credit cards with a 12 month promotional offer of 0% interest on new purchases to give yourself a year to pay back your furniture and décor expenses.

2. Purchase protection offered on most cards automatically covers the stuff you buy with your credit card against damage, theft or loss for a specific period of time. Check whether or not your credit card offers purchase protection. If it does, you may be able to avoid paying renter’s insurance, as long as your purchases are protected for free by the purchase protection benefit that is included with the credit cards.

3. Establish your credit history and build a strong score. Many first-time apartment renters are just beginning to obtain credit. Using a credit card responsibly will result in a good credit history that shows you make your payments on time, and help you establish a FICO score that will be used for the rest of your life whenever you are applying for credit.

4. Earn rewards. Credit card rewards programs offer much more than the 1% cash back offers of yesterday. In fact, a number of credit cards allow you to earn gift certificates to leading retailers, merchandise from selected retail stores or catalogs (both can help you get additional furnishings for your place), gas rebates, and higher amounts of cash back when shopping for items within certain categories. For example, a credit card with a home improvement rewards program might earn you 3 to 5% cash back on all purchases made in a home improvement store. This helps you save money on the things you have to buy, anyway.

When using a credit card to furnish your new apartment, make sure you choose a card that allows you to repay the balance over several months without interest or fees; and one that offers a rewards program you’ll actually use. Be responsible with your credit card payments to keep your 0% interest rate, as one late payment will often cause the card’s interest rate to skyrocket. It may be wise to set up an automatic payment option for the credit card through an automatic bank draft on a set date each month. That way, your payment is never late and you benefit the most from furnishing your apartment with your credit card.

Important Note: We know what it’s like to feel the joy of slapping the credit card down to get what you want, right now. We’ve also felt the pain of receiving the monthly statement and realizing with a sinking heart that we way overspent. Credit card debt is serious and you should always be sure that you spend within your means. Our intention with this post is to provide people with advice on how to use credit cards wisely (for example, seek out a 0% interest card and pay it off before the 0% expires!). Though credit cards can be dangerous if you simply go hog wild with your spending (DON’T), they can also be very helpful when you hit a month where you have extraordinary pulls on your cash (like putting down a first and last month’s rent).

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Debbie Dragon is a writer for CreditorWeb.com, where she writes about credit card offers, rewards programs and personal finance.

19 Responses to “Using a Credit Card to Furnish Your New Apartment”

  1. May 08, 2008 at 1:38 pm, Guest said:

    ——. Please take this down. Do you know how many people have debt problems they kill themselves over because of these damnable plastic rectangles?

    Reply

  2. May 09, 2008 at 9:45 pm, Guest said:

    Get a better deal…

    Without a credit card!

    There are plenty of financially responsible ways to furnish an apartment. Going into debt is definitely NOT required.

    I would highly recommend visiting a nearby thrift shop, Goodwill, or even stopping by garage sales advertised in your local paper to purchase furniture, clothes, and kitchen-ware you might need. Most of the items you’ll find at these places will be in good repair and can be purchased for pennies on the dollar compared to their original “new” value.

    Antique shops, flea markets, garage sales, and estate sales can also offer great deals, especially since it is expected that you can negotiate a better price.

    Even better, if you pay for it with cash, (and shell out a lot *less* of it) you won’t have that “credit card balance” hanging over your head as a monthly payment.

    Reply

  3. May 15, 2008 at 11:13 am, Guest said:

    Credit Card are not the answer first most people who are getting their first apartments are young and don’t know the problems that can happen you should give a different answer

    Reply

  4. May 18, 2008 at 3:30 am, Guest said:

    Add one more vote to remove this article. If you’re not able to afford furniture after rent, you really need to reconsider your financial situation and expectations. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will your new home be fully furnished in a month.

    Credit cards aren’t piggy banks — they’re expensive loans that mean you’ll be paying even more for your furniture than you should be if you’re not paying it off in full that month. Save yourself 8%-29% on your next furniture purchase — pay it in full at time of purchase.

    Reply

  5. May 19, 2008 at 1:46 pm, Guest said:

    What terrible advice.

    Reply

  6. May 19, 2008 at 4:37 pm, Guest said:

    If you cannot afford the furniture, wait for the apartment until you can. Credit cards are not the way to go.

    Reply

  7. May 30, 2008 at 10:43 am, Guest said:

    I’d recommend Craig’s list over credit cards.

    Reply

  8. May 30, 2008 at 4:08 pm, Guest said:

    If you want to build your credit, then use your credit to get something you may really need like getting an auto loan. Even repaying school loans on time will help to build credit.
    Buying an apartment full of furniture is WRONG! that is a lot of money to have to repay! at least $3000 if you go to an inexpensive store. then you have to pay monthly bills that you didn’t have before the apartment (especially if you were living with parents and this is your first place), you have rent, possible auto loan payment, and you want to add $300-500 a month in credit card payments just for furniture! No NO! Go to salvation army or good will like the above writer stated, or simply get simple furniture from walmart like a chair or two, and a blow up bed, until you can afford to take your time buying the furniture DEBT FREE!
    When purchasing with credit cards we tend to forget out budget and think ‘it will eventually be paid off’ whereas if you pay out of pocket in your own time you know to keep your budget a priority because you ‘gotta eat’.

    Reply

  9. June 01, 2008 at 1:24 pm, Guest said:

    Do not use a credit ard. How dumb is this!! This is why so many families are having problems today. Getting a home that you will be happy with takes time. Also plus with taking your time is you can make your apt more you, while finding it on sale.

    This artical really needs to be removed.

    Reply

  10. June 05, 2008 at 3:41 pm, Guest said:

    There are plenty of cheap and affordable ways to furnish your apartment besides getting a credit card. The last thing you need especially if you aren’t going to have money to buy furniture for a few months is to rack up a lot of bills that you cant pay off right away which will hurt your credit score and possibly inhibit you from renting in the future. Completely stupid article. First try craigslist, the newspaper, flea markets, or an even better idea, save up enough money for everything including furniture before making a move.

    Reply

  11. June 06, 2008 at 10:41 pm, Guest said:

    Please don’t use a credit card. Save your money and buy one special piece of furniture at a time. You can also get handed down furniture from family or go on craigslist or freecycle.com.

    Reply

  12. June 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm, Guest said:

    Do NOT use a credit card to furnish your apartment. Be sensible and smart, borrow, barter and use the “free” section of Craigslist. I was shocked to see this advice on this site. 🙁

    Reply

  13. June 11, 2008 at 4:35 pm, Guest said:

    Save up the money for furniture. Do not use a credit card to purchase a depreciating asset.

    Reply

  14. July 19, 2008 at 4:50 pm, Guest said:

    I don’t think it’s bad advice, but you have to be SMART about it.
    I got as much cheap furniture as I could as soon as I knew I’d be moving from my furnished place to an unfurnished apartment, and tucked it away in weird places in my old apartment until moving day.
    I found my couch at Big Lots, got my bed from Craigslist, and got furniture that you have to put together yourself rather than visiting the expensive furniture stores.
    My recommendation: if you use a credit card to get furniture, just get something to sleep on (which can double as a sitting place) and be happy with that until your budget recuperates!!!

    Reply

  15. September 02, 2008 at 6:07 am, Guest said:

    I agree that this may not be the best advice, especially for a young person just starting out. Moving out on your own is stressful enough and large credit debit can add to the stress. I am a firm believer in that if you cant afford it, don’t buy it.

    In saying that lol I have a credit card myself, to build up a good credit rating, however i have a student card with a low limit, and i always ensure i have the money in a separate saving account in case for some reason i cant make the repayments.

    I think it could be a good idea to try adding in a furnisher allowance to the budget instead (just till you get decked out) and it doesn’t have to be a whole lot.

    Why not try second hand furnisher shops, ikea, or the newspaper. I also find a lot of struggling students often advertise cheap furnisher around campus when they need cash or why not keep an eye out next bulk refuse collection?

    Remember it takes time to get started and there is no rush!

    Reply

  16. December 10, 2008 at 12:54 am, Guest said:

    Craisglist FTW!

    I taught myself how to stain wood and refinished a beautiful discarded Danish modern office desk. For the price of some supplies and a few hours, I got a desk easily worth over a thousand dollars. Things in my house I got for free:

    Danish modern desk
    2 wall-sized mirrors, 3′ round mirror, door mirror
    leather footstool (Crate and Barrel)
    black leather sofa, loveseat
    modern ash bookcase
    steel kitchen storage cabinet w. cutting board surface
    IKEA floor lamp
    IKEA desk lamp
    Crate and Barrel wood entertainment stand with drawers
    glass-front Sony media cabinet
    * 25 inch Sony TV
    * 20 inch Sony TV
    robin’s egg blue floor rug
    white ceramic Pottery Barn dish set
    assorted pots and pans
    steel dish drainer

    *(neighbors upgraded to flat screens, LOL)

    All of this wasn’t “cheap”, but entirely without cost to me. Think outside the box and you won’t be sorry!

    Reply

  17. December 10, 2008 at 12:31 pm, Guest said:

    I’ll be devil’s advocate: I just used a credit card to decorate my apartment, and it was a great decision.

    Had I not built up the credit beforehand by using my card, I would have had to pay a deposit of over $500 more. I got things like nice designer bath accessories, kitchen supplies, and slipcovers for hand-me-down sofas. I bought a lot new.

    Now I’m the queen of second hand, but seriously, it wears out quick. You don’t have a guarantee/return policy, or purchase protection. I’ve been penny wise and pound foolish for my last two apartments and I’m not making that mistake again.

    That said, don’t be dumb about financing. I just spent $400 on living room decorations/kitchen supplies/whole new dining room set/entirely new bathroom. The whole thing matches, my stuff is clean and new, and I shopped sales. And since I’m a college student, it makes sense to have my cash free for school.

    Reply

  18. January 08, 2009 at 10:15 am, Guest said:

    You have to be crazy to charge to furnish a rental– If you own the house — buy the good stuff — if its a rental you will have to move again– rents go UP!! Craigslist is great so is Kiji.com — Check out hopsital thirft shops etc– Barter & Trade with freinds/family/ co workers– If you charge even on a 0% card you are still biting yourself in the A**– Revloving debt hurts your credit score the MOST — it can make it hard to rent a better apartment, buy a car, or even a home. Plus visa & mastercard don’t care if you loose your job and can’t pay — Buy a house first then buy the good stuff — I am buying myself– my rental is $840/mo my loan payment will be $850/mo fixed NO More Rent Increases YIPEEE Find out how [email protected]

    Reply

  19. April 27, 2009 at 12:14 pm, Jenna said:

    There is one point that wasn’t included, and may not have occurred to some of you. Absolutely, you should only buy furniture you can afford and cash in hand is better than credit. However, once you get beyond second hand furniture or “disposable” furniture from Ikea, Target and the like, a lot of furniture has to be ordered and a deposit has to be made. Furniture store reviews on the net are full of stories of errors made in orders and stores unexpectedly going bankrupt. They’re also full of comments like, “I paid cash, so there’s nothing I could do,” and “thank goodness I used a credit card.” Part of the purchase protection provided by credit companies is that they can make sure you get your money back in those situations. So the best solution is to save the money needed for the purchase, use your card to buy the furniture, then pay it off at the first billing cycle. That way, you get the purchase protection and you’re not racking up debt.

    Reply

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