smart spending

Big-ticket items at low-interest financing

Financing splurges: Buy now, pay later
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A home and a new car aren't the only things you can buy with loans. There's financing now for big-ticket items, such as vacations, engagement rings, even fertility treatments. Sure, it's always better to pay cash, but buying a trip to Disney or a diamond ring on credit doesn't necessarily mean stiff finance charges. Many retailers and even some lenders offer zero percent financing for six months to a year for purchases you might not expect.

"It's a much more expensive way to go if you don't pay it off right away," says Kathleen Day, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending in Washington, D.C. But she says, "If you're careful, it can work in your favor."

The lesson here? Make sure you can afford to pay off what you're buying now. Joan Goldwasser, a senior reporter at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, says to consider how much the interest rate is adding to the cost of the item before taking out a loan.

"You don't want to start borrowing money for relatively frivolous things," says Goldwasser. "You're better off taking a less-expensive vacation."

Here are some of the unusual items that you can purchase with financing.




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