How to Buy Furniture With Bad Credit

Three Parts:Preparing to BuyVisiting the StoreMaking a Purchase

Buying furniture is a costly undertaking. If you have bad credit, financing your purchase can be difficult. Many stores will not offer financing for customers with a bad credit score due to concerns the customer will be unable to pay. Knowing how to purchase furniture with bad credit can help you furnish your home without going broke.

Part 1
Preparing to Buy

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    Know your price range. Quality furniture can be quite expensive. If you only need one or two pieces of furniture, it won't feel as costly to choose a slightly higher-quality item. But if you're furnishing a whole house or apartment, it can feel overwhelming to think about the potential costs. Before you even look at any furniture, you'll want to set a realistic budget for yourself. Know what you're able to spend, and ensure that you have enough money to complete the purchase you'd like to make.[1]
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    Compare models. Furniture shopping may seem overwhelming, but the first thing you'll need to decide is whether you want to buy something that will not cost a lot (and may not last long), or something that costs more money, but will hold up longer over time.[2] Price is not always necessarily an indication of quality, but generally speaking, brand new furniture that is very low-cost is less likely to hold up over time.[3]
    • If the furniture has exposed wood, look for solid wood, or at least sturdy plywood. If the piece is made of plywood, make sure it has at least nine layers to ensure it will hold up over time.[4]
    • Particleboard, pressed wood, and fiberboard are less sturdy and durable.[5]
    • For furniture with removable cushions, try unzipping the cushion covers to check the insides. The foam should be wrapped in some protective and cushioning material, such as dacron, cotton, or down.[6]
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    Shop around. Once you've chosen a model and you've set a reasonable price range (which you can afford), it's time to shop around. You can look at prices online or visit a number of stores, and keep track of how much each store charges.[7]
    • Discounts can be deceiving. Get a sense of the real price for a given piece of furniture, and be aware of how much each store is marking up from the factory price of that furniture.[8]

Part 2
Visiting the Store

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    Choose the best store. Once you've researched the various furniture models and compared prices across multiple stores, you should have a sense of which retailer offers the best deal. Smaller local stores are often more capable of negotiating prices than a bigger chain store might be because the owner is typically working on the sales floor.[9]
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    Check the back of the store. Many furniture stores tuck sale and clearance items in the back of the store. They're set up in such a way that most shoppers will find something they like before they ever see the sale items. If you know that the furniture you're looking for is on sale, skip the rest of the sales floor and look for the discount section.[10]
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    Consider buying second hand. Used furniture is typically available at a fraction of what that furniture cost when it was new. It's disadvantageous for people trying to sell used furniture, but incredibly advantageous for buyers. Check second-hand stores, or search online sales websites like Craigslist to find high quality, used furniture near you.[11]
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    Recognize hidden costs. Some retailers charge exorbitant fees for assembly or delivery. If you live in a multi-story building and don't have an elevator, you may have to pay even more to get your furniture delivered. You should plan on negotiating these fees before you agree to purchase the furniture, as fees like these can sometimes increase your final cost by hundreds of dollars.[12]

Part 3
Making a Purchase

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    Bring cash, if possible. If you have sufficient funds and it's feasible for you to do, bring cash in-hand to the store with you. This is advantageous for a number of reasons. For one, you know you'll be able to stay within your budget. If you're paying with a credit/debit card or check, it's easy to justify spending a little more on an item than if you're sticking to what you physically brought in your wallet. But another big advantage of cash transactions is that you're free to bargain on the price. Retailers are less likely to be willing to negotiate with someone who's going to pay with a credit card or financing option, because they already know you're flexible on what you spend.[13]
    • Don't expect a salesperson to take your lower offer right away. Bargaining can take a long time, and may involve a lot of back-and-forth. That's why it's important to know how much that piece of furniture is marked up, and where you could "threaten" to get it for a better price.[14]
    • If the store is not willing to negotiate, write down the barcode number or the brand and model name. You may be able to bargain for it at another store, or find it online for much cheaper.[15]
    • If you aren't comfortable carrying cash, opt for a check or debit card. This way you know you won't be spending money that you don't have.
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    Use a credit card. If you have bad credit, you may not have a credit card. Even if you do, it's not the best option, but it's usually better than the financing offers that many retailers offer. If you do use a credit card, be sure to pay off the bill on time to avoid interest charges.[16]
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    Avoid financing plans. Financing plans should be considered a sort of loan of desperation.[17] These offers may be tempting, and if you believe you can pay off the balance before the interest rates kick in it may be worth it. However, financing plans are usually not very advantageous to the buyer, and often times the retailer anticipates the possibility that the buyer has no other options.[18]
    • Some stores offer zero percent financing, but the fine print of that offer is that you must enroll in a store credit card to get that rate. When you apply for a credit card, the store issuing that card will almost always conduct a credit inquiry. Even inquiring about your credit through a card issuer or retailer can lower your credit score, and if you already have bad credit that could be very damaging to your credit.[19]


  • Visit a store that specializes in used furniture. The pieces in these stores are usually in like-new condition and at least half the price of furniture you would get at a department store or furniture warehouse.
  • Be flexible. If you're willing to compare prices or shop at smaller stores, the better your chances of finding affordable furniture.


  • Many lenders will require you to sign a wage assignment if they offer you a loan. This waiver gives the lending company the right to garnish your wages if you stop paying your bills.
  • Furniture stores do not have to sell to you if you don't have the money outright and they are not obligated to help you with financing.

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Categories: Credit and Debt | Buying Wisely