Same as Cash, But Good as Cash?

*Dear Dave,* Is there anything wrong with buying large ticket items using 12 months same as cash financing? It seems like an easy way to buy expensive items. You use their money, and if you pay it off early or on time you'll incur no fees or interest. Bud *Dear Bud,* Bad idea! To start with, 12 months is not the same as cash. If I walk into a store with cash up front I'll get a better deal than you will. It's called negotiating, and that doesn't happen when you just sign up for their deal. Let's say you're buying $2,000 worth of stuff. If you've got $2,000 sitting in a savings account for 12 months making four percent, you're looking at about $80. We're not talking about a bunch of money here. Do you think I can walk in and negotiate at least $80 off the price? You bet I can! Here's another problem. What if that company messes up on one little thing? What if they record a payment wrong and it ends up being late? They'll back charge you through the entire period at finance company rates, that's what. I'm talking 24 to 38 percent! And this is even in YOU do everything right and abide by all the terms. Stay away from snakes, Bud, and you won't have to worry about being bitten! Dave
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