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Introductory APR deals often seem like a gimmick that's too good to be true, but if you are smart with your payments then they can be a great way to help you purchase big ticket items and pay for them over time instead of in one lump sum.
I've taken advantage of these low or zero APR deals a number of times and, after once learning the hard way what happens if I don't pay off the entire debt before the period is up, have learned to break down into equal monthly payments the amount needed to pay a purchase off before the introductory APR is up.
If you decide to take advantage of one of these deals, it's imperative you don't focus too much on the minimum amount due each month because that is typically far less than the amount you'll need to pay each month in order to pay the item off in time. Let's say you purchase a couch and love seat for $4,000 with a 36 month same as cash APR offer. The minimum monthly payment may only be $50/month, but you would need to pay $111.11/month in order to pay off the purchase within the 36 month window.
So, it's important to do the math before you make a big purchase where you take advantage of an introductory APR offer. The simplest way to do that is divide the total cost by the number of months in the offer to figure out how much you would have to pay each month to pay it off in time. If you are able to make it work then these offers are a great way to pay for big purchases over an extended period of time.
Just make sure you don't overextend yourself because if you don't pay off the purchase in time then you'll be introduced to the world of compounded interest, which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
Has anyone taken advantage of one of these offers to make a big purchase? If so, were you able to pay it off in time or did you find yourself staring at a big bill you weren't expecting?