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Easy Finance - Help!

1265 Views 25 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  George_Stenbeck
I'm thinking of buying a Sony HS20 simply because it's the best projector I can find that a major retailer sells and offers financing on. I have no problem spending a couple grand cash on a projector, but the closer it gets to $5,000 the more I'm likely to get static from the wife. Especially when the major retailers like Best Buy, Circuit City, and Tweeter offer no interest easy financing on the best RPTVs on the market.

Are there any retailers of projectors that operate on anything other than cash? I'd love a nice BenQ, but can't justify the cash.
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Please, let me encourage you not to start the practice of going into debt to fund your home theater ambitions. This hobby is addictive and if you don't make a firm commitment to spend within your means it will eat you alive!

Yeah, sure, today it is just a few DVD's playing through an HS20 projecting onto a piece of blackout cloth. But before you know it, you'll be watching DTheater tapes and high-definition pay-per-view on your Sony Qualia projector projecting onto a 133" diagonal retractable Greyhawk! All the while, your financiers are repossessing your cars and the furniture around you! Yeah, you'll have a smile on your face, of course: because MY GOSH the picture is incredible. But when they take the couch you're sitting on, you'll have to pause the movie long enough to stand up, and with any luck it will be right in the middle of a key action scene! Besides, they'll probably need the light on to get it out of the room, and that destroys the contrast.

*ahem* sorry. Got carried away there, but my point is serious. Don't pay interest on home theater purchases. Stuff the monthly payments in a shoebox until you have the right amount saved up. Your wife won't be able to argue with your fiscal discipline, and before you know it you will have a sweet projector. What's more, by the time you do have your money saved up, even better projectors will be available for the same price that you were going to pay today (or the one you want will be cheaper).

True no-interest financing, if you can find it, is a reasonable option; HOWEVER, the store has to make money somehow, so chances are they aren't going to discount the projector as heavily as they would if you were paying cash. But if you do find a genuinely good price and an offer for zero-interest financing, hey, more power to you. If they want to be your shoebox, go for it.

That reminds me, make sure to shop around---in particular, contact the good folks here at AVS, the ones that host this very forum. They will give you a competitive deal and good service.

OK, enough moralizing though. There is a practical challenge, as you're seeing: the stores that sell the nicer projectors are generally smaller chains (or just individual stores) that don't offer financing. And I assume you're avoiding the credit card route for a reason, too. Plus, many consider these front projectors low-volume specialty items---the people that want them know they want them, so there may not be as much incentive to offer attractive pricing or financing.
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Michael, I couldn't agree with you more, but I believe intermix was referring to the "zero % financing" where you don't pay any interest in the first 12 months. So, if you pay off the unit in 12 months, no interest.
"before you know it, you'll be watching DTheater tapes and high-definition pay-per-view on your Sony Qualia projector"

Maybe the DTheater tapes, but not the Qualia... at least not anytime soon
Patrick, I did see mention of the zero-interest thing, but I wasn't sure he was looking just for zero-interest financing. Nevertheless, I went back and edited my post a bit.

I still think there's a problem with zero-intersest financing: since the store isn't making any money off interest, they're not as likely to discount the unit as much. An offer to pay cash is an incentive to give you a better price. (Remember, you can always haggle at brick and mortar stores. The worst they can do is say no.)
Check out Dell. I believe their 0% interest until 2005. I'm not sure if it applies to HT equipment. They do sell the NEC HT1000 last time I checked plus other PJ. I agree with the posters above. Don't get in over your head. I just saved for 3 years while I was finishing the basement and purchased a IF 7200 and Firehawk. Now I'll be saving for another year for the audio equipment and getting by with what I have for now. Once you start buying equipment its real easy to start buying 'add-ons' and that adds up real quick. Don't do it just because there is a shiny new PJ with your name on it also. Prices are going down all the time and a PJ you buy in a year or two would be a lot better than you can get now. My dream system 3 years ago was a Mitsubishi 55" HD RP. I'm glad I waited.
I financed my first audiophile amplifier (Aragon 4004MKII) via my student loans. That was 10 years ago and I almost have it paid off.........:D

Agree with Mike, if you can't pay cash, buy something you can afford with cash.
Yeah, Dell deal applies to CE for "qualified customers", but expires end of January.



No matter where you go, there you are
Great advice. Yeah, I know that I shouldn't finance, as soon as I sign on the dotted line, newer and better will be out. But the 12 months no interest thing is a great deal if you pay it off in the term. The catch with these is that if the balance isn't paid off, interest kicks in retroactively.
Michael and Jeff,

You guys are no fun, absolutely right but still no fun. He may well need the adrenaline rush provided by a combination a great flick on a nice piece of gear and the simultaneous fear of repossession or foreclosure .

If you have 401K, you can borrow money from it. Interest goes to your 401K savings anyway. It's equivalent to 0% financing. You can choose either 6-months or 12-months to pay.

I like taking advantage of the 0% financing, but I ALWAYS pay off the balance before the end of the term. I never pay interest on credit cards, either. Pay off the balance each month.

I wouldn't take a loan from your 401k. In theory it is fine, but if you don't repay it...YIKES. Best to leave that money alone.
There are two reasons I'm leery of 0% financing from stores. One I've already mentioned. The store has to make money somehow. With 0% interest, they're sure as heck not making money on the financing. So, do you really think they're going to discount the unit as much? So paying cash is always going to give you more bargaining power than 0% financing. So I'm not totally against 0% financing, as long as you are sure that you're going to pay it off and not suffer the interest penalty if you don't, but I still think cash is better.

The second reason is, you just don't now what's going to happen with that money you're making payments with. Back in late '99 I bought a new car. I had the money to pay cash, but I looked at their 3-year lease terms and the equivalent APR wasn't that bad---a heck of a lot lower than I was making in my investments. So in theory, by going with the lease (with the full intention of buying the car at the end of the term), I was actually going to come out ahead.

In theory. The bottom dropped out of the stock market not long after that, and the interest I paid on that lease proved unnecessary costly.

The next car, I paid in cash. So far, investments would have paid better, and the same trick with the lease would have been a winner, this time. But a bird in the hand...

As for borrowing from a 401(k), no way. Not for luxury items. Maybe for the down payment on a home, or if you're desparate, on something else you need.

Yeah, Art, I know, we're no fun... but the way I figure it, someone who's in home theater over their head financially isn't going to be in it very long... and we want 'em around a long time, right? :)
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dept stores certainly do make money of those 0% financing offers. The whole trick is that not only is it zero percent for a year - they are also no required monthly payments for a year. The fine print says if you do not pay the full amount in a year then they sock you with the very high interest retroactively. They make their money because most people go into it saying I do not have to pay for a year! Guess what happens at the end of the year when they have not paid? They don't have the money! And the dept. store laughs all the way to the bank - because the same consumer comes back on the next no interest no pay deal - because they cannot afford payments right now because they are paying off last years deal! And the customer cannot go to another store - because they only have that dept stores credit card!

We have a rule in my house - do you want it (cash) or need it (credit). Nobody needs anything HT as bad as they want it (except for me as I am an AV dealer!). I need it so that my customers will want it! My wife is still trying to figure out that loophole!
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Using your very scientific equation (I like it, btw), and as I am an attorney, and "need" the pj for the occasional courtroom presentation, can I purchase it on my (What's in your wallet?) low interest business card, esp. if I can squeeze a business deduction out of part of it?

(My wife, too, is still puzzling herself around this one).

-needy HT addict
A business entity is seperate from the person. You did not buy that projector - the business did and there is an ROI analysis to prove that it was needed ;-)
True, true.

And since I don't want to leave such valuable assets at the office (where the landlord has not yet installed an alarm system), I "need" to store it at home......

-Hope there's no IRS auditors reading these posts..........:eek:
You are financing a projector...

Zero percent financing would not exist if stooges all paid in the year..

Reality is that most people do not pay it off... then the cost is through the roof... Even the initial cost is more to purchase using this method...

The store gets a cut of the action... check out the interest rate .. in most places it is actually an illegal rate of interest if taken as strictly interest..

Why do so many of the money marts exist... it is from guys buying HT equipment or other toys on credit... a bad spiral to start with...

I have lawyers, doctors, accountants, business owners buying equipment all the time... I used to be a VP finance ...... there is absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing a projector for your business... practice... In fact some hold their monthly meetings, budget, planning, education, etc in the homes and write off the room.. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing this..

Even tho my showroom is filled with screens and projectors ...it is still a cash flow drain.. and the only time I get to see any of it is when a potential customer wishes to view...
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(looking into crystal ball.....)

Oooooh, I see Section 179 deductions in my future......

(yes, I'm also doing my taxes right now)
Bunch of cheap a** weenies. Buy the damn projector and forget trying to cheat the government for such a small amount. My wife is a CPA, worked for the big six (now four) and would never think of trying to do such a thing! You are all cowards!
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