Getting into shape should be high on anyone’s list of priorities, but for many, the thought of heading to the local gym just doesn’t appeal. Whether it’s the travel time to the gym that makes it too much of a hassle, or the prospect of working out in front of others that’s putting you off, it’s all too easy to find an excuse not to go.
If this is you, the best home gyms (opens in new tab) are a great option, particularly if exercise is something you want to do only when it's convenient to you. Are they worth it might well be your first question, along with how to pay for the home exercise equipment you might like. In answer, here's everything you need to know about how to finance your own home gym.
Benefits of a home exercise setup
First up, there’s no denying that home workout equipment is a significant investment for most of us. If you want to buy one of the best treadmills (opens in new tab), and maybe an exercise bike (opens in new tab) too, that’s several thousand dollars of equipment right there. But while the outlay may seem high upfront, the chances are that building your own home gym will probably save you in the long run. After all, you’ll no longer need to pay out for your monthly gym membership, and if your local gym is more than a walk away, there’s the associated travel costs that you’ll save on too. And if you’re a family of gym goers, you’ll obviously save on their memberships as well.
If you’re considering paying less for cheap home exercise gear, it’s probably best to look at the bigger picture here too. There’s usually a reason why the top rated gym equipment costs more, and that’s because you’re paying for quality products that are built to last years. Go cheap, and you run the risk of needing to buy new equipment in a year or two’s time - this is especially true with full-body workout machines such as elliptical machines (opens in new tab). Also factor in the extra workouts you’re likely to do, and the greater use your equipment will get, now that all of your apparatus is readily at hand in your home.
How to finance your home gym
Ideally, you’ll have the funds at hand to buy the equipment you would like outright. This might be through savings, or perhaps your tax refund or stimulus check (opens in new tab) could be used, if the money is not needed to pay for things elsewhere.
That said, suppliers of home gym equipment are not oblivious to the cost of their wares, and so will often have a number of finance options available to help those who can’t afford to pay the whole price upfront. Most options involve spreading the payments out over time, meaning you’ll be able to get to work on your fitness straight away, while knowing that the equipment will be fully yours once you’ve made all your payments.
Known as point-of-sale finance, this way of making it easier for people to pay for big purchases is used by all kinds of retailers, including those selling the best mattresses online (opens in new tab) and refrigerators (opens in new tab). Some of the familiar names behind point-of-sale finance including Afterpay, Affirm and Klarna will provide finance options for all types of products, including gym equipment, providing consumers with 0% or low-interest options that allow you to pay for your new purchase in instalments.
The appeal of such plans is obvious, and if you’re certain you can meet the payments, they are a great way to spread the cost of what you want to buy. But of course, as you’d expect of any loan, there are certain things you need to think about before going ahead.
Why you might use point-of-sale finance
Quick and easy
If you have no other way to pay, point-of-sale finance is quick and easy to take out, at the very moment you’re about to make the purchase. You’ll also know exactly what your monthly payments will be upfront, making it easy to work out if the payments are affordable or not.
No credit check
As point-of-sale finance will usually be approved without a credit check, it’s a viable borrowing option if you have no credit history or suffer from bad credit. Some point-of-sale finance providers will also report your payment history, which can help boost your credit score if you keep up with your payments, without having to look to credit repair services (opens in new tab) for help.
Why you might avoid point-of-sale finance
It’s often expensive
While 0% point-of-sale options are common, be aware that some providers offer plans charging rates as high as 30%. Of course, making sure you can afford what you must pay is a must, and remember that you could be making these payments for many years to come. Also take note of the penalties that might apply should you fall behind, particularly as they’re often high.
Credit score consequences
While some point-of-sale finance won’t require a credit check, this of course implies that there are some that will. Given this could affect your credit rating, it’s best to ask if a check will take place, and to what extent, so that you can avoid it if you want. Also find out whether credit bureaus will be informed of the finance you’re about to take out, as if they are, and you miss payments, this will show up as a negative mark on your credit report going forward.
Always check what the rules are regarding returns before you buy using point-of-sale finance. This is important to avoid a situation where you might be obliged to carry on paying back some of your finance loan, even if you don’t receive a full refund or there’s shipping costs to pay. Also check in case there’s a penalty for paying the loan back early, due to you returning what you have bought.
Other ways of financing home gym equipment
While some will be comfortable using point-of-sale finance to pay for a new home gym, it’s important to weigh up the alternative ways that could be used to fund such a purchase too.
0% credit cards
A 0% credit card can usually provide the sort of payment flexibility that you get with point-of-sale finance, but perhaps even more as well. Some interest-free purchase cards, for instance, have joining bonuses that pay out if you spend a certain amount in a set space of time. With the best credit cards (opens in new tab) offering 0% interest for terms of up to 20 months, this might also give you longer to pay what you owe interest-free than under some short point-of-finance options.
You might also find that a new credit card associated with the brand you’re buying from is one of the point-of-sale options offered when you reach the checkout - in the world of gym equipment, Bowflex (opens in new tab) does just this. As with any credit card, however, your credit score will usually need to be good, a hard credit inquiry that could affect your rating will be made, and you should try to clear the balance before the 0% period ends.
If you’re spending big on your new gym apparatus, the best personal loans online (opens in new tab) are another option to consider. If you have a good credit score, and so qualify for the best loan rates and terms, you might also like the flexibility of a long-term loan that you can pay back over several years. If this is an option you might favor, remember that it might take a few days for approval and your credit score will be hard credit checked.
If the home fitness company you’re buying from accepts PayPal, it’s likely PayPal Credit - which is essentially a line of credit within your PayPal account - will be an option there as well. You might be able to sign up to PayPal Credit at the checkout, and have the chance to make use of an interest-free period on purchases. Be aware, however, that your credit will be checked before approval.
Lease to own
If you’re considering a lease to own arrangement, it’s vital to remember that the equipment isn’t legally yours until you’ve paid everything that you owe. So if you stop paying for any reason, you’ll have to return the equipment, and also won’t get back the money that you’ve already paid. Typically, lease to own requires that you pay the full price, plus charges, in a set period of time, often of between 90 days and 12 months. If you don’t, further fees and higher rates might also be applied.
Lease to own may be a viable option if you want any finance decision to be determined on your income rather than your credit score. On the downside, there are the rules around ownership to consider, and a general tendency for APRs and charges to be less favorable than under other finance options.