Note:  Always be sure to do research before embarking on any sort of loan.  See our Complete Guide to Paying Off Debt for more on dealing with previous loans.  Always be sure to make a responsible financial decision with plenty of thought in advance.  Credit cards do have their benefits, but they’re by no means necessary.

Few things strike fear into the heart of savvy consumers quite like the words “major purchase.” The phrase immediately fills their minds with images of unending payoff plans, piled-up interest, and hair-trigger late fees. It’s more than enough to scare some people away from buying things that they really need.

Of course, much of this concern is rooted in the incorrect assumption that every major purchase has to go on a credit card. The fact is that there are lots of ways to cover the cost. Here’s a quick list of ideas to keep the major purchase from being a major pain:

Financing With The Seller

Many retailers of major-purchase merchandise like furniture, lawn mowers, and flooring have arrangements to do financing with companies like Crest Financial, who specialize in helping customers create payment plans for major purchases.

The great thing about an account like this is that it is confined to just the major purchase you’re making. Contrast that with a regular bank-based credit card, which can give you a nice interest rate but will also be available for other purchases. If you carry a card like that, odds are you’ll make impulse purchases that quickly balloon your balance.

And by the way, if you make other purchases on a card that you use to carry a low-interest purchase, your payments will apply to the lower-rate balance first. The rest of your purchases will chug right along at a high rate, compounding interest while you pay all your money toward an initial balance that is carrying no interest.

Selling So You Can Buy

So your achy knees have motivated you to get a riding mower to cut your grass. The push mower just isn’t going to work anymore. How can you afford one of these machines, which seem to chew up as much money as they do turf?

A little shopping around helps, of course. But once you’ve settled on the right mower for your needs, you don’t have to be strapped to pay for it. What do you have that you could liquidate to help defray the cost? A good starting point is to sell whatever you are replacing, so if you can do the entire yard without your old push mower, sell it.

If you have boxes and boxes of outgrown children’s clothing or strollers and other toys they no longer use, sell them. Avoid yard sales; they are a lot of work for a likely small return. Instead, make a post on social media that you’re creating a group to sell clothing of a certain size and add interested friends to the group. Post pictures and prices; close the deal on the first comments. You’ll be surprised how much you can ring up.

Make It Pay For Itself

Let’s stick with the lawn mower. Think of the hours a year you actually use it. If you only mow for two hours per week for eight months of the year, that’s only about 70 hours of use. The rest of the time, it’s sitting around collecting dust–and maybe interest. Seems a little crazy, doesn’t it?

It is. If you have the time, the equipment, and the attention to detail for it, start a lawn-cutting service. You can reduce overhead by mowing within your neighborhood so that you don’t need a trailer or truck; you just drive the mower directly to the job. Focus on customers who may have recent disruptions in their own ability to mow, such as work demands or injuries. Price reasonably and mow commercially until that machine is yours.

There are things we just really need to buy sometimes. You can’t sleep on that broken-down mattress forever. Your heat pump must be replaced. It’s just reality. But we have to be smart about how we pay for it so that we can truly enjoy the benefits it provides.