Question of the Day (Updated): How much more does a TV cost from a Rent-To-Own retailer than upfront in cash?

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Oct 07, 2020
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Question of the Day, Financial Scams, Budgeting

We have all heard of rent-to-own stores and how you can purchase a large TV for only a small monthly payment! I did some digging to find out how much it would cost to rent-to-own a brand new 65in HDTV. Here is what I found:

Answer: $1,000.10 more to rent-to-own

(After 21 monthly payments of $86.63 I would pay $1,000.10 more than the original cash price of $799)

View more rent-to-own merchandise at rentacenter.com

How do rent-to-own stores work? (finder.com)

Rent-to-own stores are a way to get new furniture or appliances without waiting days or weeks to save up enough money to buy it outright. Rent-to-own isn’t a loan, so your credit score doesn’t matter, but it’s an expensive way to buy new items.

If you want to keep your purchase but don’t have the money to pay it off with one large lump sum, keep making payments — usually over one to two years — and eventually pay for your purchase. This is where the term rent-to-own comes from. You keep paying weekly or monthly installments until you’ve bought out your contract.

If you no longer want the item or can’t continue making regular payments, most stores have lenient return policies.

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

 

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Questions:

  • How many months would the consumer need to save $120 in order to buy the same 65in HDTV at a big box store?
  • Why do you think a consumer would be willing to pay a high interest rate with this rent-to-own model?
  • What would the assumed interest rate be if the consumer used the “big box” cost as the amount borrowed instead?
  • What advice would you give someone considering using a rent-to-own store?

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About the Author

Mason Butts

After graduating from UCLA with a Master's in Education, Mason spent 5 years as a science educator in a South Los Angeles public high school. He is committed to supporting the holistic growth of all students and empowering them to live a life of relational, academic, and financial success. Now settled in the Bay Area, Mason enjoys facilitating professional developments and partnering with educators as they prepare students for a bright financial future. When Mason is not building curriculum or planning a training, he can be found cycling, trying new foods, and exploring the outdoors.