Whether you’re just taken by a shiny, new goldfish, your college girlfriend won a crazy-looking fish at a local fair and ceremoniously gave it to you as a birthday present, or you simply want to collect interesting fish, you will most likely need a fish tank of some sort to accommodate your new friends.
If you happen to own more than one fish or plan on it in the future, then you might want invest in a larger tank from the start, or maybe, you need to get a second tank to replace the first one. Either way, owning fish leads to financial obligations and commitments that might not be easy to finance.
A 12-gallon aquarium and a few more fish can add up considerably. Throw in a new filter, some aesthetic gravel, and more fish food; before you know it, you’ll be spending money you really don’t have. Luckily, you can make sound financial decisions when it comes to any hobby, and fish environments are no exception. There are plenty of safe ways for aquarium financing, but you should carefully consider whether taking on debt to feed your hobby is worth it.
The Costs of a Fish Tank
Whether you intend to buy a 30-gallon aquarium or have your eye on a high-end, 500-gallon tank, one thing is certain: a fish tank is going to cost you some cash. Of course, your expenses will vary depending on your ambition.
Using a 30-gallon tank benchmark, you are likely to spend over $500 on a new tank and its accessories. Keep in mind that the tank itself costs only about $100; the remainder of expenses could be attributed to chlorine reducers, lights, gravel, food, water filters, and more. A baseline expense of $500 is definitely a tall order for plenty of people, and this doesn’t even delve into the expenses of a much larger tank which would surely increases substantially. It’s easy to see how some people couldn’t pay for it out of pocket.
Finding Financing for an Aquarium
If you’re having trouble with financing your new aquarium, there are certainly a few options short of dipping into the home equity line of credit which is something we don’t recommend. There are several options when it comes to financing and supporting a fish tank, and most of them will have some impact on your credit.
The Manufacturer Financing Option
Some aquarium fish tank manufacturers offer financing through third-party lenders. These are typically unsecured loans offering rates as low as 9 percent for the most creditworthy borrowers. If your credit is excellent, then you would have a better chance at signing a financing deal with a third-party lender at a lower rate.
This is a special option with some interesting perks; for instance, you could use this to design and have a custom fish tank built. Keep in mind that this would only ramp up your expenses. If you’re having trouble paying for a tank in the first place, then going for a sweet, custom model is probably not a smart move. Like with any loan, your credit is on the line, so you would want to invest in something you can handle financially.
Like many other financial products, you can look into financing through a third-party or manufacturer online. While a 9 percent APR was mentioned, the rates on this avenue are surely going to vary, and there will surely be some players in the game who want to gouge you with high interest rates. Stay on the lookout for low offered rates, and compare these rates to other more well-known financing options.
The Credit Card Option
When you talk about financing anything, you can bring up credit cards. Paying for your fish tank on credit is definitely possible, but needless to say, you wouldn’t want to overdo it.
As opposed to signing on a new loan of some sort, you could take a look at your credit limit, map out your fish tank expenses, and dip into your already established line of credit. Of course, if you have plenty of expenses that already go on credit, then you would definitely want to consider how tacking on $500 will change your finances.
You may already have a credit card to use, or you may need to open up a new one. Either way, your credit should be impacted. It would bode well to research how either scenario will alter your credit score. One major consideration is the APR on your card since you are more than likely to roll the expenses over a cycle. If you have an extremely high APR, then it may be possible to find a personal loan or manufacture financing deal with a lower APR that covers your expenses without the prospect of harsh revolving credit. If that is possible, then going with a credit card wouldn’t be recommended.
At any rate, it could be much simpler and faster to use your credit card, but you should weigh that convenience with the cost of buying on credit.
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The Personal Loan Option
A personal loan from an online lender is another prevalent option. Many interested consumers are free to shop and compare secured or unsecured loans from several lenders. If you have solid credit and an established income, then the best case scenario could leave you with an APR below ten percent.
Depending on the lender, you could choose between a secured and unsecured loan or a fixed and variable APR. Some personal loans lenders offer loan amounts as low as $500, but many of them set their minimums at $1,000 or $2,000. For some people, that limit could be too high for a simple fish tank; on the other hand, it could be just the right amount for fish enthusiasts who are looking at personal loans for fish tanks.
As mentioned earlier for many financial products, personal loan offers and lenders can be found along with all the pertinent details. You can compare which lenders offer products with no pre-payment penalties, or you can find the lenders that offer rate discounts for setting up auto-pay. Any consumer who considers personal loans for fish tanks should do the research and check on their finances before committing to the dotted line.
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Hobby Financing is Not for Everyone
Aquarium enthusiasts quickly learn that their hobby could end up costing more than they expected whether it is the additional costs of bells and whistles or the ongoing costs of maintaining them. If you are in a good financial position to utilize low-cost financing, then maybe you can consider a new, cool fish tank without much worry. However, for people who struggle to set aside money for future goals, it is probably not a good idea to finance a new fish tank hobby.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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