Here’s What Purchases Money Experts Are Holding Off On Making Now

The rising interest rates and record-high inflation Americans have seen play out this year are the reasons why many new purchases, both big and small, are being put on the back burner. Not only are the prices of everyday goods much higher, the cost of borrowing money to finance something larger such as a new car is a lot more expensive than it was just a year ago.

All this has left many of us with a financial conundrum: Should we continue holding off on making certain purchases right now?

Select went to the experts to see what they’re doing themselves in hopes of giving us some better insight. Here’s a look at the kinds of purchases money experts are holding off on making at this time.

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A new car

Jim Droske, president of credit counseling company Illinois Credit Services, tells us he needs a newer vehicle but is holding off still given the higher interest rates to finance a new auto loan, plus the fact that the current auto market makes it difficult for consumers to land a good deal.

“Even though I would get a higher trade-in value for my car, the math just makes sense to hold off on purchasing a vehicle until the supply and demand economics shift to be more in favor of me, the consumer,” Droske says.

Although Brenton Harrison, a certified financial planner at Henderson Financial Group, says he and his wife have two cars that run smoothly, he admits that since they’re both older models, they were tempted to upgrade one of them when rates were low to “keep up with the Joneses.” He has since had a change of heart in this new financing environment, however.

“I can’t think of an ‘asset’ whose value decreases more rapidly than that of a car,” Harrison says. “And with the manufacturing delays, chip shortages and the natural price increases due to inflation, any itch I had to buy a new car will remain unscratched.”

One money expert we spoke to, however, was indeed able to score a good deal when she decided to buy her car after her lease ended. Kara Stevens, a personal finance blogger at The Frugal Feminista, had extended her car lease to four years, at which point she only had 8,000 miles on it. As a result, she decided to keep it since the buyout offer was calculated prior to inflation. “It was a win,” Stevens says.

Home upgrades and new construction

Along with wanting to upgrade a car, Harrison and his wife were also planning several home upgrades, including customizing a closet, screening in their back porch and upgrading several bathroom lighting fixtures. But that was prior to inflation and now with labor and materials costing so much more, they’ve decided to hold off.

“While we would never put off any needed repairs, we’ve pressed pause on any home projects we don’t have to take on,” Harrison says.

John Ulzheimer, a credit expert formerly of FICO and Equifax, was willing to overlook the increased costs of building supplies such as lumber and appliances to build a new home — he can’t, however, get past the almost doubling of interest rates so he’s delaying the construction of a home for now.

“Financing a home at over 5%, when less than one year ago that was considered a subprime rate, is too much to overlook,” Ulzheimer says.

Loans with variable interest rates

As opposed to fixed interest rates, variable rates indicate that the interest rate you pay can go up or down at any time. Rates generally fluctuate in accordance with the federal funds rate, so in a rising rate environment, would-be borrowers typically tend to delay any variable-rate financing since it’s likely to soon become more expensive to carry that debt.

Harrison’s case is just one example of that. “As a business owner, there are periods where the investments I need to grow my revenue — new staff and tech upgrades, etc. — are more than I can cashflow,” he says. For this reason, he typically would look to business lines of credit and other variable-interest debt whose payments allow him to purchase what he needs and make small monthly payments until revenue increases.

“As costs and interest rates rise, however, variable-interest debt is one of the first places these effects can be felt,” Harrison explains. “For the time being, I’m avoiding purchases that I can’t pay for in cash, even if it means temporarily turning down opportunities to grow my business.”

This includes credit cards…

Credit cards are a more common type of loan with variable interest rates that are already high as-is. The Federal Reserve raising rates means your credit card debt becomes more expensive, too. Though Harrison says he’s taken advantage of 0% APR credit cards in the past — that is, cards that offer an introductory period of 0% interest on new purchases and/or balance transfers — he’s holding off on signing up for any more at this time.

“These companies continue to dangle aggressive offers during stretches of inflation, hoping you’ll still hold a credit balance after the introductory period expires,” Harrison says. “I’m avoiding the temptation to sign up for new cards due to fear of what the inflated interest rates may be if an emergency keeps me from paying off my debt before the end of the offer period.”

Take note that a 0% APR credit card can however be beneficial if you definitely know you’ll be able to pay off your balance during the introductory period. (In Harrison’s case, it’s helpful to have an emergency fund with money already allocated to it as backup in case something does come up so he doesn’t have to dip into his credit card payments.)

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card, for example, offers an introductory APR of 0% interest for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (after, 15.24% to 27.24% variable APR). Cardholders can receive an intro APR extension for three months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period, bringing the total interest-free period up to 21 months. This incentivizes responsible credit card behavior while also giving you more time to pay off your debt.

The idea is that you pay off your balance in total within the first 18 months (or 21, if applicable) so you don’t accumulate a balance that then — once the introductory period ends — gets variable-rate interest charged on top of it.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo’s secure site

  • Rewards

  • Welcome bonus

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension for 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period. 15.24% – 27.24% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate

  • Regular APR

    15.24% – 27.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% ($5 minimum) for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

If you’re holding off on making any purchases yourself

If you can, it’s not a bad idea to delay making some purchases until the economy is in a more stable position — hey, even the experts are doing it. And with another expected rate hike coming later in September, it’s certainly important for you to be careful about how much variable interest rate debt you are taking on right now.

In the meantime, you can benefit from a rising rate environment by stashing away funds you would otherwise use to make monthly payments on a new car or a home remodel. An online high-yield savings account is a good option right now as banks have responded to the Fed’s rate hikes by paying out higher annual percentage yields, or APYs, to their customers.

Consider the LendingClub® Bank High-Yield Savings Account, which offers one of the highest returns on your money with a 2.07% APY, plus a free ATM card with zero ATM fees, no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirement. You’ll just need a $100 deposit to open an account.

LendingClub High-Yield Savings

LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Minimum balance

    No minimum balance requirement after $100.00 to open the account

  • Monthly fee

  • Maximum transactions

  • Excessive transactions fee

  • Overdraft fees

  • Offer checking account?

  • Offer ATM card?

An alternative option is the Bask Interest Savings Account, which offers a similarly high APY at 2.20% to savings account holders and especially stands out to frequent travelers. Savers can also opt to earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles back instead, at a rate of 1.2 miles for every $1 saved annually. They can then use these miles toward flights on American Airlines or any of its 20+ partner airlines. Bask also offers no monthly fees and no minimum deposits.

Bask Bank Interest Savings Account

Bask Bank and BankDirect are divisions of Texas Capital Bank, Member FDIC.

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Minimum balance

  • Monthly fee

  • Maximum transactions

    Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle *The 6/statement cycle withdrawal limit is waived during the coronavirus outbreak under Regulation D

  • Excessive transactions fee

  • Overdraft fees

  • Offer checking account?

  • Offer ATM card?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.