Here’s what Americans are buying with borrowed money

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April Showers bring May flowers and all the rest of the beauty that longer days have to offer. As spring enters full swing and slowly makes way for summer, many of us may be spearheading some new projects ourselves — projects that might cost more upfront than we have to spare.

While an unsecured personal loan offers a flexible way to fund a variety of expensive ventures, it’s still a form of debt, which means it’s worth taking some extra time to think about. Personal loans can be a financial boon or a financial burden, depending on what you’re using them for. Here are our best tips for making smart money choices when it comes to personal loans this April.

photovoltaic panels
DepositPhotos.com

1. Using a personal loan to redo your landscaping

Now that Jack Frost will permit at least some of us to dig into the recently-thawed Earth, you may be considering an upgrade to your front lawn or backyard flower beds. While pulling weeds and planting flowers on your own time might not cost too much, changes on a grander scale may require a significantly greener thumb. Unfortunately, a landscaping project could easily cost you a few thousand dollars.

However, if you’re considering selling your house in the near future, a well-kept yard could help get it off the market faster. Even if you’re staying put, upgrading your home’s outdoor areas can help expand your living space and, as we’ve all learned this past year, offer new opportunities for socializing.

If you do make the decision to go into debt to revamp your front or backyard, opting for a small personal loan could be a great option. By taking out only as much as you need to get the job done, you’ll get out of debt quicker and avoid paying more interest over time. Plus, you won’t be tempted to continue spending your way into more debt, as is so easy with credit cards.

Organize the Closet
oscarhdez/istockphoto

2. Using a personal loan for major spring cleaning

Fixing up the outside of your home is one thing, but the interior needs love, too. And since spring officially began a few weeks ago, there’s no better time to take on a deep tidying and reorganization project in the name of spring cleaning.

Depending on the size and contents of your home — and your general level of Type A personality throughout the rest of the year — spring cleaning may be as simple as taking a weekend to clean out your closet and pull the knick-knacks off the shelves to give everything a thorough wiping down. But given that the average home size in America is about 2,500 square feet, you might have a more time-consuming endeavor on your hands, and possibly even one that requires professional help.

For example, say you decide to KonMari your entire household and end up with a garage full of stuff you simply don’t need (and that isn’t in good enough shape to be salvaged or donated). You might hire a junk removal service to come by and gather those trash bags into their truck, but you’ll be charged by volume, which can easily cost several hundred dollars. If you’re going to have professional cleaners come to steam your carpets or descale your kitchen appliances of grime, you’ll have to pay for their time, too.

A personal loan of $1,000 or so could likely pay for the entire project and give you an opportunity to “start fresh” and maintain a tidier lifestyle going forward. However, you could also avoid the need to go into debt entirely by using some elbow grease of your own.

Winter vacation
DepositPhotos.com

3. Using a personal loan to get out of town

While personal loans are often used for less-than-fun purposes, like unexpected expenses or emergency medical bills, people take them out for leisure expenses, too. In fact, in some states, more than 10% of residents take out personal loans to go on vacation.

And after a long year of quarantine (or some level thereof), many of us are eager to pack up and get out of town. Perhaps you’re already daydreaming about your summer travels, or maybe you’ve decided this is the year you’ll experience Earth Day in a National Park.

Using a personal loan to take a vacation might seem foolish, but it’s likely to be less expensive overall than relying on credit cards, with average interest rates hovering around 20% APR. Plus, with a personal loan, you can give yourself a set amount of money — the loan total — to spend on your vacation, as opposed to the open-ended spending credit cards can allow.

If you’re traveling internationally, however, be sure to bring a credit card along for the trip that allows you to make foreign transactions without incurring foreign transaction fees. Having backup funding available is always a good idea when you’re far from home.

Debt consolidation concept
designer491 / iStock

4. Using a personal loan to consolidate your debt

Although Q1 has come to a close, some of us are still financially reeling from the holidays — not to mention the uncertain work landscape this last year has offered. With brighter days on the way, it might be a good time to sit down with your records and figure out what comes next, money-wise.

Credit card debt actually dropped in 2020, generally speaking, but there are still plenty of us with balances to tackle. The average consumer holds $5,313 in credit card debt, according to the most recent data from Experian, and compound interest means they’ll likely pay much more than that as they work to dial it down.

Using a personal loan to consolidate your credit card debt is often a smart way to simplify your monthly bill-paying regimen while also saving money on interest. It might also even improve your overall credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio.

Car repair
DepositPhotos.com

5. Using personal loans to get your car road-ready

Did you know that April is National Car Care Month? It might sound arbitrary, but hear us out: many of us are planning to do a lot more driving over the summer than we did in winter. All those snowy days of sitting around may not have left your car in top shape, so now’s the time to catch up with any necessary repairs and preventive maintenance.

Of course, anyone who’s ever been to a mechanic knows that the experience can be a pricey one, even for what seem like relatively simple services. A personal loan could be helpful if it’s been a while since you’ve been to the car doctor, and if it’s a matter of personal safety, the interest may very well be worth it.

That said, it’s still worth educating yourself to make sure you’re not being taken for a ride (pun totally intended). And certain car maintenance to-dos, such as airing up your tires and changing your air filters, are fairly DIY-able, which might save you a penny or two.

Key findings:

  • Personal loan usage for business-related expenditures in Washington DC was double that of 67% of the country.
  • Northern states, like Connecticut, Vermont and Maine spent the least on medical expenses
  • The Sun Belt spent considerably less on debt consolidation than the rest of the country, specifically Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Comparatively, on average, the US spends 40% of personal loans on debt solutions, like credit card refinancing and debt consolidation.

Here’s how people in every state are using their personal loans:

alabama
James Deitsch

Alabama

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 34%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 9%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 24%

Alaska
DepositPhotos.com

Alaska

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 33%

Major Purchase 8%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 4%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 28%

 

Arizona desert
DepositPhotos.com

Arizona

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Arkansas
DepositPhotos.com

Arkansas

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 31%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 26%

California
mlauffen

California

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 44%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Postoak at English Wikipedia

Colorado

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 44%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 20%

Connecticut
DepositPhotos.com

Connecticut

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 47%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 20%

Delaware
mdgmorris

Delaware

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 2%

Other 22%

Jacksonville, Florida
DepositPhotos.com

Florida

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

Georgia
SeanPavonePhoto

Georgia

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 6%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

hawaii
Art Wager

Hawaii

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 47%

Major Purchase 4%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 7%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 23%

Idaho
knowlesgallery

Idaho

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 38%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Illinois
venemama / iStock

Illinois

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

Indianapolis, Indiana
Pixabay.com

Indiana

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 35%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 24%

Iowa
DepositPhotos.com

Iowa

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 38%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 24%

Topeka, Kansas
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

Kansas

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Kentucky
Thomas Kelley

Kentucky

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 33%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 25%

Louisiana
DepositPhotos.com

Louisiana

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 30%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 9%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 6%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 24%

Maine
DepositPhotos.com

Maine

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 43%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 9%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

maryland
James_Lane

Maryland

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 43%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

Massachusetts
Rolf_52

Massachusetts

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 46%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

michigan beach
csterken

Michigan

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 37%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

Minnesota
JoeChristensen/istockphoto

Minnesota

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 40%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Mississippi
stevegeer

Mississippi

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 30%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 9%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 14%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 24%

Missouri
eyecrave

Missouri

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 36%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Montana
David Butler

Montana

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 14%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Nebraska
DepositPhotos.com

Nebraska

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 37%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 24%

Nevada road
AlizadaStudios

Nevada

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 23%

new hampshire
DenisTangneyJr

New Hampshire

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 51%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 19%

New Jersey
DepositPhotos.com

New Jersey

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 46%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 19%

New Mexico
DepositPhotos.com

New Mexico

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 34%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 25%

Buffalo, New York
iStock/Hsa_Htaw

New York

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 43%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

North Carolina
” Darwin Brandis”

North Carolina

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 37%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

North Dakota
sequential5

North Dakota

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 1%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 26%

Ohio countryside
iStock

Ohio

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 38%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

Oklahoma wages
Tiago_Fernandez

Oklahoma

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 36%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 25%

Oregon
DepositPhotos.com

Oregon

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 44%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 23%

pennsylvania
AppalachianViews

Pennsylvania

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 9%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

Providence, Rhode Island
iStock

Rhode Island

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 48%

Major Purchase 4%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 2%

Other 21%

south carolina
DepositPhotos.com

South Carolina

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

South Dakota
DepositPhotos.com

South Dakota

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 36%

Major Purchase 4%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 27%

Tennessee
NathanMerrill

Tennessee

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 36%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 24%

Georgetown, Texas
DepositPhotos.com

Texas

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Utah
AndreyKrav

Utah

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 2%

Other 23%

Vermont
” DonLand”

Vermont

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 43%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 1%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 2%

Moving & Relocation 2%

Other 25%

virginia
WilliamSherman

Virginia

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 44%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

Washington
4nadia

Washington

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 23%

DC
Sean Pavone

Washington DC

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 4%

Business Expenses 9%

Home & Auto Financing 7%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

West Virginia
” Chayanisa Puttamata”

West Virginia

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 33%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 10%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 15%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 2%

Other 25%

Wisconsin
DepositPhotos.com

Wisconsin

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 24%

Wyoming
AnujSahaiPhotography

Wyoming

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 2%

Other 24%

home loan
DepositPhotos.com

Methodology

The percentage of people seeking personal loans for selected purposes was calculated for each state for the current month and for the same month in 2020. The inquiries are limited to those received through organic search and offline advertising, as changes in online marketing strategies can alter the number and types of inquiries irrespective of organic interest in this product from the general public.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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