What to consider when taking a personal loan

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Are you considering a personal loan to cover some upcoming or unexpected expenses, like a big graduation gift or a family trip? If so, there are ways to prevent taking on some debt that might tempt you during springtime celebrations and outdoor activities. We’ll look at those plus how people are using personal loans around the country right now.

Father and son hugging after graduation
Motortion / istockphoto

1. Using personal loans to throw a big birthday or graduation party

Maybe you want to go above and beyond a backyard barbecue for this year’s celebration, especially if you’re getting together with newly vaccinated family members you haven’t seen before the pandemic. Or maybe you just want to throw a fun party — with the proper COVID-19 safety precautions, of course.

Whether it’s something special for your star student or a milestone birthday, it’s easy to rack up big bills when you’re hosting a major event. Renting a venue, hiring live musicians and catering can quickly add up to four figures. Because personal loans are unsecured — meaning they’re not tied to a specific piece of collateral, like a car or a home — you can use them for just about any purpose you desire, including throwing the party of the decade. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go into debt for a one-and-done event.

While your memories of this single night will hang around for hopefully a lifetime, so will the interest you accumulate in paying the loan back. Plus, depending on the rate and term of your loan, you could be paying significantly more than the market value of the items and services you purchased. So unless it’s a truly life-changing occasion, like a wedding — and maybe even then — we recommend spending only what you can afford to pay in cash for a party. 

Roof
DepositPhotos.com

2. Using personal loans to fix a leaky roof

Maybe the rainstorms have picked up where you live — but you notice they’ve picked up indoors as well as out. 

A leaky roof is no small matter: left unchecked, it could create ongoing problems and even threaten the structural integrity of your home.

The good news is, if caught early (and depending on the exact cause and your homeowners insurance policy) a rainy roof may only set you back a couple hundred dollars. On the other end of the spectrum, though, major roof repairs can run up to $6,000 or even more, per data from HomeAdvisor

Home improvements and renovations are one of the most common uses of personal loans, and in this case, protecting the rest of your investment could be well worth this relatively benign form of debt. You could also choose to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), but in this case, your home is used as collateral and you could face foreclosure if you can’t repay the balance. 

Couple doing finances
fizkes/istockphoto

3. Using a personal loan for financial spring cleaning

You may have already started spring cleaning your home, but now’s a great time to dust off your budget and check in on your account balances as well.  

Personal loans are frequently used for financial cleanup projects, such as consolidating debt. But if you already have an existing personal loan, the loan itself is worth scouring, too. If your creditworthiness has changed since you first took your personal loan out, you may qualify for a new loan with a lower interest rate. Or, if you’re struggling to make your monthly payments, you might be able to find a loan with a longer repayment term.

Of course, refinancing a personal loan does come with costs of its own, such as origination fees and balance transfer fees, so be sure to do the math ahead of time and make sure the move would actually save you money. Keep in mind, too, that qualifying for a new loan can be challenging, especially if you’re already in a rough place money-wise. A balance transfer credit card is another option to look into, but make sure you can pay off the debt before the end of that promotional 0% interest rate period.

Cactus garden
istockphoto

4. Using personal loans to upgrade your garden

So about those May flowers…  

Given many plants fare best when you wait until after your last chance of a freeze, now may be the right time to get your garden set up for the splendor warmer weather can bring.

But depending on the scale of the project, you could be spending a lot of money on getting your flowers (or grass, plants, vegetables, etc.) to grow. Fixr estimates a national average range of $8,000 to $15,000 for major landscaping, though if you’re adding in a patio or walkway, costs could easily be loftier still. 

It’s true that well-done landscaping can augment your home’s value — in one HomeLight survey, more than 94% of real estate agents said that curb appeal can help homes attract more attention and sell for higher prices. So using a personal loan to prettify your yard may, indeed, be a good decision — especially if it’s the front yard we’re talking about.

bicycle commute
DepositPhotos.com

5. Using personal loans to get you moving on two wheels

May is National Bike Month, so for riders itching to get those wheels spinning, now is the perfect time to dust off that seat, pump up those tires and check the brakes. While some repairs come in at under $20, serious bike maintenance could hit the hundreds. Unless it’s your only mode of transportation, however, going into debt for your bike isn’t a great idea. Instead, save up and shop around for the best prices. That will also give you a chance to explore what’s on the market and invest in long-lasting equipment. 

alabama
James Deitsch

Alabama

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 33%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 9%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 6%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

Alaska
DepositPhotos.com

Alaska

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 37%

Major Purchase 8%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 4%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 25%

Arizona desert
DepositPhotos.com

Arizona

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 21%

Arkansas
DepositPhotos.com

Arkansas

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 31%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 6%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 25%

California
mlauffen

California

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 23%

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Postoak at English Wikipedia

Colorado

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 21%

Connecticut
DepositPhotos.com

Connecticut

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 47%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 19%

Delaware
mdgmorris

Delaware

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 20%

Jacksonville, Florida
DepositPhotos.com

Florida

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 6%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 21%

Georgia
SeanPavonePhoto

Georgia

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 37%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 7%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 21%

hawaii
Art Wager

Hawaii

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 48%

Major Purchase 4%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 4%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 2%

Other 21%

Idaho
knowlesgallery

Idaho

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

Illinois
venemama / istockphoto

Illinois

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

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 13%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 23%

Iowa
DepositPhotos.com

Iowa

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 34%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 14%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 24%

Topeka, Kansas
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

Kansas

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

Kentucky
Thomas Kelley

Kentucky

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 32%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 25%

Louisiana
DepositPhotos.com

Louisiana

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 31%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 7%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 24%

Maine
DepositPhotos.com

Maine

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 43%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 14%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 19%

maryland
James_Lane

Maryland

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 20%

Massachusetts
Rolf_52

Massachusetts

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 44%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 20%

michigan beach
csterken

Michigan

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 36%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 6%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

Minnesota
JoeChristensen/istockphoto

Minnesota

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 40%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 4%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

Mississippi
stevegeer

Mississippi

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 31%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 7%

Home & Auto Financing 14%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

Missouri
eyecrave

Missouri

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 35%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 23%

Montana
David Butler

Montana

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 25%

Nebraska
DepositPhotos.com

Nebraska

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 38%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 24%

Nevada road
AlizadaStudios

Nevada

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 5%

Other 21%

new hampshire
DenisTangneyJr

New Hampshire

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 44%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 20%

New Jersey
DepositPhotos.com

New Jersey

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 45%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 19%

New Mexico
DepositPhotos.com

New Mexico

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 34%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 24%

Buffalo, New York
istockphoto/Hsa_Htaw

New York

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 40%

Major Purchase 5%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 21%

North Carolina
” Darwin Brandis”

North Carolina

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 35%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

North Dakota
sequential5

North Dakota

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 45%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 20%

Ohio countryside
istockphoto

Ohio

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 36%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

Oklahoma wages
Tiago_Fernandez

Oklahoma

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 35%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 12%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 25%

Oregon
DepositPhotos.com

Oregon

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 44%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

pennsylvania
AppalachianViews

Pennsylvania

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 36%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 21%

Providence, Rhode Island
istockphoto

Rhode Island

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 48%

Major Purchase 4%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 3%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

south carolina
DepositPhotos.com

South Carolina

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 38%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 21%

South Dakota
DepositPhotos.com

South Dakota

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 27%

Tennessee
NathanMerrill

Tennessee

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 38%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

Georgetown, Texas
DepositPhotos.com

Texas

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 38%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

Utah
AndreyKrav

Utah

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 43%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

Vermont
” DonLand”

Vermont

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 8%

Home Improvement 8%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 14%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 18%

virginia
WilliamSherman

Virginia

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 41%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 7%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

Washington
4nadia

Washington

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 42%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 10%

Medical Expenses 5%

Moving & Relocation 4%

Other 22%

DC
Sean Pavone

Washington, DC

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 39%

Major Purchase 4%

Home Improvement 5%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 4%

Business Expenses 6%

Home & Auto Financing 9%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 5%

Other 23%

West Virginia
” Chayanisa Puttamata”

West Virginia

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 33%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 10%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 2%

Business Expenses 2%

Home & Auto Financing 15%

Medical Expenses 3%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 23%

Wisconsin
DepositPhotos.com

Wisconsin

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 40%

Major Purchase 7%

Home Improvement 6%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 3%

Business Expenses 4%

Home & Auto Financing 11%

Medical Expenses 4%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 21%

Wyoming
AnujSahaiPhotography

Wyoming

Card Refinancing & Debt Consolidation 40%

Major Purchase 6%

Home Improvement 4%

Vacation & Wedding Expenses 1%

Business Expenses 5%

Home & Auto Financing 13%

Medical Expenses 6%

Moving & Relocation 3%

Other 22%

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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