Everything Old is New Again, Including "Layaway"
Layaway programs are back, and can be a great way to budget for holiday shopping.
So What Is Layaway?
When I was little, my family purchased back-to-school clothes and some Christmas gifts on a layaway plan. When I got my first real job, at a department store, they also offered employees a type of layaway. How does it work? You choose your item, make a small deposit and then pay a little bit towards the total each week. Some stores allow automated payments or online payments, and some stipulate how much needs to be paid, while years ago you just paid what you could. Unfortunately for me, with that first job, they deducted my “little bit” from my weekly paycheck. There were definitely some weeks when I’d actually "laid away" more than I earned… not a fun pay day. But flash forward to 2015 and we’re seeing the return of Layaway, with some very new rules.
The Benefits of Layaway or Buying On Time
- No credit card or credit check required. Perfect if you're rebuilding or trying to avoid using credit cards.
- Interest Free! Okay save money from the start!
- Avoid the long lines and traffic jams. Who doesn't want to do that?
- You can even do layaway online!
Limited Stores Offer Layaway plans
Years ago most stores offered layaway. They had backrooms with plenty of space to store all those clothes, toys, appliances and more. You chose your items and they got stashed away at the store until you’d paid the final installment. Once paid, you could take your stuff home. Happy Holidays! Today some stores in New Hampshire that are once again offering layaway: Sears, Walmart, Kmart, Toys R US, and even eLayaway which is actually an aggregator for many stores, which coordinates stores and your items in one centralized online location. But layaway rules and procedures vary from store to store. If you’re doing layaway this year, research the rules so you don’t lose the benefits (and your hard earned money).
Some points to consider:
- Some stores hold your items offsite. You may need to wait a few days (or weeks) to receive your item.
- Most stores charge cancellation and/or restocking fees. This could cost you if you change your mind or decide you can’t afford to pay for the item
- Not all stores offer the lower price when items reserved go on sale.
- Not all items are available for layaway. Big ticket items like electronics are usually included, but clothing, toys and smaller items may not.
Read the fine print and make sure you know what you’re getting into with your layaway agreement. It’s a great option for many, but it’s always best to be informed.
How do you control holiday spending? Share your tips below.
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