Layaway for the Holidays
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Layaway for the Holidays

Posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2013 at 8:00 am
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Gift MoneyTrying not to rack up huge amounts of credit card debt when holiday shopping? Who isn’t?! Instead of doing your shopping all at once and stretching your budget to the max, consider trying a layaway program. Layaway programs offer an affordable option in comparison to credit cards. The layaway option means you do your shopping at a particular store and put a down payment on your items. The store sets your items aside to ensure that no one else will purchase it. You then pay installments on your purchases until they are fully paid off. Keep in mind, depending on the store which you shop at or whether or not there is a special promotion, there could be a small percentage fee or a flat-out charge for putting something on layaway. To best utilize layaway programs we came up with some helpful tips:

1. Know What You’re Paying For

Utilizing layaway programs mean you’ll have to pay a little bit extra for participating in the program. Be sure to know what that extra fee is, the amount of time you are allowed to finish paying for the item, and whether there are any other store competitors with better prices. Keeping an eye on the layaway participation fee and shopping around for a competitive layaway fee will mean you get the best price and that you won’t have to pay a cancellation fee. You’ll also want to keep track of the amount of time you have to pay off an item because these time periods vary by store.

2. Keep Your Receipts and Store Layaway Policies Handy

Don’t get rid of your receipts or store layaway policies until you receive your purchases just in case the worst scenario happens. You can never be too prepared during the hectic holiday season! It’s best that you keep the two items together so you don’t lose either one.

3. Use Layaway Programs Sparingly and Realistically

Since with a layaway program you are paying over the asking price of an item it’s a good idea to use these types of programs sparingly. We recommend using them for big purchases (like a TV or computer) that you know you can afford. If you reserve layaway programs for special items you’re less likely to overextend yourself and your family budget. Besides, if you can’t afford the final payment for your purchases there is no point in using a layaway program to begin with, so shop pragmatically!

Don’t know what stores are offering layaway programs? We’ve included a short list to get you started: Toys R UsWalmartSearsMarshallsT.J. Maxx,  K-Mart, and Sears.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.