Back to the future: Layaway plans resurge

Center for Personal Finance editors



SYRACUSE, N.Y. (11/2/11)--Consumers pondering how to pay for items this holiday season, but without accumulating debt, are turning to an old standby--store layaway programs (YNN Oct. 22).
 
Many large retailers are either starting layaway programs or expanding existing ones, while marketing them hard to consumers who are strapped for cash or credit (The Press Enterprise Oct. 22).
 
Layaway lets you get the things you want by putting them on hold and paying for them over time. Once you pay off the balance, you get to take your purchases home. Toys, electronics, and apparel are the most popular layaway items, but some consumers use layaway for whatever they need. The best thing about the programs? You've paid in full and haven't racked up credit card charges.
 
But before you slap money on the table and reserve those things you just can't live without, understand how layaway programs work. Consider:
 
 
If you prefer to shop online, don't worry. Several retailers offer layaway services through eLayaway.com. You'll pay a 1.9% fee for every $100 worth of merchandise, and pay a $25 fee if you cancel your purchase.
 
For more ideas about controlling holiday spending, read "Smart Spending Puts Holiday Shoppers in Control of Cart" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.