An old idea is new again: Christmas layaways.
It is a nice idea especially for people who are trying to ease up on the credit cards and intend to pay for Christmas this year with cash. It also means that you can get the hot gift when it's available and before Black Friday shoppers have stripped the shelves.
That being said, there are some things to keep in mind if you choose to use layaways from smartaboutmoney.org
* Make sure you know the layaway terms: down payment, the payment schedule and payment amount. If you buy $200 worth of presents, make sure you can pay off $40 each week (4 payments - $40 down).
* Make a shopping list and be realistic about what you can afford. Remember, you will have to pay it off in a relatively short period of time.
* Make sure you understand the service fees and the store’s layaway cancellation and refund policies.
* When going to the store to make payments, get in and get out. Impulse buys can wreck your budget.
* Keep accurate and detailed records of your layaway contract, purchases, and all payments. Also, watch sale ads. If something you put on layaway goes on sale, the store should match.
* Layaway helps you afford that special gift. But the real value is learning the financial discipline that can help you beyond the holidays.
Happy holiday hunting!