While watching tv the other day, I noticed that Kmart is really pushing their layaway plan. It seems that layaway has made a comeback this year. I remember layaway from my childhood and that it was a popular way to purchase Christmas gifts, but it seems like the popularity of credit cards had done away with it.
Until this year.
I did a little research, and I think I like the idea of layaway. At least as compared to buying something on a credit card and having to pay it off later.
Of course, it’s not free. From what I understand, Kmart’s layaway plan requires a $5 fee, plus a down payment of $10 or 10%, whichever is greater. Make all your payments, the item is yours for just $5 over the price of the item. Default and you lose your fee and down payment.
Thinking about it, I think I like the idea of layaway, at least as compared to the idea of buying something on a credit card and paying ever increasing interest. Mentally, there’s more incentive to make the payments – you’ve already paid money and if you don’t pay, you don’t get your item. It’s not like getting something for nothing and then having to work to pay it off. The reward at paying off your credit cards is being debt free (which sounds great to me, but others don’t see it as much of a reward). The reward for paying for your layaway item is actually getting to take the item home.
Of course, the real plan should be to not buy things you can’t afford and budget yourself to save the money so that you can buy the item in full if you really want it or need it. But that sort of budgeting doesn’t work for everyone. That said, layaway can be an educational process in a way. It can teach you to budget a little bit every month until something is paid off – if it works for making layaway payments, it can also work for saving on your own.