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Layaway now for a budgeted Christmas
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Even though the economy appears to be springing back on a number of fronts, most people still aren’t willing to increase debt right now. But the holidays are coming, no matter the state of the economy or your personal financial situation.
Economists are predicting consumers will trim their expectations and giving for the holidays. But there is one tried-and-true means of at least stabilizing your budget for the end-of-year celebrations. That is layaway.
More and more stores are offering layaway again, not only for holiday shopping, but for everyday items. Layaway lets you spread out paying for your items without the high interest of credit cards.
With layaway, you’ll put down a small deposit that includes a service fee and then make regular weekly or bi-weekly payments until the item is paid off. Even though there is a small fee for holding layaway items, it won’t be nearly as much as credit-card interest. It can also assure you get some popular items.
In the past, not all types of merchandise could be paid for by layaway. Nowadays, stores are more willing to expand the types of items. Layaway can be helpful for everyday items, even if you don’t need to take the whole eight weeks to pay for them. If you want to hold an item at a sale price even for just a few weeks, layaway is one method of ensuring that your merchandise will be available.
The downside of layaway is that you can’t miss any payments or the merchandise will be put back on the shelves. There is a cancellation fee if you don’t finish paying and want your money back.
If you want to lay away items, begin shopping now. Many stores require a contract, and most of them are for eight weeks. By shopping now, your merchandise will be paid for just in time for Christmas.
If your preferred stores don’t normally allow purchases to be put on layaway, call anyway to inquire if they’re doing layaways for the holidays. Many of them are. To get an idea of just how many stores are offering layaway now, go online and put “stores that offer layaway” in a browser.
The biggest benefit of layaway is that your purchases will be paid for by the time you get them, and you won’t end up suffering the credit-card blues when the bills come in after the holidays.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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