Monday, October 6, 2008

Will Lay-a-way become a more popular option because of the country's economic woes?

I started working mid-way though high school part-time for a local small business owner who had an office in my neighborhood. During my summers and a few days after school, I would do filing and other minor tasks. I would spend the small amount of money I made working on clothing, cd's, movies and other random items teens like to buy. So, by the age of 16, I was pretty much paying for my own non-necessity purchases. I would take my checks and deposit them every Saturday at my local bank. I did not have a debit card at that time (I was too young), so I had to make withdrawals and deposits at the bank. I probably had better spending habits back then because I could not overspend because I had no credit or debit card, so if the cash wasn't in my pocket, I wasn't making the purchase.

In the late summer after working all summer, I would take my hard-earned money and go to Marshall's to buy my back-to-school clothes. I don't know if Marshall's still does this, but the one I shopped in back then had lay-a-way. So I would pick out my jackets, jeans and a few other clothing items, make a down payment and pay a little on my items each week until I paid it off and could take my purchases home. This allowed me to be independent and buy my own clothing in my own time-frame. I didn't have to make a purchase on credit (or rather my parent's credit) and this taught me how to put money aside for a goal.

With people working to pay down credit cards and other outstanding debt, wouldn't lay-a-way be an option for larger purchases that people don't have the money for up front? This would keep people from stopping spending on non-essential items all together because they wouldn't have to use credit. Just a thought...It will be interesting to see how much (or little) the American public spends this holiday season, because many people are talking about how they are feeling the pinch with higher gas costs and worrying about retirement and college savings. Anyone thinking about buying a home anytime soon will also have to bring a lot more cash to the table because mortgage loans qualifications are more stringent.

I think people (myself included) need to go back to the spending habits I had as a teen; putting money aside for goals such as long-term saving, a vacation or a piece of clothing instead of using credit or not saving. There is no better satisfaction than paying for something in cash and knowing you can afford it.


YBP said...

i was thinking about that too... the only store I know that still has lay a way is Kmart. I think this year I may utilize their services, I had started a christmas savings account, but refuse to take the money out and buy gifts, I need to protect myself before I buy gifts for my loved ones, lay-a-way is a realistic option for me.

Bonnie said...

Sears used to have layaway back when I worked there (but that was in 1992). You might want to check.