Thursday, October 4, 2012

{31 Days to a Stress-Free Christmas} Day 3~Consider Lay-a-way

About 5 years ago, I went out on a limb and decided to try a lay-a-way program for purchasing our families Christmas gifts. I am totally sold on lay-a-ways.

Getting Started
The first thing to do is to get the details of the law-a-way program from the stores in your area. Some stores charge a small fee others offer free lay-a-way. Other thing to find out are what is the duration of the lay-a-way, when are payments to be made, how much must be paid each time, and when the lay-a-way must be picked up. One year the lay-a-way had to be picked up by the first week in December. Last year the store I use didn't have any specific date, which was nice because it gave me a few extra weeks to pay it off. You also want to know what can and cannot be put on lay-a-way. Some stores do not allow certain electronic items to be put on law-a-way.

The Benefits
  • I refuse to use credit cards to pay for Christmas gifts. I don't want any big bills I have to pay off in January. By using a Lay-a-way, I don't have to have all the cash up front. I can budget money out of each paycheck to make the payments and when I bring the things home I owe no one.  
  • I make a point to start my lay-a-way in October. By doing this, I not only avoid the crowds but I don't feel like everything has been picked over. 
  • I don't have to find places at home to store everything for months. The store that I use packs everything in a few large boxes while I watch. How is this a benefit, you ask?...let's just say... no longer do gifts get hidden so well, that even I can't find them. 
  • I can pick up the lay-a-way early on a weekday morning, bring everything home and wrap it.
The Drawbacks
  • Most of the "hot ticket" items of the year are not out yet in September or October so if your shopping for people that have asked for the latest and greatest this may not work for you. This has never been an issue in our family. 
  • It can be overwhelming to do all that shopping on one day. 
  • You have to remember to go to the store and make a payment each week or two. 
  • There is an outside chance that the store could lose or misplace your lay-a-way although this has not happened to me.
For our family, the benefits far out way the drawbacks. It gives me peace of mind to know that all the gifts have been purchased without using credit cards. 

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