Looking to make a big-ticket purchase but feeling pinched by the state of your wallet? Consider using the built-in budgeting of a layaway program. How it works is simple: You buy an item, pay for it in increments over a fixed period of time and then take it home.
Toys R Us, Sears and Kmart are all anticipating that many shoppers will use layaway during this holiday shopping season. Toys R Us and Babies R Us, for example, allow shoppers to finance big purchases (such as a crib) with a 20 percent deposit and a $10 service charge (it's a contract). Between now and December 6 (when payments must be completed for holiday items), consumers pay down the balance. And unlike credit card purchases, there are no accrued interest charges.
Layaway isn't only for in-store purchases anymore, although that's certainly a popular option. Retailers, including Sears and Kmart, offer consumers the option of online layaway programs; as soon as you complete your payment schedule, your purchase is shipped to your door.