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I was having dinner with my family last night and somehow we started talking about how they used to put things on layaway. For those unfamiliar with layaway, it was basically an extended payment program. You select the items you wanted to purchase but you didn't have the money to pay for them in full right then. The store would set the items aside for you and allow you to make small payments over time until the balance was paid in full. Once you were paid in full, you could take your items. The maximum time to keep something on layaway was up to 3-4 months. You were required to make payments weekly or biweekly to keep the account current.

Wal-Mart and Kmart were some of the most popular places to put things on layaway. Kmart still allows you to put items on layaway; but most of the stores have closed. Wal-Mart chose to do away with the layaway option in 2006 citing declining use and increasing costs. According to the companies website, the company phased out the layaway program as it was expanding its other financing options. (In order words, we want to cater to the customers need for instant gratification and charge them for the privilege).

You had the option of paying for your layaway in full at any time and getting your purchases. You also had the option to change your mind and get your money back, minus a small restocking fee. There were limits to items that you could put on layaway. For example, you were not able to put food items or clearance items on layaway.

When I was growing up, my mother used the layaway program to purchase my Christmas presents. She would select all of the items she wanted to get me a few months before Christmas and then put them on layaway. The store would then hold all my toys and any other items and allow her to make small,
interest free, payments until the balance was paid in full.

In light of the current economy, I think they need to bring back the layaway program. Of course, you could always have your own layaway program. Simply save money in a separate account until you can pay for your desired purchase in full.

Image Credit: Jetheriot


  1. Jennifer // October 20, 2008 at 7:24 AM  

    Interestingly, K-Mart has recently started advertising their layaway program again. I haven't seen a commercial for their layaway in YEARS, if I ever have, come to think of it. Too bad the only K-Mart store in our area is really rundown and just an unpleasant place to shop most of the time.

  2. Angie // October 20, 2008 at 11:00 AM  

    Layaway went away because it wasn't economical for stores. I used to work in layaway and I would say only about 25% of the items put back there were actually picked up. The entire thing was just an exercise of moving merchandise from the store, to a box in the back, back to the shelves a few months later. Usually on clearance or sale because the items were so old. This only results in higher prices for everyone else. Just so it can force others to save? Not really worth it to bring back I'd say.

  3. Dj RyB // October 20, 2008 at 12:15 PM  

    Hell ya I remember layaway! I think I still have some things stocked away that I forgot about somewhere at a local Marshall's!

    I guess that speaks to Angie's point because everyone else must have done the same thing...

  4. Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet // October 20, 2008 at 12:20 PM  

    Wow... layaway. That brings back some memories. My parents never put things on layaway but my best friend's parents would. They would go school clothes shopping and then put it all on layaway. I swear they always had something on layaway.

    Layaway... i love the name.

  5. sara l // October 20, 2008 at 12:42 PM  

    I feel like I've seen a few layaway commercials recently.

  6. Tiffanie @ welikemoney.com // October 21, 2008 at 1:40 AM  

    i worked at walmart when they did away with layaway and boy oh boy did that cause a scene with our customers! i don't blame them...that was a way for people to do their christmas shopping ahead of time w/o having to go broke all at once.

  7. Today's Budget // October 24, 2008 at 11:31 AM  

    I blogged about layaway plans the other day as well with some guidance on How to.

  8. MoneyEnergy // October 25, 2008 at 2:12 PM  

    I think using the savings account as a layaway program makes the most sense. Thanks for bringing this up, I'd forgotten about layaways, but I would have been too young to use them anyway.

  9. Kashif Azeem // November 1, 2008 at 12:37 PM  

    Layaway programs normally increases interest of many involving buyers...

    But not economical for stores so now no one can see these sort of programs.

  10. Casine Beting // November 2, 2008 at 1:08 AM  

    I don't remember any programs, thaks to this post and comments on it otherwise I may not know what exactly is it.

  11. Guniwan // November 2, 2008 at 10:14 AM  

    This is concept in old times I guess. In modern days it has vanished away.

  12. Carpet My Carport // November 5, 2008 at 7:30 PM  

    Check out this link that was forwarded to me today. http://www.elayaway.com/

    It may be worth checking out.

  13. Babies R Us Coupons // November 7, 2008 at 11:03 PM  

    Quite informative post on some classic programs..

  14. Outsource Bookkeeping // November 18, 2008 at 10:42 AM  

    Although the idea is bit old but still can work a lot. Thanks for sharing classics...

  15. Katie // November 26, 2008 at 4:30 PM  

    I used to use Walmarts layaway plan for Christmas purchases. Around the first of September, I would go "shopping" for the children's presents.... bring the stuff to the layaway counter and got my receipt. I then made payments every week and best of all, I didnt have to store or hide any of these gifts until about 2 weeks before Christmas. I would pick up the stuff, go home, wrap the presents and put what wasnt from Santa under the tree and put the Santa presents (wrapped) in my closet. It was so nice. Christmas paid in full before Christmas, no fighting over items, no shopping in December and getting caught in the "thats so cute" mantra.

    I love layaway plans. I wish all stores would bring them back.

  16. Back Office services // February 18, 2009 at 6:39 AM  

    This presentation differ from other posts....
    Back Office services

  17. Numia // July 20, 2009 at 8:31 AM  

    Its great and wish more stores would bring it back.

  18. mano // October 9, 2009 at 6:53 AM  

    I haven't heard of layaway... came to know about something new to me... thanks for the author