Dave's Take On Layaway

Jay wants to know how Dave feels about using a layaway program.

QUESTION: Jay in Raleigh wants to know how Dave feels about using a layaway program.

ANSWER: There’s nothing wrong with just saving up and buying stuff when you have the money to buy it. That’s not a bad plan. I’m not a huge fan of layaway. It’s not like it solves some big problem or something. In the rare instance that you have a particular thing that is on sale or whatever and you can take advantage of it and you don’t have the cash, you set it aside on layaway, that’s fine. I would not do layaway that has fees. You might as well borrow the money if you’re doing that.

A lot of these stores are bringing back layaway to try to stimulate sales, and they’re doing it with no fees. The reality is retail is just down, and they’re doing anything they can to stimulate retail. People are just kind of getting disgusted with credit cards. They’re not willing to charge anymore, and yet they still see that thing they want, and the retailer’s trying to move the product line.

If it’s a non-fee layaway and if it’s a rare instance, I don’t have a problem with it. If you don’t have the money, a good rule of thumb is you can’t afford it. Just don’t get in the habit of lusting for things that you don’t own, because that lack of contentment is always tied to people being broke. In general, I’m not a big fan, but on the rare occasion without a fee, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I would never pay a fee for it, and I wouldn’t want to make it a habit—a way of life—because then you just stay chained to this layaway program just like you’d be chained to debt.