The holidays are just around the corner. If you’re on a tight budget, that news may be enough to make you break a sweat. The holidays can be an expensive time of the year. Many families not only break their budget but actually go into debt to afford gifts. Layaway may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
What Is Layaway?
Layaway is a system many stores offer. You essentially buy the item or gift now and pay for it over time. The store hangs on to the item and you take it home once you’ve paid for it in full. Most layaway programs set up a regular billing system so you are able to schedule regular payments and have the gift paid off by the holidays.
The Benefits of Layaway
There are actually a number of benefits to layaway, including the opportunity to save money.
#1 You can buy the item on sale now. It’s sure to go up when the holidays roll around. This saves you money.
#2 You don’t have to pay interest. If you were to buy the item on credit, then you’d have to pay interest. Layaway doesn’t charge interest. If a store tries to charge you interest, it’s not a true layaway program.
#3 You ensure the item is available. Stores regularly run out of in-demand items during the holiday season. When you buy an item on layaway, you ensure that you are actually going to be able to give it as a gift.
#4 Easy payment installments. Chances are, it’s much easier to find a few dollars a week in your budget now than to find a few hundred in your budget when the holidays roll around. It’s much easier to pay for items over time than in a large lump sum.
#5 You get your holiday shopping done early. Unless you enjoy fighting the crowds during the holiday shopping season, layaway helps you accomplish your holiday shopping early.
How to Find Layaway Programs
Most stores offer some sort of layaway program. While many don’t advertise the program, all you have to do is ask. When money is tight for everyone, stores are doing what they can to help consumers buy.
Make sure you’re not paying any interest. Ask about any layaway fees; some stores do charge a bit to hold onto the item. And ask about payment plans, direct payment and when you can pick up your item.
If you’re on a budget and you want to get your shopping done early, consider layaway. It’s a tried and true solution to holiday shopping and spending.
For many families, travel is part of the holiday season. Some travel to visit family, while others like to take a trip during the holiday season. Traveling (as you probably well know) is not only hectic during the holidays, it’s also darned expensive.
Whether you’re heading to grandma and grandpa's or you’re hitting the slopes this holiday season, you can save money.
Here are seven tips to save money on holiday travel.
#1 Buy early. Book now, before the holidays are on everyone’s radar. You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars buying your tickets and booking your hotel rooms now. Check out individual airline websites for prices. Also check travel websites for deals.
#2 Buy a package. Often you can get a great deal on travel if you buy a packaged deal. On many sites, that will include hotel, rental car and flights. Depending on where you’re going, it might also include show tickets, lift tickets or activities.
#3 Book the trip yourself. Yes, travel agents are a wonderful help when you don’t know where you’re going. They can tell you the best places to stay and often get a good deal. However, if you know where you’re going and what you want to do when you get there, book the trip yourself using one of the many travel websites.
#4 Be flexible. This is particularly helpful if you buy early. Be flexible with the dates and times of your travel. If you’re able to fly on a Thursday instead of a Saturday, for example, you could save a few hundred dollars on air travel alone.
#5 Change your mode of transportation. Can you travel by train or bus instead of air? If so, check out the rates. You may be able to save hundreds on your trip and have a new adventure to talk about.
#6 Bring food from home. If you’re traveling by car to your destination, grab a cooler and pack it with food from home. You’ll save tons of cash because you won’t have to eat out, and you’ll be healthier too.
#7 Rent a house. Instead of booking a hotel room for your trip, consider renting a home or condo. There are websites available that list vacation homes for rent. This is a great way to save money because you can cook your meals at home. Additionally, depending on your destination you can save money by renting a home instead of a hotel room.
Vacation travel doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Plan early, research your options and look for packages and deals that make sense. You may just have the best holiday yet!
Are you tired of giving the same old commercialized brand name gifts to friends and family? Are you looking for something unique and personalized to give this year? On a budget and trying to be creative? Here are five great places to help you get started on your quest!
#1 Etsy - Etsy is a website that sells vintage items along with handmade items. There are some real artisans here. You can find everything from home goods to beautiful pieces of art and jewelry on Etsy.
It works much like eBay in that each seller has their own store. Etsy takes PayPal, which makes paying for your purchases quick and easy. And you can contact the artist or seller to ask questions. One of the wonderful things about Etsy, besides the variety of products you can purchase, is the unique nature. Many items are one of a kind items that you just cannot get anywhere else.
Additionally, there’s something satisfying about helping small business owners and artists make a living. The Etsy website is http://www.etsy.com
#2 Foodzie - If you love food or the person you’re buying for is a real foodie, consider visiting Foodzie. Much like Etsy, Foodzie is a website set up to help chefs, bakers and food artists from around the world sell their wares.
You can buy anything from kicking hot salsa to amazing cookies and baked goods. Candies, cheese, meats and just about everything under the sun is available at Foodzie. It’s a great place to try new food and to buy unique gifts at a low cost.
You may want to try the food before you give it as a gift to make sure it’s what you’re looking for. You can also read reviews posted about the sellers to help minimize risk. Like Etsy you can pay via PayPal.
Consider using Foodzie to create one of a kind gift baskets. http://foodzie.com
#3 Ebay - If your recipient loves vintage, consider shopping on eBay for their holiday gift. Many of eBay's items are auctions; however, there are also some great buy it now offers. Antiques, vintage jewelry, and even photographs and movie posters can be found online at eBay. It’s a fun place to do your holiday shopping. http://www.ebay.com
#4 Charities - Every year more and more charities are promoting themselves as a gift giving option. You can donate in your recipient’s name to anything from the Red Cross to buying a cow in Africa to feed a family. You can help children learn, deliver water to families in drought-ridden areas or help the homeless. It’s a kind and rewarding gift.
#5 Zazzle - Zazzle is unique in the way that you can fully customize any item on their site. From jewelry to cards to cutting boards and baked goods, Zazzle is the largest and most unique shopping platform out there. A shop worth checking out is The Silver Snowflake, which carries a long list of fully customizable gifts. http://www.zazzle.com/thesilversnowflake
There’s no end to the unique gifts you can give to your friends and family. Check out these five ideas today and get started on what may be the best holiday yet.
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