Ditch the Credit and Give Layaway a Try


Perhaps Kmart’s recent promotion of their layaway plan for back-to-school shoppers was a needed reminder for us all that there was a form of payment used to purchase goods before credit cards became popular.  With the current “buy now and pay later” mentality that’s permeated American life it’s hard to believe there was a time before credit cards.

However, the first general purpose credit cards for consumers were not introduced until the 1960s.  Before that people used money (they had on hand or in the bank) to pay for everything, sometimes using installment plans like layaway.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average family spends nearly $600 on back-to-school supplies. This year considering the country-wide economic crunch and soaring unemployment, many families did not have this large sum of money all at once, however the beauty of layaway is that you can pay in full over a specified period of time. 

“We recognize many families may be unable to make the necessary…purchases without a proper plan in place,” said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer for Kmart.  “To alleviate some of this financial pressure, we encourage them to manage their budgets by taking advantage of Kmart’s layaway plan.”

“I love layaway,” says Curtis May a Pennsylvania based registered financial consultant and principle of May Financial Services.  “It causes people to plan their expenditures and not rack up bad debt(consumer debt).” May spent 15 years as a representative and Regional Vice President with a Subsidiary Company of CitiGroup and also worked with Citi-Street, a division of Citigroup with Travelers, providing retirement planning to teachers in the Philadelphia and the Chester Upland School Districts.

In a recent interview with TNJ.com May said “If you can’t pay it off in 30 days don’t charge it. The truth is you can’t afford it.”  May, whose goal is to educate families about money and financial independence says his favorite book right now is Money for Life… in good times and bad by Jeffery Reeves.  This book, according to May, can help readers break out of the debt paradigm of earn/borrow/spend/repay.  “People can’t get ahead if they don’t learn,” he said.  He instructs his clients to reframe their priorities in this order: savings first, second lifestyle and third investing.

The one beneficial reason to borrow money is to make money says May.  “That is good debt.  Bad debt is consumer debt.”

May says his main objective is to help middle income families and small and medium sized business owners to grow and protect their net-worth and to construct a positive “personal economy so that they can survive and prosper in good and bad economic times.”

Another book he recommends is Rich Dad’s Increasing Your Financial IQ by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

May holds licenses in life health and property casualty insurance. He is a Registered Financial Consultant with the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants. IARFC. He has also received his designation as Certified Liability Advisor and teaches how to manage debt.  He gives workshops on topics ranging from basic financial literacy, to how to retire on a tax free retirement income.

For more information visit www.cmayfinancial.com