Layaway can have perks like getting some shopping done early, locking in a (hopefully) good price, and of course, spend within your planned amounts for Christmas. There can be coal though lurking in amongst those gifts though.

There can be opening fees associated with layaway accounts so carefully read the fine print. Which means you can pay more for something you aren’t getting right away. Plus it takes more out of what you can spend on gifts!

It is possible that once you lock in the price at layaway if it happens to go lower you aren’t able to get that Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal.

If you change your mind there can be a cancellation or a restocking fee for what you have in your layaway account.

There even can be item restrictions on layaway accounts that may include marked down items, furniture, and jewelry.

Of course, I have to mention the urge to spend more because you can spread the payments out. Always, always, always stick to your plan. Remember your plan can change but not while standing at the cash register. It needs to be well thought out and then adjusted. Stay the course!

Paying with cash will always give you the best edge so you can be in control of your spending at all times without any fees or penalties.

12 THINGS AT CHRISTMAS THAT CAN ADD DEBT TO ME – 4. Adding More People To Your Gift List

I am sure everyone has this moment before…someone who has never given you a gift before suddenly gives you a gift. AWKWARD MOMENT. You immediately panic and wonder what to say. Do you lie and say, “Oh no, I left your gift for at home.” Which means that you are now obligated to go and buy a gift, even you weren’t intending on buying in the first place which was NOT part of your spending plan. Beyond that, consider that this one instance where you feel you have to a gift may turn into an annual obligation for years to come! Not good. Don’t add more people to your gift list that you do not sincerely WANT to give a gift too!

In these types of situations, honesty is always the best policy and you can avoid years of gift obligation by just saying, “I am surprised by your thoughtful, generous gift. I didn’t know we were exchanging gifts. I feel terrible I have nothing for you, but I just love the gift. Thank you very much.” Period. Nothing more needs to be said. You have recognized that they are thoughtful and generous AND that you don’t have a gift for them. No further obligation this Christmas or any other.

Gift giving can easily get out of control very fast. Only give gifts that you have planned on in your spending plan and within limits, you set per person. Then you can have a peaceful Christmas by staying on the right financial track!

12 THINGS AT CHRISTMAS THAT CAN ADD DEBT TO ME – 3. Using Credit Cards For Gift Loans

It can feel great to get that treasured item on your loved one’s list that they have always wanted. Even if you can’t pay for in full, your credit card allows you to get it now. Just put it on a credit card. That way you can make payments and it’ll be MUCH more affordable, right? Wrong.

Debt creeps up on you like snow piling up during a snow storm. You don’t notice how quickly it’s piling up because you’re not really paying attention. Then the slow-moving avalanche of credit card debt can bury when you are blinded by the emotion of getting what you want now. And once you start leaving a balance forward on your credit card it is soooo easy to just keep adding to that balance because the payment is so low AND you have more credit available!  So why not get that gift now and have what you want, and then pay it off a little at a time?

Well, unfortunately, the card does have a limit, and once that card’s limit has been reached, you still need to pay on it every month, for a very long time. No problem, just open up a new card account and use that one, until that one is maxed out. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Before you know it, your credit runs out, and you’re up to your eyeballs in debt, paying minimum payments for on things you don’t even have anymore! You could be in debt for years, maybe even decades paying high rates of interest on that special Christmas gift you HAD to get, leaving you no money left over for the things you really need.

Don’t get blinded by the snow storm.  Spend responsibly, if you can’t pay for it now, don’t buy it. Put the money you would have spent on interest into investments. That way you’ll have the money to get what you want in the future.