Stretching Your Dollar: Layaway gives shoppers options

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Layaway shopping is quickly becoming a more viable option for many Americans during the current recession.

Customers at Burlington Coat Factory in Charlotte can put items on layaway without having to rack up huge debt on credit cards.

"Since we opened the store a year ago, we have more layaway plans than we know what to do with," said manager Debbie Caldwell.  "It's the new way of paying for things."

At Burlington Coat Factory, their layaway requires shoppers to deposit 20 percent of the total purchase price and pay it off within 60 days.

Unlike most credit cards, most layaway plans don't charge interest.  So, all the money you pay the store actually goes toward the purchase price of the item.

Shedrick Foster is the father of three and he loves the layaway option.

"It keeps me from using my credit cards because my wife and I we just paid off a Sam's credit card, a Wal-mart credit card, and a Washington Mutual credit card," Foster said.  "We don't want to find ourselves paying those off again."

Even high-end boutiques like Sloan on East Blvd are now offering layaway for customers.

Be sure to do your homework, though.  Make sure you understand the store's layaway policy, and check to see if you will be charged any fee if you change your mind about purchasing the item.