More incentives

Stores try harder and harder to draw in customers

Christmas is around the corner, and stores have already started advertising holiday bargains.

As the holidays near, shopping is something some look forward to, but for others it’s just another holiday you have to spend money on.  For students who don’t have the cash to pay for items up front or have challenges with credit, layaway is a great option for holiday shopping. Stores like Kmart and Sears offer layaway year round. Stores know customers are really pressured from a cash-flow perspective nowadays, so layaway is really another way for them to get what they need for the holidays or even beyond the holidays without breaking the bank or just not getting what they need.

For years now I have always been one to wake up at 5 a.m. and stand in the long lines that most people would never think of waiting in on Black Friday. As the years go on, however, I started to notice fewer and fewer people shopping for the holidays. With the economy being so bad, especially for college students who have to pay back loans and pay their monthly rent, when it comes to Christmas most students just don’t have the money to buy their friends or family that special gift.

I think having layaway as an option will keep the stores busy and keep the sales coming. Kmart and Sears offer an eight-week layaway program, which requires a $5 service fee and a down payment of $15 or 10 percent of the total, whichever is greater. Most merchandise is eligible. There are a lot more stores doing this and having customers choosing this option of payment.

Stores are making more of an effort to draw customers in to spend money. There are sweepstakes you can enter on Facebook to receive prices and coupons. Credit unions and Staples are giving away gift cards and prepaid Visa cards for recycling.

It’s a good idea to look around at coupons and different store offers when looking for Christmas ideas for your loved ones. Companies are trying to draw us in; however, they are giving us a reason to purchase that is somewhat reasonable.