Send Me Your Money!

Nov 4, 2013 by

eagle scout badge
A comment on my post Walmart Layaway Still Sucks gave me an idea: if people think a mega-corporation holding their money for them while charging fees and paying no interest is an appealing service, why shouldn’t Money Counselor offer the same only better? I mean, I like holding money, especially other people’s money. And I’m trustworthy—certainly more so than Walmart or any other corporate entity—and I’ve got the Eagle Scout badge to prove it. Or you could ask my Mom. So with this post I’m announcing the official launch of

 

→ The Money Counselor Layaway Program! ←

 

How Money Counselor Layaway Works

The MC Layaway Program works like this:

  1. You send me money.
  2. I’ll hold it for you.
  3. When you want your money, I’ll send it to you.
  4. You buy something with the money.

Let’s Compare Money Counselor and Walmart Layaway

My layaway program is far better than Walmart’s. Here’s why:

  • You open a Walmart layaway account at the Walmart.com Service Desk. If you’re able to find something called “Service Desk” at Walmart.com (I wasn’t), you can be sure of turning over lots of personal information in the process of opening a layaway account. To open a Money Counselor layaway account, just mail me a check. You might enclose a stick of gum. I like gum.
  • To open a Walmart layaway account, you must deposit at least 10% of the price of whatever it is Walmart will be pretending physically to “layaway” for you. In contrast, you can send to me as much or as little money as you want to hold in your Money Counselor layaway account. I won’t even ask what you’re planning to buy.
  • Items laid away at Walmart must cost at least $15. Again, with Money Counselor layaway, what you’re planning to buy and how much it costs is your business.
  • With Walmart layaway, you must fully pay for the item or items Walmart’s fake reserving for you by December 13. Otherwise your junk items are sent back to China (or something). With my layaway program, I’m happy to hold your money as long as you’d like, no questions asked.
  • If you cancel your Walmart layaway account, you’re hit with a $10 fee. If you cancel your Money Counselor layaway account, I’ll just send you all of your money (less the CDN$1.16 cost of Canada/U.S. postage if you live in the USA). Just drop me an email: “Hey Kurt, please send me my money, okay?” Done.
  • You make Walmart layaway payments at a store register. With Money Counselor layaway, just send me a check—you don’t have to waste gasoline, fight for a parking space, and rub elbows with mobs of, well, Walmart shoppers.
  • Walmart layaway is available only for “Electronics, Automotive Electronics, Toys, Infant Toys, Select Sporting Goods, Small Appliances, and Jewelry.” Wireless phones that require contracts are specifically ineligible for layaway. Here too Money Counselor layaway beats Walmart: when I send your money back to you, you can buy whatever you want with it.

No contest, right?

I Know What You’re Thinking

You’re thinking, “Why should I send this idiot blogger my money? If I want to buy something, I can just save for it in my own bank account or ask my sister to hold the money for me.”

Exactly. So why would you let Walmart (or any other retailer) hold your money through a crummier layaway program than Money Counselor’s?

But if I’m wrong, and you’re thinking you’d like to open a Money Counselor layaway account, just drop me a note, and I’ll send you my postal address.

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  • Travis Pizel

    Nice tongue in cheek article, Kurt….however, allow me to play devil’s advocate for the layaway program for a minute. :)

    Let’s say that you have you eye on an item, let’s call it Widget A. You have a plan to save your money to buy it as a Christmas present for your family, but you haven’t reached your goal yet. You know that while the shelves are stocked with Widget A right now, the closer it gets to Christmas the harder it’s going to be to find. Does that justify using layaway….being able to guarantee that the item will be available?

    Or…

    I *believe* that if an item is on sale, you can put it on layaway for the sale price. What if you haven’t met your savings goals, but Widget A goes on a killer sale. Does that justify putting the item on layaway?

    or are both of these instances just ways to justify buying something you don’t currently have the money for?

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt @ Money Counselor

      Travis, thanks so much for taking the time to make this thoughtful comment!

      My thought is there could be rare circumstances that using a retailer’s layaway program may make sense, assuming that the buyer really can afford the item–it fits in their budget, etc. Let me make a few observations though, for whatever they’re worth:

      – I think layaway’s overwhelming purpose is the same as credit cards’ overwhelming purpose: to induce people to buy things they really can’t afford (by my definition of ‘afford’).
      – I think a big part of the marketing behind layaway is creating the illusion of scarcity–‘this item may not be available later–you better get it now!’ I have not seen Walmart’s or any other retailer’s layaway agreement, but I’d bet a lot that the fine print includes verbiage along the lines of the retailer is not guaranteeing delivery or availability of laid away items. The false image that the word “layaway” conjures–that Walmart has a big warehouse where it literally puts aside laid away items with each customers’ name attached is part of the illusion.
      – Yes, consumers have been well conditioned to jump on big sales. I’m not a shopper Travis and I tend toward minimalism (i.e., I’m an oddball :) ), so take that into account, but you know what? There’s always another sale, there’s always another latest wiz-bang gizmo, there’s always another must-have item. If I hadn’t yet saved enough for an item and then saw it on sale, I would try to recognize that I may find an even better price later, that even if I don’t and decide to pass on the item, it’s not the end of the world! Part of the benefit of saving for something is many times one will realize during the process that he or she didn’t really want it that badly after all! Sales of course are designed to short circuit such sensible consideration. And that’s in part why the rental storage space business is booming! :)

      Thanks again!

  • cellotime

    This sounds like a great plan! And I think it could save me money too! Instead of all that Walmart shopping it’s like having a bank that doesn’t engage in risky lending. You may be on to something here. Of course I haven’t spent a dime at Walmart in the last decade so maybe not…

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt @ Money Counselor

      Keeping your distance from Walmart is a sound strategy.

  • http://www.debtroundup.com/ Grayson @ Debt Roundup

    Excellent program! Why not have people send you their money? I hope your new sweet program works well, though you can’t call it layaway because you aren’t holding any product for them to purchase once they save up the money. You are just providing a savings account.

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt @ Money Counselor

      I bet Walmart’s not holding customers’ products for them either. Question: what do you suppose are the odds that a Walmart layaway customer would actually be able physically to pick up a product that’s not at that moment in time also on the shelf? Not to repeat myself (see my reply to Travis), but part of the marketing allure of layaway is the illusion of scarcity.

  • squirrelers

    Ha! Competition for the big guys, eh?
    Yeah, I know you’re making a point with the post :)
    You know, the whole concept of layaway is odd to me. Really, if someone wants something, he or she should just buy it. This means having the money to pay for it upon making the purchase. If the purchase will be charged on a credit card, the bill should be paid in full upon when due. If paying cash, you pay the whole thing up front.
    But that makes too much sense :)

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt @ Money Counselor

      Life’s simple, eh?

      Everything a retailer does has the goal of inducing customers to spend more than they otherwise would. Layaway’s no different.

  • MoneySmartGuides

    HAHA! I love this and I’ve been thinking along the same lines since I first heard the exciting news that Walmart layaway is back. And they expect me to be excited about that?? I just don’t get it. By the way, if you find anyone that want you as your Money Counselor for layaway, let me know if you need a partner!!

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt @ Money Counselor

      You bet! If Walmart can make money on layaway, why couldn’t we?

  • Demaish @ Borrowed Cents

    Nice program. The fees would be the little interest you make which can be a lot once more people send you their money. Some people cannot save in their accounts to prevent spending it on other things.

  • http://frugalportland.com/ Kathleen O’Malley

    wait, Kurt… my checkbook is OUT… I don’t see where to send a check!

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt @ Money Counselor

      Try this:

      Kurt Fischer
      Canada

      I think it’ll get to me. There aren’t so many people up here as in the USA, eh?

  • http://www.saveandconquer.com/ Bryce@saveandconquer.com

    I understand what you are saying, but layaway plans are mostly used by people who do not have bank accounts, or have one basic account for their Social Security checks to be deposited into, and are typically not computer literate. They couldn’t open an internet bank savings account if they wanted to.

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt @ Money Counselor

      How about the tried & true envelope system? Or glass jar system? Stuff in cash until the savings goal is met. Just think of a glass jar as Walmart, Inc., and there you go.

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