Sunday, August 07, 2005

DIY Layaway for Tech

I am a gadget guy. Always have my eye on something. Frequently out of the range of my budget and as for saving, if I have easy access to my money I most likely will be spending it.

My current desire is an ultra-portable PC or Tablet PC, average price after taxes and shipping is around 2K. Enough money that I will have to figure out a way to save for it.

My current idea is creating my own layaway. Now if the model was available locally at say a Best Buy, CompUSA I would simply go and purchase gift cards. That would tie my money up, with the limitation that it would be good for that location.

My other idea is the VISA/MasterCard cards that can be purchased by almost anyone and have money added to them. This so far is a great solution. Only downside I have seen on these is that they charge about five dollars a month to carry a balance, but have the advantage of being usable just about anywhere and can even be used at a cash machine.

Probably the best solution is American Express Travelers checks which are about universally redeemable and all charges are up front.

I really wish one of the big companies would realize the potential of creating a layaway card. They would make money just like a bank, but investing the cash until the card is used. In this scenario they would get maybe a small one time fee for the card, charge nothing to the owner for using it, except if used at an atm, and still make their percentage that they get when ever anything is purchased with the card.

The advantages for people who have problem saving are tremendous. Plus if they were really smart to increase usage they could pay a small interest on the money based on how long it takes it to be used, say about a savings account rate.

If anyone has seen one of these VISA/MasterCard based ones with low fees please reply, think it would be nice to post if for everyone, the Poor Man's Layaway plan.


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