AAFES Offering Free Holiday Layaway

AAFES Free layawayJust in time for the pre-holiday season, Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) will be waiving the usual $3 layaway fee for eligible purchases.

This program, which began on 12 September, allows AAFES customers to make purchases of $25 or more and pay the balance between the purchase date and 24 December without an additional layaway fee. Purchases will require a 15% deposit, and all other usual layaway policies will apply.

I love this idea because it allows servicemembers to pay for their purchases over time without accruing interest on a credit card. By paying a little bit each paycheck, military families can enjoy a nice Christmas, Hannukah or Kwanzaa season without worrying about big bills arriving in January.

As a bonus, the gifts will also be out of your house until just before the holiday. I am terrible about creatively hiding gifts and then not being able to remember where I’ve put them. Knowing that they were all safely stored at someone else’s house would be a huge benefit for me!

Consider whether AAFES layaway is the right way for you to pay for your holiday shopping without getting into debt.  Let me know if you take advantage of this offer, and if it is beneficial for you.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Mitch

    Layaway sounds good, but it is really not that good.
    I completely disagree with this article, all Layaway does is make you spend more than you intended, Pay more interest on late fees, and leads the shopper into impulse buying.
    Our Society needs to gets its mind out of the gutter out of the now, now, now mindset and people need to get into a common sense that impulse buying and plans like layaway INCREASE your spending habits, not decrease them.
    For anyone who doesn’t agree with me, call up Dave Ramsey (Financial Geru) and tell him you are planning on putting item X on layaway with your credit card and see Dave’s Reaction to your stupidity.

    • Kate

      Mitch, you make some good points, but I disagree with your overall arguement. First, I specifically recommend layaway as a method of NOT using a credit card. Second, AAFES does not charge interest on layaway, nor do they charge late fees. Layaway with a reputable store can be a very sensible option for those who prefer not to get into debt.

      Yes, layaway can be a bad thing for the wrong type of consumer, and yes, there are plenty of people who need to change their views about shopping and general consumption.

      However, it would be foolish to categorically throw out a useful tool because some people misuse it. That would be like saying that we should never use fire because someone could be burned, or no one should ever take out a mortgage because some people obtained mortgages these could not afford.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective.