Layaway Makes a Comeback

This article was originally published by on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008.

No credit? No problem! Some businesses are dusting off a budget-friendly strategy familiar to your parents and grandparents. Now you can even get a replacement hip that way.

By Katherine Reynolds Lewis

After falling out of favor when credit was cheap and easy, the layaway is back.

"We have seen a huge increase," said Michael Bilello, the senior vice president of business development for eLayaway, which offers layaway plans for everything from big-screen televisions to hip replacements. "This is something fiscally responsible Americans are going to use."

Kmart even hired Kate Gosselin, a star of the reality television show "Jon & Kate Plus 8," to tout layaway as a sensible way to budget for Christmas while keeping gifts out of the house and safe from children's prying eyes.

Down Payments are Back

This article was originally published by in October 2008.

If you're buying a home this fall, you'll need a down payment of anywhere from 3% to 25% of the purchase price, depending on your lender, your credit score and where you're buying.

Just a couple of years ago, almost anyone could get 100% financing. Down payments were a relic of the '80s and '90s, sort of like Pac-Man and grunge rock.

But such irresponsible lending is why foreclosures are at a record high, the banking industry is collapsing and the economy is headed for a serious recession.

How to Survive a Bad Economy

This article was originally published by in September 2008.

It's hard to stay calm when every other day seems to bring news of another financial crisis.

A record number of families are in foreclosure, energy prices are soaring and hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost this year. Banks are going bust and billion-dollar government bailouts are propping up much of the financial industry.

One thing is clear: The economy is in trouble, and that could mean less money for you and your family.