Recently, I saw someone on social media arguing that there is no difference between lay-by and one of the 'Pay After You Take It Home' schemes that are very popular at the moment.

They were clearly convinced that there is no difference between the two because as they saw it, you pay in instalments over a short period of time and once the payments are made you own the 'thing'.

They were defending their decision to make a number of purchases using their chosen 'Buy Now Pay Later' system.

However, what they were clearly overlooking is what I call the 'human nature factor'. You will make every effort to quickly pay off the lay-by for something you really want but haven't received yet, but once you've got it, it doesn't take long for the novelty to wear off and desire for some other bright shiny object to take its place.

You can easily fall into the trap of taking home multiple things you can't afford right now by convincing yourself you will pay for them later and end up in all sorts of money trouble with penalty charges adding up very quickly.

The result... lots of financial stress. You'll find yourself constantly buried under bills, struggling to meet regular expenses, and hopelessly locked out of exciting financial plans like moving to a bigger house or taking a family holiday.

Here's the simply can't do that with lay-by!

Of course, if you are foolish you may take on more lay-bys than you can comfortably afford. If you do, you might end up losing some of the money you have paid if a lay-by expires before you have completed the payments, but you can't end up with snowballing charges and compounding debt as a result of that!

Buy Now, Pay Later: It's A Trap!

Beware of the trap of the 'Pay After You Take It Home' schemes that are all the rage right now!

In fact, the same applies to any form of credit really. For example, if your car breaks down and needs fixing it is easy to justify using credit (someone else's expensive money) to fix the problem because — let's face it — you need your car to go about your normal daily life routines.

However, once the breakdown has been fixed using credit money and you can get back to your normal daily 'comfort zone' routine, it's easy to forget about the fact that you did not solve the problem, you just moved it sideways to now become a money problem instead of a car problem.

There is always more than one way to solve a problem and throwing money at it is just one of them. It's usually the most expensive way as well. However, there is just about always another way!

If you choose the 'Easy Money, Easy Solution' route every time a problem comes your way, before long the money problem becomes so big that your comfort zone is not so comfortable any more and life becomes stressful and no fun at all.

If you have fallen into this debt trap it's time to cut up the plastic, and put a 'catch-up' spending plan into action.

If you need help with that, go to to find a trained Spending Planner who can help you take control and bring your money stress levels right back down.

You'll never regret it!