Like bicycle or new laptop or something like that. Not very expensive but quite expensive in comparison with day-to-day goods.

  • In the days before credit card ubiquity, store layaway plans were de rigueur. Now, as the others have mentioned, do it yourself, though layaway plans seem to be making a slight come-back.
    – RonJohn
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 23:31

4 Answers 4


You would simply plan for misc. expenses in your budget, and allocate a small amount to this every time you do your budget, eventually building up a pool of money that you can then use whenever you have to make a purchase such as that.


I use a "sinking" fund. If you want to buy a $1000 bicycle, you put $100 per month into a savings account. 10 months from now, you can buy your $1000 bicycle.

If you get a $500 windfall, you can either put it in the sinking fund and buy the item earlier. If you lose some income, you can put $50 per month in the fund.


Personally I solve this by saving enough liquid capital (aka checking and savings) to cover pretty much everything for six months. But this is a bad habit.

A better approach is to use budget tracking software to make virtual savings accounts and place payments every paycheck into them, in step with your budget. The biggest challenge you'll likely face is the initial implementation; if you're saving up for a semi-annual car insurance premium and you've got two months left, that's gonna make things difficult. In the best case scenario you already have a savings account, which you reapportion among your various lumpy expenses.

This does mean you need to plan when it is you will actually buy that shiny new Macbook Pro, and stick to it for a number of months. Much more difficult than buying on credit. Especially since these retailers hate dealing in cash.


We have what we call "unallocated savings" that go into a fund for this purpose. We'll also take advantage of "6 months no interest" or similar financing promotions, and direct this savings towards the payments.

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