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Do this instead of maxing on credit during the holidays

If there's a big-ticket, must-have gift on your shopping list, put down the plastic and try this instead.

Layaway, a program in which you put down a deposit on a costly item and make a series of installment payments toward it, is back for the holiday season. Walmart's program, which runs from Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, is in full swing.

You can also put gifts on layaway at GameStop, Toys R Us, Sears and other retailers. Some airlines, including Delta and United, offer programs that will allow you to pay for your vacations under an installment plan.

Layaway might make sense if you're calling dibs on an item that's in high demand, like an Xbox One S, or if you're plunking down a large amount of cash for a pricey 65-inch Ultra HD TV. These items retail for $299.99 and $1,697.99, respectively.

Consider that the average indebted U.S. household owes $15,675 on their credit cards, according to NerdWallet. It just might be better to make manageable payments in cash.

Take the time to read up on your retailer's specific policy. Even if you aren't paying full price upfront, you can still have plenty of money on the line. You may be subject to fees for starting and cancelling the plan.

At the end of the day, you don't get your item until you've...