Layaway, for those not old enough to remember, is the way lots of people shopped for Christmas back before credit-card debt was fashionable. Or shall I say, tolerable.
With layaway, instead of bringing all of your purchases home and then paying on the credit-card bill for many years to come, you leave your selections at the store, making a down payment at time of purchase.
Then you make regular payments to the store (no interest). Once you’ve paid in full, you get your stuff out of layaway. The benefit is that you can shop early at your leisure, make regular payments, and pick up items once they are paid in full.
Years ago layaway programs were designed for people who could not get credit cards. And as plastic became more available to the masses, layaway became unnecessary so many programs disappeared.
As the economy has been going through such an upheaval, causing so many to flee from using credit, other smart retailers like Sears have dusted off their layaway programs in hopes of attracting customers like us who would enjoy that debt-free convenience. And to shore up their bottom lines.
TOYS R US. Not only makes layaway possible for the hottest toys and game consoles of the season, but also holds items for you so curious children can’t find them in your closets. When you deposit 10% of the total cost of your purchase and the $5 service fee will be waived. All payments can be made at any register or online, 24 hours a day. Make your final payment in store, and take your items home right away. Or, if you make your final payment online, you will be notified of the earliest time you can pick up your items.
WALMART. No set-up fee, but there’s a $10 or 10% down payment (whichever’s greater), and a $10 fee if you cancel. Individual items must be $10 or greater, and your total purchase must be at least $50. You can’t layaway wireless phones that require contracts, and you can’t put anything on layaway 11/24 (Thanksgiving 2016). Layaway is available for Electronics, Toys, Infant Toys, Infant Furniture, Small Appliances, Large Furniture, Auto Electronics, Select Sporting Goods, and Jewelry. You can use coupons on layaway items at Walmart.
SEARS. For an 8-week layaway contract, pay $0 down in-store, $0.01 online, a $5 set-up fee, and a $15 fee if you cancel. For a 12-week layaway, pay $0 down in-store, a $10 set-up fee, and a $25 fee if you cancel.The only items available for layaway online will be marked as “Available for Layaway” on the individual product page.
KMART. For an 8-week layaway contract, expect to pay a $10 down payment, $5 set-up fee, and a $10 fee if you cancel. For a 12-week layaway contract, you’ll have to pay $10 down, a $10 set-up fee, and a $20 fee if you cancel. No down payment is required when you start a new contract between 9/15 and 11/26, and only one penny is required down for online layaway.
BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY. Offers 60-day layaway for clothing and household goods, and 90 days for Baby Depot items like baby furniture and strollers. Buyers must stick to a payment schedule, deposit at least 20% and pay a $5 service fee. There is a $10 cancellation fee if the layaway purchase is canceled and not completed.
TJ MAXX AND MARSHALLS. Only offer layaway at certain locations and have quite a few rules and restrictions. Where available, you must make a 10% down payment for layaway on brand-name and designer items. Jewelry and clearance items cannot go on layaway. The payment term is 30 days and because the program is only offered at certain locations, it’s best to call ahead to inquire.
Question: Have you ever used layaway programs? Will you this year? Do you know of other stores offering layaway programs this year? What is your favorite? Respond using the comments feature below.