Layaway – Holiday Shopping Without Credit Cards

With less than 10 weeks until Christmas, retailers are rolling out their layaway plans for holiday shoppers. As a preferred alternative to credit cards, layaway allows you to place items on extended hold at the store and make interest free payments over a period of time, typically 8-12 weeks.

The Benefits of Layaway

Lock in sale prices – It can be extremely frustrating when you’re saving up the cash for an item just to see it go on sale before you’re ready to purchase. With a layaway plan, you can lock in the sale price and still have the additional time to settle up.

Save on Interest – Many are content to make the purchase with a credit card and make payments to the card issuer over the course of several months. Unfortunately, the interest you’ll pay on your credit card will be far more than the $5-10 layaway fee the store charges.

In Stock – We’ve all had those moments around the holidays where we’ve had a particular gift in mind only to discover it is sold out when we were ready to purchase. This can happen often if you’re saving to pay cash. Layaway plans allow you to stretch the payment out over the course of several weeks until you’e ready to pick it up.

Keeping a Gift Hidden – If your children or spouse are snoopy or lacking in hiding places, layaway plans offer a great storage alternative. Having the store keep the item until you pick it up closer to the holiday prevents prying eyes from catching a glimpse.

Who Offers It?

Best Buy – Total purchase must be greater than $250. A 25% down payment and 5% Non-Refundable layaway fee are required. Term – 8 or 12 weeks with payments due bi-weekly. Some items do not qualify.

Kmart – 8 or 12 week terms available with bi-weekly payments. 8-Week Plan: Available On-line or In-Store. No minimum purchase required. $20 or 10% down payment (whichever is greater) and $5 Service Fee. 12 Week Plan: Available In Store Only. Minimum $300 purchase required. $35 or 10% down payment (whichever is greater) and a $10 Service Fee.

ToysRUs – Available on select big ticket items, in store only. 20% Down payment plus $5 Service Fee required. Payments can be made at any interval but 50% of the total must be paid within 45 days and the remainder within 90 days or the “Holiday Cutoff” (whichever is sooner). The 2011 Holiday Cutoff is December 4th.

WalMart – Layaway only available October 17-Dec 16. Total purchase must be over $50 and each item in the purchase must be greater than $15. 10% Down Payment plus $5 Service Charge required. The total must be paid by December 16th.

Fred Meyer Jewelers – 10% Down with 4 months of payments

Sears – 8 or 12 week terms available with bi-weekly payments. 8-Week Plan: Available On-line or In-Store. No minimum purchase required. $20 or 20% down payment (whichever is greater) and $5 Service Fee. 12 Week Plan: Available In Store Only. Minimum $400 purchase required. $35 or 20% down payment (whichever is greater) and a $10 Service Fee.

Shane Co. – No minimum purchase required, available in-store and online. Free layaway plan. No fees, no contract and no interest. Balance must be paid within 6 months.

Sorry ladies,  Tiffany & Co., Coach and Apple do not offer layaway plans.

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