Layaway is a great way to lock in a good deal over the holidays. You avoid putting a purchase on plastic and only spend what you’ve set aside. More stores are getting back into the layaway business. Wal-Mart kicked off it’s program Monday which runs through December 16th. Other stores like Toys-R-Us, Sears and K-Mart have not only held onto, but expanded layaway programs over the last few years. As with anything, there’s a catch. It’s not terrible, you just have to read the fine print.
Deposit/Down Payment–Many retailers require you to put money down when you set up and account. It could be a flat rate or a percentage of the purchase.
Service Fee-These range from $5 to $10 and are sometimes based on the length of your contract.
Minimum Purchase Requirement–This works two ways. In some cases, each item has to cost a certain amount, plus there might be a total minimum purchase requirement.
Missed Payment–Some retailers stick on a charge for missing a payment. You might have a grace period.
Cancellation Fees–If you don’t pay or pick up on time, you’ll get stuck with another fee. These can be at least $10.