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Can't pay? How about layaway?

Ashley Bethard • May 13, 2015 at 8:40 AM

Before you bemoan the holiday season and whine about your empty wallet, we’ve got some news: layaway can help. In an effort to help you spread out your spending, we rounded up some guidelines from Sears, Kmart, Toys ‘R’ Us and Fashion Bug.

New to layaway? No problem. Here’s a quick rundown on some things you should know to take advantage of this helpful service.

• Layaway Contract: This is what you sign that outlines the terms of the layaway. By signing, you accept the terms of agreement, such as how often you make payments, how much those payments will be and how much you’ll be forced to pony up if you cancel.

• Initiation Fee: This is the fee charged for using the layaway service. It can range from $5-10 and is usually nonrefundable.

• Layaway Period: This is how long the merchandise will be held and how long you’ll have to pay off the entire purchase (provided you make the payments on time).

• Down Payment: Most places have you put down 10-15% of the layaway total or $10-15, whichever is greater.

• Payment Plans: Some stores will divvy up your purchase total into four payments; others will divide it over a six to eight week period — it depends on the retailer. A thing about payments: make them on time. If you don’t, the retailers generally have the right to yank your painstakingly-chosen layaway purchase from its safe corner in the warehouse and toss it back onto the floor.

• Cancellation Fee: This can range from $5-15, depending on the retailer.

• Unauthorized Items: Some stores will not allow you to put certain items on layaway, such as food or cigarettes.

Local Stores Offering Layaway:


• Initiation Fee: $5 (nonrefundable)

• Layaway Period: 8 weeks

• Down Payment: $15 or 10 percent of total cost, whichever is greater

• Payment Plan: Bi-weekly, 25 percent of original balance due

• Cancellation Fee: $10

• Unauthorized Items: Perishable items (food), clearance items. Visit a store for a more detailed list.


• Initiation Fee: $5 (nonrefundable)

• Layaway Period: Up to 60 days for electronics, up to 90 days for other merchandise

• Down Payment: $15 or 20 percent of total cost, whichever is greater

• Payment Plan: Bi-weekly, a percent of the original balance due.

• Cancellation Fee: $10

• Unauthorized Items: Large appliances

Toys ‘R’ Us

• Note: Only offers layaway on “big ticket” items such as outdoor play equipment and playsets, bikes, baby gear, furniture, preschool ride-ons, battery powered vehicles, pools and water slides, basketball systems, indoor table games, dollhouses and kitchens. Contact the store or check online (toysrus.com) for more information.

• Initiation Fee: $10 (nonrefundable)

• Layaway Period: Items must be paid in full by Dec. 13, due to the fact that they must be shipped from a warehouse.

• Down Payment: 20 percent of total cost

• Payment Plan: As often as you want, but items must be paid by Dec. 13.

• Cancellation Fee: $10

Fashion Bug

• Initiation Fee: $5 (nonrefundable)

• Layaway Period: 30 days

• Down Payment: $5 or 10 percent of total cost, whichever is greater

• Payment Plan: The store’s layaway system automatically divides the total into four payments.

• Cancellation Fee: None

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