Layaway options for the holidays

Special to the Tri-City HeraldOctober 18, 2012 

It has become popular again, the layaway option -- which has its goods and bads for everyone.

If you are willing to become diligent about paying off your layaway purchases on time, layaway could be a good option for you. Stores in the Mid-Columbia with a layaway option include Best Buy, Burlington Coat Factory, Sears, TJ Maxx, Toys R' Us and Walmart.

Consider the following:

Layaway offers an opportunity to purchase items on sale that you don't need immediately, without paying the full amount upfront (such as Christmas shopping). However, be realistic in what you can afford to pay off on time.

There may be fees involved. Make sure you speak to the store representative and understand all fees before deciding on layaway.

A down payment is required. Since you can't just "hold" items until you have the money, you have to give a certain percentage of the amount owed for the retailer to hold your items. If you don't pay off your items on time, you may incur a fee (losing any cost savings you may have had during a sale purchase). If you don't finish your payments entirely, you typically lose your items and your payments already made.

Know the terms and conditions of the layaway policy. Most stores allow you to watch sales ads and if your items on layaway go on sale, you can request the sale price instead of the price you paid for when your item went to layaway.

You don't rack up a credit card bill. If you don't own a credit card, layaway gives you an additional option other than cash.

Layaway may or may not be right for you, but make sure you know all the facts before making a decision.

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