While it may only be October, it’s never too early to start thinking about holiday shopping. In this economy, some shoppers are fretting over being able to afford that special toy, bauble or other item that they know will bring a smile to their children, spouse, friend or family member.
Consider layaway as a way to spread payments out over time, and be able to check things off those holiday lists.
Popular during the Great Depression in the 1930s, layaway fell out of fashion in the 1980s as credit card usage became widespread.
Many companies are once again offering the service, which allows customers to make installment payments on an item, sometimes with a small fee added to the item’s price for the company’s administrative costs.
In our area, try one of these retailers’ 2012 holiday layaway programs:
Kmart has continually offered layaway for more than 40 years. It is currently running a promotion that waives the normal service fees on layaway items.
Kmart has two local locations—Kentlands and Aspen Hill.
Walmart re-started its program in 2011, and offers an online version. Its layaway requires $10 or 10 percent down (whichever is greater) and a $5 “open” fee, which is refunded as a Walmart gift card upon completion of the program.
Walmart has locations in Germantown, Laurel, Bowie and Waldorf.
Sears has a no-fee layaway program for the 2012 holiday season (provided that the item is paid for in full) and has some price level requirements. Its website has a handy payment calculator and on-line payment option.
Sears has locations in Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Bowie, Landover, Crofton and White Oak.
Toys R Us
Toys R Us’ program is offered in-store only, and carries a small service fee. To find out which products are eligible for layaway, visit its website.
Toys R Us has local locations in Annapolis, Columbia, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Silver Spring and Waldorf.
Best Buy has a layaway program at some stores, but none in the local area.
Target remains one of the larger retailers without a layaway program.
If you know of any local stores with layaway programs, tell us about them!