The Lowdown on Layaway: 6 Stores Offering Payment Plans for the Holidays

The Lowdown on Layaway: 6 Stores Offering Payment Plans for the Holidays
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We're not huge fans of layaway here at Brad's Deals. While it might seem like an easy way to finance holiday fun, it means paying extra money for things you could buy for less upfront.

In our opinion, layaway is a poor consumer decision that forces customers to literally lend money to big-name retailers AND pay them for the privilege. As the economy has strengthened, a lot of stores that used to offer layaway have phased it out. But if you're really set on layaway this holiday season, here are six stores that offer the service.

Kmart

Kmart is offering one penny down layaway online, and no money down layaway in stores. There is an eight-week option, which has a $5 service fee, and a 12-week option which has a $10 service fee. Both require you to make biweekly payments, and both usually have a $10 down payment (which is waived between 9/1 and 11/26), but if you cancel, you'll be paying $10 for the eight-week plan and $20 for the 12-week plan. Note that you're only allowed to choose the 12-week option if your purchase totals more than $300, and you'll have to set this up in-store, as only the 8-week plan is available online. For more information (including exclusions), check out Kmart's website.

Marshalls

This isn't offered in every store, but the ones that do charge either 10 percent or $10 down (whichever is greater) and a non-refundable $5 fee. Your order must be picked up or cancelled within 30 days, and if you do choose to cancel it's an additional $5 fee. Call your local store for details.

Sears

As Sears and Kmart are owned and operated by the same company, Sears' layaway is pretty similar to Kmart's. There is an eight-week plan and a 12-week plan (which is only available in-store on orders of $400 or more), both of which require you to make payments biweekly. The eight-week plan has a $5 service fee, a $15 cancellation fee and is available both in-store and online. The 12-week plan has a $10 service fee, a $25 cancellation fee, and is only available in-store.

TJ Maxx

As with their sister store Marshalls, some TJ Maxx locations offer layaway, but information on their policies is hard to find online. Call your local store, and they'll be able to tell you whether or not they offer the service, and what their rates are if they do.

Toys 'R' Us

Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us offer layaway with 10% down, and a $5 service fee. The order must be paid for within 90 days: 40 percent after 30 days, 70 percent after 60 days and 100 percent after 90. There is a fee if you choose to cancel, but I couldn't find information on exactly how much that fee is. For additional details check out their layaway FAQs.

Walmart

Walmart's holiday layaway charges no opening fee, and a down payment of $10 or 10% (whichever is greater), and a $10 cancellation fee in most states. Items on layaway must be $10 or more, and the entire layaway order needs to total $50 or more – but for the record, Walmart's Black Friday deals will NOT be eligible for layaway since Thursday November 23rd is specifically excluded.

Again, we'd like to reiterate that layaway is NOT a frugal choice to make. You might be paying less money up front, but the end result will leave you paying more, and if you need to cancel a layaway order, you'll be paying on average $15-$20 for literally nothing. Bottom line: use layaway sparingly.

If you prefer to make payments on your holiday shopping, you might consider using a rewards card with a 0% APR for purchases. This way, you can make payments without paying interest and earn cash back or miles, which could end up saving you more money than you would spend on a layaway plan.

What's your experience with holiday layaway? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!