If you’re already thinking about holiday spending and want to be a savvy shopper, you might be considering using layaway in order to stick to a budget or avoid credit card debt.
I think using layaway is a great strategy and we’ve had a number of retailers in recent years start to bring back layaway in a big way. But before you use the layaway process it’s still important that you make sure that you read the fine print for any retail deal that you enter into. It’s also smart to ask a few questions to make sure that layaway is the right choice for you.
The Better Business Bureau recently gave consumers a checklist of questions to ask when you’re buying items on layaway, in order to help you get your money’s worth and obtain the best possible terms while you’re shopping.
Here are 8 questions to ask before you commit to making a purchase on layaway:
1. How much time do I have to pay for the item?
After you put some money down for a layaway purchase, you typically have a range of time to pay it off. But some places may give you specific deadlines, such as 30 days, 60 days, or maybe even 90 days or longer. Whatever the case, you need to know exactly by what time/date you have to pay the merchandise off.
2. When are the payments due?
If a retailer says you have to pay weekly, monthly or you have to pay on a specific day of the month, you need to know that to make sure that you can adhere to those terms.
3. How much do I have to put down?
Some stores may require just $5 or even a couple bucks to start a layaway transaction. Other merchants may ask for a certain percentage, based on the overall value of the merchandise you plan to buy. Find out what’s mandatory to see if it meets your budget.
4. Are there any other fees involved?
Do inquire about fees, as various places might charge you service plan fees, storage fees or other charges. If you’re going to use one of those third‑party websites that set up layaway plans for you online they might charge a fee for their service. So be sure that you know the additional fees you might incur in addition to paying for the goods themselves.