(WPRI) -- Whether you're using a layaway program to stash Santa's goodies, or because you don't want to rack up the interest on your credit card, it's important to be aware of exactly what you're getting into.
We're expected to spend an average of $750 on Christmas gifts this year, but for those of us who don't have the cash in our wallets right now, layaway programs might be a great option.
Historically, this time of year is the biggest for layaways. Benny's is one company that prides itself on its year-round layaway program, and boxes and boxes are already tucked away for customers.
"We try to make it as simple as possible," says Benny's owner Arnold Bromberg. "We ask for a 10 percent deposit, but a lot of people put more than that down because they want to relieve themselves of the burden as early as possible, but we don't have any set-up fees or cancelation fees or anything like that."
Not all layaway policies are created equal, so be sure to ask the retailer exactly what their policies are. Some will charge you a fee for just putting something on layaway, and others will charge you a fee for canceling the layaway, so know what you're getting into before signing on the dotted line.
Layaway policies for some major retailers:
- K-Mart requires:
- A 10 percent down payment of your total purchase
- A $5 up-front fee
- A cancelation fee
- Right now K-Mart is offering a free layaway program, but it ends in two days.
- Walmart requires:
- A layaway fee of $15
- A down payment of 10 percent
- A minimum cost of $50 for the item
- If canceled, your layaway fee is not refunded.
- Toys R Us and Babies R Us require:
- A 20 percent down payment
- An up front fee of $5
- A $10 cancelation fee
- Your purchase must be paid by December 16
If there's a gift that's a hot item and may be sold out quickly, layaway is another option to guarantee you get the item now, and then you simply pay for it later.
For more information about layaway programs, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website.
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