Most people would think that you can’t make a mistake with using layaway for the holidays. Buy the gifts you want for everyone, paying just a little money down, so you can make payments, instead of having to pay out a lot of money to do your shopping with all at once.
The biggest mistake, is not picking your layaway up on time. Stores cancel layaway’s that are not picked up in time, in a last minute effort to sell what you had put on layaway, before the holiday. Mark it on your calendar! Don’t forget to make your payments on time too. They will cancel the layaway for this, and return your merchandise back to the store shelves.
While layaway is convenient, it can also cause trouble, if you over-spend, putting too much merchandise on layaway, and not have enough money to pick it up on time. You cannot return a partial layaway either. If you cancel the layaway, you are charged a fee for that, and there is sometimes a non-refundable layaway fee as well.
You can purchase items from your cancelled layaway, but you may lose out on a sale price by doing that, if it was originally on sale at the time you put it on layaway.
On the subject of sale prices, you may miss out on some very good sale prices too by using layaway. Any item you put on layaway can be advertised on sale, but you will pay the original price that was rang up at the time of the layaway. Prices do not change once the layaway is made. You can miss out on some competitive markdowns that way too.
Parents, be aware, that not all new toys will be on store shelves when you make your layaway purchase. If your child sees something new advertised, that they really want, you may miss out on it by shopping too early, or by trying to get it all done in one trip.
It also pays to shop around. Stores that don’t offer competitive markdowns may run some very good sale prices that you will lose out on by laying it away at another store for full retail price. A frugal shopper can save a lot of money with sales, and competitive markdowns. It just depends on how much time, and effort you want to put into your shopping expedition for the holidays.
It’s also very important to save all your receipts for your purchases. All stores mark down just about everything to clearance prices after Christmas. This means if you return something without a receipt, you will only get credit for the clearance price, and not the full price you paid for the item. You would be surprised how much money stores make on this policy. It doesn’t seem fair, but it is legal. In this case, try to go for an even exchange instead of a refund, that way you won’t lose money in the deal.