Inside: Curious about how Walmart Christmas layaway 2017 works? Find out what makes it a great alternative to putting another holiday on plastic!
Remember the days of the blue light special? Back then everyone seemed to use layaway programs to help them afford Christmas gifts. Over time, more people began to use credit cards instead of dealing with the hassle of layaway programs.
But layaway still exists! And it’s actually a fantastic way to avoid debt this Christmas. Given all the scary statistics about Christmas spending and compounding debt problems (read all about that here), you should be doing everything possible to avoid pulling out the card this season.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the best layaway program I’ve found is at Walmart. They will set you up with a program with no extra fees. That’s much better than what your average credit card company will do for you!
Let’s dig into the nitty gritty details of the Walmart layaway program.
You should know that I was not compensated for this post in any way. It’s simply a review of my own experience with Walmart layaway.
When Does Walmart Layaway Start?
Walmart doesn’t offer year round layaway, so look for it to begin each year in September. This year it began on September 1 and will run through December 11, 2017.
What Can I Put On Layaway?
To open your layaway, you’ll need to have items that altogether total at least $50. Each individual item needs to cost at least $10. So you won’t be able to keep those little stocking stuffers there.
You can put nearly anything you’d want to give as a gift into layaway. Unfortunately, clothes are not allowed. Neither is food (that could get very nasty very quickly!). Phones that require contracts are also excluded.
But those toys you found on clearance? Big rollback savings? As long as they cost $10 or more, toss them in! Electronics, sporting goods, jewelry, small appliances, furniture, and more are allowed.
Can I Open A Layaway Online?
Unfortunately, you’ll have to go to a brick and mortar store to start your layaway. You’ll pick up the physical items you want and put them in there.
While that might be inconvenient for some, it is nice that you don’t have to settle for a beat up package that someone else chose.
Is Walmart Layaway Free?
You’ll have to put $10 or 10% of the total down (whichever is greater) to get started. Happily, all of that money goes straight towards your purchase! There are no fees for using Walmart layaway.
After that, you can pay as much or as little as you want along the way. Just make sure to have the balance paid off before December 11th. It would be a good idea to do the math to see how much you’ll need to pay from every paycheck between now and then so you don’t have to suddenly come up with the balance in December.
You’ll have to go into the store to pay, but you can just pay at the front checkout lanes rather than going back to the layaway department every time.
So What Happens If I Don’t Pay It Off In Time?
The layaway will be cancelled, the items returned to the shelf, and you’ll receive a refund of whatever you’ve paid. Some people will be charged a $10 restocking fee (so if you only paid the down payment, you won’t get it back). But if you live in Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island or Washington, D.C. you will get back all of your money with no restocking fee.
I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical about opening a layaway at first. But after reading the fine print and speaking to the worker who helped me set up my layaway, my mind was put at ease. In fact, I realized that there are so many benefits to layaway that I might set it up every year!
You might wonder what happens if your item goes on sale sometime between now and December 11th. Well, the system automatically adjusts your price without any action on your part! No need to make returns or go in and demand the savings. It’s even easier than buying things outright and keeping an eye on sale prices!
(This may not work on Black Friday deals. Many items have special UPC codes that won’t trigger the sales change.)
No fees on your layaway makes this a much better deal than using credit cards or draining your savings account. And if you budget well, you can use your paychecks to cover Christmas without going into debt. (That’s #yearofno approved!)Layaway is back and it's a fantastic alternative to credit cards!Click To Tweet
Walmart isn’t price matching other stores like it used to. So if you find an amazing deal on the same item somewhere else, you’ll have to go through the returns process.
If you’re forgetful, you could lose the restocking fee when you don’t go to get the order by December 11th. (You can sign up for text reminders, though!)
Spending extra time driving to Walmart to pay for your layaway can be a bummer if you didn’t already need to go. You’ll also want to be careful not to spend more money if you’ll be spending more time in the store. (Tunnel vision! Checkout lane only!!)
Is Walmart Layaway A Good Idea?
Overall, yes. Walmart layaway is free (if you fulfill your purchase) and can be a great way to get the best deals without waiting until you’ve filled out your whole Christmas budget. And I love the idea of letting them keep up with the sales rather than having to scope out ads every week myself!
You may find that some of these details vary at your local store, so it’s a good idea to ask questions when you begin your own layaway!
Have you ever used layaway? What was your experience like?