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If you don't have a lot of money to spend at once, consider buying items on layaway. Some stores offer this option, which allows you to make payments on your purchase until it is paid off. This buying option is usually provided as a free service.

Here's how a typical layaway contract works:

  • You will be asked to pay a certain percentage down—20 to 30 percent—and then pay on the remaining balance in weekly installments.
  • You will be asked to pay a relatively small one-time layaway fee.
  • There is typically a set layaway period based on the amount of the purchase.
  • Payments must be paid regularly and on time.
  • If the layaway is not completed on schedule, the item will be returned to stock. A refund is usually issued. However, some stores may charge a certain percentage for a restocking fee.

Be aware of any special terms of your layaway agreement. For example, you may not be able to put sale items into layaway or not be allowed to return or exchange layaway items.