smart spending

8 essential things to know about layaway

What if the price drops?
What if the price drops? | imtmphoto/Shutterstock.com

What if the price drops?

You put something on layaway and then the price drops 20 percent; now what?

Unfortunately, some stores lock in the price at the moment you put the item on layaway, says Butler. Retailers may reason they are giving up the option of selling that same item at that time and price to someone else, he says.

Others are more flexible and may allow a markdown on layaway items if the price drops.

This is where it is important to know the requirements of layaway, and factor those results into your price calculations. If you anticipate a price to drop over the next few weeks, how much extra will you likely pay if you're locking in today's price, plus paying layaway fees? At that price, is the purchase still worth what you're getting?

When you add up the cost of buying something on layaway, don't forget to compare that cost to your other payment options. What's the cost for the same item if you put it on a credit card? Or wait a few weeks and pay cash?

You put something on layaway and then the price drops 20 percent; now what?

Unfortunately, some stores lock in the price at the moment you place the item on layaway, says Butler. Retailers may reason they are giving up the option of selling that same item at that time and price to someone else, he says.

Others are more flexible and may allow a markdown on layaway items if the price decreases.

This is where it is important to know the rules of layaway, and factor those results into your price calculations. If you expect a price to drop over the next few weeks, how much extra will you likely pay if you're locking in today's price, plus paying layaway fees? At that cost, is the purchase still worth what you're getting?

When you tally up the price of buying something on layaway, don't forget to compare that cost to your other payment options. What's the tab for the same item if you put it on a credit card? Or wait a few weeks and pay cash?

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