Attention, Walmart shoppers: holiday layaway will return for the 2012 shopping season on Sept. 16. That’s right, the nation’s largest retailer will be offering its customers a layaway program yet again this year. The 2012 program is better, though. Walmart will be offering a 90-day layaway option, a full 30 days longer than the 2011 holiday layaway program.

 

Customers wishing to take advantage of this payment option will have to pay a $15 layaway open fee and a down payment of $10 or 10 percent, whichever is greater. Once the layaway purchase has been completely paid off, Walmart will refund the $15 layaway open fee in the form of a store gift card. If a customer needs to cancel the layaway, the $15 open fee will be forfeited, but there will be no additional cancellation fees.

 

I’ve never used layaway but my advice to shoppers is to make sure that layaway is really the best option available. Sure, losing $15 doesn’t sound like much if you have to cancel the program, but $15 is half of a tank of gas or a week’s worth of school lunches.

 

Layaway sounds like a convenient option; for a small fee of $15 you can do all of your holiday shopping and pay it off over the course of 90 days. Did you know that you could do almost the same thing on your own, without a $15 fee?

 

Simply do all of your holiday shopping, on paper, and determine how much money you’ll have to save to buy everything on the gift list. Divide this total by the amount of pay periods that you have in a 90-day period and set aside that much money each payday. At the end of 90 days you will have your holiday shopping money saved up and you’ll save $15 by doing it yourself.

 

Will you be taking advantage of Walmart’s 90-day holiday layaway program this year?

 

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