The Christmas season is approaching fast. While many people look forward to the holidays, it can also be an incredibly stressful time. Handling all of your Christmas shopping can leave you feeling drained and frustrated, particularly if you are struggling to find good deals or hate navigating the crowds. But, if you get your shopping started now, you can eliminate some of the headaches. You can skip the crowds, spread out the cost, create a plan, and take advantage of helpful programs that make Christmas easier to afford. If you want to get your Christmas shopping underway, here are a few places to shop first.
Walmart launched its in-store layaway program on August 30, 2019, and it runs through December 9, 2019. You don’t have to pay a fee to use Walmart layaway. Instead, you can get started by selecting eligible items and putting either $20 or 20 percent down, whichever is greater.
The Walmart layaway program does have some requirements, but most of them work well for Christmas shopping. First, any item in your layaway account has to be at least $10. Second, your total has to reach $50 minimum. Third, you have to pay off your layaway by December 9. You can make small payments along the way at any register, giving you a way to spread out the cost over time.
Additionally, only certain product categories are eligible for layaway. Here is a list of the kinds of items that qualify for the program:
- Toys (including Infant Toys)
- Electronics (not including cell phones)
- Auto Electronics
- Small Appliances
- Large Furniture Pieces (including Infant Furniture)
- Select Sporting Goods
Another benefit of Walmart’s layaway is you can include Rollbacks, Special Buys, and many clearance items in your purchase. By shopping early, you can snag some great deals now and pay them off over time, making your Christmas shopping more affordable.
Plus, even if you don’t want to use layaway, Walmart is still a great place to start your Christmas shopping. They offer competitive prices on a range of items and maintain a diverse inventory, making it easy to find something for everyone on your list at any time.
If you want to give someone a video game system or accessories this Christmas, GameStop is a great choice for starting your Christmas shopping early. The company offers an in-store layaway option at most of its stores (aside from Washington DC and Maryland locations) that runs through December 11, 2019. You have until December 18, 2019, to pay off your account, giving you plenty of time to spread out the cost of some higher ticket items.
There is no service fee to start a GameStop layaway. All you need to do is put $25 down after choosing your items and pay them off by December 18. Plus, if you change your mind along the way, you can cancel your layaway and get your deposit back.
Not every product is eligible for the program. Instead, it focuses on consoles, console bundles, and controllers mainly. You can’t add non-eligible items to your layaway, so keep that in mind before heading to the store to sign up.
However, GameStop is still a solid choice if you need video games for gifts. They maintain large used game selections, helping you keep the cost of Christmas down, as well as other giftable items that relate to video games, like plushies, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and more.
If you need an online layaway option, Kmart has you covered. Start by heading to the company’s website and add items to your cart. Just make sure they are labeled “layaway eligible” as you make your selections.
Once you finish shopping, begin the checkout process and choose “pay with layaway.” Provide them with a payment that covers your service fee ($5) and down payment ($10). Then, make a payment every two weeks over an eight-week period to pay off the account and receive your items.
Kmart also offers a 12-week program, but it is only available in-store on qualifying purchases over $300 and comes with a higher service fee ($10). It’s also important to note that the service fee doesn’t go toward your balance. Additionally, if you miss a payment or choose to cancel, you have to pay a cancellation fee of $10 or $20, depending on your contract.
For over 45 years, Burlington has had a year-round in-store layaway program. You can start one at any time, not just during the holidays. When you do, you get 60 days to pay off your account.
After choosing your items, you take them to a register to set up your layaway. You’ll pay a 20 percent deposit to get started along with a $5 service fee. Then, within 14 days after launching your layaway, you’ll need to pay another 20 percent. By repeating that two-week, 20 percent payment patterns, you’ll get your layaway paid off by the end of the contract, allowing you to spread out the cost.
Burlington does charge a $10 cancelation fee if you change your mind. Additionally, if you get a refund on your deposit, it won’t be in cash. Instead, you’ll receive a Burlington gift card for the amount.
While Amazon doesn’t have a layaway program, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great place to start your Christmas shopping. This is especially true if you are a Prime member and limit yourself to options with Prime shipping, as you can make regular small orders without incurring high shipping costs.
Amazon typically has incredibly competitive prices. Additionally, discounts are regularly available through a variety of programs. By heading to the “today’s deals” section, you can explore discounts by department, deal type, Prime eligibility, customer review scores, discount percentage, and more.
Plus, at Amazon, it’s easy to create a private wish list for your Christmas purchases. You can find what you want to buy for each person and add it to your wish list. As you are ready to make each purchase, just head back over to your wish list and add it to your cart. This is incredibly handy for preplanning and spreading out the cost, as you can make multiple purchases between now and Christmas, ensuring you don’t forget a single person along the way.
Ultimately, all of the places above are great options for starting your Christmas shopping. Just make sure that, if you use a layaway program, you review the terms and conditions carefully. That way, you won’t have to worry about missing required payments, ensuring you can pay off and pick up your items by the stated due dates.
Have you already started Christmas shopping? Where do you usually shop for Christmas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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