Layaway for Christmas now

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It's not too early to start thinking about layaway for the Christmas season. If you already have an idea of the gifts you want to buy your friends and family, but you don't have all the money up front, this is a great way to reserve the items on your list.

Shoppers can find layaway year-round at Kmart, Sears, Fred's and Roses.

At Kmart, customers have eight weeks to pay for their layaway. Initially, they must pay $15 or a 10 percent down payment, whichever amount is greater. Then they must make payments every two weeks.

If shoppers put more than $399 in merchandise on layaway, they have 12 weeks to retrieve their items, said James Klugh, the manager of the store on Washington Road.

Klugh recommends layaway for consumers who know what they want to purchase this year but won't have all the money at once.

"You get a better selection of what you want. A lot of companies are cutting back on their inventory, so they'll have an assortment, but it might not be the abundance that it used to be," Klugh said.

Kmart doesn't allow customers to put cellular phones, beepers and personal computers on layaway, according to the Web site.

At Sears, customers can put items from all departments on layaway. All cashiers can handle layaways, said general manager Roger Pope.

Shoppers are required to make a 20 percent down payment and have 60 days to pay off their layaway.

Customers at Fred's, 1511 North Leg Road, must have at least $20 worth of merchandise in layaway and make an initial down payment of 20 percent, according to the store manager.

They have 90 days to pay off their bill.

Shoppers must make a payment every 30 days. All layaway items must be picked up by Dec. 15. Fred's doesn't offer layaway on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Roses, at 2115 Windsor Spring Road, allows customers to place items on layaway for eight weeks. Clearance, perishable or liquid items are not included. Customers must pay a $5 nonrefundable fee and 20 percent down.

Shoppers must make a payment every two weeks. There is a $10 restocking fee if someone does not make a payment.

COUPON OF THE WEEK

Coupons worth $1,715.23 are in The Augusta Chronicle today.

They include $23.65 in RedPlum, $487.59 in SmartSource, $13.49 in SmartSource, $1 for Smuckers, $5 at RiteAid, $10 at Rack Room Shoes and $1,174.50 at Harbor Freight Tools.

The RedPlum insert has a coupon to save $1 when you buy any Jimmy D's product. The coupon expires Jan. 31.

RECAP

Here are some highlights from The Pinch blog published last week:

SAM'S CLUB EVALUES : With Sam's Club's Advantage Plus membership, which totals $100 a year, members are automatically enrolled to receive eValues, or offers for additional savings on products at Sam's Club. The eValues are loaded directly onto your membership card and redeemed electronically at the cash register.

"It's a guaranteed $300 savings per year," said club manager Corey Coile.

Customers who use the store's pharmacy can save up to 2 percent on purchases, said pharmacy manager Danielle Allen.

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