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Walmart Offers the Best Holiday Layaway Plan for 2014

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 7:00 AM

In general, we don’t like layaway programs very much. A credit card that earns rewards is always a better choice: You still can pay in installments, you pay a few dollars in interest instead of service fees (or god forbid, cancellation fees), you get to take your item home immediately instead of it being held at the store, and you can earn a few points or miles while you’re at it.

Flickr / m01229

Flickr / m01229

If you have a choice, layaway is never the best option. Unfortunately, we recognize that credit cards are not an option for everyone. Layaway came back from the dead during the recession as a way to patch the hole left by stricter credit standards, after all. Its reemergence was the result of a sudden spike in shoppers labeled by creditors as something less than creditworthy.

We’ve rounded up the details for four of the most popular layaway programs available for the 2014 holiday season. Our verdict: Walmart is the clear layaway winner. Toys R Us is a close second, only because Walmart generally beats them on pricing. Sears should only be considered for large purchases like major appliances and otherwise is an expensive, confusing mess. And just do yourself a favor and forget about Kmart right now, it’s really not worth it when Walmart is so much better.

As for Target and Best Buy, sorry to disappoint you- neither retailer offers layaway right now, and it doesn’t look like 2014 will be the year that they start.

Walmart Layaway


  • No service charge
  • Downpayment of $10 or 10% of order total (whichever is greater)
  • $10 cancellation fee

On September 10, 2014 Walmart announced its layaway plans that will run until December 15th. “We continue to find it is a useful tool for our customers,” Walmart’s Vice President of Toys Anne Marie Kehoe said. “They take advantage of it early.”

There is no service charge although you will have to make a down payment of $10 or 10% of your purchase total, whichever is greater, when you set up your order. There is a minimum purchase of $50 to qualify for layaway.

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Small Business Saturday Details Announced: Up to $30 Back Per AmEx!

Monday, Sep 29, 2014 at 7:00 AM

American Express’ Small Business Saturday, if you haven’t heard, is one Saturday per year during the shopping season, usually the day after Black Friday, when you can use your American Express credit cards at any small business, and receive up to $30 in statement credits.  Let’s go through all the details, as some have changed since last year!

mom and pop restaurantsIn years past, statement credits per card have hovered between $10 and $25 per registered card.  This year, American Express has made the offer $30 per registered card, which means 3 separate $10 statement credits.  On November 16th, you’ll be able to register at ShopSmall.com, tweeting from your synched Twitter account, or on “Your Offers” in your online account.

And, if you have more than one American Express card, you can register those as well, including additional account holders.  All in, I have three American Express cards, so I could potentially net $90 in free spending on that Saturday.  That’ll take care of a fair bit of my holiday shopping!  If you have others in your family, and they don’t already have a card linked to your account, sign them up (as long as it’s free to do so, some Amex cards charge for additional cardholders).

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Our bad, sorry about that!

Monday, Sep 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

We admit it, we screwed this one up. We saw the dates posted at Macy’s and got a wee bit excited without realizing it was from last year, and we definitely should have known better. I guess it goes to show that we’re all just as excited about Black Friday as you are!

You can bet that when the REAL Macy’s hours show up, we’ll be posting them.

First Rumors about Black Friday Hours: Walmart, Kmart and Best Buy

Friday, Sep 26, 2014 at 10:53 AM

We’ve just spotted the first rumors about Black Friday hours for Walmart, Kmart and Best Buy. WCPO, an ABC television affiliate in Cincinnati, is reporting that Walmart will open on Thanksgiving morning, with doorbusters beginning at 6pm. According to the same report, Kmart is planning an 8am opening for Thanksgiving Day. It further speculates that Best Buy probably will open at 6pm Thursday.

Walmart Black Friday Hours Rumor 2014

Flickr / yancy9

But before you get excited, we have serious reservations about the report. For Walmart and Best Buy, the hours being reported are exactly the same as last year, which is a red flag for a season that tends to shift dramatically from year to year. Kmart opened its first round of sales last year at 6am, so opening later also seems odd, especially when the article gets last year’s hours wrong in the first place.

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25 of the Hottest Holiday Toys and the Most Affordable Places to Get Them

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM

We’ve now seen hot holiday toy lists from all of the big guns in the Black Friday space, but there’s one thing that all of these lists have in common: They all push their own agenda. Retailers make deals with toy manufacturers to promote this toy or that one, they are fond of listing store exclusives, the price of the toy really doesn’t matter, and usually it’s a combination of all of these things. Walmart touts the fact that their list was Chosen by Kids – but were any of those kids thinking about the price tag? Not one bit.

That’s where my list of top toys comes in. My team and I scoured all of these lists, weighed what retailers think that kids want against what parents are planning to buy. My goal was to assemble an impartial list of hot toys that would make both kids and parents happy, pointing out the best prices available right now on every item we chose.

A few notes about this list:

  • When pricing is the same at Walmart and Amazon, then Amazon is generally a better deal. Shipping is free for Prime members and an order of $35 or more scores free shipping for everyone else. Walmart requires a minimum purchase of $50 for everyone, though we are likely to see that threshold drop as the holidays get closer.
  • If prices are the same at Target as elsewhere, Target is our choice. REDcard holders can get an extra 5% off, and many REDcard orders ship free. When items don’t ship free, the minimum order requirement is only $35. Additionally, all shoppers can get an extra $5 off orders totaling $50 or more with Target coupon code TGLPTPF.

Life Size Elsa and Anna Frozen Dolls1. Disney Frozen My Size Elsa and Anna Dolls
Target – $59.99

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What’s on Kmart’s Fab 15 Holiday Toy List? We’ve Got Answers!

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Holiday Toy List 2014 -- Kmart

Following in the footsteps of holiday toy giants Target, Walmart and Toys “R” Us, Kmart released its Fab 15 Holiday Toy List this morning, and for parents and kids who’ve already started thinking about holiday shopping, it might look a little familiar.

“Each year, we provide our members and shoppers with a list of toys that are tested by kids, parents and Kmart associates,” said Hugo Malan, SVP and president of fitness, sporting goods and toys at Sears Holding Company. “Our members are at the heart of everything we do and Kmart is committed to providing the most exciting toys of the season in easy, affordable and convenient ways.”

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This is why you should wait until Black Friday to buy an iPhone 6.

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I’m going to put this very bluntly: If you buy an iPhone 6 today, or on any day before Black Friday, you are getting ripped off.  If you can suffer through the next 69 days without an iPhone the size of a Pop Tart, you’ll get a much better deal. In fact, you might even get it for something very close to free. iPhone 6 Black Friday DealsFor the last few years, the very best time to buy a latest-model iPhone has been Black Friday, hands down, no contest.

iPhone 4s

Released on October 15, 2010, a 16GB version of the iPhone 4s was initially offered for $199 with a 2 year activation or standard upgrade. In 2012, Best Buy was the first major retailer to offer a Black Friday deal on any iPhone. It was an iPhone 4s, then the latest model, for $99. It wouldn’t be a compelling offer today, but at the time any discount on an iPhone was big news.

iPhone 5c and 5s

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Toys “R” Us Reveals 15 Fabulous Toys Worth Buying

Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014 at 12:27 PM

The holiday season is quickly approaching and toy lists are beginning to flood in. Walmart released its kid-approved top holiday toy picks last Wednesday. Last week Toys “R” Us teased some of their holiday hits.  Now their full list of favorites have dropped.fabulous15thumbnail

The Toys “R” Us Hot Toy List consists of a “Fabulous 15″ collection of toys in addition to 21 other hot items. Check out the full ad here.

“We take great pride in providing parents and gift-givers with a reliable and definitive shopping list that they can use as a starting point to help ensure kids will be smiling from ear-to-ear when they open their presents on Christmas morning,” Toys “R” Us Executive Vice President Richard Barry explained. “Our team of toy experts has a proven track record of predicting what are expected to be the most coveted toys each holiday season.”

The Fabulous 15 toys are expected to be the most desired and sought-after items of the holiday season. Here are a few of our favorites from the collection: