Wondering how to save money on toys before you go broke stocking the playroom? Here are a few ideas.
Let me tell you a secret that Madison Avenue doesn’t want you to know: it’s no sin to save money on toys. It won’t warp the delicate psyches of your children, and they probably won’t notice if they don’t have the most expensive dolly or Loop-de-Loop race cars.
So let’s look at a few ways you can save money when acquiring toys for your children.
Here’s an idea: get together with your neighbors and friends who have kids, and throw a toy party. Ask them to bring gently-used toys their munchkins aren’t interested in anymore, and provide food and games to keep things lively. It won’t cost you a cent to get a whole new pile of toys for your kiddies.
To do something similar without the cost of throwing a party, just set up a box for old toys and toss them in as the kids lose interest. Ask your friends and relatives to do the same. Once two of you have full boxes of old toys, simply trade.
Needless to say (since you are, after all, a savvy consumer), shopping for bargains should be an integral part of your toy acquisition strategy. If it isn’t already second nature, school yourself to keep an eye out for coupons and toy store sales as they come up.
Right after Christmas is the best time to get cheap toys, as stores clear out their inventories…which is great for those who celebrate Eastern Orthodox Christmas (January 6), but not so great for everyone else. However, it’s a great time to stock up for the next birthday, or just to buy extras you couldn’t afford before.
Speaking of Bargains…
While you might want to stick to traditional stores for holiday gifts, there’s no reason you can’t buy everyday toys at those most democratic of retail outlets: garage and yard sales. The selection is huge, and as a devotee of such myself, I guarantee you that much of the selection at any such sale is outgrown toys.
In a similar vein, rummage sales at churches and other organizations are good places to look for playthings, and you won’t have to do much rummaging, really, to find what you’re after. And don’t forget digital options like freecycling sites and Craigslist, where folks often give away or sell items cheaply.
Tons of Toys
At the risk of sounding callous, where would you rather put your money: into your new car fund, or into a new Barbie doll that’s going to be headless inside of a week? Sure, the kiddies need toys to educate them and keep them occupied; but there’s no reason you can’t save money on toys while keeping them happy.