If you are new to this series, make sure to check out part 1, freebies.
While freebies are nice for obtaining presents, you most likely can’t fund your entire gift giving this way. However, there are many low cost options to round out your shopping, especially when looking for toys.
–Garage sales. Throughout the summer I go to garage sales, specifically looking for toys that are still in nice boxes. This past summer I found a talking doll for my daughter still new in the box for $3. It is for girls 3 and up, and my daughter will only be 2 this Christmas, but I am saving it for next year. I also found a board game for my son new in the box for $2.
For this kind of gift giving, it is best to go with classic toys as often many of the toys that end up at garage sales are out of fad toys that your children may longer be interested in. I find it also helps if your children have gone to garage sales and thrift stores before and know how much further money can stretch there than at a regular store. Have said that, I do try to pick toys that look “new” and are still in their box with all parts included.
–Consignment shops. Many kids’ consignment stores such as Once Upon a Child and other local consignment shops sell not only clothes but high quality toys. The key is to keep your eye out for toys throughout the year as these stores sell out of toys quickly during the holiday season.
In the Chicagoland area there is an annual sale, Best Brands Resale. They sell gently used kids’ clothes twice a year—once for the fall and winter and once for the spring and summer. They have just started a toy consignment sale. Many big cities have an event like this. Another good place to look is at a Moms of Multiples sale.
–Toy clearance sales at chain stores. Throughout the year I keep an eye on stores such as Target and K-mart that deeply slash their toys periodically to make room for new stock or to get rid of their old stock. A few weeks after Christmas and Easter are good times to look. I check Stockpiling Mom periodically for updates on these kinds of sales. Through reading their blog, I found out about the clearance sale at K-mart and got this for my son. In addition, if you are disciplined about paying down your credit cards each month and get reward points, you could make these retail purchases on credit and earn points (and perhaps cash back) for your debt free Christmas. However, only use this suggestion if you pay off the cards each month.
–Check the websites of toy stores. Lego often has accessories and some times toy kits in their clearance section online that you can buy much cheaper than retail. Likewise, you can find some good deals at Toys R Us this way.
–Toys r Us gift card rewards. Recently I have been taking advantage of the diaper sales at Babies R Us, the ones that give you a $10 or $15 gift card with the purchase of two boxes of diapers. I now have $30 worth of Babies R Us gift cards for something I have to purchase anyway—diapers. I am saving these to buy Christmas presents for my daughters. I plan to hold onto these until the toys go on sale later in the season.
These are just a few ways you can give your children toys they will enjoy without overspending. Do you have other ways? Please share with us in the comments.