You-know-what is just over two months away, and Black Friday is a month from Tuesday. Some of you have already started your shopping, and I’ll bet there are a few of you who have already wrapped it up (you overachievers, you!)
Here are a few of my best tips for saving on gifts for kids:
1. Kids don’t need lots of toys. As parents, we want to shower them with goodies, but it’s sooo not necessary. If you feel like you might be overdoing it, you probably are. Also, kids could care less if an item’s gently used, so check kiddie consignment stores, BC’s Facebook B/S/T group, Craigslist and Freecycle for big savings. Inspect used toys carefully and check for recalls.
And keep in mind that when you finish your shopping early, it’s VERY tempting to succumb to great deals that pop up and end up buying more than you should. Be strong!
2. Familiarize yourself with Baby Cheapskate’s List of Toys that Get Played With before you shop. These lists are compiled from hundreds of parents’ tips about what toys captured and kept their kids’ interest long after the decorations came down. The first four are updated for 2013, and I’m in the process of updating the rest.
- Toys That Get Played With 2013: 7 to 8 Years
- Toys That Get Played With 2013: 6 to 7 Years
- Toys That Get Played With 2013: 5 to 6 Years
- Toys That Get Played With 2013: 4 to 5 Years
- Toys That Get Played With 2012: 3 to 4 Years
- Toys That Get Played With 2012: 25 to 36 Months
- Toys That Get Played With 2012: 13 to 24 months
- Toys That Get Played With 2012: 6 to 12 months
Browse BC’s Toy category for more toy guides, many with buy-it-now prices.
3. Try to buy at 40% or more off list price. Sound like a lot? Many of last season’s most popular toys went to 50% off during the second week of December (still in plenty of time to arrive by December 25). Prices will drop, you can be sure, but how long you hold out before buying will depend on your tolerance for risk.
4. Black Friday (November 29 this year) will rock, especially for those of you who enjoy the sport of it. If you don’t no worries. You can expect plenty of other hot deals. Since BF is late this year, expect plenty of deals BEFORE the 29th. Toy deals usually peak toward the end of the first week of December. Expect sales to continue the pattern of starting a few days earlier each year. You may have seen a few “Cyber Sales” already.
5. Sometimes it pays to wait. You never really know when the best deal on the particular wish list item you’re looking for will surface, so don’t stress about it too much. Count on getting great deals through about a week before Christmas. Just be sure order by December 17 or so to be sure that gifts arrive by the big day. Expect many stores, including Target and Toys R Us, to offer free or cheap expediting shipping for last minute shoppers.
6. Clearance sales on winter clothing traditionally start late in the third week of December through right after Christmas day. Inventory will be best at this time, though the sales will continue long into January and perhaps through February, with the very deepest discounts at the end of the sales. Look for sales at The Children’s Place, Old Navy, Crazy 8, Gymboree, and more.
7. Use Facebook and Twitter to catch time-sensitive deals. Check for coupon codes and sale announcements on retailer’s Facebook pages. The same deals should also show up on Twitter.
8. Watch for Amazon Lightning Deals. Some of last year’s hottest toy deals showed up as limited-time steals at Amazon. You can access them at Amazon’s Today’s Deals page or on the Baby or Toys Department pages.
9. Other retailers–Hanes, Kohls, Overstock, Kmart, Target, and others–will most likely also offer Holiday Deals of the Day.
10. I’ll be posting the hottest toy, baby gear and clothing deals here several times daily here on Baby Cheapskate. Make sure you’ve Liked BC on Facebook to be notified of posts as soon as they go up and to catch lots of deals that you won’t even find on the blog.
Readers: What are your best toy shopping tips?