I recently posted about planning my sons party in May (I always start planning way in advanced because either I plan really early or I end up scrambling at the last minute, there’s no happy middle with me!) This post I am writing today focuses on gift giving to save money. My son is invited to attend a friend’s birthday this upcoming Saturday which led me to think of some things I have learned about saving money when buying for friends as well as for my own son.
With regards to friends, I used to try and spend around $20 but that’s not really in my budget anymore and that’s ok because there was times I would spend around $20 and the kids didn’t like our gifts which consisted of 2-3 items but they loved getting an obviously less expensive gift because it was what they wanted so my #1 tip is:
1. Know the child, ask their parents what they like. With this said, I do this EVERY time and sometimes the parents don’t know their kid that well. So if your child can tell you what their friend likes, then great! My son usually tells me what he wants to buy his friend and that isn’t always what they want. This time around my son does know what his friend wants, she wants a Barbie doll. I did confirm with her Mom. Little girls lately love those Shopkins, but this little girl would prefer a Barbie.
I ended up buying his friend this Barbie:
2. I learned that if you have PRIME shipping from Amazon, a lot of the toys are a better buy from Amazon
in my son’s friends, case they notified me yesterday of the party which was just enough time to find a Barbie on Amazon and get it shipped to me and this may have saved me $6+
Other Barbies I considered: Barbie Great Puppy Adventure Barbie Doll, Barbie Careers Farmer Doll, Barbie Careers Game Developer Doll, Barbie Happy Birthday Doll (seemed too obvious), and Barbie Made to Move Barbie Doll, Pink Top
Another Amazon find is these mini American Girl Dolls for just under $8, I saw these at my local Target for $15! I have also bought these Melissa & Dog scratch art doodle pads for some of my sons’ friends’ birthday gifts. I haven’t bought one yet for my son but I think I might either for Easter or for his birthday, which is coming up in May. He loves post-its so I think he would also enjoy this. I enjoyed scratch art when I was young. My son wants this Yo Kai Plush and the Yo Kai Watch Toys .
3. If buying from Amazon isn’t an option, I love getting friends gifts at discount stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, etc. We also have a small store called Tuesday Morning which also has a toy aisle filled with new items that are really fun. Just like anywhere some of the prices at Tuesday Morning don’t seem to be at a discount but other items are deeply discounted. I recently found a really cool hot wheel there where your child a=can customize the car and I also found a paperweight with a beetle inside. I had actually been wanting one because my aunt got me a peperweight with a scorpion inside when I was a kid and I just loved that paperweight! I am hoping my son does as well but if not it was less than $3 so no biggie.
#4 TIMING is EVERYTHING! – Amazon no longer offers price adjustments so keep an eye on items you want and when the price gets to an all time low go all in. Even still, you may find a lower price a week later and it sucks but look at the bright side if you bought it in your home town, you likely will pay more. With that said, on the Yo Kai Plush, I paid $4.57 and it’s up to $4.99 now. I just double checked because I thought I had paid $6 or $7 but my memory failed me!
I hope these tips helped, it took me 3 or 4 years before I thought to start shopping for presents at Ross dress for less (the toy aisles) and Tuesday Morning and TJ Maxx. I wish someone had clued me in earlier. It took for me to realize my son enjoys his new toys for a week or so before he gets bored with them. Like most kids, he has a few favorite toys he always goes back to and eventually he gets new favorites. I was sick of spending lots of money on toys for him to just tire of them after a week. I have read other articles on other blogs but they focused more on the less is more approach of giving experiences rather than gifts as well as the 4 gift rule (something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read). I haven’t dabbled with either of these 2 concepts but I plan to start soon. Also, I’ve seen on other blogs people buy discounted gift cards at http://www.cardpool.com – I haven’t tried them yet. You could even buy a discounted gift card from cardpool.com for Gymboree or the Children’s Place or maybe even one for Dick’s Sporting Goods and use it in place of the “Something to wear” or a gift card to Barnes & Noble for the “something to read,” how fun would it be for your little one to pick their own outfit or their own books?! My 7 year old is at that age where he feels a sense of pride when he gets to pick his own things out at the store for himself (Within reason! some of the clothes he picks are a hard “no way!” from Mom). Speaking of things my son likes to wear, consider shopping at Del Sol for those tees that change color in the sun. We have a factory store here and every year we hit that strip mall for trick or treating and so I knew my son had begged me for a shirt there. They are like $20-25 which seems like a lot of green for tee. I went one day without him in November and they had a clearance rack of tees, they had 3 or 4 different ones in his size for $12 each so I got him 2 for Christmas and he loves his Spider-Man one. It might even be his favorite shirt right now. If you don’t have a Del Sol store, they sell merch online at http://www.delsol.com I noticed they currently are running a 60 percent off sale so I imagine you can even get good deals from them online from time to time and it’s a fun unique “something to wear” that your kids will love.
Photo credit: http://www.ashleycreatesthings.com
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