How to Find New Toys for Kids Without Wasting Money

by Jessica Sommerfield · 4 comments

For those with children, toy shopping is admittedly a large portion of your holiday spending. This time of year, retailers are especially eager to cash in on this category of sales, and will use the media to make sure you (and more importantly, your child) know what’s new and exciting.

There’s nothing wrong with buying new toys for your children every Christmas, but the problem is that, they will be either:

  • Become broken or outdated
  • Need new batteries or repairs
  • Discarded for something new

As parents, it’s hard to justify purchasing new toys when perfectly good ones are sitting at home in the toy box. But children don’t understand this kind of reasoning.

Hey, even adults don’t, sometimes…are you buying the latest iPhone even though yours is perfectly fine? Or are you saving for a new camera when your older one still functions? The good news is that there are ways to find new toys for your children without feeling like you’re wasting money (and toys).

1. Find Toy Discounts Online

First of all, manufacturer coupons and discount toy websites are a smart way to enjoy savings while you shop. Although toy coupons aren’t as prevalent as grocery coupons, there are still plenty to be found on the Internet. Just do a quick search online, or check out apps like RetailMeNot or CouponPal.

Further savings can be found on deal-of-the-day sites such as Woot.com or Etoys.com. If you check regularly, these sites will eventually offer deals on items you’re interested in. And, of course, there’s always Amazon, and Zulily, where you can cross-reference the cheapest price among many retailers.

2. Pay Attention to What You’re Buying

Take time to pay attention to what you’re buying; don’t just buy a toy because your child wants it. Do an inventory of what your child already owns, and make them narrow down their toy list before shopping.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t get what your child will like, but you may be buying near duplicates of toys they already have just because the new one has a slightly different feature, upgrade, or bonus offer.

Rationalize this with your children in a loving manner and you’ll help them develop a sense of reality over a sense of consumerism, even at a young age.

3. Give Gifts That Last

With toys, it pays to think outside the (toy) box, and consider other gift options that won’t create more clutter in your child’s room. Consider gifts that last, such as sports equipment or games that can be used for many years. Tickets to events, concerts, and water parks are also great gift ideas that will build lasting memories.

Maybe your child would prefer to create memories over getting more toys. Figure out ways to make the gift giving process more meaningful, and less about toys that will waste away soon enough.

4. Rent Toys Instead of Buying

Who says new toys have to be brand new to be a novelty for your child? Many types of toys are very durable and look and work just as well used as they do brand new. There are an increasing number of ways to find safe used toys for your children:

  • Mom-to-mom sales
  • Craigs list (Freecycle)
  • Ebay
  • Yard sales throughout the year

Did you know that you can also rent toys? This one comes as a surprise to some people, but in a Netflix and rental-center culture, it shouldn’t. For a monthly fee, sites such as Sparkbox Toys and Pley.com allow you to essentially rotate your children’s toys each month.

Obviously the fee you pay covers lost or damaged toys, so there’s not as much concern that you’re borrowing them. For those with children whose interests change rapidly, this allows the stimulation of new play things without the added expense.

5. Eliminate Wasteful Purchases

These are just a few smart ways to eliminate wastefulness from your toy shopping this holiday season, and find new toys that your children will love without wasting money.

This time of year is all about being thankful, and reflecting on how blessed we are. So shop frugally, with long-term and experiential ideas, and buy used or rent.

And remember, getting new things shouldn’t be a reason for guilt if you’re smart about your spending. So go ahead and enjoy the gift-giving process and allow your children to enjoy this season.

How do you discourage wastefulness with your kids? Do you have a tip for buying new toys without spending a lot of money?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Michelle says:

    I’m not sure where to even find a place where to rent toys at.

  • My Son is very fond of buying toys…he wants a new one each time we are out in the market. So my wife decided to keep the budget low. She let him buy drawing sheets or cheap coloured paper instead of colouring book. Most of the time, the toy looses its charm within 2-3 days and then it is just part of large bucket full of toys.

    Sometime back we also distributed some of them to needy children.

  • Joseph Hogue says:

    Great ideas Jessica. I had never considered renting toys but will have to check it out. Over the last year, I’d say our 2-year old has ignored most of his toys and chose to play with a discarded BBQ box more than anything.

  • I picked up some toys for our little one today on Amazon. She’s only two, so she’d like anything at this point, so I tried to not get carried away.

    Another way to look at the clutter scenario is to also buy things that won’t last forever. I bought her Play-Doh and some craft supplies and I’m happy because I know that they’ll get enjoyed then get out of the house.

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