Anyone with children, or who has had to buy gifts for children, knows that the prices for toys seem to be getting higher and higher while the quality may seems to be getting lower and poorer. During this period in our lives where toy companies want you to think that newer means better, there are ways to give kids great toys and still save some money in the process. Here are five general tips for your considerations:
1) Buy Used Toys
One of the most obvious ways to spend less money on toys for your children is to buy used toys. Used toys don’t necessarily have to be taken out of the package in order to be considered “used”. Many times kids receive more than one of the same gift and parents tuck it away with the intention of returning it and never do. You can check out garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets and even online auctions for many new “used” toys in their original packaging.
If you buy a used toy that isn’t packaged, make sure that it is something washable if it is plush and surface washable if it is plastic. Do note that a stuffed toy with an electronic device inside is almost impossible to disinfect.
2) Recycle Old Toys
Children rarely notice a difference between something that is brand new and something that is just new to them. Older children can give toys they have outgrown to younger children or family and friends can recycle toys within the group. In some towns they have Mommy Groups (which you can easily form on Facebook) that get together on the weekends and trade clothes or toys at not cost at all.
3) Have a Yard Sale
Before the gift giving occasion rolls around, have a yard sale. Not only can you get rid of toys you may not need, but you can recoup some of the money you’ll probably be spending on the new gift. Encourage your children to clean out their closets as well and donate any unsold items to a worthy charity. Most charities will also give you a donation receipt that can be used to deduct that amount from your income taxes.
4) Make Something
Most kids of any age love something handmade just for them. One of the cheapest methods is to make a photo album. Photos can be saved on a flash drive and printed out in almost any store when given enough time in advance. Color pictures printed on computer paper and bound with a nice cover can be an even more economical solution.
5) Give Memories
Almost any toy can be bought, sold, broken or forgotten but a memory can last a lifetime. A trip to the park or zoo, a movie night with popcorn, or even a family camp-out may be the best gift you can give any child and doesn’t cost you a thing.