Saving money when shopping for our kids presents for their birthday and Christmas is challenging. But trying these three tips can help you save money and prevent you from charging presents that you’ll be paying for months later.
Three ways to save money on kids presents
1. Buy used kids toys
I’m not talking about buying garage sale toys, then wrapping it up and saving it for Christmas. Although if you find something amazing and want to do that, then go for it.
I’m talking about buying used toys from a consignment shop that screens other people’s used toys, books, and clothes before they sell them.
Shopping from a consignment shop means you’ll be shopping for toys that look brand new, don’t have any missing pieces or parts, have been barely played with, and actually work.
Sometimes you can get lucky if you’re buying used toys or clothing from a garage sale or craigslist or Facebook marketplace, but when you’re buying for your child’s birthday or Christmas, it’s not worth the chance.
To save money and get a like-new gift for your child, a kid’s consignment shop like Toycycle is your best bet.
Your kids won’t know the difference or even care. What they care about is the toy.
If you’re worried about the toy not being in the factory box when your child opens the gift, consider leaving the gift unopened and ready to play with. Just put a red bow around it, like it’s a gift left from Santa.
Because Toycycle is a consignment shop that buys and sells consumers items, what you see on this page may no longer be available. But that’s kinda cool because that means their inventory is always changing, so check back frequently.
You can also check to see if you’re within one of their areas so you can sell your toys and clothes to them and make some extra cash or credit.
Why it makes sense to buy used toys
- Kids don’t care if something is brand new. They just want the toy.
- Kids lose interest very quickly and grow out of toys quickly. They very rarely get your full money’s worth of brand-new toys.
- Almost all parents would say their kids don’t need any more toys, yet we buy them more anyway when it comes to birthday and Christmas, so why not save money.
- It’s good for the environment. Think of all the plastic toys sitting in landfills versus if we were to reuse them.
- Kid’s toys and clothing can be a large chunk of your discretionary spending, which is a great way to reduce it.
When my kids were younger, they would get so many gifts from extended family and friends that my kids often couldn’t tell you everything they received for Christmas or their birthdays.
When they were on present overload, I would take half of their presents and put them away in my closet to give to them later in the year when they were bored.
But a funny thing happened. I began to forget about the presents too. Pretty soon, Christmas would come around, and suddenly I had presents completely untouched and unopened.
When kids are young, they grow out of presents very quickly, so I couldn’t reuse their presents very often, but for things like LEGOS that boys play with for years, I could.
Sound lazy or tacky? Maybe it is, but when you’re faced with not giving your child a present or charging your whole Christmas versus giving them a perfectly good present, I don’t see the harm.
I would also regift these toys to other kids for their birthday parties, which you can read about here.
3. Activity of the Month Coupons
Once you give your child activity of the month coupons for a present, you’ll never be able to stop. It’s the most cost-effective present you can give, and your child will love it because it lasts all year long.
You promise your child you will do an activity with them once each month in the upcoming year. How you promise this and the activity you do is up to you, but here are some suggestions.
How to promise the activity
Give your child 12 envelopes with all the months written on them. Inside each envelope, you write down what the activity will be for that month.
Then seal the envelopes. You will present this to your child for their present, but they can only open each envelope on the 1st of each month.
You can hold on to the envelopers or put them somewhere safe. This option takes upfront planning on your part.
Give your child 12 coupons that say Activity of the Month for X with x being the month. Then have your child turn in the coupon each month when at that time, you will reveal what the activity will be.
Ideas for the activity of the month
Your ideas can be big or small or a combination of the two. This is how you control the costs.
One year, I took my kids on mini-trips to a bigger city every other month and did an individual date night the other months.
Another year I didn’t have as much money, so our month’s activity was coffee dates, football in the park (no cost), local swimming pool outing, movie night, dinner out, and other low to no cost outings.