How not to end up paying too much on toys this holiday season

shop1If you have been out and about, you may have noticed that the Christmas decorations are already out at most stores. It’s not even Halloween, but businesses already have the holiday season on their minds! Every year, there is a rush to shop from towards the end of November through December, but if you want the “IT” items for someone on your list, you may not want to wait until then to get your shopping started.

Typically, the hot toys for the holiday season come out before November, and there are those who pounce on the opportunity to make a buck and buy them up now so they can sell them for high prices on Ebay later. When my 8-year-old was a baby, I remember there was a Tickle Me Elmo doll that came out that year. It came out in the fall and pretty much sold out all over the country by the end of the day. By that evening, several listings went up on Ebay selling for much more than what they were selling for in the stores.

If you are consistently buying hot items for the holidays, you might want to scope the scene early, as in Google hot item projections in the summer. If your child has a favorite show or brand, and you are planning on buying the hot item for that brand, check out the items now. Many toy stores, including a big mega toy store that shall remain nameless, raise the prices on the hot items come November, so if you are able to get the item, you may be paying much more than you would be paying now. Many of these stores offer layaway options, so if you want to shop early, you can do so and pay a little bit at a time.

The other thing to keep in mind is that while some new toy may come out, and your child has his sights on it for the holidays, it may be short-lived. There are sellers on Ebay and Amazon that buy the hot toys and then gouge people on them during the holiday season because the items were in short supply. I know as parents we want the holiday season to seem magical and there is that pressure to make sure that our children get everything on their lists. However, remember how I mentioned that Tickle Me Elmo earlier? I know many people who bought them for their children, and six months later that doll was at the bottom of their toy bins. I say this because sometimes these items seem really cool at the time, but the cool factor is short-lived. Please keep this in mind when shopping for toys this holiday season and don’t fall prey to those gouging you on the prices because all the toy stores are sold out.

So if you want to avoid paying a lot during this holiday season, shop early and if you can’t find the hot items, don’t sweat about it. Sometimes you might luck out by doing things like finding out when the merchandise trucks come in. You can also re-think it and maybe buy it after the holidays when there is more of a supply and less of a demand. This way you don’t end up with something that cost six times more than it should have and ended up in the bottom of the toy chest in less than six months. I am not saying you should never buy the hot toy items. There are a lot of really cool things coming out this year. However, I know we all get caught up in the whirlwind of holiday shopping, so if you are looking for the hot items and can’t find them or see them somewhere where they are completely overpriced, don’t stress about it. You may even be able to find something else that may not have been on your child’s list that your child will like even more!

What are your tips for saving money while shopping during the holidays? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

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