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Children can be some of the most fun people to shop for. If you’re like most people, it’ll bring back memories of you when you were a child – waiting eagerly to open those gifts you’d been eyeing (and shaking) for weeks.
These fond memories also make it easy to head out on Black Friday and spend way too much on toys – because obviously, you want your children to have the same happy memories you had. Luckily, we’ve put together some holiday toy budget tips to help you buy toys for the children in your life without breaking the bank.
- Spread out your purchases – Toys shouldn’t be reserved just for the holiday season. Now, we’re not saying you should spoil your children year-round, but there’s also no reason to flood them with gifts just during the holidays. Most kids select three or four toys they really like and don’t pay as much attention to the rest. If there are certain toys you know they want, buy them for special occasions throughout the year – not just when December rolls around.
- Make a budget spreadsheet – Now, this is more than just a shopping list. The spreadsheet should include whom you need to buy for, some ideas for what you want to buy them, and how much you want to spend. Next to that information, add a column where you can record how much you actually spend on their gift. Print out the spreadsheet and take it with you as you’re shopping. Keep in mind your budget and try your hardest to stay within it – even as you walk past great deals.
- Set a limit – In addition to a budget, try to set a limit on how many toys your children will get for the holidays. As we mentioned above, toys are a fun thing to shop for and it’s likely your kids will get them from many others besides you – including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends.
- Do your research – Most people think they can rush out to the mall and do all of their shopping in one day. To help meet your budget, spend an hour or so the night before to look at the newspaper ads and determine where you’ll get the best deal. You can even plan your route beforehand so you won’t spend your day wandering from place to place without a plan.
- Make a “triple play” – Black Friday ads are usually filled with regular store discounts and coupons. Clip these coupons and look for items where you can not only get a discount but use coupons and cash rebates as well. Make sure to sign-up for Rakuten (formerly eBates) before you do your online shopping to save even more.
- Don’t let returns take a chunk out of your pocket – Take note of a store’s return policy before you buy the toys. Some (especially electronics items) usually require a restocking fee which can be pretty hefty – sometimes as much as 20% of the price of the product. You should also request a gift receipt with everything you buy and if you plan on returning anything, do it as soon as possible.
Consider the above tips when shopping for the little ones in your life. They’ll help you save money and hopefully ensure a stress-free shopping experience.