Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Making American Girl a Little More Affordable

Many girls dream about having their own American Girl Doll---or two, or three. However, American Girl can definitely put a strain on the wallet. I have come up with a few methods of keeping the cost of American Girl a little more manageable in our house while still allowing our daughter to have a doll. I mean, really, do I need another mouth to feed?

  • Set limits up front. When my daughter first started asking about an American Girl doll, my husband and I decided how much we would be willing to spend on the "venture." Well before she had the doll, my daughter already knew there would be parameters. In general, she has followed these parameters and has never really begged for anything at the store.
  • If there is a special occasion coming up, such as a milestone birthday, this may be a good time to give the doll. If you were already planning on spending a decent amount on an occasion, it could be a good opportunity to buy the doll.
  • Let your child earn the accessories for the doll. My daughter receives an allowance. She knows that whenever we visit the American Girl Store, she will need to pay for any items beyond what we will pay for--which is established before the trip. Whenever she receives a catalog, she peruses it. She hones in on a few items and then earns money to pay for them. She also knows that if she doesn't carry her weight around the house, there is no allowance and possibly no American Girl items.
  • Don't forget the mini dolls. If you daughter is into collecting all of the historical dolls, why not collect the mini dolls instead of the larger ones? You can usually find them for around $15 on Amazon.
  • Sign up for emails from American Girl. They will often let you know if there is a sale going on (sales are rare, though) or if they have free shipping.
  • Check ebay. There are all sorts of American Girl items listed on ebay--you just might score a great deal.
  • Clothes from other doll collections may fit American Girl. Just a little research online and you may find some clothes from other retailers that fit the dolls.
  • Make your own clothes for the dolls. 
  • Find a local craftsperson who makes the clothes. We discovered Jiminee's Doll Clothes in Roselle, Illinois. They make wonderful clothes that are not only beautiful but more affordable. Not only do they have a store, but you can buy their clothes online.
  • American Girl does have a yearly sale to benefit the Madison Children's Museum. This year's will be held July 21-22, 2012. Check the museum's website for ticketing information and times. I have heard that there are great deals there!
  • Go to the outlet. American Girl does have an outlet in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. There are deals there on clothing and accessories (not the dolls). I am not sure how steep the discounts are.
These are all ways that I have found to curb our American Girl expense. Now, we will see if I can do the same when my daughter decides to embrace every fashion trend as a teenager!

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