I have an eight year old little princess who is obsessed by all things American Girl. She pours over the American Girl catalogs that come in the mail and loves every doll pictured on those glossy pages. She loves to play with dolls and has asked many times for a “real” American Girl doll.
Although I love dolls, American Girl dolls and accessories come with a price tag that just makes me cringe. With dolls priced at $115, purchasing a doll with a few outfits and accessories can easily cost several hundred dollars.
My husband and I decided that this Christmas, we would indulge our princess and grant her wish for an American Girl doll. We needed to do it on a budget though, so I began researching ways to save on American Girl dolls and accessories. We found some great deals and were able to spoil our girl without breaking the bank. I can’t wait to hear her squeal when Santa brings her very first “real” American Girl doll on Christmas Day.
If you have an American Girl fan in your house, here are five tips to save on this expensive brand.
- Consider knockoffs. There are tons of 18-inch dolls and accessories to choose from. Walmart sells My Life brand. Target sells Our Generation. Hobby Lobby and Michael’s each have their own version. All are great options at a much less expensive price point. Even if you spring for an American Girl brand doll, off-brand clothing and accessories can be great way to save. A tip for Walmart shoppers, check the sales in January and July for deals on My Life items. This past January, I scored a My Life kitchen for half price, a dinette set for $5 and a doll for only $7!
- Make your own. If you can sew, knit or crochet, there are plenty of free doll clothing patterns available online. My mom and I have made hats, scarves, dresses, skirts, pants, purses, ponchos and boots to outfit my daughter’s dolls. My daughter loves the homemade clothes and plays with them all the time.
- Buy gently used. Check Craigslist, Facebook marketplace groups and consignment stores for American Girl dolls and accessories. This is where I finally purchased a “real” American Girl brand doll for my daughter. I shopped online for several months and finally landed on a doll with box in like new condition for $75. Still expensive, but much better than $115! American Girl has a doll hospital if you find a deal on a doll that needs a little TLC.
- Go mini. If your girl wants every American Girl doll ever made, consider a mini doll collection. Mini dolls are priced at $24.99 at the American Girl store, but can be found on Amazon for less. I have also found several of the mini dolls on sale at americangirl.com for $10 or less. At that price, we can collect quite a few without breaking the bank.
- Check Costco. Last year, Costco sold $100 in American Girl gift cards for $79.99. I keep hoping that deal will return sometime soon! Costco also has deals on select dolls and accessory sets, usually around the holidays. For girls who love to match their dolls, Costco also carries Dollie and Me brand matching outfits for girls and their dolls. I found the Dollie and Me outfits on sale a few weeks ago for just $14.99.