So before you all gasp and reach for the smelling salts, let me explain…
I have been in the process of turning our guest room/toy overflow room into the nursery for sweet Finn Baby for a few months now. During this process I was forced to unpack the four mystery boxes I had been avoiding since we moved into this house almost a year ago. When I unpacked them I was somewhat appalled to find that they were literally FULL of toys — mainly all the new things that were “hot items” from last Christmas. No one remembered them. No one played with them. No one wanted them. After all, once my kids had collected a solid 2/3 of all the Lego sets ever made, I’m pretty sure they all started to look the same. So, I turned to the good ole Facebook yard sale sites and got to work selling off the excess.
And you know what else I found while I was there?
Really cool, useful stuff.
Some of it brand new or played with once — for a fraction of the price of what I could score it for at a store. This realization combined with really knowing my kids and the fact that our “per child budget” this year is significantly smaller than it has been in previous years, led me to declare this Christmas as the first Christmas that I wasn’t buying anything brand new; thus, my kids aren’t getting anything “new” this Christmas.
My boys are almost five and seven. They are into science, dinosaurs, building, figuring out “how stuff works,” and imaginative play with their neighborhood buddies primarily outside in their “fort” (some bamboo in our back neighbor’s yard that they have been kind enough to let a gang of kids take over).
Here is a look at what I scored for them this year, what I paid, and what that item retails for:
1. Hot Wheels RC remote control all terrain car. Literally indestructible (always a plus because my boys are terrorists). Paid: $20. Retail: $96.
2. Lite Brite. Paid: $8. Retail: $15.
3. Play-Doh Dentist set. Paid: $5. Retail: $12.
5. Crayola dry erase/chalk board easel with stool. Paid: $15. Retail: $29.
6. Plasma Car. Paid: $15. Retail: $63.
7. Sharper Image fighting robots. Paid: $15. Retail: $35.
8. Razor Scooter. Paid: $15. Retail: $35. (Hospital bills TBD).
9. Iron Man and Captain America dress up costumes: Paid $15 for both. Retail: $30 for both.
10. Jenga. Paid: $7. Retail: $11.
There are a few more things that I bought them, either that were handmade or that I couldn’t find a similar item to price compare, but overall that is the majority of their present haul. I didn’t just stop at Christmas shopping either; I scored Walker a $199 Imaginex Batcave with additional figures (yes, the one that is like three feet tall and impossible to find) for $35.
You guys, I will never go back to “store shopping” I’m afraid after this, at least for a while anyway and here is why:
I didn’t have to fight crowds. Or end up on the news because I’m too pregnant to suffer any fools this season.
I set up meets on my schedule, not at the mercy of a Black Friday ad or a flash sale.
Most moms are like me — their kids have lost interest in whatever item they’re selling, so they want it gone and they are willing to negotiate. One of the handmade gifts I got were two shark tail blankets (the ones that look like a shark is eating the kid… like a sleeping bag, kind of?). The seller had made too many for a craft show she had done and gave me a $15 discount for buying two blankets.
I am about to have three boys. I cannot and will not gird my loins and be precious about anything I buy for them. They are going to destroy it eventually. I’m far more at ease with them destroying an item with a $5 price tag vs. a $50 price tag.
My budget stretched really, really, really far. Like so far that my husband didn’t believe I had only spent what we agreed upon because I got such great deals.
A lot of times, I was able to trade part or all of the cost of what I was buying what something that I was selling.