With the prices increasing on everything these days, parents are desperate to find playthings for a bargain. This can be especially true when it comes to holidays and baby items because of quantity and the limited duration of use with young children. I rarely pay full price for anything. So how can you find a great deal on toys? Keep reading to find out!
Finding a Great Deal on Toys Online
Shopping online is more popular than ever. Many people turn to Amazon for finding items online because they are quick and tend to have lower pricing. This isn’t always the case and there are a lot more sellers with knock-off items that should be avoided at all costs. Other online stores, like Walmart and Target, also offer items from third-party sellers – so they don’t actually come from the popular retailer.
Online Deal Groups
If you have been on Facebook, chances are you have run across or been invited to a deal group. These groups are run by one or more affiliate marketers who post discounts (usually from Amazon) in order to make a sale and earn a commission.
I’m all for a side hustle, as long as they are honest.
Often times I see items posted that cost hardly anything, but have zero reviews, come from overseas, and look very unsafe for children. Yet, the comments are filled with “Got one!” and “What an amazing deal!”
Now, maybe the affiliates don’t know any better, so I give them the benefit of doubt, but some just want to make a sale. And not all of these groups post things like that. If you are able to find a deal group that you trust, feel free to join!
There are some great deals to be had and it is helpful to have someone else finding them for you.
The Tiny Bit of Play Facebook page posts updates to Today’s Deals, located right here on this website.
Before making a purchase from a group, scroll their history. What types of deals are they posting? Are there any complaints of people not receiving their items or getting the wrong/broken thing? Sometimes negative comments do get removed, so this isn’t always 100% fool-proof.
In order to make sure you get a great deal on toys without getting junk in return, use the following tools to know what to look for and what to avoid – whether you are looking yourself or taking a lead from a group.
What to Look For
Would this be a deal you jump on or pass?
Despite being nearly 70% off, this would not be an item I would buy, let alone share with others.
Read on to find out how you can pick apart posts like these and decide if this is a great deal or not.
This is always the first thing I look at when trying to decide on an item I have no experience with. If there are no reviews on the website you are shopping at, do a general search of the product. When there are no reviews anywhere, this puts a tic in the “pass” column for me.
When reading reviews, use common sense. If someone is complaining that it doesn’t work when they aren’t using it as intended, ignore it.
Focus on the reviews that talk specifically about the product, not that their child did or didn’t like it.
Pay attention to the dates.
If there was a slew of reviews about the product breaking a few years ago, but recent reviews appear to be better, the manufacturer may have fixed the issue. The reverse is also true. If a product was great awhile ago, but most of the recent reviews are bad – stay away.
The ultimate goal is to to save money. It was long thought that Amazon had everything cheaper. This is not always the case these days, so it is important to compare pricing with other retailers.
It can really be as simple as typing the name of the product into a search bar.
The first results that usually come up in Google are shopping options. This provides you with a quick look of how much it is from several retailers.
If you see it for less, make sure to check and see if shipping is extra. Paying less for an item isn’t going to matter if the shipping cost brings the total higher than another seller with free shipping.
In addition to price when doing this comparison, you may have to do a little extra research on the retailer.
Notice in the above example that there is a seller with a significantly lower price than Amazon and Walmart.
However, when clicking on it I am taken to Glanto, despite the “Bellezanorge” name in the shopping ad on Google.
There, I checked the contact information. Not only were there spelling errors, but there was no contact number.
For good measure, I searched the company name “Glanto” and discovered results questioning the legitimacy of this shopping site. That was enough for me to know not to make this purchase.
This a big one, especially when buying toys or other items for children. If there is one thing to take away from this post, it to not simply buy something just because it is inexpensive.
Amazon, especially, has a lot of sellers who offer knock-off products for a lower price than legit items. This can seem appealing when you are looking to save money. And the kids will never know the difference, right? While they may not notice, you could be putting the child at risk.
Check out these reviews on a baby play mat:
Lower quality plastics can become brittle and shatter when dropped or thrown, causing serious injury. Wooden items may not be sanded properly or may be of a soft variety that won’t stand up to play. Perhaps the main cause for concern is the inferior, or even toxic, paint or varnish used on some of these products that can chip off or leach when chewed on or played with.
Don’t be fooled by photoshopped pictures! Thoroughly read the descriptions and check for measurements. Break out the tape measure or ruler if you need to see the size visually.
Anything with separate parts that are below 1 1/4″ in diameter and 2 1/4″ in length are considered choking hazards and should not be given to children under 3.
What to Avoid
I hesitate to put this under things to avoid because I’m not against others using a larger platform to sell items. However, it may require a bit more work to find a trusted seller and not end up with unexpected disappointment.
Larger retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target have allowed other sellers to use their platforms to sell products, while usually taking a percentage of the sale.
These are called third-party sellers.
A quick way to see if the item is from the big guy or the little guy is to check for the small print around the price or shipping information.
Look for “Sold/Shipped by Xxxx.” If it says anything other the online retailer whose website you are currently at, it will be from a third-party seller.
How do you know if they are trustworthy?
Usually, the seller name will be clickable. When clicked, there will be the location of the seller and reviews. Know that anything shipped from a foreign seller will have an extra long shipping time.
Reviews can be important here as well.
Amazon breaks them down into positive/negative and recent/overall. Look at all of it. A poorly reviewed seller is likely one that you will not have a good experience with.
Be weary of new sellers. Sometimes violators of policy can be removed, but then come back under a new name with a new store.
As for products from third-party sellers, be cautious.
Knock-offs tend to be plentiful here, which means lower quality. If it is an unfamiliar brand, research it.
Your wallet will thank you in the end.
Spelling and Grammar Errors
If an item has spelling errors or mislabeled parts, take that as a red flag.
When a company or manufacturer cannot take the time to properly proofread and make sure their products appearance is correct, then what other areas have they overlooked? Safety? Hard pass.
Descriptions written with poor grammar are likely a result of a translator (human or software).
This can also clue you in as to the origin and quality of the product.
Reputable companies generally have the funds to pay for more accurate translations.
Finding a Great Deal on Toys in Store
Shopping online isn’t the only place to score a great deal on toys! Heading inside a brick and mortar store can reveal some good discounted prices as well. The trick is knowing what to look for and where to find them.
This is probably the best way get a great deal on toys.
Stores have clearance items all the time. They are usually on a back end cap of an aisle or nestled in among regular priced items and not displayed prominently. This requires a bit of digging.
There are certain times of the year when specific items also go on clearance.
Summer items like water tables, outdoor games, and pools go on sale in the fall. Believe it or not, many other toys get clearanced at this time to make way for hot new toys for the holidays.
Speaking of holiday shopping, a great way to make sure you get the best deal is to do ad comparisons between stores.
Toys take a top spot in ads as the holidays approach, so sales should be easy to spot.
Retailers tend to be pretty competitive in pricing, but may offer other discounts through reward programs or store coupons.
It would also be wise to check with online retailers like Amazon if you think you found a great in-store deal, just to be sure.
Another way to to save in store is by price matching.
Walmart will match its own online pricing, but no longer with other stores.
Check with your local retailers to see if they also price match, as well as their terms.
Other Ways to Save
Resale, thrift shops, and even Facebook Marketplace can also save you tons on toys.
Honestly, some of my kids’ favorite things have come from The Salvation Army!
Check to make sure anything you buy works and includes all pieces if necessary. A quick search of an item can also show you if anything has been recalled, too.
In the End
Finding a great deal on toys can be hard work. There are lots of things to consider and look for to make sure a good price doesn’t mean poor quality, which in the end, will end up costing more money.
Use these tips to find great deals on your own or if it seems overwhelming, visit the Today’s Deals tab and follow Tiny Bit of Play on Facebook and let me use my expertise to do it for you!