I remember when the first American Girl catalog showed up at our house. Ironically, it was just days after the ultrasound tech had told me I was having a daughter. Call it coincidence, but I’m convinced the marketing geniuses at Mattel like to start the brainwashing early. If you have a daughter, then chances are at some point an American Girl Doll is going to end up on her Christmas or birthday list. But how do you (or Santa) shop for American Girls without breaking the bank? Turns out there are a few ways to save your hard-earned money on these high-priced playthings.
Kohl’s Department Stores
Kohl’s is not the first place you’d think to look for American Girl deals, but they’ve partnered with Mattel to put the 2016 Girl of the Year, Lea, in more than 1,100 Kohl’s stores across the country. Lea and several of her accessories will only be available until the end of the year, or until they sell out. Kohl’s also carries the Wellie Wishers line, as well as some American Girl craft and accessory sets.
Deal Alert: The really exciting part of being able to buy American Girl merchandise at Kohl’s is KOHL’S CASH! Yes, you can earn Kohl’s Cash on your American Girl purchases. American Girl Dolls can be pricey, and earning Kohl’s Cash to use towards other holiday gifts can really help cut down on your overall costs.
Consignment Shops, eBay, Craigslist and events like WeeTrade are great places to find gently used American Girl merchandise at a fraction of the price. Keep an eye out at your local garage sales as well — you never know what you might find!
Deal Alert: If you find an amazing deal on a doll that has serious damage, you can always send her off to the American Girl Doll Hospital for repairs. The hospital can make major repairs, like replacing a head, or small repairs like untangling hair, but they aren’t cheap. A new head will cost you $44, and just a standard wellness visit, which includes cleaning the skin and brushing her hair is $28, plus shipping. Doll repairs can be a costly investment, so make sure you’re getting a really good deal on a used one if it needs to be sent in and fixed.
You wouldn’t necessarily think of an art-supply store when seeking American Girl deals, but Michaels is worth checking out. They don’t carry the actual dolls, but they do have several American Girl craft kits and even some accessories that your biggest American Girl fan will love.
Deal Alert: Michaels coupons don’t exclude American Girl purchases, so you can score official American Girl merchandise and take a percentage off.
Zulily is a deal site that has rotating inventory with various discounts. Several times a year, they offer American Girl items at up to 35% off retail prices. The downside to Zulily is that stock is limited, so when an item is sold out, that’s it.
Deal Alert: If you don’t already have one, sign up for a Zulily account now so you’re ready when new stock is available.
Yes, Costco! Costco carries several different American Girl sets that can be purchased for less than you’d pay at the American Girl store.
Deal Alert: In addition to the doll sets, be sure to check out some of the accessories. Costco carries the American Girl horse, outfits and Bitty Babies. Stock changes a few times a year, so if you see something you want, be sure to go ahead and pick it up.
Official American Girl Website
Although rare, sometimes the American Girl website really does have the best deal, or you simply can’t find what you’re looking for anywhere else. Check out their daily deals section and sign up for their email alerts so you can find out exactly when their sales are.
Deal Alert: If you have to buy directly from American Girl, make sure you sign up for their new rewards program. You’ll earn 1 point for every $1 you spend and rewards can be earned in-store and online.
Another way to save big is to forgo the name-brand American Girl Doll in exchange for one of the lesser priced 18″ dolls on the market. Target, Walmart and Toys”R”Us all offer their own brand of doll along with doll clothing and accessories.
Do you have tips or tricks for saving on American Girl Dolls? Leave a comment and we’ll add it to our post!