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I’m not a huge eBay person, but my husband uses it strategically to keep us stocked in phone-charging cords, camera memory cards, and other made-cheaply-in-China electronic gadgets. I may not be able to find a nail clipper at a moment’s notice, but I can always find a phone-charging cable in my house. We have gobs of them.
Once your child has started collecting things, eBay is a great place to do some clever shopping. Here is our best guidance on how to save big bucks on if you start with eBay.
1. American Girl clothing and accessories. If you must have American Girl brand items, use the filter on the sidebar to select that brand, but if you are open to anything that fits an American Girl-style doll, you’ll find tons of stuff. Pro tip: Simply search for “18 inch doll clothes” and you’ll find screaming deals.
2. Calico Critters. My daughter is very hot on these small (expensive) woodland animals right now. She has several sets on her wishlist. I’m not looking for one of those current sets on eBay, but rather for a seller who has grouped together a whole bunch of animals and their accessories. Pro tip: use the word “lot” in your search terms to find bundles of items that will ship together. Here’s an example.
This listing is priced at $10.50, and I can tell you that just a pair of those animals in a tiny box goes for nearly ten dollars at our local toy store.
3. LEGO. If you’re just getting started with DUPLOs or LEGOs, consider buying a lot of bricks by the pound. Seriously. If you buy today’s LEGO sets in the store, you get a lot of specialty parts that are part of a building kit with detailed instructions. If you just want your kid to freestyle build, you need some basic bricks, perhaps 2-3 lbs worth. Heather’s husband uses a $.10 per brick rate as a guideline for new LEGO sets (ie a 250-piece set should run you about $25), so check eBay’s bulk brick listings for a better deal than that.Â Pro tip:Â You can run most piecesÂ through the dishwasher in a lingerie bag.
4. Already into LEGOs? My kids are mini-figure obsessed right now, and the going rate at toy stores is $3.99 for one mini-figure. On eBay, packs of 10 are running closer to $1.00 per piece. Hooray for a stocking stuffer that’s appropriately priced. (Seriously, who are these gift guide editors who put a pair of cashmere socks on a list of stocking stuffers? We are not buying forty-dollar socks, people, and if we do, they need to get wrapped and put under the tree.)
5. Thomas and Friends. As many toddlers are falling in love with Thomas and train tracks each day, equal numbers of 7- to 10-year olds outgrow them. Let their used trains be your new trains. I promise: your toddler will not care. Browse the Thomas options and consider buying all your tracks on eBay. Pro tip: What you’re looking for is not necessarily the Brio brand, but rather “Brio-compatible“.
6. Party favors. This is the sort of weird thing my husband orders: 10 mini-flashlights for $12. But guess what? Kids freaking love to be given a mini-flashlight. Now who is Super Dad?
7. Playmobil. Another expensive, but well-made toy. Someone else’s outgrown collection can go to good use in your home. Look for a lot that gives you more than you’d get in a single $30 kit. You may score this entire bundle for $30 when you browse this category.
Pro tip: Don’t shy away from buying an amount of merchandise that seems excessive. You might not want to bestow 10 mini-figures or 20 Polly Pockets on your child at a time, but you can dole out a few items at a time over subsequent holidays.
Since we’re new toÂ this, we want to know: What do you use eBay for?