Thursday, November 19, 2015

Managing the Toy Budget

My girls love toys. Truly. They love their toys. They love their friends' toys. They love any toys. And when we're out shopping - no matter where - their first question is "can we go look at the toys?"

They're pretty good about it. They know that we don't buy toys on every shopping trip. But man, do they love to look and lust after whatever is displayed on those shelves. They love the idea of new and what they would do with whatever was lucky enough to be introduced to our menagerie.

New toys every trip to Target or the mall? Not in the budget.

There are a few ways I've found to manage this.

1) Let Them Hold It

Let's face it. We've all tried on a pair of shoes or held up a bag that we know isn't in the budget. But sometimes it feels good to just pretend for a moment. We go through the toy aisles and I let them take a few minutes to hold and touch and even play with what they're lusting after. My only rules are that you can only hold one thing at a time, and that the toys stay in the aisle we found them in. When it's time to move on, we say goodbye and move on.

2) Add it to the List

We make Christmas and birthday lists easily with these window shopping excursions. When there's something that the girls are really lusting after something and having a hard time putting it back on the shelf, I snap a picture of them holding it with my phone and add it to their "wish list" folder. When Grandma or Santa needs some ideas, I can go through the pictures and send them over. That way, I'm not trying to describe exactly which Shopkin set or Busy Book someone wants, but I can send the picture as well for them to match.

3) Selling and Buying

When it's time to clear out the toys, the girls are involved in the process. Plenty of what we have gets donated, but when Madison wants something new, she understands that she can contribute by selling some of what she doesn't play with anymore. Learning value, budget, and prioritizing are good lessons.

Both girls are also fans of the gift card. They love figuring out how far they can make their "toy money" stretch and how long they can make it last. When it's their money it's more meaningful to them and their choices are careful. Great lesson.

4) Renting

These days there is a subscription service for everything. I love my Stitch Fix. We're huge fans of Little Passports  and  Kiwi Crate. And have you heard of Pley?

Pley is a great toy rental service. It helps parents save money, reduce clutter and help the environment too. Kids love it because they get a new toy every month! For a monthly fee, you get unlimited toys (one at a time of course) delivered to your door. Lego sets are the big draw - they have over 400 sets! It arrives and your kids can build and create. When they're done, they ship it back, and the next toy is on its way! For Lego and K'Nex lovers, it's a godsend.

When anticipating the influx that comes in December, it's nice to think of ways that you can manage it! Toy rental, smart listing making and involving the kids are all great ways to start.

This post was sponsored by Pley, but all the toy issues we have are clearly my own!

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