So you or your child wants American Girl but you see sticker shock by the $115 dollar price tag at Toys R Us, Kohls, or the American Girl Place stores... I understand that. Why do you think it took me almost 30 years to get my first American Girl doll? Because I didn't have the secrets... Perhaps they should stay secrets hmmm. I am for one NOT discouraging you to go and spend your money directly to American Girl because if we don't buy American Girl then American Girl will cease to exist and the secondary market will sky rocket with prices that are ridiculous probably. Plus going to American Girl Doll Place is a very cool experience for girls (or boys) and adults alike. Of course if your not near American Girl Place you can find American Girl items at select Kohls, Target, and Toys R Us stores... if your here in Huntsville stop by the Space and Rocket Center and see :)
I have shared on my blog how to find the best deals on American Girl dolls.. I have gotten at least fourteen out of my fifty 18 inch dolls for under $50... Past blogs are here....(1), (2), and (3).
First of all make sure you set up alerts everywhere you can... Are you in Facebook American Girl Groups? Check the sidebar of my blog for a listing of AG groups on Facebook. Are you in Facebook Yard Sale Groups? Some allow you to set up search alerts for those or just go to the Facebook Marketplace and it will send you a notification once you set up alerts there. There are great apps like Offerup, Letgo, Ebay, Mercari or find the Goodwill auction website. Don't forget Craigslist! Be regulars at your favorite thrift stores so they know you, they know your looking for dolls (you don't have to specify AG), and they might alert you when they come in. There is Once Upon a Time Children's consignment and other seasonal and full time consignment stores might end up getting American Girl. To catch a unicorn American Girl deal you might have to check for months or even a year regularly but its worth it!
Just this week I was trying to help my sister and her friend find American Girl in her area and I saw several dolls under $30! My sister missed them all *face palm*
Because when they are at $20 they will sell fast so ask the seller as soon as you see them and set up a time you can meet up.
Now lately the secondary market is in a concerning sales slump... Things that used to sell very high are coming down in price but less than $40 is still worth it as long as there aren't any non-fixable flaws. To check on what is something worth always check Ebay SOLD auctions
I frequent yard sales and rummage sales in the Spring and Summer season. I usually try to check Craigslist on Thursdays and Fridays to see if anyone has posted yard sales that are advertising they have American Girl on hand. Go early (but don't bug the resident), just wait until they are open or another person goes in and then politely ask about the dolls. Now I have had a few misses where I chose not to harass the person before the sale and I have lost out but I don't know if being rude is worth scoring a deal on AG. I always have the motto if its meant to be it will be. I was bored and not feeling well one day and I was scrolling through Facebook Yard Sale Groups and I noticed a yard sale advertised.. No American Girl was mentioned on the ad but I spotted one in the picture and I ended up getting two dolls for $15 a piece without any major flaws... like absolutely none.
So get out of the house on a Saturday and don't be afraid to attend estate sales, neighborhood yard sales, and even church rummage sales... you never know what they will end up with sometimes they don't know the treasure they have! If I don't see any and they have advertised some I'd ask and lucked out very much like that. Someone in the groups shared a story about going to a Man's yard sale (you know when a man sells all his tools and anything another man would like) and the wife tagged a long and asked the guy and he said oh yeah in the basement I have some old dolls and they were very collectible American Girl dolls. My husband collects very old board games from the 60's-80's and one guy he has dealt with here in town has a huge yard sale every year and I have gotten three American Girl beds from him for under $20. Come to find out the dealer buys Ebay lots and storage units at blind sales and ends up with this stuff.
It seems that even though the American Girl Secondary Market is struggling (as well as its been reported that sales are down with American Girl) Some American Girl items do retail their value. I decided to really splurge and buy American Girl Luciana's Space Suit from the AG store on release day and it was a hefty price. It was $75 on January 1, 2018....
Here is a screen shot of the prices on Ebay today.... Just a month and a half later
I have written blogs before about WHY American Girl is worth the sticker shock. Its worth the sticker shock even if your 4 year old LOVES that McKenna doll. But if you aren't picky and you are patient you can find your needle in a hay stack and find an American Girl for under $50. With some education you can even fix small repairs. Once you master these repairs you will be flipping dolls before you know it or like me donating them to a worthy cause.
To cut the sticker shock some you can of course buy little pieces and accessories from Target (Our Generation), and Walmart (My Life Is...) brands especially for those little hands that might tend to lose them and put up the nicer AG pieces until they are older. I do not suggest waiting because you wait too long and they are sold out and or archived. I can't completely recommend using the other brands of clothes as they may leave dye on your doll and cause a headache in order to clean her up. Some are ill fitting at times too. So watch the sale page on AG and the purges in the AG groups to score those little pieces or clothing items at a discounted price.