I don't know about you, but LEGOs are one of the number one gifts requested in our family – by both boys and girls! I was a LEGO builder in my day, so I understand the attraction. Unfortunately, though, LEGOs aren't cheap. To save, I like to start watching prices early so that I know I'm getting a good deal, but I've managed to pick up a few other tips along the way:

 Best Places to Buy

  • Walmart.com sells LEGO bundles for a far better value online where you can get up to 3 sets at a time. I like to make them one big gift, or divide them up for multiple presents.
  • Target: Every November Target will send out their famous Toy Coupon Book that almost always has coupons for LEGO sets that you can stack with sales during Black Friday.
  • LEGO Stores and LEGO.com have the best choices online if price isn't a big deal. However, you can find deals for freebies pretty regularly if you buy a particular set or spend a specific amount of money. An additional bonus is that they offer a VIP program similar to rewards cards; for every purchase, you earn points. Those points turn into free items if you save them and spend enough money.
  • Toys “R” Us is another great place to buy LEGOs because they offer buy one, get one 50% off several times throughout a year. The prices are going to almost always be higher than Walmart or Target, but again, the choices are abundant. They also offer freebies depending on the purchase, which make great stocking stuffers.
  • Look in unexpected places: You should also keep an eye out for LEGOs in stores that aren't notorious for toys, like Aldi's or Barnes & Noble. My Aldi's will have them on sale from time to time, but I love it when Barnes & Noble carries them because I can use store coupons and rewards discounts to get an even better deal.
  • Note: Keep in mind that no one store has the best selection or price. You're going to be able to save the most if you keep an eye out for deals around the holiday months.

Buy Second-Hand

LEGOs’ durability makes them a great toy to be passed on to a new user. If you're okay with bins of bulk pieces (which no true LEGO lover is going to turn down), Craigslist, eBay and yard sales are great places to find secondhand sets. Some tips about buying bulk LEGOs second-hand:

  • Make sure that the pieces you're buying have been well maintained.
  • Never pay more than $5-$7 per pound – including shipping, $5 if there are no specialty pieces.
  • Sanitize your pieces as soon as you get them. I like to put them in the sink with vinegar or a small amount of bleach (read the back of the bottle for the best measurement based on the volume) or put them in a mesh bag and wash them in the dishwasher or washing machine with a small amount of detergent.

Avoid Amazon

Try not to get tempted by Amazon. While it's a favorite site of mine, you'll rarely find a good deal on LEGOs there because the sets are older and out of circulation. Needless to say, the prices skyrocket at that point and are no longer worth the money if you intend to let them be played with. However, I do check every so often, just in case. Just be aware that if the stars do align and you find a good deal, there are most likely a thousand other parents going after the same deal, so your chances of actually making it through checkout decrease significantly.

More LEGO Tips

  • If you're a parent on the verge of the LEGO years, you should start educating yourself now. Trademark sets cost more than LEGO brand sets because, like almost all "collector" items, you're paying for the licensing to get big names like Transformers, Marvel, and Harry Potter. I try to explain it to my son as simply as possible, and, like a good bargain hunter, he realizes he can get more for the money if he chooses a non-collector set.
  • LEGO lovers don't just love playing with LEGOs, they like learning and reading about them, too. You can make a small LEGO purchase even better buy adding a subscription to LEGO Club Magazine. It's free, and your little one is sure to love all the ideas and games that come inside. And what kid doesn't love getting mail?
  • There are tons of LEGO pictures and instructions on their website as well. I've found that printing the pages and keeping them in a binder so my son can pick and choose as he wants is the easiest for everyone. It stays on a shelf, and I don't have to try and match each picture with whatever he's managed to build for the day.
  • If your child isn't into the magazine, consider taking her to a LEGO Store. The one closest to us offers a free mini-build at five o’clock on the first Tuesday of every month. It's great for the kids to get to share in the creativity, and depending on the time of year, the themes change so they can make a variety of models.