A new American Girl store recently opened in Houston, and predictably, lines stretched far outside the store for weeks with young girls anxiously awaiting their opportunity to be basked in the gorgeous glory of Addy, Rebecca, Molly, and the gang of other historically-accurate character dolls—that cost upwards of $100 each (Sigh! When did history get so expensive?)

If there’s an American Girl doll on your child’s holiday list this year, you could break the bank by purchasing a doll and countless accessories in store . . . or you could use one these techniques to save some American dough on these American Girls.


#1 Buy Online

I know what you’re thinking: “The in-store experience is what my daughter (or goddaughter, niece, etc.) wants!” That may be the case, but the second little Julie steps into this menagerie of clothes, books, and accessories, she’s sure to convince you to spend more than you intended. So skip the store experience to focus on the product. Ordering online can be cheaper, especially with the company’s free shipping code for orders over $50, and can yield products not available in stores. The “sale” tab includes an impressive collection of doll and child merchandise at up to 70% off retail prices. The “Last Chance” link gives the biggest discounts.

#2 Shop Cyber Monday

For Cyber Monday 2011, the AG website discounted over 100 selected items by 50%. This created quite the online buzz from a toy retailer who runs few sales. Who knows what the savings and deals might be this year on Cyber Monday, but mark your calendar for November 26 so that you don’t miss out!

#3 Skip the Books

The accompanying American Girl books could be bought individually for about $7 each (paperback price), but they are also readily obtained for free from public and school libraries. While your girl may want to have her own copy, she may enjoy discovering the series for free and saving the money for a purchase later. If your public library does not carry a particular book, place a patron request for the purchase to make it a permanent part of the local collection.

#4 Make Your Own Clothes

Save on clothing costs by sewing American Girl doll clothing at home. This book includes fun, easy-to-create clothes, props, and accessories from home that can be used with an American Girl doll—or any 18″ doll. Other similar books exist for using materials at home to create a world of wonder for your doll, but this one has particularly high marks on Amazon.

#5 Buy Used and Send to the Doll Hospital

AG offers a thorough Doll Hospital where dolls can be lovingly restored. Tangled hair? Crayon marks? Loose arm? All these problems and more can be fixed by the AG “Doll Doctors.” Now, their services do come at a price, but if you find a used doll on Craig’s List, eBay, or at a garage sale, spending the money to get a restoration to have her looking like new can still come at a cost far less than buying new.

#6 Think Knockoffs

If an American Girl doll is just not in the budget, there are some impressive knockoffs for about $35 or less. Some of the clothes and accessories for sale (at much lower prices) under these brands can also be used with the 18″ American Girl dolls:

No long store lines for me! I’ll save my money and energy by not going to the American Girl store but still scoring some deals. Who knows…with all this extra energy, I just may be motivated enough to make Black Friday this year!

This is a guest post by Audrey from Texas
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Six Ways to Save on American Girl Dolls