Kids love toys…and unfortunately for us, toys can be pretty expensive! This is how my love for bargain shopping started.
Before I had my little one I never paid much attention to what toys were popular, their prices or how to buy them at the best price. Now I have a toddler, it’s a different story. I hate feeling like i’ve been ripped off and I don’t like the thought of paying over the odds for something that might only be played with a few times.
Last Christmas was our first ‘big Christmas’ with our toddler. She was also transitioning out of the baby phase and was ready for some more toddler appropriate toys. It was a good opportunity to get her some new toys and to pack her baby ones away.
Last year I started my Christmas shopping in the summer. From starting early and bargain shopping I managed to save close to £1000 on the cost of the gifts we had to buy.
Here’s some examples of items I saved money on:
- Peppa Pig Weebles – RRP £4.99 – found for £1 in Tesco
- Beatbo – Usually £25+ – bought on Amazon £16.99
- Furchester Playset – RRP £25 – £7.99 Home Bargains
- Twirlywoos Big Red Boat – RRP £50 – bought on Amazon for £16.71
They’re not massive savings but they all add up!
So how do I save money bargain shopping?
I buy a lot in advance. My little ones birthday is coming up shortly – all of her presents were bought last year as a result of bargain shopping during the late summer sales. They’ve all been stored away since then with a few additional bits added as I have come across them. We’re lucky as she is still quite little so it’s easy to guess what she will like – it will probably be a different story as she grows!
I bought almost all of our summer toys (pool, sandpit and games) in the summer sale last year and stored them until now. We got out Step2 sandpit from Costco – it was the last display one so we got it with a good discount (I think we paid about £30 when they are usually £80+!). We discovered that a lot of the scoops were missing which was disappointing however Step2 replaced them all for free!
When Bargain shopping, supermarkets are your friend
The majority of my Christmas shopping was done in the supermarket! I found that the supermarkets have a quicker turnover of products (due to small shelf spaces) so they are much better at dropping their prices to help clear stock. They regularly put items into promotion or into the reduced sections. Sometimes the price is even completely different to shelf edge label.
They’re my first stop now when I get there!
Some good finds have been:
- Fisher Price Chameleon colour scanner – was £25 – bought for £4.87
- Vtech airplane – was £12 – bought for £2.80
Many of the supermarkets are trying to out price high street stores such as Argos in order to boost their sales. This is a win-win situation for consumers, with a number of stores trying to out do each other you can get some great deals.
Argos dropped the price of their vTech unicorn to just £14.99 before Christmas however stock sold so fast so it was soon sold out. Luckily, Tesco dropped their price a few hours later so I was able to pick one up from them – a saving of almost £15!
The self scanners are fantastic. Tesco have had them for quite a while now and Sainsburys and Asda are also introducing them. Shelf labels aren’t always correct so I always grab a self scanner and double check. My best find was a train table in Tesco. It was originally £60 but scanned at £15! No shelf label – I only knew about it scanning a little cheaper as someone else had found one.
Stores change their prices all the time.
One day something could be £20…the next it’s increased to £100! If you have an idea of what you’re looking for, make a note of its price. I always check a few different shops to see what the average price is. No one likes to be ripped off so don’t just accept the first price you see. There are number price checking websites which log price histories. My favourites are CamelCamelCamel (for Amazon) and PriceHistory for Argos.
The same applies for a low price. If a price drops on a product don’t hang around – order it! I would never buy anything off the shelf now without at least doing a quick Google or Amazon search for alternative prices.
I’m sure all of us have come across a Facebook post of an item scanning at a reduced price or one that’s had an amazing reduction somewhere. These prices don’t last for long. If it’s a mistake, stores can jump on this quickly and either take products off shelves (to stop them being bought) or put alerts on their staff systems to rectify any price mistakes.
Some good examples of this are:
- Belle Tea Trolly – A certain supermarket had mistakenly updated the scan price to £2.49 (they’re usually £45+!). This was an amazing deal and quickly went viral on Facebook. A large number of people managed to get them before items started being taken off shelves by staff members.
- Food Mixer – A well known high street catalogue store had mistakenly priced a £100 mixer at £18.99 in one of their promotional leaflets. Great news for prospective bakers…bad news for the store. Stores were honouring the price to start with until a mass internal message was sent out to all stores to update the price.
You need to move quickly! As soon as the store becomes aware of the price glitch it’s rectified quickly. It won’t wait until the weekend or until pay day.
These are just a few ways I have saved some money by bargain shopping. If you have any tips then let me know over on Facebook.