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The Best Ways to Save Money On Toys

Bargain ideas for keeping your baby entertained. Who knew having a good time could be so wallet-friendly?

Be the early bird. "Garage sales are the best for getting toys," says Chelsea Brodie, a mom of one from San Francisco, California. "Now that my trusty new alarm clock…um, I mean, baby…makes sure I’m up and at ‘em at 5:30, I find mountains of great toys to choose from. I go with my daughter strapped to me in her carrier and she gets lots of compliments—and lots of freebies. People selling their old toys usually just want to see them go to someone who’ll love them as much as their children did."

Swap till you drop. Check out toy swap sites like toystotrade.com and toyswap.com.Over at ThredUP.com, which recently started listing toys, parents can buy a box of goods for just $5.00, plus shipping. So go ahead, get your 3 a.m. online shopping fix; you won’t regret it in the morning.

Check out Craigslist. You can browse offerings or search for specifics like bouncy seats or swings. Since you’re supposed to make purchases in person, you can check the condition and quality of the toys before buying.

Borrow some fun. Some people hold onto pricier baby toys once their little ones have outgrown them, to save them for future siblings. Ask if you can have them on loan in the meantime. Or seek out hand-me-downs. "Now that friends know I want their old stuff," says Sarah Brown, a mom of two in Concord, New Hampshire, "they automatically box things up for me and drop them off on my porch."

Recycle. Removing select toys from your baby’s collection and reintroducing them after a week or two will keep your little one endlessly intrigued by the "new" toys (enjoy this while it lasts!).

Get back to basics. "Kids love the most simple stuff—when my girls were babies, some bright tissue paper kept them entertained for far longer than any flashy electronics could," says Julie Fredericks, a mom of three in Spring Hill, Tennessee. "Babies don’t need expensive or elaborate toys to be entertained."

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