Well Being

Thrifty Alternatives for American Girl Dolls

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dear santa So, your little one is just longing for an American Girl doll. You'd really like to get one, but the price tag is about 5 times what you can afford this Christmas. Are you going to have to crush your child's dream? Well, that depends.

Is your child extremely name brand conscious? If so, the only help I can offer is a suggestion to request a gently used doll through Craigslist for around $20. Then, head to the American Girl website and shop the sale page for a reduced outfit so she'll have something brand new to open. There is usually a sale code of some kind floating around, so you should be able to at least cover shipping costs. (Or check out outfits that fit American Girl dolls on Etsy. There are some adorable clothes there!)

However, if you are shopping for a child who isn't fixated on name brands, you can find very similar dolls on sale in the $20 price range. They will fit American Girl clothes, including the matching outfits for dolls and girls. (There are many other similar doll lines out there, but they seemed to be almost as expensive as American Girl dolls and I'm trying for thrifty here!)

target our generation doll At Target, we found a really nice line of Our Generation dolls. They are on sale in stores this week for $19.99 and on the website for $21.99. In person, they were cute enough that my mom ended up buying one for a five year old little girl who's requested an American Girl doll who looked like her. (If you're planning to buy crackers and cookies for school lunches anyway, you may want to hit the grocery section first for the buy 5 selected Keebler products, get a $5 gift card sale and then use the $5 gift card to pay for your doll.)

At Toys “R” Us, we found an 18″ Madame Alexander doll line for $29.99 that looked very nice. We actually preferred it, but decided that the child my mom was shopping for would prefer the Our Generation dolls, which came with more accessories to start. These very nice looking dolls are on sale this week for $24.99.

Do you have any thrifty tips for little girls with American Girl wish lists? I'm assuming the desire to own one will spread like the plague on Christmas morning when the other girls see this one's doll. One thing I am planning is to start sewing some outfits for the doll for a birthday gift. (and maybe at least one matching outfit for her new “mama” as well.) I did this when my sister wanted an American Girl doll when she was little. My home ec teacher was quite impressed because I turned in two pieces for one assignment. I bet I even have the patterns somewhere…In fact, I just found free patterns to download online!

Doll photo courtesy of target.com

Dear Santa photo courtesy of Steve Woods

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