By Pamela Brill
Get Gifts for Less
Odds are the children in your life (your actual kids as well as the overgrown one you're married to) have already made it plain which games and gadgets they desperately want this holiday. And you, of course, want to grant their wish lists-without spending a lot. With a little planning, you can. Check out these smart ways to save on the toys that will make them smile widest. Photo by Getty Images.
Related: Check out the 10 things you should never say to your kids.
Reap the Rewards
Pharmacy chains and supermarkets aren't the only stores with loyalty programs. Members of Toys "R" Us's Rewards "R" Us get members-only shopping site discounts and other money-saving perks during the holiday season. LEGO's VIP program uses a point system that gives you $5 off for every 100 points you earn.
Get Gift Cards at a Discount
Check out GiftCardGranny.com, which sells cards for toy and electronics retailers like Target, Toys "R" Us, Sears, Walmart, Apple, Best Buy and GameStop, at an average of 15% savings.
Come Armed With Pricing Info
If you know what a store's competitors are charging, you can get the best bargains without having to drive all over town. "Many stores will offer to price-match when you show them you found the items cheaper elsewhere," says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch, who works with Kinoli, a company that manages GiftCardGranny.com and other online savings sites. "For giving that store your business, you may even be able to negotiate a better deal," she says. Bring whatever you have that shows what other stores are asking-an ad or an offer printed from a website. If you have a smartphone, download RedLaser, a bar-code scanning app, which gives you instantaneous price checks. Online, Shopzilla.com has toy price comparisons, and Toys "R" Us, Target and others put out their annual catalogs this month, so you can compare prices.
Visit Toy-Maker Sites
It can pay to go straight to the manufacturers. Xbox.com, for instance, has bundles now through Christmas that include free games and a month's subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold, which gives you access to movies and TV shows. LeapFrog.com also offers bundles and deals throughout the holidays (the LeapsterGS and LeapPad2 are hot this season). MelissaandDoug.com posts a Terrific Twenty list of holiday gift suggestions from $9.99.
Related: Find out which 9 buys are cheaper online.
Seek Out Sneaky Saving Spots
Keep your eyes open for toy coupons where you'd least expect them. In years past, Hasbro included coupons in some Sunday newspapers' supermarket circulars. This year, Fisher-Price is dropping off 65,000 copies of its Toy Shopping Guide at select zoos and Life Time Fitness centers nationwide. The guide includes $5-off coupons for a $25 in-store purchase and free shipping when you spend $50 at Fisher-PriceStore.com.
Related: Check out 10 things you didn't know you could rent.
Buy Now, Adjust Later
You just spotted that Fijit Friend robot your niece wants...should you grab it now? Before you do, check the store's policy on honoring future sales, suggests Woroch. Many stores will discount anywhere from 10% to 50% from Thanksgiving through Christmas. If you paid full price, "hold on to your receipt and ask for a price adjustment, in case you see the price go down during a big sale," she advises. Must-have items are likely to fly off the shelves, though, so if you're sure you want it, purchase it now and adjust later if possible.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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