The holiday American Girl doll catalog just arrived at our home and my jaw often drops when I see the prices on all the cute clothes and accessories.
Maybe you have someone in your life that is really excited about American Girl dolls or any aspect of the AG culture, but it’s just not in your budget or your jaw drops when you see the price tags on things. While my daughter does own an American Girl doll, we have found other ways to keep enjoying the American Girl doll culture without having to make additional major investments.I hope that some of my ideas will be helpful if you are finding that American Girl items are appearing on a Christmas or Birthday wish list for someone you buy for.
How to Save Money on American Girl Dolls
Finding a deal on authentic 18″ American Girl doll can be hard, but it can be done.
- Follow deal sites that frequently post toy deals in case a sale pops up. There was one recently were American Girl has specific 18″ Doll sets with extra clothes and were selling those sets for up to 65% off. You can also check the sale section of the American Girl online store.
- You can try Craigslist or watching rummage sale ads to purchase a used one.
- Consider purchasing a mini American Girl doll. I have bought a couple of these for my daughter on Amazon and they almost always sell them for cheaper than the American Girl website and they have often come on sale for 50% off of retail, which is when I bought them. They come with a mini book too.
- Consider getting an 18″ doll that looks similar to the American Girl doll if you are unsure if the child will actually play with the doll or treat it respectfully. Younger kids might not know the difference between a real one and a knockoff like older children will. Getting the American Girl doll repaired if her hair is cut or she is drawn on can be very costly, so make sure they are ready for the real thing.
Free American Girl Doll items
- FREE American Girl Apps through iTunes – there are currently 9 different apps that are free to download and play.
- FREE Craft Projects at an American Girl Store – for ages 8 and up and there are many different options and projects to choose from
- FREE Bitty Baby’s Storytime and Craft Times – for ages 3 and up
- Check out American Girl books and movies from your local library or rent from Redbox (be sure to look for a free rental code!)
- Make a mental note to have your child participate in Summer Reading Programs. The last 2 summers there has been an American Girl chapter book on the FREE book list at Barnes and Noble. Other programs may have American Girl books to choose from as well.
- Take your picture in the American Girl Store with the Girl of the Year Display. There is usually a display that you can enter into for a photo opportunity (bring your own camera!) with that year’s featured doll.
Other ways to Save on American Girl
- Purchase 18″ doll clothes from other retailers that sell them like Target, JoAnn Fabrics and Michaels. Watch for them to come on sale or when there are coupons from JoAnn’s and Michael’s that allow you to purchase one regular price item for 40%-50% off.
- Accessories and furniture is available for considerably less without the American Girl label from Target. My daughter would really like a horse for her doll for Christmas and it’s 1/3 the price for the Target version and you better believe I will be watching for it to come on sale.
- Enjoy the American Girl Bistro just for dessert! Eat a meal at some place more in your budget and check out the Bistro just for dessert. You may need reservations. They offer this cute trio of mini ice cream cones that you could share if your budget is tighter or there are other little dessert samplers to try as well. If you don’t have your American Girl doll with you or you don’t own one, they have plenty they will lend you while you are dining there and will bring out a high chair for the doll as well as a little tea service for the doll.
Make Your Own: DIY American Girl Doll Clothes
You can save a lot of money by making your own American Girl clothing. Here are a few ideas:
- Easy to Make American Girl Doll Clothes that include a tutu and knit hat and scarf.
- Matching Halter Tops for Girl and Doll that could easily be adapted to fit different sizes.
- Free American Girl Doll Dress Patterns that are quick, fun and easy.
- Twirly Skirt for an 18″ Doll
American Girl Doll Crafts and Accessories
It’s fun to play with the dolls, but it’s also fun to do American Girl-related crafts. Here are a few thrifty American Girl projects:
- American Girl Doll Glass Magnets – Use that holiday catalog and make some magnets of their favorite dolls. These could make cute stocking stuffers.
- Doll Bedding that fits an 18″ Doll Bed – you might be able find a bed at Target, perhaps make your own or re-purpose a dresser drawer or a box in to a dresser and make this bedding from leftover scrap fabric or some outgrown kids clothes.
- My daughter has made some smaller length loom bracelets for her AG doll. Don’t underestimate the mini versions of crafts that kids can make for their dolls.
- Those mini-spoons you get when you sample gelato and ice cream at a shoppe make perfect doll spoons.
- Use 40%-50% coupons to JoAnn’s and Michael’s to buy American Girl Crafts sets from there or watch for them to be marked down on Amazon.
Is your daughter in love with American Girl? How do you find ways to save?
Note: This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Please read our full disclosure policy for more info.