How to Save Money on Toys by Buying Them Used

kid in toy car
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Buying used toys is a simple way to save some money. And it's helpful for the environment, as well. Rather than contributing to all of the production and packaging (some of which is not recyclable) that comes with making new toys, you give something that already exists a new lease on life when buying used. There are many toy companies that make durable and long-lasting products that can be passed from one generation to the next. Here are some factors to look for when buying used toys, as well as where you can purchase them.

What to Look for in Used Toys

Used toys should always be inspected for safety before you purchase and give them to children. Make sure any wear and tear doesn't affect the function of the product, especially to the point that it might hurt someone. For instance, if you're buying a used children's bicycle, make sure all of the mechanical parts work.

For any used toy you're considering purchasing, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. This will alert you to whether the toy has been included in a toy recall.

You're likely to have more success with certain types of toys when buying used to find ones that are still in good shape. Plus, some brands are known for their well-made and durable products. Some quality used toy options generally include:

  • Wooden toy train sets and train tables
  • Wooden playground sets
  • Wagons
  • Plastic outdoor toys, such as basketball hoops, small slides, cars, castles, picnic tables, sandboxes, trampolines, and various climbing structures
  • Play kitchens
  • Construction toy sets, such as wooden blocks
  • Ride-on toys, such as scooters, tricycles, and bicycles (including training wheels)
  • Stationary baby activity centers
  • Dollhouses
  • Video game systems
  • Video game toy collectibles
  • Dolls, clothing, and accessories
  • Rocking horses
  • Battery-operated cars
  • Costumes and dress-up clothes
  • Simple children's musical instrument toys
  • Board games, dice games, and card games

Where to Purchase Used Toys

Buyers have options when it comes to shopping for used toys, but you'll probably have to shop around if you're looking for a particular item. Websites such as eBay and Craigslist offer a wide variety of used toys. Many communities also have their own websites or social media, such as Facebook groups, that facilitate the sale of used toys locally.

Online, check out Toycycle (where you can also sell your own used toys as well) and Once Upon a Child, along with Swap.com, the largest online consignment/thrift store

Don't assume the seller has cleaned the toy. In addition to giving the toy a thorough inspection, also sanitize it prior to use.