I mentioned in an earlier post that I would share how to get an 18” doll for less, so here you have it – everything I know on the subject. The American Girl doll is the top of the line. If your daughter’s little heart is set on one, a new one will set you back over $100 (ouch!). The only way I know to get an American Girl Doll for less than $100 is to buy a used one on Craigslist, at a thrift store, garage sale or flea market (if you get LUCKY!) or on auction at eBay. To get one of these at the price you want, you have to be persistent, patient & diligent. If your price point is between $50 and $60 dollars you have a better chance of finding an American Girl on Craigslist for that price than on eBay. On eBay, if you do a search for an American girl doll, you will find a whole slew of accessories in addition to just dolls. If you choose to view your search by price (low to high) you will have to go through tons of pages of cheap accessories before hitting on any dolls (NOT RECOMMENDED).
Also, bear in mind, if you find an American Girl doll that needs fixing, you can send her to the American Girl doll hospital to get her looking good as new, but it’s going to cost you. They attach a new head or reattach the head you have, new bodies, reattach limbs – the cost is going to depend on what the doll needs done and it will add to your final cost for the doll. Otherwise, you can just get her a different kind of 18″ doll. There are so many different kinds of 18 inch dolls available for much less if your kid doesn’t mind.
When my daughter Faith asked for an American Girl for Christmas 2011, Santa Claus got her a beautiful Best Friend’s Club, Ink. Addison doll, instead. Unfortunately, they stopped making these lovely dolls that same year – fortunately for me, prices for them were low then and I used coupons and discount codes to get Addison some friends (Britt, Gianna and CJ) for $20 or less each, for Faith’s birthday in 2012. If you want to get a new one of these now, it will run you $100 or more. You can still get a used one on eBay for $25 or more, but most likely, it will need some TLC. BFC, Ink. dolls are different from most 18” dolls available today in that they have moveable joints, their bodies are completely made of plastic and they have a slim body – so they are not really made for younger little girls. Also, their eyes do not close.
The lowest priced option I know of in 18″ dolls is the Springfield Collection dolls. Like the American Girl dolls, they have a stuffed cloth body and vinyl arms & legs. The price for one of these dolls is $21.99 with a simple dress and shoes. They also have the B*Utiful COLLECTION which is priced higher ($29.99) and come with a nicer outfit and accessories. They also offer clothing and accessories that fit most eighteen inch dolls for less (very good deals, especially on clearance). You can buy these dolls online at: http://www.springfielddolls.com/ or in-store at Michael’s. (You can use a Michael’s coupon for 40% off one item to get these for EVEN LESS!!)
The “My Life As” doll are pose-able dolls with a soft torso (like American Girl) which you can get at Walmart for $27.97. These dolls come dressed as whatever they are supposed to be: gardener, hair stylist, schoolgirl, etc. “My Life As” dolls are made of cotton, PVC and poly-blended fabric. They have eyes that open and close, and rooted hair. A similar doll, “What a Doll, is available at Kmart for $29.99. Another slightly pricier 18 inch doll with sleep eyes, rooted hair, soft body, and joints at neck, shoulder, and hip are the Dollie & Me dolls. One nice feature of this doll, similar to American Girl, is that they make matching outfits for child and doll. However, the Dollie & Me child outfits are sized 4-14, while AG’s go from size 6 to 16. D&M girls’ outfits are also more economical because, not only do they have a lower price point, but, the doll dress comes with the child’s while AG sells the matching dresses separately. These dolls are made exclusively for Dollie & Me by the Madame Alexander Doll Company. They are available online at https://www.dollieme.com/dollies-dollie-outfits?size=75 for $39.95 + $9.64 for shipping & handling. Sign up at the site and get 20% off your first purchase (the site also holds sales on national holidays from 20% to 40% off – the more you spend the more you save kind of deal). Doll outfits have velcro closures for easy dressing and undressing. They are made for 3 years and up and are marketed as “a perfect starter doll for younger girls.”
Our Generation Dolls by Battat, are available from Target either in-store or online. For 24.99 you get just the doll in a pretty outfit, or get the deluxe set – doll, 2 outfits + accessories – for 34.99. (You can get one of these beauties from Target for as low as $20.99 on sale). These dolls are also available online at Amazon and at other online retailers for a lot more – $33 and up for just the doll (from what I could see). Unlike American Girl and most of the dolls I’ve mentioned so far, this doll’s body is all plastic/vinyl. It also has eyes that open and close. In addition, there are tons of reasonably-priced accessories for these dolls available at Target.
There are more dolls out there but the last I’ll mention is the Toys r Us exclusive, Journey Girls doll (a personal favorite). The regular price for these gorgeous dolls is $39.99 at Toys r Us in-store and online. Toys r Us also has an Amazon store and an eBay store where you can find these dolls, as well. They occasionally go on sale for $34.99. Every year they issue a limited edition holiday doll dressed in a beautiful long gown, which usually sell for $39.99. These limited edition dolls eventually end up being sold on eBay for $100.00 or more.
Journey Girls dolls are also different from American Girl dolls in that, although they have cloth bodies, their upper torso is vinyl, they are slightly slimmer, and their eyes do not close. The great thing about all these dolls is that they come in different hair and eye color combinations and different ethnicities, so you are bound to find one who matches your child if you so desire. All these dolls also have clothing and accessories made for them that can be used for other 18″ dolls (except the Journey Girl dolls – their bodies and feet are slimmer than the others). These accessories tend to be way cheaper than what you would be able to get at the American Girl Store, which helps the budget.
Take it from a pro: Joanie Demer of TheKrazyCouponLady.com says she got her daughter an American Girl for $115 one Christmas but then got all the accessories for way less from the Our Generation line at Target. So there you have it, hope this helps you get your daughter the 18″ doll of her dreams for less 😉