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Want to do the American Girl store experience with your kids and not have to empty their college fund? With some planning you can. Here are some of the best tips and ways to save at the American Girl Store from Southern Savers readers.
Plan It Out
You want to get the most bang for your buck. Before you make the trip set an amount you want to spend. You can then look up prices online for clothes, dolls, etc. to get an idea of how much things are. Depending on the ages of your children, you can decide how to spend the allotted money or let them decide.
Look for Sales
American Girl does put things on sale so check those clearance racks. Younger kids especially will not know the difference and will be just as happy. You can also check the American Girl website and order things ahead of time. Your kids can go into the store with dolls dressed in new outfits so you can focus on the salon, restaurant, etc. if you prefer spend money on those things.
The Great Restaurant Debate
Whether or not you want to eat at the restaurant is all about personal preference. Many readers reported that the food is mediocre at best but that they still had a lot of fun. If you are looking for a way to save, this may be one of the best parts to cut. You can see a sample menu here to get an idea of foods that are available (they leave off the prices though).
If you do want to eat at the restaurant, go for lunch or tea for a cheaper option. You can make a reservation online.
Purchase Discount Gift Cards
Costco sells $100 American Girl gift cards for $79.99. You can purchase them ahead of time to save on anything in the store. This also gives your child a preset amount to spend. $80 may seem like a lot, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly it gets spent. At least for you you’ve already saved 20%!
Head to Target
Target sells My Generation 18″ dolls and clothes. They’re very compatible and a lot cheaper. You’re looking at spending $25 on a doll instead of $115. You can still have the full store experience with a doll that is $100 less. For example, you can bring in any 18″ doll for the current hairstyle at the Salon. The store does a great job of not mentioning that your doll is not one of theirs.
Add On Hotel
This isn’t a frugal add on but if you really want to go all out, be sure to check local hotels. In Atlanta, several hotels have American Girl packages. At the Marriott, this includes Deluxe Pink Room accommodations, American Girl doll bed, movie night, breakfast and more.
One Southern Savers reader brought the supplies needed and did manicures, pedicures, and facials in their room.
Look for Special Events
Stores will have events and activities from time to time and some are free. You can try to plan your visit when this is taking place. Some do require you to sign-up ahead of time so be sure to check the website.
The Hair Salon
Dolls can have their hair styled for $10-$25. They can also get their ears pierced. Some other options are to add a hearing aid to one or both ears for $14, a soft scrub for $5, or a spa day for $15. Many readers felt the hair salon wasn’t worth the money so for a frugal option you could style the doll’s hair yourself before going into the store. Here is everything you need to know to do it.
Have you ever been to the American Girl store? What were your favorite things to do there?