The LEGO Dilemma
My son, who recently turned five-years-old, just started getting into LEGOs. The interest seemed harmless enough until my wife started buying set after set. Then I quickly discovered that there is a true scarcity of cheap LEGOs. I've now become obsesses with searching out and finding cheap LEGOs. Life suddenly appears futile.
Don't get me wrong! LEGOs are great toys. They provide hours and hours of enjoyment and allow an otherwise spastic five-year-old time to concentrate and be quiet. I absolutely love what LEGOs do for him. However, I'm starting to become spastic over the price, even though I find myself buying him stuff too.
So how does one find and buy cheap LEGO sets? Well, this article may not lead you in the direction of huge discounts, but there are opportunities to purchase cheap LEGO sets out there. Here's everything that I know.
A Word About the LEGO Group
Even though I'm frustrated over the fact that I can't really find cheap LEGOs that easily (and I'm talking like discounted, bargain basement, clearance sorts of stuff) and I never see them being offered on any of the major discount sites, I have to admire the LEGO Group.
You see, when a company controls its brand the way the LEGO Group does, you end up with a product that holds its value. This is why it's so hard to find LEGOs at a discount. The LEGO Group has done everything right. They don't allow knock-offs. They create value with their product by limiting distribution and limiting how many are made. Their product isn't just a toy, it's a commodity. Buying LEGOs is a good investment.
So though you might be frustrated by your inability to save 80% off the latest, greatest LEGO product, do pay respect to the LEGO Group for making such a great product and knowing how to manage it.
ToysRUs frequently has some great sales. Recently, they had a "buy one, get one at 50% off" sale on all their LEGO construction sets. This is definitely a great deal and they run the offer fairly regularly. As the advertisement above shows, they also do some straight 50% off sales on selected LEGO sets. Thus, it's worth it to get on their mailing list so you can be notified when their sales occur. I recently went to a mall to look in the LEGO store and there was a ToysRUs a few stores down and their prices on the LEGO sets they had was better than the LEGO Store, but their selection was very limited.
Make sure you watch the video next to this capsule as ToysRUs does mark up their products and their buy one get one free (BOGO) sale doesn't always produce the best prices. Ultimately, with LEGO, you need to do comparison shopping to get the best deal.
This is an obvious one to most people. And while there are definitely deals to be had on Ebay, buyer definitely needs to beware because it's often the case that LEGO sets that sell on Ebay are actually selling above their list price because they're discontinued or highly collectible sets. Do your research before you make a bid on Ebay. If you're just looking for random blocks, Ebay has great deals. People will bulk package generic blocks and even some less generic ones. My experience is that the best deals are had by searching for terms like "LEGO set sealed lot". Buying in lots is often a way to get a bunch of nice sets for less.
Part of what makes Goodwill Online a good resource is that fewer people are shopping there as compared to Ebay. However, it works just like Ebay - auction format, so prices are likely to get driven up. However, if you're looking for LEGOs in bulk, it's not a bad place to go at all. You can get pounds of LEGOs for a pretty reasonable price and every so often find a set that sells for a good price.
Also, if you have a Goodwill store near you, it's a good idea to pay them a visit and see if they have any LEGO sets on site.
Bricklink is basically just like Ebay except that it's all LEGOs.
Seriously, there are enough LEGOs in the world that there's a site dedicated to buying and selling LEGOs and there are enough transactions on that site to support the business.
For anyone who has investigated the vast array of LEGOs, this is no surprise really. However, if you haven't visited this site, it's well worth looking. Basically, anything you could possibly want is listed there. Most of the time, somebody is selling it, no matter what it is.
Bricklink is not auction style, but straight sale, so kind of like Amazon in that way. People list their LEGOs and set the prices. It's divided up by type of LEGO and even what country the LEGO is being sold from. It's a crazy huge site well worth investigating even if it's just to look.
Perhaps I should have put Amazon first since it's the world's largest marketplace. Is it too obvious choice?
While many people will go to Amazon first to search for LEGOs, not all of them know how to use the site efficiently.
Since Amazon allows third party sellers to list their merchandise, make sure you're checking for used options on the LEGO sets you want. Also, there are many, many ways to sort a search in Amazon. Among them, you can sort by discount. So, for instance, you can look up all LEGO sets that are selling at more than a 30% discount to retail. This can be a great way to comparison shop and know that you aren't paying full price.
Buying and Reselling: Strategy
One way to acquire the sets you want without paying an arm and a leg is to keep your eye out for discounted and clearance sets that you don't want and buy those up. Since LEGOs tend to appreciate in value, you can hold those sets and resell them later for a higher price and use the money you make to purchase the sets that you want.
If you regularly shop in Target, this is a good place to start. Target often puts LEGO sets on clearance after the holidays. If you see multiples of a particular set marked down, it might be wise to buy up what's left. Once that set stops being manufactured, demand will rise, and you'll be able to sell it for more than you paid.
Following this strategy on a regular basis will end up netting you the sets that you want as you save your profits.
- BrickLink - Buy and sell LEGO Parts, Sets and Minifigures
Bricklink is the world’s largest online marketplace to buy and sell LEGO parts, Minifigs and sets, both new or used. Search the complete LEGO catalog & Create your own Bricklink store.
- shopgoodwill.com - Welcome
You can get some great deals through Goodwill Online and help a good cause at the same time.
Allen Donald (author) from Colorado on March 05, 2014:
And most people don't know this either, but statistics show that Target is generally cheaper on most things, even cheaper than Walmart.
Allen Donald (author) from Colorado on March 05, 2014:
You're absolutely right about ToysRUs, which is why I included that video and the comments. Buyer beware!
LEGOdomenick on March 05, 2014:
Thanks for the tips. I find Amazon is usually more expensive than large chains stores.
Be careful of Toys R Us sales. I was hunting for some LEGO Super Heroes and because Toys R Us was more expensive than target's regular price, even with their 50% sale when buying two items. Adding both sets up, I saved 2 dollars at Target. I do not mean to make this a Target ad comment, I just do most of my shopping there.