Kids can learn about frugal living by modeling the behavior, being creative and candid, and environmentally-conscious.
Cheap Toy Collectibles Buying Guide
Kids love to collect things. Whether they're amassing an army of action figures or piling on armfuls of bracelets, the more the merrier seems to be their philosophy.
Squinkies (starting at $9/pack of 16) are tiny pencil-toppers encased in gumball-sized plastic spheres; the creatures inside the bubble range from babies to princesses to animals. Another toy collectible, the Squinkies playsets (starting at $12) double as candy-style dispensers, operated by inserting special plastic coins included with each set. Silly Bandz, shaped rubber-band bracelets, come in 24-packs in a large variety of themes, such as Pets (starting at $3.50), Rock Bandz (starting at $3), and even Justin Bieber (starting at $6). A competing brand, Forever Collectibles, sells bracelets licensed by Disney, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Harry Potter, the NFL, and others. The 20 bracelet packs of silicone bands include Disney Princesses (starting at $4), Spiderman (starting at $3), Toy Story 3 (starting at $3), and Ironman (starting at $3). Smencils (starting at $11/pack of 10) are scented colored pencils made from recycled newspapers and come in their own scent-preserving case.
The Toy Story, Ironman, and Star Wars toy collectibles action figures have long been, and continue to be, big draws for elementary school-aged theater-goers. Action figure collectibles for your young movie-hero groupie include the Toy Story 3 Action Figure Buddy Pack (starting at $8), an Ironman Action Figure of Mark III (starting at $10), or a Star Wars The Saga Legend 3.75 Inch Action Figure of a Clone Trooper (starting at $8).
Cheap toy collectibles are inevitably a big hit because you're buying something you know the child really likes, either as an addition to a growing collection or the start of one. Grade-schoolers love stockpiling cheap collectible toys like Squinkies and Toy Story action figures, hauling them out when friends come over and regaling dinner guests with the stats on each piece in their collection. What's hard to determine from toys reviews is how much entertainment value these cheap toys for kids actually have. Are they fun to play with or just fun to talk about and display on a shelf? Toys reviews of Iron Man action figures on Toys R Us indicate both uses keep youngsters and adults(!) happy, although the made-to-play camp seems to dominate.
Toy collectibles have some inherent limitations. They tend to be small or come with little pieces, so you don't want to leave them lying about when toddlers are nearby. Moreover, notes a toys review of Squinkies on the Walmart site, these little items are prone to being misplaced. They also have minimal educational value, and their durability is questionable. That said, kids who hoard them can't seem to get enough, and while they may not teach teamwork, they can teach children about trade and barter.
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Light up the month with an energy-efficient light bulb. See how your frugal month results stack up against those of our reporter.
Our reporter took the frugal month challenge and saved $328 during February by forgoing haircuts and new clothes and finding free entertainment.