Kids' toys - they don't make them like they used to. What's more, they don't price them like they used to either – and some of the techiest trends can cost hundreds of pounds.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the disposable income required to afford the RRP attached to some of the 'must-have' toys, meaning shopping around for the best deal becomes a real necessity.
When it comes to keeping up with the kids, the ability to shop around is just one skill that all parents need. Managing high expectations and understanding what to invest in are really important too, and successfully combining all three could save you a small fortune when things like birthdays or Christmas come around.
Stray off the beaten track
When it comes to buying popular gifts like games consoles, tablets, action figures or scooters, the high street is definitely one of the places worth avoiding throughout big chunks of the year. Apart from the January sales and the occasional Black Friday bargain, high street shops are often found charging the same recommended retail price (RRP), and you'd be much better off looking elsewhere.
Online auction sites such as eBay are brilliant places for picking up a bargain. Whether you opt to bid against others in a traditional auction or simply wish to 'buy it now', it's rare that you'd ever have to shell out the full RRP for a chosen product.
Just remember, while sites such as eBay are great places to find discounted goods, they can be a bit tricky to navigate if you're a newbie. Interested in learning how to avoid being scammed? Check out our handy guide and become an eBay pro in next to no time.
Internet shopping isn't for everyone, and there are plenty of people who enjoy nothing more than venturing out into town on a weekend to pick up some bargains. For these people, there are still plenty of alternatives away from the high street.
Second-hand stores are great for those who require an affordable option when it comes to buying things like tech, toys and games – just make sure you check the returns policy of the company you're buying from before you make a purchase.
Set the bar low
Events like birthdays and Christmas often follow a similar pattern each year – in that if the hype set the previous year is too great, the chances of it failing increase dramatically.
When children are younger, there really is no need to push the boat out when it comes to presents – in fact, how many times have we all seen a youngster open an expensive present, only to be totally engrossed in the wrapping it came in?
Obviously things do change when they get older, but managing expectations while they're young will inevitably help them to understand that they can't expect a brand new console, iPhone or tablet every year.
It's not always easy to buy a toy that's going to hold its value as the years roll by, but in certain cases, it can prove to be a great way to invest your money. Take PEZ dispensers for example. In the 1980s these cheap plastic dispensers could be picked up for a small sum, whereas in 2006, one particular PEZ dispenser sold for a staggering $32,000 (£24,074) on eBay!
While mass-produced toys may never be worth more than a couple of quid a few years down the line, certain collectables may just prove to be a savvy investment. Limited edition items and original copies are definitely worth looking out for – and could be worth a small fortune in the future, provided they're not too damaged that is!
Overspending can lead to serious money troubles – so if you're in need of more money saving tips, be sure to check out our blog the next time the purse strings start to tighten!