American Girl Dolls Are WAY Too Expensive…

And I Like It That Way!

I’m not so much frugal as really —I’m just plain CHEAP.

Please meet Sassy.

2 years ago my then 7 year old wanted an American Girl Doll for Christmas. She couldn’t understand if she was asking for it from Santa why something so expensive was a big deal? “His elves will just make it right?” Well, NO, sweetie, turns out Santa has a budget as well, especially when there are two other kids in the same family…

Well how much IS that doll then, she asked? Over $100. WOW! She said, and did some serious 6yrold soul searching.

She decided yes she still wanted THAT doll, and was there anyway she could help Santa with his budget problems? Maybe leave some money out for a portion of the doll? Maybe not ask for anything else that year? Maybe help pay for some of her siblings gifts that year? (She had a $3 allowance after all wasn’t that worth SOMEthing??)

We all agreed to think it over.

Fast Forward to this past holiday season. Yes she got the doll, NO Santa did not extort the 7yrold’s money.


Now the SWEET people at the American Girl Doll Usury Factory send out a lovely magazine each month that should be titled:

“Ways to Make a 7yrold Jealous and Covetous and Unhappy With the Doll She Currently Owns.”

She began really hoping and asking to buy some of the ‘accessories’ in those magazines. A television? Are you SERIOUS?? A bed for the doll. Some other various perfectly ridiculous A.G.D. crap. We talked about the price of those DOLL accessories. And she agreed they were kind of expensive for what they were? $50 for the ‘TV’ ! Come ON!?

We decided that she could figure out how to make some of those things. And you know what? She WENT TO TOWN! She created a ‘TV’ She created a dresser with drawers, she created chairs and beds for her stuffed animals that served as ‘pets’ for the doll….


There was a new problem.

CLOTHES. Yes. At eight it’s already started. Only. It’s about the dang DOLL’s clothes. Okay people I’m going to tell you something and you might have to sheild your eyes for a second. The American Doll’s Clothes cost more than pretty much any outfit I’ve ever bought for my kid!! Heck, they cost more than most items I buy for MYSELF! And don’t get me started on the matching ‘clothes’ you can buy for your child… um…WHAT??

And we solved it again, she began ‘making’ her own doll clothes. She describes how she does this in the short video below:


Christmas was coming and even though she had awesome designer fabric scraps to ‘make’ her doll clothes (perks of having a mama who sews!), she still really, really wanted REAL doll clothes. I’m not kidding, the least expensive ‘outfit’ was $34. Think about that for a second?? $34! That’s half a grocery trip. Lately, one mom-van filled with gas. April’s Water Bill! And poor on a budget Santa Claus is getting hit up for million dollar doll clothes?

We made it clear that the doll clothes were just too expensive. She understood. She really did. But she still secretly really wanted those fancy outfits.

Target to the rescue. I found full outfits to fit an 18inch doll. (And Please Oh Please Let Them Fit Friggin’ Nikki!) Still. Those Target 18inch doll outfits were $10 a set.

She found 3 of them under her stocking Christmas Morning. Would they work, Would she know they were knock-offs, Would they even FIT? They did and she couldn’t have cared less if she did know!

What bliss to watch an 8yrold love on her doll, and change her clothes and create more and more outfits and room decor and play in her room for hours on end with that doll.

She creates whole worlds for this doll. And as long as she doesn’t want ANOTHER one, I like the lessons she is learning about the value and worth of her toys. Her world.

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24 Responses to “American Girl Dolls Are WAY Too Expensive…”

  1. Kristina P. Says:

    I had no idea they were so expensive! Now I don’t feel so bad about Cabbage Patch dolls.

  2. jill jill bo bill Says:

    Holy cow! That is crazy!! I LOVED making my own doll clothes and furniture when I was her age! Great lessons! Good job, mom!

  3. Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" Says:

    That magazine is my girl’s wish book too. No way would I ever buy something expensive like that. Heck I payed $20 once for a doll that peed, only to have it take bath one day! Never again. I’m happy they love the dollar store now. lol

  4. TidyMom Says:

    I’m not even going to tell you how many AG dolls we have between my 2 dd’s (mostly thanks to Grandma) – but you’re right those accessories and outfits are crazy high too!!The dolls I think are worth the money – they are so well made and well played with for years (my almost 13yo still secretly plays with hers – but don’t tell her friends LOL)Craft shows are GREAT places to get doll clothes, almost everyone we go to there are woman there who sell them!I have some links to some great ones who sell handmade ones online as well if you’d like them.I was also lucky when my oldest(now 21) was into them, grandpa made her a whole slew of furniture – a bed, a bunkbed, dresser, table and chairs.I try to throw the catalogs away when they come in the mail! LOL Aren’t I a terrible mom? -Great lesson’s your dd is learning!!~TidyMom

  5. Marvin D. Wilson Says:

    Good Momming, Carissa. And kudos to your daughter for making her own doll clothes. She has quite the imaginative world created! My daughter China had a world like that created as a kid for her Barbie collection. But good lord, Barbie dolls (at least back then) didn’t cost no hundred bucks! That’s outrageous.

  6. Paul and Megan Hawkes Says:

    Cute story. I love life lessons. I love when the kids earn something, then it really means something to them.

  7. Cecily R Says:

    First of all Sassy stinkin’ ROCKS. I love that she made her own TV and bed for her doll!! Gracie hasn’t discovered AGD yet…and honestly if I can help it, she won’t. Is that bad?

  8. Jaime Says:

    I agree, that’s awesome that she has made all that herself. With any luck, my girls won’t discover those dolls!!

  9. Jaysi Says:

    This kind of brings tears to my eyes! What a sweet girl you have. I love that she has made her own furnishings and clothes for her doll. I hate that they send those catalogs making everything look so fabulous! Honestly, it would make even the most frugal/cheap girl envious! Darn those AGD people!!

  10. Wayne Says:

    it can get pritty expensiveI will rember your lesson for when I have kidsgreat photo friday

  11. Mom Time Says:

    Oh my, they are freakin’ expensive! My kids sometimes ask me to go to American Girl Dolls Place and I just tell them the store is soooo far away so we can’t go.But your daughter is really creative! Love the way she is learning to make do of what she have. Way to go!Stumbled!

  12. Joy Says:

    Yea my cousin took her daughter to the store in Atlanta after christmas and dropped a load. of course she is an only child and bit on the shall we say spoiled side. she has a crap load of the stuff, I can only hope she is over them by the time Abby gets into them and donates it to a good cause:)

  13. Jocasta Says:

    Never heard of American girl so thankfully we won’t have this problem but I did pay $50 yesterday for a bit of Barbie plastic on sale!

  14. Mark and Katie Says:

    Wow…who knew a doll could cost so much. Good for her for coming up with creative ways to make accessories. What a clever girl.

  15. Anti-Supermom Says:

    Doing happy dance that I have boys, wow.She is just adorable and so resortful, you should be proud.

  16. Karen Says:

    One of my most endearing memories was of my mother sewing me and my sister Barbie clothes for Christmas one year because it was too expensive to buy them.

  17. Jenni Jiggety Says:

    I LOVE that she made her own little dolly set up! Those things are pricey, huh? Those are the kind of gifts you have to get her to ask her grandparents for…

  18. Heather Says:

    I don’t have a daughter and I doubt I would buy her an AGD – Just seems like a pile of money that will get drug around…I don’t know when she (we are trying to adopt) arrives I will probably melt in her hands…Kudos to you for having a daughter that appreciates her home made stuff. My mom tried that with me and the peer pressure always was too much for me. If I couldn’t have THE cabbage patch doll with THE cabage patch clothes I would just do without. I would rather have had the peer pressure of NOT having the coolest doll over the “your doll isn’t REAL”….Your daughter is AWESOME!

  19. Jenners Says:

    I love that she made her own stuff … I’m sure she got more out of that than if you had bought it! Awesome!And I’m actually considering just spilling the beans about Santa to my 4-year-old to stop these “Santa can do anything” requests. Would that make me a bad mom?

  20. Domestic Spaz Says:

    I found several outfits on eBay to fit our Bitty Baby because those AG clothes are STUPID expensive. I mean, I barely spend that much on my OWN clothes!We found some really beautiful handmade ones there, though.

  21. Tiaras and Tantrums Says:

    thanks to the heavens my girls DO NOT like dolls!!!!!!!

  22. Ginny Says:

    That is so great of her! My 11 year old got the doll of the year a few years ago. I bought the entire set for her since it was a dance doll & only available that year. When I was wrapping it all, I realized that I had spent more on these clothes then I did my own (like you) Crazy stuff & those catalogs are so annoying!

  23. Skye Says:

    American Girl Dolls really are the coolest dolls that you can buy. I love their diversity and durability that they offer.

  24. Joycelyn Says:

    Less expensive alternatives:- At craft stores the "Springfield Collection" of 18" dolls- Madame Alexander 18" dolls at ToysRUs- Sears "DollieandMe" 18" dollsThe Sears DollieandMe line is nice because they offer a lot of sets of matching girl/doll clothing at VERY reasonable prices. So no matter what 18" doll a girl has I would def. suggest that as an option for clothes.All of the above collections run about $30 so keep that in mind if you are buying anything on ebay or similar.Was reading on another board someone saying that kids will be ashamed to have the "knock-off". I think if you just diffuse the hype over the brand-name in the first place that helps. I think it's an upside to not have a doll w/a premade "personality". The love and imagination inherent in playing w/dolls like this doesn't change if it's brand or not. The key is to nip in the bud any peer opinions.

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