Foolproof strategies for finding hot toys – Money – TODAY.com
It’s that season again, when parents begin the scramble for the next toy their child can’t live without.
While there’s no breakout hot toy for Christmas this year — so far — as parents know, that doesn’t mean the most popular presents will be easy to find. This year, stores are being cautious with inventory, so some toys might be scarce on store shelves when the holidays get nearer.
But never fear: Here are some strategies to make sure that whatever toy your child wants, from the latest Monster High doll or robotic Furby pet to the child-size LeapPad Explorer, is under the tree — without having to pay exorbitantly on eBay or elsewhere.
SHOP EARLY: Toy makers and retailers are working more diligently than ever to ensure that there won’t be a large oversupply of toys after the holidays are over, which ends up costing them money. Jim Silver, an analyst at Timetoplaymag.com, predicts the hottest toys will be scarce by Dec. 1 — a time when many people are just starting to think about Christmas gifts. So even though you’re child’s thoughts may still be on Halloween, now is the time to figure out what he or she wants and start shopping.
MAKE A RESERVATION: Fortunately, this year stores are making it easy to shop early, with layaway services and other offers. So even if you don’t have the cash yet, you can still start shopping. Toys R Us, Wal-Mart and Kmart have dropped fees, minimum balances, and other requirements to make it easier than ever to use layaway programs. In addition, Toys R Us this year launched a “hot toy” reservation system, which lets parents reserve hot toys before they even hit shelves.