Want to Save Money on LEGO?

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Lego do not come cheap these days. As your Lego maniacs curate their Christmas wishlists, consider these tips for saving money on the Lego bricks.

Saving Money on LEGO | Life as Mom

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I kept the enemy at bay for a long time. I was no stranger to stepping on sharp little pointy plastic pieces in the middle of the night; I had little brothers. So, I told my sons that we were not going to have Lego.

Duplo is what you can build with, said I.

It lasted for awhile. I think my youngest boy was about a year old when I grudgingly accepted a bag of garage sale Lego from my mom. The older boys, aged 8, 5, and 3 were thrilled. And so it began.

Today, more than ten years later, we’ve survived the onslaught of at least 100 sets of Lego. We’ve got buckets and boxes full of bricks in the garage, in the bedrooms, in the loft.

Despite my earlier hesitations, the tinkling sound of Lego pieces being sorted and scooped is a happy sound to me, a remembrance of hours and hours of intense, creative play by my sons. And now my youngest daughter.

The interest has not waned in our home. My older boys invest in discontinued sets and have successfully sold for profit on eBay. (In case you didn’t know, investing in Lego is more profitable than buying gold.) While we were watching Ghostbusters the other night, FishChick9 pointed out the new Lego Ghostbusters set. Sister, I am not spending hundreds of dollars on one Lego set.

Saving Money on LEGO | Life as Mom

I haven’t ruined my feet too badly in this Lego adventure, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m not going to go broke indulging in it. I’m stunned at the high prices they are charging these days. Just Wow.

(I think the prices are driven by the adult Lego nerds in our midst. My brother and old-enough-to-be-retired uncle among them. But that’s a post for another day.)

Saving money on Lego

So, how do we bless our kids with the bricks without going broke?

Think outside the boxed set.

Children are naturally creative. They don’t need a special set in order to build great things. In the old days, we didn’t even have “sets”. We had bricks to build with and imaginations to use.

My Uncle Pat, about 12 years my senior, gave me his original Lego set. (He regrets that now. Imagine what THAT would go for on eBay!) I think we only had a handful of colors, too, but those little plastic bricks provided hours of creative entertainment.

Look at what our friends put together!

After years of “boy lego”, my youngest daughter has proven to be the true Lego fan in the house. About four years ago I set up the girls with heir own little collections of bricks. We had been at our friends’ house where the littlest FishChick played for two hours building with Lego! Two hours! She had never done that at home because I’d never set her up for it. Sure, the boys could do that all day long, but she’d never played with Lego. Weird, huh? The best part was that she was using her imagination and creating her own things, namely ice cream sundaes.

Four years later, Lego is still high on her Christmas list. I’m happy to contribute, albeit without spending inordinate amounts of cash. While specific sets are great, there are other ways to please your Lego-maniacs. Here’s how, you, too, can save some pennies on Lego.

1. Buy in bulk.

My friend Sharon is an expert at building and buying LEGO. She explained to me a couple great ways to save money on bricks. While a set is great, having a variety of pieces to build with on your own is even better.

Saving Money on LEGO | Life as Mom

photo credit: Sharon Lepellerre

Enter the Pick-a-Brick wall. Located at your local Lego store, the Pick-a-Brick wall offers a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors of bricks at bulk pricing. You can buy a large cupful for about $16.

There are tricks to filling the cup so that you maximize your purchase. For instance, fill the little rim at the bottom with tiny pieces, then add your large, expensive pieces, then add smaller and smaller pieces. Top off the cup with the itty-bitty pieces that shake down into the crevices.

You can also order individual bricks from Lego.com, but the wall in the store gets you a better price. Another option for bulk buying is to order on ebay or from sites like BrickLink. (I’ve not done the latter, so I can’t verify the success of that approach; please use caution in your purchases.)

2. Give a Lego book.

One of the advantages of sets is that there are specific instructions as to how to assemble the pieces. If a kid is really stumped as to what to build, he or she can turn to the growing number of Lego books that are available.

Saving Money on LEGO | Life as Mom

No Starch Press has published a number of Lego books from coffee table photograph compilations to step-by-step builder’s guides. Over the years, they’ve sent me a few to review.

My favorites are The LEGO Adventure Book, volume 1 and volume 2. These full-color books show brick-by-brick how to build the different models. They are a little simpler than the more sophisticated The Unofficial Lego Builder’s Guide that I bought the boys a few years ago.

Giving a child a book of building plans is akin to giving new life to the bricks you already have in your possession. Go one step further by containerizing a bunch of bricks the kids have forgotten about or sitting with them to organize their current collection.

Your child will have a renewed interest in the things he already owns and you won’t be adding more stuff to your household. Well, besides the book. But, they are available on Kindle, so you can save space that way, too.

3. Buy a brick box.

Thanks to Sharon’s advice, years ago I bought the girls a large pink brick box on Christmas sale. The brick box contains starter pieces for building that can be combined in a number of ways. It doesn’t lock the child into building one particular thing, like the Shelob Attacks set that one of them had requested.

They had a starter set of their own so that they don’t have to squabble with the brothers. Plus, if I’m completely honest, though I have a philosophical objection to pink legos (Lego was not a boy thing to start with!), I know that my girls enjoy having some pastel pieces in the mix.

Saving Money on LEGO | Life as Mom

4. Find a sale on sets.

Some of my peeps really did have a specific set in mind or style, such as Lego Friends. Ahem.

I’ve ordered Lego from Toys R Us, going through Ebates first. I get a % back from Ebates, plus get the head’s up about store sales and coupons.

5. Build a Lego table.

A few years ago Anne shared with us her tutorial on how to build a Lego table with a LACK table from IKEA (updated images coming soon!). Depending on pricing in your neighborhood, this project should cost less than $35. If you already have the table and plates, then it will be free.

Either way, the table provides the child with a building location and a renewed interest in creating without purchasing an expensive Lego set.

6. Regift old or used Lego.

Yes, I know that sounds silly. Many Lego maniacs will sniff you out. But, lots of kids don’t really care where the Lego come from. Mine certainly didn’t. They were thrilled with this random bag my mom picked up at a garage sale for a few bucks.

If a child receives bricks in a cool bucket or container, even if they’ve been played with before, they’ll still be thrilled. I know I sure loved that set from Uncle Pat. 😉

These are just a few ways that you can give the love of Lego without losing your shirt. I’d love to hear your tips for saving money on Lego, so meet me in the comments.

7. Give money toward a larger Lego purchase.

No, this is not a cop-out, especially when your Lego lover wants a $350 Ghostbuster set. Just saying! Instead make a contribution toward that maniac’s saving fund. You can gift it in a cute Lego money holder to keep with the theme.

How are YOU saving money on Lego?

As indicated above, some items were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Originally published December 13, 2013. Updated November 19, 2017.

Saving Money on LEGO | Life as Mom

photo credit: Sharon Lepellerre

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  1. Several years ago I bought a large plastic bin of Legos at a yard sale for $10. I had intended to bag them up for teachers to check out and use on indoor recess days. The teachers weren’t interested–too noisy they said, so I brought them home. Most of them were the “middle size” pieces and some smaller ones, but included no books. My Lego-freak son claimed them to add to his collection from his childhood. This summer I started looking again for some to put in the Makerspace section of the elementary librarian (former colleague) I volunteer with now that I’m retired. I found a huge plastic bin for $60. There were missing bricks, but there were lots and lots of books of instructions. I spent about four weeks sorting and putting together sets which have already started being used. Now I’m working on bags for “free-play” sets. My next “look” will be for base plates. I also noticed that Half-Price Books have started selling Lego bricks by the ounce. When I have time, I might take my sketches of pieces I need and ask if I can have the time to sift through their bins and look for them. If you are looking for free instructions besides the ones for Lego sets, look at Pinterest. They have some very cool ones.

  2. I just posted a Facebook post seeing if any of my friends ( or their kiddos) are looking to sell. My hope is that someone may not have had that on their mind… but perhaps this will make them go Ahh!

  3. Thanks for the tips! We have four children who all LOVE Lego, and my husband and I are also big Lego enthusiasts. Over the years I learned how to buy them at the cheapest prices possible.

    For basic building, I keep my eye open for used bulk lots on eBay. I NEVER pay more than $5 per pound (including shipping), and I ALWAYS check the seller’s feedback rating. At $5/lb, you get about 215 bricks for $5 which is $0.023 each, or 80%+ less than retail price. Granted, they are used and random, but in large enough quantities you will have plenty of variety, and often they come from a seller who is selling their whole collection ($5/lb usually isn’t possible unless the lot is more than 5 pounds). I wash them with dish soap – they clean up well, and often there are like-new pieces mixed in.

    For discontinued sets, NEVER buy on Ebay or Amazon. I always get those on Bricklink. Half the time you can get new, sealed (discontinued) sets at a discount; half the time you will pay close to the original retail price. But the same set will be minimum 20% higher on Ebay or Amazon.

    For brand new sets currently available at Lego.com, the ONLY way I have found to get SOME savings is to see if Walmart has it cheaper (10% of the time they will), or to wait for a free-gift promotion and use Lego VIP points. The free gifts are worth sometimes $20+ and the good ones can become quite valuable due to their limited releases of a few weeks. The VIP points give you about 5% to use on future orders; double VIP point promotions give you, well, double… 😉

    Hope this helps!

  4. I’ve been checking yard sales lately for Legos and Bionicals/Hero Factory. I got lucky at one sale and found soneibe selling gallon sized bags of Legos for $3. They just handed you a gallon bag and turned you loose to fill the bag yourself….i filled up like 4-5. It was nice, because there were even complete sets already built in there. We have a local used book store that does something similar, but there it’s like $6 to fill a smaller quart sized bag.

    I’ve also posted some “ISO” posts in local Facebook groups, looking for the Bionicals and Hero Factory pieces, as those seem to be a little harder to find.i had a few responses so far.

  5. My 8 year old son and I went to the Salvation Army two days ago. It was right around the corner from my doctors, so on a whim and looking for used skylanders figures we went. We found 6 gallon size ziplock baggies full to busting of legos! The best part was they were $1.99 each! I left my name and number and they said if they get any more in they’d give me a call. They also said to give other thrift stores a call, everyone knows what legos are and will look to see if they have any. (Saves a lot on gas)

  6. Unfortunately I’ve never seen Legos sold (bricks or sets) at any garage sales or thrift stores around here or I would have snatched them up. My mother had saved my original set so we started with that. My daughter loves the little Lego Friends figurines. We’ve successfully bought a couple of times off eBay. I think only once was it missing one of the pieces (not evident unless you consulted the manual). Let friends know you’re interested in Legos – sometimes they’re downsizing and will hand them off for free or a great price. When you do have to buy new, watch for sales throughout the year; we snagged a larger Lego Friends set at Target way back in September. It was a one-day only 40% off special.

  7. I’m in Dallas and we have two Lego consignment stores called Bricks and Minifigs where you can buy and sell secondhand sets, loose bricks, etc. I don’t know how widespread the chain is.

  8. Just posted to my Facebook 13 sets of my daughters to sell (without boxes). She is looking forward to using the money for Christmas presents for her sister and family.

  9. Pick a brick is not a cheap way of buying Lego bricks. Consider what Lego charges per brick – $0.07+ per piece, small pieces being $0.07 and larger pieces $0.49 and up. Price per brick varies by size, color and whether a piece is basic or advanced. Cheapest way I’ve found to buy bulk Legos is reputable eBay sellers who specialize in used Lego pieces. Typically they are sold in 1000+ piece lots that contain a variety of pieces in a variety of colors for something like $24.99. That’s less than $0.03 per brick. Do your research, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck. BTW, if you or your kid are interested in building anything even remotely large, 1000 pieces will barely get you started. A large cup of bricks off the Lego wall for $16 = micro build.

  10. In case you didn’t know, investing in Lego is more profitable than buying gold.

    You had that in your article, is it really true?

    I would love to know more about your boys selling Legos? So did they just buy sets on sale and then sell them? My kids would love to do something like that. We are deep into Lego love here.

  11. My son lpved Legos and also Bionicles. We lived overseas and when he returned to the US he left all of it with us. I ended up giving away the Lehos, but the Bionicles I brought back for him. Amazingly, he now works for Legoland Florida!

  12. @ Genadi, as a Lego fan my entire life and now an AFOL (adult fan of Lego) I personally ask that you don’t support organizations from foreign countries that sell cheaper replicas of Lego sets like the ones in your aliexpress link. Lego is suing these companies like Lepin, which in my opinion is a horrible unethical company, for IP infringement. Since Chinese laws are different Lego will have a hard and expensive legal battle ahead of them. Yes they are cheaper and similar, but they are not Lego so the quality is not there and they are part of the reason for Lego’s higher price. Lego files many patents to protect itself and still you get organizations like these. Sorry to be a bummer on the good deal, but to me the big picture doesn’t justify the discount. Buy used Lego’s and recondition them. They will be like new. There are a few ways to do this on the Internet. Otherwise get them on clearance or at discount stores as noted. I hope this helps.

    1. I agree, the cheaper versions don’t stay
      together. I’d rather pay a little more and know my models won’t fall apart

  13. I have the same problem: the kid wants those cool sets, but LEGO is marketing well and overly expensive, took me a while, but I think I found a solution for next purchase:

    Seems all are interchangeable with the LEGO part numbers (set numbers) – good reviews, fraction of the price.
    I will be only buying from there, LEGO have to lower their prices for pieces of plastic.

  14. Our house is swimming with LEgos. a lot of times when my girls see a new set they really only want the minifigures. SO i buy just the minifigures of bricklink and they are thrilled. I save money and they are happy.

  15. I use savings websites/apps like Walmart Savings Catcher, IBotta, Checkout51, Microsoft Rewards (Bing Search) to earn gift cards. I then use the gift cards to purchase Lego for my son’s birthday and Christmas presents. I match the gift cards with low-price sales at Amazon, Walmart, or ToysRUs.

  16. My son found the Lego City Police Station at Goodwill for $39.99 and it retails for over $100, so of course I let him get it. The good thing about this particular Goodwill was that they let us open the box to make sure all the pieces were there. I also for the Ningago (sp?) sets at the same place. I also we have been able to score sets after Christmas on clearance at Wal-Mart.

  17. I haven’t tried it myself yet, since my daughter is a little young for Legos, but I’ve heard great things about Pley. It’s a monthly Lego and Duplo rental service, kind of like Netflix for Legos. It could be a great way to try some of the cool sets before you spend lots of money on them, since we all know that just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it will hold your child’s interest. It could also cut down on clutter, since you get to use lots of new sets without having to store the old ones.

  18. My 6YO loves Lego. We were buying small sets, but my husband found that he could buy a box of random parts on Ebay for much cheaper. He bought a set that had…I forget, but I think 1000 pieces, for $50 this fall. I’ll check with him, but I think it was that, or maybe 500 pieces. It seemed like a good deal. It’s very random, but my son loved it. That’s my only tip so far. I’ve looked on Craigslist, but with no luck. I’ve never seen them at thrift stores, but I’ll keep my eyes open for them. Thanks.

  19. Jessica,
    Thanks so much for posting this. We have many Lego fans here at our house. I was so stuck on what sets to get for my girls and many stores are sold out on the sets my girls want and Amazon is charging way too much. Sad. So, I was glad to read your tips so off we went to the Lego store to pick up bricks as well as ordering a book through your link. Thanks for the help.

    1. Yay! Doesn’t that feel good when something comes together like that? Glad you live close enough to a pick-a-brick wall. It’s an hour’s drive either way for me, so I went with the brick box, but still feel better than a set.

  20. Mega Blocks makes a micro block set which is interchangeable with legos, at a portion of the cost.

  21. Friends have scored big on Lego’s at thrift stores. Seems like it’s rare and some times you have to dig but they can be found fot a steal.

  22. When our kids were little and Legos (built and unbuilt) were scattered across the floor, we referred to them as our low tech burglar alarm. No one but a parent used to a Lego filled floor could have navigated without pain (or heavy work boots!)

    Similar to Ebates, I use Upromise.com to get a bit of a price discount. If you can’t find a sale, I’ve used lego.com via Upromise and found that a) they have really excellent customer service and b) you can build up “lego points” to get a discount on a future purchase.

    If you sign up for the Lego magazine (free) you will occasionally get coupons to a local Lego store included in the magazine.

    My parents still have my Lego set to share with grandchildren. 🙂

    1. They are usually in Lego stores and imagination centers, or whatever they’re calling them now. I’ve heard that the walls at Legoland don’t have the same pricing.