How to save money while toy shopping this holiday season

A Christmas shopping expert shares 4 strategies to help you SAVE BIG BUCKS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — NOTE: This story is from investigative reporter Kerry Kavanaugh with Action News Jax’s sister station Boston 25 News

The nation’s supply chain crunch is driving up the cost of just about everything. Now you can add toys to the list.

We found some popular holiday toys already marked up 50%, 100%, even nearly 200%, especially when dealing with third-party sellers on major retail websites.

“So, some have been purchasing and hoarding, okay, and taking advantage of it,” said Professor Anna Nagurney, an economist specializing in supply chain disruptions and management at UMASS Amherst.

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Nagurney says the backlog at U.S. ports plus the workforce crunch has led to an unprecedented crisis.

“We’ve never had it so bad,” she said. “We’ve had all these supply shocks and we also have demand shocks because consumers want to buy. And it’s gotten even more intense because of the holiday season.”

And, Nagurney says it’s led to holiday toy price gouging.

Want a Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse this holiday season? Target had it listed for $55.99, but it was sold out as of November 10th. We found it on Amazon for $174.99, through a third-party seller, on the same date.

How about a Magic Mixies - Magical Misting Cauldron? In mid-October, it was priced at for $54. But, it was sold out. On, November 11, it was on Walmart’s website for $159.99. Walmart told us that price is also from a third-party seller.

Prices can really vary. We found a PJ Masks deluxe Battle Headquarters for $41.99 at Walmart on November 10.

The same one is $62.99 at Macy’s when we searched on the same day.

Another example is a Kindi Kids Hospital Corner - Unicorn Ambulance that was selling on Amazon for $79.98 on November 10. An online search revealed it was once less than $10.

“Please don’t pay those crazy prices, whatever you do, you’re just going to encourage more sellers to try to pile on and do the same thing,” said Edgar Dworsky, founder of

Dworsky says price gouging protections don’t extend to toys. So, more than ever, shoppers will need to be flexible and shop early.


“You have to be flexible, because the item you really want may not be in stock or may not come in in time. So, you need a second and third choice,” Dworsky said. “And you got to shop early because some shelves are already bare.”

Next, Dworsky says research the real value of the product.


“There’s a site called which shows you the price history of any item on Amazon,” he said. “So that way you can take a look over the past year and see how the price has changed.”


His third tip is to monitor the price of your item, it could go down.

“Keep checking the ads, see if the price has gone down, see if the item is on sale. Some stores still have price guarantees where if the item is cheaper, after you buy it, you can get back the difference,” Dworsky said.

That’s what happened when we shopped for Bluey’s Deluxe Play and Go Set. It was priced at Walmart at $35 on November 11. On October 29, it was more than $60.

And, the DC Super Friends™ Bat-Tech BatBot by Fisher-Price is currently on sale for $85 at Amazon and Macy’s.

We found some minor fluctuations in the price depending on availability. Some hope there, but a lot of work for busy shoppers.

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And, tip number 4, Dworsky says be careful about where you shop. He says if you’ve never heard of an online shop, can’t find any real reviews, he would stay away.

We asked Amazon and Walmart about the high prices, often offered through third-party sellers on their sites.

An Amazon spokesperson told us “Customers come to Amazon to find low prices, vast selection and fast shipping, and we put our energy into meeting these key customer expectations. Sellers set their own product prices in our store and we have policies to help ensure sellers are pricing their products competitively. We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies.”

We’ve reached out to Walmart for comment.