I noticed an American Girl doll purchase buried within an anonymous sampling of transactions today. A little deeper analysis on our family finance site reveals they’re still quite a thing with today’s tweens.
It reminded me of an old post I stumbled upon years ago. The 2010 article tackled the money-burning question: How much does an American Girl doll really cost? (I’d link to it, but the site has long since disappeared.)
The answer: much, much more than just the doll itself.
That’s because nobody buys just the doll. There are the inevitable accessories. Outfits, furniture, even a dog! Before you know it, you’re in for well over six times the initial cost of the doll.
Check out this eye-popping bill of materials from the 2010 article:
- 1 America Girl doll: $95.00
- 5 everyday outfits: $120.00
- 1 fancy dress: $32.00
- 1 bathing suit or ski outfit: $34.00
- 1 toy puppy: $20.00
- 1 doll-sized zip-up carrier: $58.00
- 1 bed and nightwear: $100.00
- 1 table and chair set: $75.00
- 1 set of various accessories: $35.00
- 1 hair care kit: $10.00
- 1 tween-sized outfit to match doll: $65.00
- Grand total: $644.00
I call that a personal finance opportunity. Time to teach your young tween about the total cost of ownership.
Have your doll enthusiast fill out a worksheet of all the “little” follow-on accessories envisioned. It’s a rare chance to introduce your youngster to the magic of spreadsheets around a captivating topic.
Seeing the grand total up front will be a revelation.
Offer a deal: you pick up the doll, and your youngster picks up the accessories.
Now watch that wardrobe — and the total cost of ownership — shrink!
P.S. Consider buying used instead. I know we have a bin of American Girl dolls stashed in the attic waiting to be redeployed. Don’t bother to hit us up though. They’re reserved for our grandkids :-)
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