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Where to find good prices on Lego sets in the USA?

slurpeemachineslurpeemachine Member Posts: 6
edited April 2011 in Buying & Selling Topics
Good evening everyone,

My name is Matthieu, I come from Marseilles, France and I just moved in to Charleston, SC a couple of weeks ago.
I love how the lego company is supporting the market here in the US. This might not make any sense to you, but for instance, in France we only got the series 3 in late January and did not even got the Series 2 because the UK market was prefered to the French one as series 2 were selling a lot more there. That's how bad it is. We never have a special sale, special event of any sort, no cute polybags to buy by the register... Nothing but lego sets and minifigures (when we get them)

Anyway, I've read a couple of times people talking about how lego sets were too expensive (I can tell you they are even more expensive in France, first the face value is, and then euro is worth more than the dollar, when you pay 80$ for a slave I at TRU, we pay approx. 140$ (95€)) and how they were never getting them as they were released but rather later when they can find it later for cheaper. My question is as follows: where to get good deals on lego sets? I will obviously still be getting some of the new releases I can't wait for, but I like building lego sets while watching tv as others like to crack peanut shells and then I don't really care about the set I'm building.

Thank you for your help, and sorry if I butchered the english language here and there.

Comments

  • MCNwakeboardMCNwakeboard VirginiaMember Posts: 274
    Welcome to the U.S. Matthieu, I've found that there are a few different ways to acquire Lego at a good price. Toysrus seems to run a buy 1 get 1 50% off sale every other month, which can translate to a 25% discount if the item is at MSRP (often TRU will mark sets up 10% or so which means the discount might be less) and the items you buy cost the same amount.

    I have also purchased sets from the bookstores; Borders, Barnes and Noble. Borders used to allow you to use one of their always available 33%, or 40% coupons on toys but now they are specifically excluded so I have not purchased from them lately. Border's sets are always marked up at least 10%, so I wouldn't buy from them if there wasn't a coupon. Barnes and Noble also has coupons once in a while that will include Lego. The book stores often have a limited selection so it can be harder to find a specific set available.

    You will find that Wal-mart and Target have promotions occasionally, but the discounts are normally around 10-20% off, unless it is on clearance.

    Amazon.com will have discounted sets quite often so they are a good option and will offer free shipping on most purchases over $25.

    The Lego Shop at home will have sets on sale once in a while, but it is usually when they are clearing out inventory after Christmas.

    Overall, I probably get the majority of my purchases through TRU.com when they have sales.

    Don't forget to support Brickset when you are purchasing Lego from online vendors as the advertisement links are usually available on the main page and help maintain this great database.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,509
    Welcome to the US Matthieu!
    To expand on MCNwakeboard's comments:

    Lego.com shop usually puts stuff on sale, last year it was between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and had some Very good deals, and sometimes put them up randomly.. usually it is at 12AMEDT of the sale but I think last year they put up some nice stuff starting the middle of a Saturday.
    Keep an eye on sites like Brickset to find the scores

    Big sets (like Fire Brigade and Grand emporium, etc) are rarely found in an actual retail store here (I am guessing it is that way in France as well)-The Lego stores being the exception to that.

    Also, For a site like Amazon it helps if you add an item you are interested into a cart, then 'save for later'. this will then provide you with updates of prices changes whenever you go to your shopping cart in Amazon.com (saves a bit of time searching everyday for every set to see if the price changed).

    Also, Please be aware that TRU.com sales begin at 12 am EDT of the date of sale, , if not a few minutes early..
    If you want a BOGO at TRU then you should hit the site earlier than later, because anything good will most likely be sold out within the 1st few minutes of a sale online (and I find the Brick and Mortar TRU stores by me are hit and miss) and again none of the 10xxx sets are in the retail stores (I believe- at least I have never seen one at a TRU store, or Target, Walmart, etc.)

    Walmart also has nice deals every now and again with sets (notably Walmart.com and Amazon seemed to have a price war going on as the Slave 1 was 59 dollars at both sites for some time..)
    Also you can occasionally find really good deals at Walmart.com (again check the site as usually there is more selection on their site and shipping is either 99 cents or ship to store for free) Although I bought a AT TE walker with dropship for $170 when it was on sale (good price) BUT they shipped it with a shipping label on the Lego box, and did not put the set into a shipping box, which cheesed me off a bit.
  • slurpeemachineslurpeemachine Member Posts: 6
    Thank you for your response, i will sure keep those in mind while shopping.

    Looking for good deals I've run into pretty low prices at tj maxx and k mart (but I'm sure other similar stores hold that kind of deal), but usually it's only one or two sets available when it's not none. Do you think I should keep looking at those stores or it's not worth it?
  • sinfantisinfanti Member Posts: 7
    Hello Matthieu,

    Another nice plus about Amazon is that depending on the state you live in (and I really don't know about SC) they don't charge sales tax. That will give you about 9% savings against their competition. Always remember that you're really comparing after-tax prices.

    Another easy way to get about at least 3% off is to do your online shopping using eBates.com. You open an account with them and you open the online shop's page through their site. They get a referral bonus from your purchase and they split the cash with you. Their program includes hundreds of online merchants including Lego.com, WalMart, Target, TRU and eBay. It does combine with other discounts (ie stackable). The only big retailer not on board with them is Amazon. Feel free to drop me a message if you have questions about it (that goes for anybody).
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    edited April 2011
    Everyone has given great information about retail options. The only thing I'd like to emphasize is that for the sets that are not must-haves, you can pick up a great portion around the Christmas holiday, both just before and after.

    The Friday after Thanksgiving, LEGO.com and LEGO stores traditionally have 10% off everything, so that's a great time to buy exclusive and hard to find sets. As madforlegos mentioned, they also have a year end annual clearance with savings typically around 50% off.

    Target usually has the most extensive clearance stock, and once you understand how they run their clearances, it is like clockwork and you can get sets 30-50% off. The methodology is explained in this thread: http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/171/target-methodology

    Walmart clearances are less predictable from my experience but still should be checked and make a habit of scanning everything with a price checker as they don't do as good of a job labeling shelves.

    Kmart and TJ Maxx are even less predictable and will have varying stock, but they can have very good deals since they are lesser visited shops for LEGO purchasing.

    And of course, wherever you do end up buying, always make a habit to check the Amazon price.
  • CrackseedCrackseed Member Posts: 90
    I know this thread isn't a specific "Here's what deals are going on currently" spot, but tying in to what everyone has said up there, I've noticed Target is clearing out the big backstock they have of SPIII items, specifically Galactic Enforcers. They're generally showing up for $78 [amazing price] at 30% and the individual I spoke with last night said it's possible that it might drop down to 50% off with the amount they have left and how slow they're selling <.<

    To a more general bit of advice - if any of you have smartphones [I assume many of the AFOLs probably do] take advantage of barcode scanners too. I use Redline and it has helped me avoid overspending - scanning the barcode while standing in TRU and finding out that the same set is on special at another local store OR cheaper online via Amazon.com w/o having to pay shipping/tax can help you stretch your budget that much farther :)
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    @sinfanti If you're buying at Lego.com or Ebay, you can support Brickset by clicking through the links on here.
  • Halberd777Halberd777 Member Posts: 32
    Honestly I think you should try ebay. I know this opens up a whole can of worms. I have gotten some amazing bids off of ebay and since you are in the USA shipping is easy because there are alot of bid in the us. Even Canada can have some good bids and decent shipping sometimes.

    The only problem with ebay is no guarantee that you will get the item and the new items are harder to obtain at bid price.

    The key to it is though find out the retail price. Look at the shipping charge for the bid and bid below a suggested retail price. Usualy keep 20-10 dollars below on a bid. You will have to keep bidding and but you will come up with some great deals. I have seen one item sell for twice the price of its retail then half the price a week or two later. Anyways if you are willing to be patient and have the ability to let bids go when it goes over the price
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,509
    @rocao: Nice details about Target Clearances.. The best sets I ever got from Target were 2 Lego Batman Robin/Penguin sets for 15 each.
    My brother made out better and found an 8527 Mindstorms NXT for about 40% off, I think, at a Target.
  • slurpeemachineslurpeemachine Member Posts: 6
    Thank you so much for all the information guys! You're giving me such a jumpstart, i'm pretty good at finding good deals in general, but figuring all this stuff out would have taken me months!
    This is really helpful and again, thank you!
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