The holidays can be a fun-filled time, spent with friends and family, but for many, it can also be a time of stress from all the money spent on gifts.
If that last description sounds like you, we have some timely information. We have done all the legwork to find out where to get the best prices on kid's toys.
For the purposes of this highly unscientific study, we chose four major retailers: brick and mortar stores - like Walmart, Toys-R-Us, and Target - and online giant Amazon.
We shopped the same six toys at each location to see who had the lowest prices - two classic toys: the Fisher Price Chatter Telephone and Radio Flyer Red Tricycle, as well as two hot toys for this season: the Girl Scout Cookie Oven and Play All Day Elmo.
We also purchased two hard to find toys: the Pie Face game and electronic Zoomer Kitty.
First up - we paid a visit to Target.
They tell their customers to 'Expect More, Pay Less' and for two of our toys, we did pay less than at any other store: the Girl Scout Cookie oven sold for $39.99 and the Fisher Price Chatter Phone for only $10.59.
However, with a grand total of $274.70 including tax for all six toys, Target was the most expensive.
By far the best selection of toys came from e-commerce giant Amazon.com.
It's truly one-stop shopping, which is convenient and can save a lot of time. Add free shipping to the mix and the site is also competitive with pricing.
In fact, the website tied for the lowest price on the Zoomer Kitty at $75, but it sold the Pie Face game at the highest price by far: $29.57. That’s almost $15 more than the others.
Grand total with Amazon, with sales tax: $269.56, and good for third place.
Next, we stopped by Toys-R-Us. True to its name, it did have a huge amount of toys, but it did not have them for the lowest price, at least when we were there.
The best we found: Play All Day Elmo for $42.99, which was the same as the other 3 retailers.
Still, when the prices of all six toys were added up, it beat Target by more than $13 and Amazon by more than $8 and came in second place with a grand total of $261.31
Finally, the store that prides itself for ‘Everyday Low Prices’ - Walmart.
True to its slogan, when we went shopping, it had the lowest prices on three of the six toys: the tricycle for $39.97, which was more than $10 dollars less than all the other retailers.
The pie face game for $14.88, which tied with Amazon on the Zoomer Kitty for $75.
Walmart also had the lowest overall price with tax: $248.92 - easily making it into the top spot.
Difference between that Walmart receipt and our most expensive one: $25.78 - or enough for one more toy, depending on whether they've been naughty or nice.
One thing to keep in mind at this time of year is that toy prices vary dramatically and not just week-to-week, but day-to-day, especially with flash sales like Black Friday.
What is your best bet? Check the prices online or in flyers as often as possible, and if you're going after one of this year’s hot toys, but it sooner rather than later.
Now you may be wondering: what did we do with all the toys we bought for this story? It's a good question and we have a great answer.
Western Mass News cares, so when we found out that Baystate Children's Hospital needed toys for sick children who spend their Christmas in the hospital, we knew exactly what to do.
We arranged to drop off those toys for the kids Tuesday afternoon.
Baystate Children's accepts new, unwrapped toys for the holidays and we wanted to make sure no child went without this holiday season.
The hospital still has a need for toy donations, so if you'd like more information on how and what to donate, you can CLICK HERE.
Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.