Keeping up with Lego releases is increasingly difficult in 2023. Not only are sets continuously released, but the price point of those sets has risen in line with inflation.
I’ve compiled ten tips to make the Lego hobby have less strain on the wallet. See tips 10-6 before reading the top five below!
5: Keep purchases to certain themes/collections
While this strategy technically doesn’t make Lego cheaper, it will help keep the cost of Lego down, and one I’ve had to deploy as I begin my collection.
Lego has a massive inventory, and the number of sets released each year is increasing. It would be best if you decided what you want to collect unless you have endless disposable income. I’d choose 2 or 3 themes to accumulate and focus on those.
Selecting a theme helps narrow your focus and not buy a bit of everything that may lead you to want to buy more sets to complete a collection. Your decision may need to be more narrow than “Star Wars.” Do you want everything, or the dioramas, or only the UCS products? For example, if you purchased the Darth Vadar helmet because it appealed, you may feel inclined to get the rest of the Star Wars helmets to complete the collection. The exact mechanism applies to the Speed Champions product line too. Another example is the collecting BrickHeadz – there are so many of them, and where do you decide to stop?
I am debating starting along the Nano and Infinity Gauntlets, Thor’s Hammer, and the rumored Captain America Shield path. I’ve done well to restrict my focus to Marvel and City-themed sets. I will refrain from buying it if it doesn’t fit in my city, no matter how gorgeous the set is. At least, that’s what I told myself until I bought Fawkes…
Maintaining discipline can support you in preventing buying sets on sale that don’t fit your focus and help you curate a cohesive Lego collection that won’t feel incomplete or haphazard.
4: Buy new Lego on secondary markets
I covered buying second-hand Lego earlier in my list, but sometimes you need new Lego, especially when collecting minifigures.
When a set is lackluster, it might not be worth buying when all you’re interested in is the minifigure. Or, a set might be too expensive for you, but there is a minifigure you desire. In these circumstances, you’re financially better off buying the minifigure alone.
I like to buy my minifigures on Whatnot, as you can see the figure up close before purchasing. Further, if the seller has a few you are interested in, you can sometimes cut a good deal for buying a bundle. Another option is Bricklink, but those prices tend to be higher, and you can’t see the minifigure up close.
Say you love Iron Man and only wanted that figure from the Avengers Quinjet. Instead of paying $100 for the set, you can buy that single minifigure (SH853) for ~$12.
Of course, when a set has the minifigures taken out for selling, a lot of new Lego is left for purchasing. You can pick up these “no minifigure” sets at great prices on Bricklink. It’s a fantastic strategy if you’re interested in the build and can live without the minifigures.
For example, you can presently buy the recently released Rivendell set for $300 on Bricklink or eBay without the minifigures.
Picking what you want from a set can help save some money, and this only becomes more pronounced when dealing with retired products.
3: Maximize gift with purchases (GWPs)
Timing your acquisitions from Lego directly to coincide with a gift with purchase (GWP) is the easiest way to get free Lego.
While the small print will say one GWP per household, they have never adhered to that, so you should split your purchases up to get as many copies of that GWP as possible. For example, say you are buying two $150 sets, and the threshold for the GWP is $120, then buy your selections in separate transactions to get a GWP for each set.
Why would you want multiple GWPs? Some GWPs can sell for a tidy sum to offset the price of Lego. Further – you get VIP points are you’re buying directly from Lego.
Keep the selling strategy in mind when you see a GWP that doesn’t appeal to you – will it attract collectors who missed out on the GWP? Excellent examples from last year include the Forest Hideout and the City Sandwich Shop, which reduced the cost of your Lego set by 25% (after considering the qualifying threshold and selling fees).
The Houses of the World 2 was available earlier this month and sold out in a day. The qualifying threshold was US$250, and the cheapest one on Bricklink in the US is $65. There is a lot of money in trading GWPs.
2: Join the Lego VIP program
Lego’s free VIP program equates to a standard 5% cashback to spend in-store on any Lego purchase (excluding gift cards).
These points slowly accrue and do not expire. Eventually, you’ll have enough points for some free Lego or exchange them for Lego VIP exclusives. These exclusives can vary from keychains to mini-builds.
Lego also has double VIP point events scattered throughout the year, and these are the ideal times to buy exclusive Lego sets (those only available directly from Lego) or pieces from Pick-a-brick (PAB), equating to 10% cashback on your purchase.
Being a VIP member also gives you access to exclusive gifts with purchases (GWPs – see above) and items that are only available from the VIP store.
As this program involves almost zero effort to benefit from, it comes in at number two.
It seems obvious because it is.
Lego sets typically have a shelf-life of two years, and most sets will go on sale during their lifetime. There are exceptions – Lego store exclusives, e.g., The Titanic, Land Rover Classic Defender 90, or the Eiffel Tower, and sets frequently sold out, e.g., the Medieval Blacksmith.
All other sets will be on sale during their lifetime at secondary retailers such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, Toy-R-Us, etc. Frequently, these sales can be at least 20% off, and that price point is typical for most city and Star Wars Sets. Walmart is renowned for having some cracking in-store deals.
I’ve never paid the full retail price for a city set, except for my first box of road plates. Even those were on sale recently. This strategy does involve patience and keeping apprised of deals. I follow r/legodeals and have alerts on, so if something comes up, I can know about it with minimal effort.
Keep a Lego wanted list on Amazon, and the app will typically tell you if something on your wishlist is on sale. You can also check that list occasionally so you only see Lego you’ve determined you want and don’t end up buying Lego because it’s a good deal (lining up with tip number 5).
The Lego store does have sales, typically near the end of the year, as they look to offload their retiring stock. These sales combine with VIP points and usually a GWP, so this is the best time to buy sets if you can wait that long.
Combining these tips will save you the most money on Lego and enable you to get more plastic bricks for your buck.
Do you have any other money-saving tips? Let me know below!
Leave a Reply