This post is was originally published on The Penny Hoarder
Though the holidays are pegged as a time of joy and celebration, they can be a major source of financial stress — especially for parents.
The National Retail Federation projects the average consumer will spend over $600 on gifts alone this year.
Retailers feed into this season of consumption by promoting must-have items with price tags in the hundreds.
The average cost of toys on the store’s top 20 list is $93.39, not factoring in current sales promotions.
The average original price of the items on Walmart’s top toy list is $92.94. At Target, that figure is $99.11, and at Kmart, it’s $58.92.
Keep in mind, we’re talking about one toy for one child. Yikes!
Despite the insane costs, many parents don’t want to feel like they’re depriving their children at this time of year — or disappointing the kiddos with second-hand items that were so 2014.
One smart way to still get the hottest toys of the season without going bankrupt is to set a price threshold.
We went through the lists of this year’s top toys at Toys R Us, Walmart, Target and Kmart and compiled all the gifts where the original price came in under $30. Rein in your holiday spending by choosing one of the following toys.
Snag an item that’s on sale, and the savings are even sweeter.
Writer’s note: The prices for these items are as of November 22, 2017.
Top Toys of the Season — Under $25
WowWee Interactive Fingerlings
Karliah (right) is more excited than her brother, Rune (left), to play with the WowWee Interactive Fingerling. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
(As of the time of writing, this item was out of stock for online purchase at Walmart and Toys R Us. When items are listed as out of stock, check your local stores or online later for availability.)
This glittery lantern-shaped house is the perfect home for the tiny star creatures known as Glimmies. The Aurea Glimmie, which glows in the dark and lights up when placed inside the Glimtern, is included with this toy. Find it at Toys R Us for $17.99.
Adventure Force Light Command Light-Up Motorized Blaster
This illuminated blaster can shoot up to 20 darts without reloading. Darts can go as far as 80 feet. This item is exclusive to Walmart and costs $19.97.
Pikmi Pops Surprise!
These spherical toy lollipops store a 7-inch-tall, sweet-scented plush animal and special charm surprises. This item is exclusive to Toys R Us and costs $19.99.
(As of the time of writing, this item was out of stock for online purchase at Toys R Us. When items are listed as out of stock, check your local stores or online later for availability.)
Soggy Doggy Board Game
The Soggy Doggy Board Game is a hit with Rune (left) and Karliah (right). Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
Disney Pixar’s Cars 3 Lightning McQueen Tool Kit
This 32-piece set will get Lightning McQueen ready for racing. Find it at Kmart for $21.99.
New Bright 10” Radio Control Tumblebee
This radio-controlled toy drives, jumps, flips and spins. Find it at Walmart for $24.88.
Moonlite — Bedtime Story Projector for Your Phone
This device clips onto a parent’s smartphone and then uses the phone’s flashlight to project stories onto any surface. Two stories come with the starter pack, including “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown. This item is exclusive to Target and costs $24.99.
Beat Bugs Musical Submarine
This musical vehicle plays three songs from the Beat Bugs show, including “Yellow Submarine,” and comes with a 3-inch Jasper figurine. This item is exclusive to Target and costs $24.99.
Top Toys of the Season — $25 to $30
Real Workin’ Buddies — Mr. Dusty
This interactive, talking garbage truck will help kids pick up their smaller toys — and then dump them back out! Find it at Walmart for $29.82.
Jetson Jupiter Light-Up Kick Scooter
Madeleine (center) and Annabelle (right) check out the Jetson Jupiter Light-Up Kick Scooter. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
This kick scooter includes more than 100 LED lights on the handlebar stem, wheels and deck. This item is exclusive to Target and costs $29.99.
Operation: Escape Room Board Game
This game has players working together and completing tasks in order to free the captured player. This item is exclusive to Target and costs $29.99.
Playskool Friends Sesame Street Tickle Me Elmo
Rune gives Tickle Me Elmo a big hug. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
Hear Elmo burst into laughter and watch him wiggle with delight as you tickle him. Find it at Target for $29.99.
You and Me Baby So Sweet 16-Inch Nursery Doll
This doll is easy to cuddle with a soft, slightly weighted body and vinyl arms, legs and head. This item is exclusive to Toys R Us and costs $29.99.
Disney Pixar’s Coco Guitar
Madeleine (left) and Annabelle (right) play with Disney Pixar’s CoCo guitar. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
This interactive musical instrument straight from the movie “Coco” lights up and has a movable skull mouth. Sheet music is included so you can learn to play songs, including one of the hits from the movie. Find it at Toys R Us for $29.99.
Lego Ninjago Movie Water Strider Playset
Act out scenes from “The Lego Ninjago Movie” with this playset. Four mini-figures — Nya, Kai, Puffer and Shark Army Thug — are included, along with related accessories and weapons. Find it at Kmart for $29.99.
Oonies Mega Starter Pack
Not quite bubbles, but not quite balloons, Oonies are air-filled balls of fun that can be decorated and stuck together to form a variety of creations. Find it at Toys R Us for $29.99.
Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys writing about parenting and money.