If you buy new, boxed sets on a whim for your LEGO stop motion animations, I’m wondering if you’d adopt me. But I’m assuming that you’re a frugal photographer or filmmaker or, at the very least, a * gasp * normal person. Read on to find out where to buy cheap LEGOs.
First, let me confess: I cringed, flinched, and shuddered as I typed the title of this blog post. Why? Because LEGO is an adjective, not a noun. LEGO bricks, LEGO sets, LEGO parts, LEGO products, LEGO elephants. Not one LEGO, two LEGOs, three hundred and thirty-three LEGOs. Since those who are new to the hardcore AFOL (Adult Fans Of LEGO) world would type “Legos” into their search engine of choice, I’m adding that treacherous “s” as well.
Now that that’s out of the way . . .
For beginners with very little or no LEGO
If I had to start over, I would
- spend my time making a LEGO animation with what little I had rather than shopping for deals. If I only had one minifigure, like LEGO Harry Potter from a blind bag, I’d experiment with him moving around the human world.
- buy the largest box of new LEGO bricks I could afford so that enough pieces would match and I would have basic things like a door, windows, and wheels for a vehicle, something from the Classic product line, like #10717.
- check somewhere like Target or Walmart for small sets, under $10, to experiment with, like Set #60212, and
- try Costco for a large set of bricks and tiles that go together, look for a yellow box that says “Classic” in large letters.
LEGO, Amazon, Target, Walmart
This is my process when I’m in lust with a LEGO set, like Baby Yoda (Set #75318).
- Check the price on Lego.com.
- See if Amazon.com has it for less.
- If not, and it’s true lust, I’ll get it at Target using the Target RedCard debit card, which gives you 5% off of all your Target purchases all the time.
- If it’s a smaller set and the 5% discount isn’t worth the time/shipping/gas, I go to Walmart.
- If the lust is focused on an individual parts from a LEGO set, like the transparent tubes from the (one-hundred-dollar) Friends Summer Fun Water Park (41430), I look on BrickLink.com. Here’s my Beginner’s Guide to BrickLink, which is the largest online LEGO marketplace on the planet. Remember to 1) always take shipping costs into account and 2) be careful about addiction; there’s a reason why they call it “CrackLink”!
- If I don’t mind a longer wait, I go to the Replacement Parts Section of Lego.com. Consider yourself warned and find a sponsor early, because this site is also addictive. Ha!
Bricks & Minifigs
I also love to go to Bricks & Minifigs, which are brick-and-mortar stores, a franchise, where you can buy, sell, and trade used LEGO, and also buy limited new LEGO. Check the website to see if there’s one in your area. I go there for less-rare pieces and to see which sets they happen to have. The current sets are going to cost less than new sets, and the rarer sets, well, they probably won’t stay on the shelves long enough for me to drool over them. As a bonus, I won’t have to bother with shipping, and I’ll get to interact with wonderful employees who love LEGO and love people.
OfferUp and LetGo
In the beginning, I also used apps: OfferUp and LetGo, where I found gallon-sized sandwich bags full of random pieces of LEGO. Generally, children throw all their LEGO sets into a box. As an aside, while I understand that they’re children and that combining broken-down sets is what they do, it still makes me want to claw at my face.
Anyway, their parents, are at their wits’ end about how to store the growing amount of plastic and the cost of the children’s insatiable appetite for new sets. They’re the ones who put those baggies full of random pieces together and try to sell them. In other words, you, the buyer, don’t know what you’re getting. You might get half a window, 3 tires when you were hoping for 4, bricks that don’t match. As a beginner, you might not know what to do with the pieces. I certainly didn’t.
LEGO.com and LEGO Store
For parts, scroll to the footer of LEGO.com to find the Replacement Parts section. Warning: People in the know tell me that that particular service shuts down for the holidays, roughly from late November to early February.
For sets, remember that there are benefits to buying from LEGO.com or brick-and-mortar LEGO stores: you can get points through the VIP program and use those points for rewards, including specific sets. There’s also a different gift-with-purchase every month if you spend a certain amount. Last, but not least, there’s no shipping fee with purchases over $35.00.
More Tips on Where to Buy Cheap LEGOs
Cheap LEGOs Videos
This is a hilarious and thorough explanation of how to shop for sets.
Here’s a practical demonstration of how Lego.com can cost less than BrickLink. A stroke of luck has brought you to this video as it also shows a cute little pet rodent.
Cheap LEGOs BlogPosts
Krazy Coupon Lady
These are my thoughts as I read it:
- I haven’t tried looking for LEGO sets on Reddit.
- I’ve bought on eBay, but you have to watch for fake LEGO there.
- I disagree with the one mention of parents and children joining an official, local LEGO group: my understanding is that LUGs, or LEGO User Groups, are for adults over 18, not children. But, yes, LUGs do buy in bulk at wonderfully reduced rates. Just know that it takes an eternity for those orders to arrive.
- I’ve bought minifigs on Facebook Marketplace. It was great for the adventure of it all, but the cost of gas and time probably made it more expensive than buying online. Ha!
- I love how Tip #12 breaks down your options by how much work you put into organizing the LEGO before trying to sell and how that affects how much money you can get for it.
Adventures in NanaLand
This blog post is written from the perspective of a grandmother with LEGO-loving children and grandchildren.
In addition to telling you where to buy cheap LEGOs, it includes
- a nice section on re-gifting LEGO
- a reminder that you can find the building instructions for sets at LEGO.com
- a review of 3 LEGO books, and
- a thorough list of ways to clean used LEGO. Lovely!
Lucky Nana! Personally, I’ve only found LEGO at a thrift store ONCE. It was a book with accompanying parts. Those pieces of Danish plastic get snatched up right away!
Decide how much thrift shopping is worth your time/gas, remembering that the LEGO Stores and websites have a points system so that it’s not a complete loss if you end up paying full price. Otherwise, it’s a game of comparing prices, which can change hourly, on various sites, including BrickLink. There you go: no need to wonder where to buy cheap LEGOs anymore!
What is your best tip for buying cheap LEGOs without resorting to pre-packaged ramen noodles with enough sodium to fell an elephant with the occasional orange to ward off scurvy?