As much as I love the bjd hobby, it does have one big drawback – it’s expensive! When I first learned about ball jointed dolls in 2002, I had quite a sticker shock; so much so that it took me almost two years to take the plunge and order a doll. Thankfully, it’s no longer 2002 and there are a number of wallet-friendly options to start in the ball jointed doll hobby! If you already have a doll, check out my 10 favorite cheap bjd maintenance supplies!
1. Explore Budget BJD Companies
There are numerous bjd companies that offer dolls at prices that are significantly lower than the average bjd. In order to reduce the costs of production, these companies tend to not provide elaborate packaging, extensive promotional photo shoots or complex web storefronts. However, the savings are passed right on to the consumer in the form of high quality dolls at lower prices. As a nice bonus, most budget companies sand their dolls at no cost, something that is usually offered as a pricey add-on by many doll makers!
To get you started, here are a few popular companies to check out:
2. Take Advantage of Paying via Layaway
This is a great option if the company you are considering offers it. I use layaway all the time, as it’s a great way to spread out the expense over several months. However, be aware that practically all bjd companies keep a certain percentage of your layaway payment should you decide to cancel the order – usually 25% of the total price – so make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.
Some companies that offer layaway are DearMine (to find out more about them, read my DearMine BJD company review), Soom, Iplehouse, Peak’s Woods, and Denver Doll Emporium (dealer). Peak’s Woods especially is very flexible in setting up a payment plan that works for you.
3. Purchase Through a Local Dealer
Buying through a local dealer is a great way to save on shipping and customs fees! Additionally, some dealers also offer layaway and carry dolls from cheaper companies. To find out if the company you are considering has a local dealer, check out the company website’s About or FAQ sections. Alternatively, you can contact the company directly for this information. To protect yourself as a consumer, always make sure to verify that a dealer you are considering is authorized by the company before committing to a purchase.
4. Consider Purchasing a Smaller Doll
Tinies and Minis tend to cost less, but still let you enjoy the quality and aesthetic of your prefered company. For example, I decided to go with a LittleFee as my first Fairyland doll instead of a more pricey MiniFee, which allowed me to have a doll at home sooner! Of course, this is only a budget-friendly option if you actually like smaller dolls. If you have your heart set on an SD and nothing else will do, then spending money on something else will only delay bringing home the doll you really want.
5. Check out BJDs Made with Alternate Materials
Ball Jointed Dolls don’t only come in resin. Other materials are possible, including less expensive alternative plastics such as ABS, Vinyl and PVC. While the difference between these types of plastics and resin is very significant, the dolls offer similar functionality in the form of interchangeable eyes and wigs, extensive articulation and, in some cases, identical ball-and-socket construction. This a great way to test out the hobby and see if it is right for you without a big financial commitment!
A sample of companies which offer such dolls:
- Hujoo – 11cm-44cm; prices from $28 to $130
- Obitsu – 11cm-65cm; prices from $55 to $300
- Volks Dollfie – 22cm-30cm; prices from $17 to $40
6. Wait for Company Events to Purchase
Many companies hold events during which they offer a discount or a gift with purchase. Waiting for these events help you get more for your money, and I almost always hold off purchasing until an event is announced. However, not all events are worth waiting for, so definitely take some time to research your favorite company’s history of events to see if it’s something you are interested in.
Below are companies which hold events that, in my opinion, are definitely worth the wait:
- Souldoll – outfit or head; held a few times a year
- Fairyland – head or accessories/fantasy parts, held at least twice a year; but usually more often
- Peak’s Woods – head or a percent discount on dolls; held a few times a year
- Dollzone – head, sometimes whole (tiny) doll; held about twice a year
- DearMine – wig, outfit or accessories, sometimes percent discount on dolls or outfits; held once or twice a year
- Luts – head, outfit or percent discount on dolls or accessories; held at least once a year
- Supia – usually a head; held about once a year
7. Second-hand Market is your Friend!
There are many good deals to be had on second-hand dolls. This is especially true if you are willing to buy a doll that needs a bit of love and care. If you want to go this route, definitely make sure that you have access to a safe and reputable market venue. I highly recommend the Den of Angels bjd community, which also has a safe and active Marketplace. Access to the Den of Angels Marketplace is a perk to its members, so make sure to check the community’s rules before joining.
Do you have any tips for buying a BJD on a budget? Leave a comment with your advice!