BJDRealm

7 Ways to Save on Ball Jointed Dolls!

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.

BJD Realm Mascot - blonde anime girl

Do you have any tips for buying a BJD on a budget? Leave a comment with your advice!



24 Comments
  1. I am 20 Years old and I fell in love with a BGD doll when I came across a site And One of the dolls I really really loved but I didn’t have enough money she was $500 and I’m looking for a BGG doll that has anime eyes I Been looking for a site for about five years it’s just I haven’t been saving enough money for it I’ve always been paying for food taxes and Hydro and things like that So do you know any sites that sell cheap BGD dolls that have anime eyes

  2. Hello! My name is Tessa and I am 19. I have always wanted a BJD since I was younger. I have always been fascinated by their beauty and artistic design. Yet I’m new to this (means I am actually doing proper research) and finally have a job that may give me a chance to actually own one of these marvels.

    I hope you could help me. I wish to make a doll almost from scratch. I wish for her to look similar to me. I am in search for BJD bodies that are actually painted or at least offer the choice of being painted before shipping. Do you have any idea what company/website may offer this option?

    Your expert opinion would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you for taking the time to read my email and have a wonderful day.

  3. I’ve seen these in video’s and now I REALLY want one!!!! do you know where i could get one, the ones im wanting have diffrent kind of facial expressions like shy, distint look, mature adult face all those kinds!

  4. Hi, I recently just ordered my very first bjd from souldoll and I would like to know what your opinion is of her? I’ve always loved dolls and when I saw her I just fell in love! Her name is Serena and I got the human variation of her. She’s from the fairy story line I believe, oh and I’m 18 years old and still fairly new to the doll community, while she’s on lay away I’ll be studying up on doll care, any tips or tricks I should know about? Thank you!!

  5. Everywhere I look they don’t seem to take English money, what can I do about that seeing as I’m from England and I really want a BJD

    1. Hi, Saskia! PayPal should convert your currency to the currency accepted by the BJD shop. I bought from England using PayPal and my US dollars were converted to British pounds automatically at the current conversion rate.

      Otherwise, if you don’t use PayPal, I’d suggest contacting the shop you are interested in and see what options they have. I am sure this is a common enough scenario that they will be able to offer solutions. Good luck with your purchase!

  6. I loved this article but I still need some help lol. I am 19 years old and have wanted a BJD for years, and with tax time approaching I’m thinking I may take the investment. I remember the first time I saw a BJD one of the girls in my class had one and I fell in love with it. It was a larger doll and I thought it was so beautiful…

    I am deffinately looking for one of the larger sizes, I don’t want a barbie doll size. The girl would hold her doll and it was longer than from her elbow to her hand. And I like that, almost like a mini person thing. IDK.

    I don’t want to spend thousands on the doll alone, but I also don’t require a super cheap one. There are so many sites I just don’t know which one to choose and I don’t want to just get one to get one and be unhappy with it… you know?

    Thanks for any help 🙂

    1. Hey,

      I honestly think the best thing to do is to really look around at different websites. Den of Angels has a resource wiki where they list a TON of bjd companies. If you browse those websites you should be able to find a doll you really love.

      Personally, I’m a huge fan of Iplehouse, Soom, and Souldoll. However, these companies lean towards the expensive side. I have an Iplehouse doll, however, and she’s incredibly beautiful and high-quality.

      Everyone suggests Bobobie and Resinsoul for lower-priced options, but I really hate their sculpts! Mirodoll, somewhat of a newcomer, has reallllly cheap resin dolls that aren’t recasts (which can be a risk sometimes) and I just got a 60cm doll for under $200. She just came and I think she is great quality for the price. They were having a winter event that made it even cheaper than normal when I ordered, but I’m not sure if it has ended.

      One thing that’s kind of silly but important is that if you’re from the US, make sure you realize how big the doll is in inches. Almost all bjds are measured in cm, and as someone from the US, I don’t have a great gauge of how big they are. It can be surprising how big the doll is!

      Anyhow, good luck!

    2. Those are not bad tips. I have 7 dolls in this time and most of them, I bought via company events for very good price. And usually got some present from event, what I sold and money returned to me. The only but usual problem of mine are customs fees. There is only one local dealer here in my country and it has licence only for one company doll. Plus it cost twice more from him then buy doll yourself and pay fees. Anyway the best way how to obtain first doll is find a good job. My girlfriend wished bjd from her seventeen. She bought the first one this year. She is 29 years old already.

  7. Hello! I’m 12 and recently have been looking for a bjd. I’m not new to the idea of EXTREMLY realistic doll, as I am the owner of five precious reborn baby dolls. Though my baby dolls are wonderful and I treat them carefully and realistically as posibal. But that aside, Iv always wanted to pursue the art of stop motion animation. I feel like with a doll I could work beautifully. Unfortunely as I am still a young child, I only have 85 dollars to my name… And my parents will not spend over 200, is there any sites that sell that cheep? If not, what are your tips for buying as a first time doll owner.

    1. Hi Bree,

      First, you should think about the pros and cons of the types of dolls in or around your price range. For $85, you’re probably looking at a Bobobie or Resinsoul tiny (around 15cm). The least expensive Bobobie tinies are Eric, Erin, Chocolate, and Cookie (all $78 USD). The next ones up are Lucky, Sunny, Moony, and Elfkin ($81 USD). As for Resinsoul tinies, Yu and Dian are both $75. Dolls this size are super cute and lightweight, so they’re easy to bring with you to doll meets and cons. They’re also really fun to dress up. But, if you’re willing to wait and save a little more money (or if you can convince your parents to give you at least $25 more), then you might be interested in Resinsoul’s 27/28cm dolls/Bobobie’s 27cm dolls (Bobobie’s Isabella is $98!). These dolls are also very cute and lightweight. I’ve never owned one, but based solely on my research, these sound pretty good for beginners because it might be easier to find clothes for them (some of them fit into regular fashion doll clothes, like Barbie clothes… Keep in mind though that the chest area of the clothes might be a little big for them). Also, if you cut the little peg out of Liv doll wigs, I know that they fit a little snugly on the Resinsoul Bei. So, it sounds to me like dolls of this size might be easier to find accessories for. And making clothes and even simple wigs (the easiest wigs to make are the ones made of faux fur! MyFroggyStuff on Youtube has a good tutorial) shouldn’t be too hard once you get the hang of it! Both Bobobie and Resinsoul will give you a free pair of eyes with your purchase, so that’s a plus. 🙂

      Once you’ve done that, you need to factor in additional costs, like shipping (Bobobie and Resinsoul are both in China), faceups or different skintones (they charge extra for everything but white and “normal” skin). They don’t typically list shipping costs on these websites, so you’ll need to email the companies and ask how much it would cost to ship to your address. To cut shipping costs, you might be able to find a dealer (an online store run in your country that also sells the company’s dolls, like Denver Doll Emporium or JunkySpot). Also, if you’re not from the US, you’ll need to know what the price would be in your country’s currency. If you can, I recommend that you try to save more than the exact amount of money. So, if you get a $78 doll, you should try to have more than just the $78 just in case (like if something happens at customs). And then if everything goes smoothly, now you have extra money for a wig or a skirt or something!

      So with all that said, I think that you have two options: 1) see if you like any of the BBB/RS tinies, find out if $85 will cover the doll plus extra costs, then either make the wig and clothes or save up more to buy them later, OR, 2) if you don’t like any of those dolls, try to save up just a little more. There are a lot of money making tips on Youtube that you could try (but be very careful because some survey websites/apps, for example, require you to give them a lot of info about you). Maybe you could ask your parents for birthday money instead of presents. You could try asking them for a bit of money in exchange for extra chores. Gather up all the change you can find… You’d be surprised how much people have without even knowing! But I think that the biggest piece of advice I can give is to be patient. It takes a while to save up just enough money, and then even after you put in the order for your doll, it’ll still take them a while to make and then send it to you. Just make sure not to do anything hasty and buy a doll you don’t love just because it’s cheap because you don’t want to work hard to save $100 then spend it and wait 1-3 months for a doll you’ll end up hating. 🙁 I hope you can find something that works… I know the struggle! lol

  8. Hello! I have been wanting a bjd for quite some time now but a bunch of them are really expensive… This blog helped me I just don’t know what doll to start with… If you could give me suggestions for a cheap but high quality doll that’ll be great!

    ~Sam

    1. I highly recommend volks. They’re material and dolls are super cute. You can also build your doll. I’m getting my second doll from volks soon. You can get a whole doll body with a head of your choice for under 400$.

  9. Hi there, this is an incredibly helpful blog, but I am still unsure about how to do this. I have been wanting to own a ball jointed doll since I was a very little girl, I asked once and was basically told to grow up. Now that I am on my older (and admittedly working through issues from my upbringing), I have been rethinking and I can’t see the harm in owning a doll. It seems to want one, but I have always loved dolls, and I am tired of putting myself down for wanting one. I guess what I’m trying to say is I would truly appreciate any help you can offer me to help me find the right doll to start with. I have something in mind after all the browsing, and I think I could possibly put one together after all the research I have been doing recently and in the past, but I’m not sure what the restrictions might be and what works best for what…I’m just a little overwhelmed I guess. I don’t have a lot of money, but I also do not have anything else better to do with what I do have. Sorry if this message is ridiculously long, I just don’t know what else I can do right now. Thank you truly for you time reading this, I hope you may be able to help me. 🙂

    1. Hi, Vianne!

      I am sorry for the late reply. It has been a busy few weeks around here!

      There’s definitely no harm in owning a doll! If you take a look at various doll-related forums, you’ll see that doll owners are a very diverse bunch. Some are very young, and some are much older. As far as I am concerned, there’s no “too young” or “too old” to be part of the doll hobby.

      I can definitely help you with choosing a doll that’s right for you! I’ll send you an email right now. In case my email doesn’t reach you, you can contact me at annavaleria@bjdrealm.com and we’ll take it from there!

  10. Hi, I want to make a suggestion for Jay Thompson, if Jay is still checking in. I happened upon this page because I am looking into getting my first Asian-style BJD. In particular, I’m interested in Fairyland Minifee and Chicline. The reason I am looking into owning an Asian-style BJD, is to learn more about them.

    My suggestion for Jay Thompson is to take a look at the Horsman Urban Vita doll. I have quite a collection of these “mechanical” (not strung) vinyl BJDs. I have compared “Vita” to other BJDs and articulated dolls, and I believe she is the easiest to pose, and possibly the best overall poser. She has attractive joints and lots of flexibility. Compared to other BJDs, she appears to have more range in her torso, and a little less in the knees and elbows. Her tendency is to look very natural, no matter what the pose.

    Vita seems to be designed as an elongated Dollikin, with a few extra joints. Many of the Vita dolls have a nice, quirky “retro” look that Dollikin lovers may appreciate. Some wear wigs and others have rooted hair. At least one release had face plates and interchangeable eyes, but most do not. She fits into Tonner Tyler Wentworth clothing. Google “Horsman Urban Vita posable” or “Horsman Urban Vita articulated” for images. She is also considerably less expensive than most BJDs and much tougher. Best of all, the Vita dolls are just fun, fun, fun!

  11. Thanks for posting this, it was very informative. I have a question however! You spoke of alternative materials in your article, and I was wondering if there were significant differences in care and aging between the different types of doll materials. I found plenty of information about care for resin, but nothing about any of the others.

    1. Hello, Regina! Thank you for stopping by!

      There are most definitely differences between resin and other types of plastics.

      Resin is very amenable to customization, which is why it’s such a popular material for BJDs. It can be easily sanded, modified, cleaned and painted with the right supplies. However, the downside is that it is more fragile and does change color over time. Some companies’ resin quality is better than others’. Most color change is not detrimental to the overall look of the doll, unless the company uses horrible resin (very rare these days!).

      Vinyl, PVC and ABS plastics are more sturdy. But, they are not readily customized. You can’t easily sand them or carve them without harming the integrity of the doll. And, while you can paint them with acrylics, blushing with pastels is much more problematic than it is on resin. Some of these plastics are also prone to discoloration with age, but it all depends on the quality of polymers used. In my experience, the biggest issue with these plastics is staining. Any dark clothing will surely stain if left on the doll for a long period of time. The staining can be remedied to some extent with bleaching agents, but it takes a long time and oftentimes doesn’t fully work. If choosing one of these materials, definitely make sure to line all dark clothes with a light fabric!

      I hope this helps!

  12. My new bjd is this type…BJD 1/4 MSD 5stardoll Ji there are so many types and names etc. I can’t keep them all straight. I hope she is pretty good, she is not a recast, so the owner says.

    1. I just looked her up – she’s beautiful! Are you going to post pictures on DoA or Flickr, etc? I’d love to check her out when you receive her.

      As far as I know, 5stardoll bjds are not being recasted at this time, thankfully!

  13. I have just purchased my first bjd and still awaiting her arrival. She was previously owned by someone and she’ll come with ‘face-up’…wig…shoes and a dress. The shipping was free from my own province and that is what attracted me!. I have done much research and made note of my likes and dislikes of bjd’s…legit and recasts. I didn’t mind which type I ended up having, as long as it was poseable and not broken or chipped. I rather prefer the smoother jointing and definitely the double-jointed ones. I’m an older senior citizen who has always loved ‘articulated’ dolls and I guess this brings me back to my childhood to have a bjd. I have 5 dollikins from the 1950’s that pose nicely enough, but ……not as human-like as these modern-day bjd’s!
    I only wish there was a place/store near me in the deep, southwestern Ontario, I’m sure I would be there often enough.

    1. Congratulations on your first BJD – how exciting! Which sculpt did you get? My first was Custom House Choa, I bought her over 10 years ago (I can’t believe it’s been so long!).

      I wish there was a store near me as well. I’m sure I’d be a permanent fixture there! Who knows, maybe one day more doll or collectibles stores will carry BJDs – that would be great 🙂

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