Alright, so first admit that you've jumped into a hobby that can be SUPER expensive. And if you're here to find a deal on a Kenner Blythe, keep searching, because I've yet to find any surefire way of getting a deal on one. Sorry! For those of you looking for the Takara Blythe of your dreams, here's all the tips I've learned! I love a good deal, and know it can be tough to find one on these girls.
The real reason it's so hard to find Takara Blythe dolls in the US, is because they're not licensed to sell them here. Ashton Drake holds the license here, and so finding a Takara girl (especially a good deal,) can be very tough. Basically you have 2 options; find a US seller who's willing to part with one, or have it shipped internationally. Obviously, international shipping can be expensive, and it can take a long while. Registered airmail can take a few weeks, and impatient mommies should beware (I waited 3 weeks for my first girl, and it seemed like it took twice as long!) Other international services have better delivery times, Express Mail Service from Japan took about 4 days. Domestically shipping will be much quicker, although I have heard some horror stories with both UPS and USPS. I like to always pay for insurance, you never know what can happen in-transit.
So, I can't give you any tips on finding super-duper-30$ deals on Blythe dolls, but I can offer some tips on not spending too much for the girl of your dreams. First off, you'll probably need to think about what doll you'd like to buy. A particular Takara release NRFB (which means never removed from box,) a doll that looks like you, a nude doll for customizing, it's all up to you, and what you like and prefer. I think Flickr is a great resource for anyone looking for Blythe dolls. You can see lots of shots of all sorts of different kinds of dolls, from completely stock, all the way up to completely customized. Keep in mind the older the Takara release is, the harder it will be to find, and probably more expensive for it. Also limited dolls are tougher to come by, and pricier too. One of my wish-list girls is Prima Dolly Melon - limited to 500, I doubt I'll ever afford one, but I did purchase a Prima Dolly to reroot in aqua saran, to be my own personal Melon! LOL
If you're aim is to find a doll on the cheap, you'll need to be flexible. To find the best deal, I'd suggest not being picky about what doll you're purchasing, when you plan to buy her, and where she's coming from. You don't have to buy a doll this way, but it's how I stumbled onto my 55$ girl, and it's how I satiated my Blythe-lust without breaking the bank. LOL (It should be a real word, folks. Once you get hooked, it really is a lusty hobby!) Being flexible in any one of those, or a couple will go far in getting you the doll you want at a price you can afford.
Being patient can also go a long way in not spending too much for a Blythe doll. I've been looking for a Picca Encore or V-smash for a little while, but figure since they're not limited I'll find one when the timing (and financing!) are right for me. Patience can be a tough strategy for Blythe fans, but remember there's new girls out every year, and maybe yours is in the future, instead of the present.
The condition of the doll can play a big part in what you'll pay for her, as well. "Nude" dolls generally cost less because they don't come with the stock outfits & accessories they were originally sold with. "Gently played with" is also another good way of finding a deal. In this case she might come with all stock outfits & accessories, but she has been removed from her box & played with. I should caution every new Blythe Mommy to be careful though, sometimes sellers misrepresent the condition they're doll is in. Colored or dark spots on the bodies, cracks or slices in the faceplate, sand or spray-matting that was done incorrectly, scratches or non-functional eye-mechs can turn into bad dolly deals. The easiest way to avoid this is to ask for lots of pictures, or see the doll in person; but there are plenty of trusted sellers as well (on Ebay and TIB.) Do your homework and read as much as you can about the seller, and Caveat Emptor! Also know for the most part, if you don't bond with your new doll, or don't like her, there's plenty of ways to sell or trade her, to a new mom that will. Anyone have a Prima Dolly Saffy they don't want/need?!?!??? LOL
Any questions? Feel free to ask... I might not know the answer, but I'll try my best!