Frugal Living: Saving Money at Garage Sales
We posted this last year and I wanted to bring it back because we're just getting started with garage sale season around here. Also, I'm knee deep in toys that I'm trying to get ready for a garage sale next week. Here's what Melanie has to say, hands down the best Garage Sale Queen I know:
I love saving money. I always have. I want to feel like I’m getting a good deal and great value for the money I am spending, which is why I really look forward to Saturday mornings! I am a mom of 3 young girls and Saturday morning is “my time”. No, you won’t find me at the spa or getting my nails done. I’m out engaging in my favorite sport …Garage Saling (yes, it’s a verb). There is nothing you can’t find at a yard sale.
I have purchased everything from an antique buffet to swim diapers, from a like-new Coach purse to a face-lift in a bottle. You name it and it’s out there, at pennies on the dollar. My rule of thumb is to not pay more than 10% of the retail price if an item is in GREAT condition (and usually you can get things for MUCH LESS). If I took you on a tour of my house, you would see that the majority of things that we own (furniture, toys, clothes and home décor), have been purchased second hand.
A thing I often hear from people in regards to garage sales is, “I stopped at a couple of garage sales and everything was junk”, and the reality is, that may be true. So, here is the truth about garage sales:
- It’s a numbers game. The more you go to, the more likely you are to find what you are looking for. You can’t show up at one sale and expect them to have everything you want. The best way to deal with this is to hit neighborhood or citywide garage sales.
- Pinpoint your area. Based on what you are looking for, you will have greater success in certain parts of town or certain neighborhoods. For example, if you are looking for kid items, go to a neighborhood or part of town that has young families. If you are looking for antiques, hit the “old money” area. If you garage sale regularly, you will be able to determine your favorite neighborhoods and even favorite houses to go to.
- Check your local paper or Craigslist to see where you want to go. If you don’t get a newspaper, a lot of papers list their classifieds section online. Check specifically for neighborhood sales or sales in the part of town you want to go to.
- Garage sales are seasonal. During April to early-June and late-August to early-October it is garage sale season. You can find sales anytime of the year, but these are the times you will find the greatest concentration (large neighborhood sales) to maximize your time.
- Go early. Most garage sales start between 7am-8am and some are open both Friday and Saturday. Don’t wait until noon and think you are going to find the best stuff. You can still find plenty of items later in the morning and people are often willing to negotiate more as the day goes on, but you are probably not going to get the deal of the century at closing time.
- Negotiate. It never hurts to ask, “what’s your best price”or make an offer, especially if you are buying a large item, or several small items. Always be polite and friendly when negotiating. People are much more likely to make you a deal if they like you.
Have fun! It’s a treasure hunt, you never know if you are going to spend a quarter on a piece of Tupperware, or come home with a front load washing machine or side by side fridge (all of which I’ve done before). Happy garage saling!
What are some of your garage sale finds?