Visiting a local garage sale is a great way to spend a summer afternoon and save money. If you have any garage sales in your area, you should definitely go out of your way to check them out. People are very willing to part with whatever they're selling which can lead to deals you won't find anywhere else. If you're convinced that garage sales are right for you, here are a few helpful tips to maximize your savings and shopping efficiency.
1. Visit Nicer Neighborhoods
When you go garage sale shopping, try to visit nicer neighborhoods first. The reason for this is because nicer neighborhoods will generally have better quality items at potentially lower prices. Households in nicer neighborhoods also can afford to part with their used goods for bargain prices. For these two reasons, going garage sale shopping in nicer neighborhoods is a great way to find deals.
2. Prepare To Pay With Cash For Everything
Going to a garage sale with nothing but a credit card will get you no where. Before visiting a garage sale, prepare some cash to pay for anything you buy. It's best to bring too much money than too little. If you have too much, you can just put the excess cash back into your bank account. If you have too little, you might miss out a great bargain.
3. Just Because It's Used Doesn't Mean You're Getting A Deal
Before you buy something at a garage sale, remember that just because it's used doesn't mean you're getting a deal. A lot of garage sale shoppers will blindly snap things up just because they think they're getting a good deal. Before going garage sale shopping, have an idea of what you're looking for and what you're willing to pay. If you encounter something that you'd like to do some quick price research on, it never hurts to call a friend who knows more than you about a particular product. If you have internet access on your phone, you can also do a quick search online.
4. Map Out Your Garage Sale Route
Some neighborhoods arrange events where many households sell their used goods over a single weekend. This is a great way to visit many garage sales at once without wasting time and gas. To maximize the potential bargains you encounter, be prepared to navigate all of the garage sales as efficiently as possible.
5. Always Negotiate
Negotiation goes hand and hand with garage sales. A lot of times, families that have garage sales simply want to get rid of their junk; the money is just a bonus. Keeping this in mind will help you remain steady while negotiating. Like any negotiating process, it does help to point out defects in the what you're interested in to knock a few dollars off the price. It's also important to be respectful and to remember that negotiation is a form of cooperation. Work with the seller to reach a fair agreement for both of you.
6. Avoid Certain Items
Whenever you buy used, there are always a few things you should steer clear of. Some items might be unsafe while others might be completely obsolete. If you avoid the following items, you should be in the clear.
- Child car seats
- Things you can't try out on the spot
- Certain electronics
- Anything that you don't know the fair price of
7. Visit The Same Garage Sale Twice
Visiting the same garage sale twice will allow you to pick up great bargains twice. If you visit a particular garage sale early, you can pick up any items you're interested in before anyone else. Before leaving the garage sale for the first time, ask the seller when the last day will be and visit again on that day. When you visit on the last day of a garage sale, you'll be able to negotiate much more successfully than if you visit earlier. The reason for this is that at the end of a garage sale, the seller will be much more willing to part with their goods than any previous day. The more they get rid of on the last day, the less they have to clean up.
8. Assume All Sales Are FinalLearn More About Personal Finance »
Before making any purchases, assume that all sales are final. Garage sales are very informal and because cash is used for every transaction there won't be any receipts. Although some sellers might record each transaction, don't depend on it. Instead, think each of your decisions through and only buy what you are absolutely sure you won't want to bring back.