With spring quickly approaching, we are about to enter my favorite time of year: Yard Sale Season.
I don’t know what it is about a good bargain, but I can’t pass one up. All I have to see is the sign posted in the front yard and I immediately slow down and start searching the driveway for treasure. Yard sales are an excellent way to find things you need (and a few things you don’t !) for a steal. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your Saturday morning shopping trip:
1. Pick up a copy of Friday’s classified section of the paper. The front page lists a whole slew of yard sales going on that weekend. You can get a good feel for what each household is selling as well as map out a route for hitting several sales in one local area. It helps to use Google or Maquest to get a general idea of where neighborhoods are located so you can be on the lookoout for signs pointing you towards the sales.
2. Make a list of items you are looking for. It is easy to get distracted by other great stuff – like a collection of excellent cd’s from the 90’s ( I am a fool for some Duran Duran) or interesting collectibles that will probably just collect dust in your home as they did the seller’s. If you have a specific list of items you’re searching for, you’ll be less likely to spend precious time at a yard sale that doesn’t have what you’re looking for.
3. Neighborhood and Church Sales are a great way to find more than one seller in a single location. More sellers means a wider variety of items for sale. It also saves you gas if you can park in one spot and shop up and down the street before returning to the car with your loot.
4. Don’t be afraid to haggle. The thrill of the yard sale for me is getting a steal! It never hurts to ask the seller if they’d consider less money for an item than it was originally priced. Many sellers are just looking to unload their unwanted stuff and have very little left to haul to the Goodwill. Also, see if you can make a deal on buying several items from the same person. Sometimes if you’re buying a lamp and a chair, the seller may throw in the rug for free.
5. Carry cash. As a rule, folks holding a yard sale will not accept anything but the green stuff. Some churches and organizations may accept checks, but it is not a good idea to assume this. As an extra challenge (this also gets my adrenaline flowing), set a specific dollar limit and see how far you can stretch your money. You’d be amazed what five bucks can get you!
6. Last but not least, take a good yard sale buddy. It’s always fun to bring an equally thrifty friend along. Choose your pal carefully: (s)he must be willing to rise early as the best deals are out there at the crack of dawn (we’re talking 6am on a saturday morning here). It never hurts to have someone willing to supply coffee as well. After your morning of scavenging, you can grab some brunch and brag about your best deals of the day. Only a fellow bargain hunter will truly understand what a rockstar you are for picking up not one, but TWO Japanese paper lanterns for $4! You both can bask in the glow of your new-found treasures until next weekend, when you do it all over again!
Happy Shopping! Are you a bargain hunter?