How to Save Money by Shopping at Garage Sales

One of my favorite things to do is garage sale!!! I wait all winter long for them to come again! And while I'm waiting, I keep a running list of anything we need, or would like to have, if we can find it cheap enough at a garage sale.

In fact, as I write this post I'm gearing up for a couple of my favorite sub sales this week! I'm praying I can find some good deals! :) 

Really, I LOVE garage sales! I have found amazing deals for our family at them. I've even started shopping for clothes for myself now too. If they end up not fitting, I just take them to the resale shop downtown so I don't worry about wasting money on a shirt or pants that don't fit. I was incredibly blessed by the clothes I was able to find for myself last week and for a fraction of the price I'd have to pay in the store.

Here are a few tips to help you if you're new to garage sales:

To help things run [more] smoothly the day of the sale, do the following the night before the sale: make sure to pack snacks and water for the kids and yourself, make sure you have cash (mostly ones so it's easier to make an offer and so that you don't wipe the person out of all their ones with a twenty) your list (so you can keep track of what sizes/colors, etc. that you need.). I also have hats, sunscreen and clothes all picked out ahead of time.

Doing this ahead of time helps a lot because you want to get to the sales right when they open. The early birds get the best deals usually! (although sometimes I've gone back to a sale right before they're closing and offer 50% less on an item and they usually will take it because they don't want to haul that stuff back in their house!) =)

I think twice I have gotten a free sitter (my mom or a long time friend) but generally I have the kids with me. I have not let having 3 little ones stop me from garage sale-ing--no way! :) In the past, when I was potty training my oldest, I'd even bring the potty seat along with us and stick it in the back of the car if he needed it! Because I do have the kids in tow, I stick to sub sales because I don't want to waste time/gas/patience running from sale to sale. 

I keep garage saleing even though it is work with the kids because garage sales and Mom2Mom sales is how I buy the majority of our kids' clothes.  Plus, I've had some amazing finds in the past (thank you Lord!) for non-clothing items like my ergo baby carrier for $4 (!!!) that I needed right before our family vacation and $4 for brand new panel curtains from Restoration Hardware which...I resold on ebay for $180! (I originally bought them for my own Living Room but when I got home I found the ebay receipt. My friend said she didn't care how good they looked in my living room (ha ha!)--I should sell them! I ended up finding curtains I liked better anyways for a whole lot less than $180!) A couple weekends ago I got a nice grill for my husband for $35 (happy early Father's Day!) and a mosquito magnet for $20 that we plan to resell (with the propane tank and the tablets that go with the magnet!) The tank alone was worth $20. (be sure to see what the market will bear on items you plan to buy and resell...) I also snagged a great looking booster seat for my daughter ($2)!

Also, I know it is HARD to drag the kids in and out at sales so that's another reason I stick to sub sales. I pull into the driveaway of the sale if possible or I park out front. That way I can put the windows part way down and lock the vehicle and do a quick run up there to see if there's anything even of interest to me. If it looks like I'll be awhile I'll either keep running back and forth to check on the kids (even though they're not far from me) or I will get them out. When I leave the kids in the vehicle (ALWAYS within my view!!!) I ALWAYS lock it even if my vehicle is just at the end of someone's driveway. I was at a sale recently had done this when my oldest was yelling out the window at me wanting to get out. I said he could but when he opened the door, the car alarm went off. I made a joke about it to the lady running the garage sale and said I always lock it even if they're right there because you just never know! If someone tried to get in, the alarm would go off, and if someone tried to get out, the alarm would go off. No great deal at a sale is worthing risking losing my kids over!!

When I'm at a sale I gather all the items I think I'm interested in and do another quick look over to make sure there aren't any stains or tears that I didn't see the first time around. If it's a bigger purchase (like a kid's bike) I check the bike out to make sure the tires aren't shot or that the chain is a death trap from rust, etc. After I have all of my items together, I tally in my head what I am willing to pay and make an offer for the whole group of items I'm buying (rather than asking a different amount for each individual item). I don't want to offer unreasonably low prices, but I also don't want to walk away from a sale asking myself why on earth did I pay what I did for an item. I try to be reasonable, but a good shopper as well. Most times, they'll take what I offer. Sometimes they counter and I generally go with that.

I try to remember to pray before I head out that the Lord would open my eyes to the good deals and that I wouldn't buy anything that I shouldn't. He has always been faithful in helping me at the sales!

Do you have any garage sale tips? I'd LOVE to hear them!

Be sure to check out my other garage sale posts! I hope you'll follow along on my blog so you don't miss a post. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Mama Chocolate said...

Wow! An Ergo for $4?? I was praying for an Ergo the day we went out and found the Baby Hawk. I guess God was telling me to not be so picky. ;-)
I knew that the Baby Hawk was a pretty expensive product, though, and if I don't like it, and decide I still want an Ergo, I can easily sell it and buy the Ergo with my earnings! :-D
I love garage sale-ing too!

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