10 yard-sale shopping tips
Spring is in the air, and that means yard-sale season is right around the corner. Here's how to be a better shopper.
This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
Most of my books cost a quarter. Half the furniture in my house cost less than $50. I've been drinking wine out of a 10-cent wine glass for the past three years. And I owe it all to getting up at the crack of dawn to score good deals at garage sales.
While garage sales are a great way to make money, they're also a great way to save money -- if you do it right.
Here are 10 things I've learned after years of garage sale hunting.
Then I plot each address on a map in a circle around my house. Having a map saves me hours of driving around looking for random signs.
Many neighborhood garage sales will have posted ads in the newspaper, but I also keep an eye out for signs during the week. The neighborhood association usually posts a flier or a banner in front of its neighborhood sign a few days ahead of time.
Get up early. It pays to show up right on time or even a few minutes early, and at most garage sales that means an official 7 a.m. start, with the serious buyers milling about 15 to 20 minutes before that. If you're looking for something specific and in short supply, like furniture, you can bet someone else is looking for the same thing, so the key is to beat them to it.
According to MSNBC, most items sell for 12% to 15% of their original value. That's a fair price. So as a buyer, if I find an item that isn't marked or the seller wants to haggle, I aim to pay no more than 15% of what I think it cost new.
My friend once put a (very) used brass coffee table on sale for $250, thinking she'd get at least $200. For three days people came by and offered her everything from $20 to $75, but she wasn't budging. More than a few people stood there for a while haggling with her. But it didn't matter, because she had placed an emotional value on that coffee table.
In my opinion, it's a good idea to make one or two offers and then walk away. You could be missing out on a great deal at another garage sale by standing there arguing with an emotional seller.
I once bought a bookshelf marked $30 for $5 because the sale was ending. Since then, I always try to hit the last hour or two of garage sales. I've gotten stuff for half price and even free that way.
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