Saturday, June 30, 2012

How to get the most out of yard sales!

I love shopping and love being thrifty.  It’s something about yard sales that takes me back to my childhood.  I loved going with my mother when I was younger to yard sales and finding things I couldn’t get in the store.  People sell their old belongings, but it’s also a great place to find gently used and sometimes new baby items, crafts, jewelry, vintage pieces, records, furniture, and antiques.  It’s much cheaper to find items at yard sales than going to Antique shops, consignment stores, and even Ebay at times. 
It’s summer time and that means that it is the time for yard sales and there are plenty of people that are willing to make deals.  It’s always great to save/make money whether you are having a yard sale yourself or going to one.  People  always want a deal almost as much as people want to make money, so try to remember not to insult the person selling by throwing a ridiculously low ball offer (such as offering $10 for a $100 item, unless they are desperate to part with the item and say they will take anything!)
Personally, I usually have 2 yard sales a year. One held in the spring/early summer and one held in September.  I have found that newspaper advertising and signs work best in my rural area.  Older adults tend not to utilize Craigslist while that is where I found the younger adults find their information.  I have also observed that Sundays are not necessary, as the crowds tend to seek out deals early Saturday mornings.  I usually set my sale from 8-2, giving plenty of time for the early bird shoppers as well as the late sleepers a chance to sleep in.
My best find of the year so far (and of my life!) has been a necklace that I found at a yard sale just last month.  I was initially uninterested because the seller had mainly Christmas items, but I browsed the sale anyway.  I spotted some jewelry in a box lid and I saw some chunky gold necklaces.  I had my hand on one, but immediately was drawn to another.  It was a matt gold heavy chain necklace.  The toggle had me sold.  The seller came up behind me and said, “that necklace would look great on you!  $2!! “Okay, I can do $2,” was my reply.  I saw a name on the toggle that I did not recognize, but I knew it was quality costume jewelry, probably from Macy’s, I assumed. 
Well, upon going home, I looked up the designer (something I don’t always do, but had a gut feeling about this one), and saw high price tags on his items.  I found this particular item on a site listed for $218!  Upon further research, the designer was none other than Karl Lagerfeld, head designer for Chanel, Fendi, and of his own line!  I felt so foolish for not knowing the label, but so excited for such an awesome piece of jewelry that I would have never been able to afford (or be willing to spend on costume jewelry). Lesson: stop at every sale and look through the items-you never know what you may find J

Tips and Tricks
Choose your time of day.  If there is something that you are searching for in particular, then the best time of day to shop is early in the morning so that you have first choice over the items instead of picked over merchandise.  This way, you beat the early birds and the dealers from getting something you may have been searching for.  Later in the day is best to receive the best bargains because people want to make as much money as they can before ending and don’t want to put up all of the unsold merchandise.
Check out neighborhood yard sales.  You will save on gas and hunting for different sales because they will all be in one place!  Also, a lot of people who may not usually have a yard sale will participate because of the free advertising and crowds, so you may just find a special deal where it would not have been prior.
Be pleasant.  Sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people don’t say hello when walking up, even when spoken to, search through a person’s items, then walk up frowning and want a deal.  You don’t have to start a conversation, but friendliness works wonders!    
Don’t buy something just because it’s a good deal unless you know that you will use it and have an idea in mind of what to do with it.  A great deal means nothing if you can’t display or use your item properly and it turns into a dust collector.
Always ask if the prices are firm.  They may say reduce the price or they may ask you what you are willing to pay.
Buy more to save more!  If there is an item that you are eyeing but the person seems unwilling to reduce the price, try negotiating a package deal by buying something else.  Example:  You want a crystal vase that is $8 and see another item priced at $5 (just make sure it is an item that you actually want).  See if they will take $10 for both items.  The worst they can say is no but they are more likely to either accept your offer or meet you in the middle and take $12 for both items-still saving you money!
Don’t buy anything unless you are willing to pay the price on the tag.  Although people love making deals, don’t get caught up in the excitement and assume you will get a good deal and then feel pressured to purchase if the seller remains firm on the price.  You’ll only end up feeling cheated in the end.

~Hopefully some of these tips can help you!  What are your greatest finds??~

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