The sun is out and the days are (sometimes) warm. It’s yard sale season. For the “Thrifty-Tip Thursday” revival, here are my yard-sale shopping tips:
1 - Make a List: I have started a list of things I need/want for the house, yard or children. These are all things I don’t mind buying used. I’m not going to add “underwear for the boys” to the list. This helps me think through what I would like to look for when I’m out, and even if I impulsively follow a yard sale sign when I’m without my list, I have it in my mind because I took the time to write it down.
2 - Timing: I have two favorite times to hit yard sales: Friday morning and Saturday afternoon. On Friday morning the atmosphere is casual and pleasant. Those who run the yard sales are usually still in a good mood and are likely to budge some on their prices with those who are friendly. The selection is also at its peak on Friday morning. On Saturday afternoon the sellers are done and generally just want to get rid of things. This is when you can get the best bargains. The draw-back is most of the “good stuff” is already gone.
3 - Engage the Sellers: First, making conversation with the sellers is just more fun. But also, to reveal an ulterior motive, when I have been pleasantly engaging the seller while I browse, they are a lot more likely to negotiate on prices.
4 – Know Your Prices: When I look at my list of items created in step 1, I always have in mind a price I am willing to pay for a used item. I will not pay for a used item within even a few dollars of what I can get it for new on a good sale. For example, I will not spend more than $2 on clothing for the kids, and it needs to be in pretty good condition if I’m going to pay that (I usually try to stay under a dollar). I am a bargain shopper and I know I can find new clothing on the sales rack at Old Navy, Target or Children’s Place under $5, so I won’t pay much for a used article of clothing.
5 - Know What You’ll Use it For: Don‘t buy anything at a yard sale unless you know exactly what you are going to do with it. If I buy something because I think it is cute and might be able to find a place for it, chances are it is going to wind up in my yard sale next spring.
6 - Ask for a Lower Price: Most sellers expect to negotiate, so I almost always make a reasonable offer. The worst that can happen is he or she will say no and then I’ll decide whether it’s worthwhile to pay the sticker price. The important thing is to be friendly about it. A pushy offer will almost always be rejected.
If you have your own yard sales tips, let me know! I’d love to hone my skill.