Bargain Hunting: Top 10 Yard Sale Tips For Finding Your Own Treasure

10 Sep

Yard sales are like treasure hunts, sometimes items lay for years in the dusty, dirty crevasses of attics, garages and storage units. Grandmas childhood trinkets and grandpa’s old tool box sit waiting to be rediscovered and enjoyed after years of silent stillness. Yard sales are a wonderful place for finding the lightly used and brand new. Here are my secret best bargain tips for finding your treasures.

Top 10 Best Yard Sale Tips

1. FIND YOUR SALES: You have to find out what is out there first. Here are the top 3 websites I like to reference the day before: Craigslist, Yard Sale Treasure Map & Yard Sale Search, and don’t forget the local paper.

2. THE GAME PLAN: Note your sale start times and plan a good route. This is important to save gas and to hit the most important areas first. More affluent areas may be your best bet for newer & lightly used finds, the older more established areas for more of your vintage gems. Hint: Block sales are a great timesaver too.

3. WANTS & NEEDS LIST: Yard sales are great places to find school clothes, home decor, sporting equipment, games, kitchen supplies etc. My youngest child has been impeccably dressed in the best designer clothing from garage sales for the past 4 years. It’s a teaching moment for kids in not only stretching dollars, but the importance of reusing, recycling and repurposing to save out planet.

4. APPEARANCE: You want to be able to negotiate right? Then don’t show up with your designer jeans carrying a coach purse, driving up in your BMW. If your outer appearance screams, “I CAN PAY IT, ” chances are you will and even your best negotiating skills will render useless.

5. CHECKLIST: Your map and sale start times, pencil and notepad (never know when you have to take a name/number down to put up an item later), GPS, phone, money holder (suggest a small item to wrap around wrist or fanny pack), hat/sunglasses and plenty of cash in small denominations. Also make sure your car is filled with gas the day before and you grab a couple of snacks and water so you do not have to stop.

6. BUYING: I always ask myself 3 things when I pick up an item. Can I use it, can I gift it or can I sell it?  If I can say a definite yes to one of these then I go to my next step…..the negotiation.

7. NEGOTIATING: Yes this does take a bit of practice, but after a few times you’ll be a pro. Especially after you get to know the going rate of certain items. My big advantage is listening to the seller with other buyers prior to my offer. This gives me the edge and lets me know if the seller is firm on prices. I also try to smile and strike up a conversation with the seller, maybe find a common ground of interest. The instant “like” factor often helps me get a much better deal. I also try to be very fair with my seller. I never low ball too much but offer a lower fair price, leaving room for a bit of haggling. If a buyer outright tells me a price before my offer I often respond, “what is the lowest offer you would accept?” 90% of the time the priced is dropped again..sometimes much lower than I would have expected!

8. KEEP A SMILE: Yes it can get crazy out there! I have been blocked into parking spots, yelled at, pushed, insulted, and the list goes on! Keep your chin up, be polite, and don’t let anything or anyone ruin your experience.

9. BE SAFE: Its early and you’re tired. Wake up with that coffee and watch for crazy drivers. They will be out there flying through the neighborhoods trying to get the best deal before you.  Also, never ever hit your brakes hard trying to get a glimpse of that sale across the street, you will get hit by the guy driving too close behind! Carry your phone for emergencies!

10. FUN: Have fun and remember that it’s a hit and miss. If you don’t find what you are looking today, you may find it next weekend! Happy hunting and drop a comment and tell me how this list worked for you.


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