The budget conscious shopper is always looking for bargains and there is no better place to bargain hunt than a garage sale.
Garage sales are a piece of Americana and they can be found in any city on almost any day during the fair weather months.
Before you head out to a garage sale, here are five helpful shopping hints to get you off to a great start:
First, plan your route for your shopping spree. Many times there will be community or neighborhood garage sale days which is easier than running around neighborhood to neighborhood.
This is one of the best ways to cover a lot of ground in the shortest amount of time. Go early for the best deals in the neighborhood and bring a wagon or several bags to help you haul your purchases away.
Don’t show up to a sale earlier than the listed starting time; often you’ll be in the way of the person trying to set up their sale and aggravate them.
Second, pack some food if you will be hitting a lot of garage sales or a large community sale. A water bottle and some sandwiches in a cooler can get you through a long day of shopping. Occasionally people will be selling food but don’t count on it.
Third, before you shop for clothing, make sure to have a list of clothing sizes for your family. Take measurements of family members so you can purchase items without size tags. Take a tape measure with you when you go shopping also.
Remember, items that you purchase at garage sales are by and large not returnable. Check for rips, stains or missing zippers and buttons before you purchase clothing items. Rarely will you be able to try on clothing at a garage sale.
Check all of the tags for sizes and measure items without tags before you buy them. If you sew and find an item that needs repair, don’t be afraid to haggle the price with the seller.
Fourth, Carry lots of small bills, since most items you purchase will be under $10. Be sure to have a few larger bills in case you find a large item that you just have to own.
Fifth, check all items to make sure they are working and have all of their parts. Many garage sales have power cords so that you can check to see if appliances actually run.
When it comes to children’s games make sure that you have all of the game pieces and that other toys have all of their parts. In general, things should do what they are expected to do. Broken or “as is” items should be marked as such.
People that have a garage sale want to sell the items they have; they don’t want to lug the items back into their home after the sale. If you want an item and it is out of your price range make an offer to the seller.
They may agree to sell it to you for less than the ticketed price. Remember to be respectful and reasonable with the seller when haggling over prices.
Finally, observe basic etiquette when shopping at a garage sale. Don’t let your children break people’s collectibles and if at all possible leave your small children at home.
Leave the dog at home as well, not everyone wants to be in close quarters with unfamiliar animals. Finally, be careful where you park. Don’t block anyone’s driveway with your car and be careful not to park in front of a fire hydrant or in a tow away zone.