Are you looking for some garage sale shopping tips to help you find killer deals the next time you go out treasure hunting?
If you’re going to spend a day driving around and looking for garage sale treasures, try these 7 tips to make your time Garage Sale treasure hunting more profitable (and less expensive).
Many people shop garage sales to save money on the things they need. Others shop to find items that they can Flip for cash. And then there’s a segment of the population who simply shop garage sales as a recreational activity.
No matter the reason you shop at yard sales, we’ve got tips to make your shopping more effiecent, profitable and fun.
1. Garage Sale Apps to Help Plan Your Route
Check out the garage sale ads on:
- Facebook’s SwipSwap Groups (we have joined 4 or 5 of them)
- CraigsList (and the mobile app)
- GSalr.com (this site is phenomenal!)
- OfferUp.com (and the mobile app)
- EstateSale.net (searchable by zip code – amazing site)
Try to limit the sales you plan on visiting to one or two specific geographic areas. More expensive neighborhoods tend to sell nicer stuff, but can often have unrealistic pricing. You can even hit Estate sales in your area, many of them go half price on Saturdays (the second day).
2. Follow the signs to your Garage Sale Treasures
As you’re driving to a sale on your list, follow the signs of unadvertised sales also. About 50% of sales never advertise online or in print. When we host garage sales about half of the people come because of our signs and half because of our ads.
3. Carry a list
Impulse buys at garage sales not only cost you money but can create a glut of unneeded stuff that you’ll eventually have to get rid of. This is especially important if you take your kids with you—they can be “stuff magnets.”
Help your kids list three or four particular toys or things they are searching for. This will minimize the “Gimmies.” Make sure your kids pay for their own purchases. There have been times when we’ve shared our list of things we’re looking for with the host of a garage sale and their eyes have lit up.
They’ve immediately pulled out the very thing we’re looking for and sold it to us on the spot. Other times they’ve just stared at us blankly and said they didn’t have the item. Then they usually comment, “Hmmm, carrying a list to garage sales, what a great idea!”
4. Packaged Deals Brings Great Savings
If you’re at a garage sale and there are lots of items you want to buy (clothes, books, or kitchen items), gather the items together and ask the host if they would take less for the group of items.
In the case of a group of items we usually add up the posted price and ask them what their best price is . . . then offer a little less than that.
5. How to Negotiate the price
Remember that most garage sale prices are “set in Jello.” Meaning that everything is negotiable.
Ask the host what their best price is on an item you’re interested in and then negotiate from there. We’ve found that later in the day, hosts are much more willing to drop the price.
If they won’t come down to the price that works for you, leave your name and phone number and ask them to call you if the item hasn’t sold by the end of the day.
This works especially well if you live in the area of the sale. We’ve picked up a number of bargains this way.
6. Making a Deal at Rummage Sales
By far some of our best deals have come at church or non-profit group rummage sales. Usually, these are fundraisers, but because the workers aren’t emotionally attached to the items they are selling and because they want to “move” the “merchandise,” prices are usually really low and very negotiable.
One annual sale that we attend starts selling 50-gallon trash bags for a $20 donation near the end of their sale. This means we can fill that trash bag with as many items as we can fit . . . for only $20.
We’ve picked up some great deals!
Take the time to look under and around each table and area. Many times the greatest treasures are left in boxes, bags, or under a table.
- Non-profit rummage sales are often a great way to find super deals. Go slowly and look high and low for deals.
7. Life Training for Kids
Garage sales are a great place for kids to learn about negotiating and buying things they can afford. Plus, the younger and cuter they are, the better deal they get when they pull out their own money.
There are so many ways to discover great deals at garage and rummage sales, we couldn’t possibly cover them all. But using these 7 tips and a few from frugal friends, you’ll be on the road to finding your garage sale treasures!!!
If you’re planning on hosting a garage sale read our guide to hosting a great garage sale below.
More Garage Sale Savings Ideas
Here are a couple of ideas from website visitors who have taken deal-making to a whole new level.
8. Cashing in on Garage Sale Finds
Amy Davis from Omaha, Nebraska sent in this tip.
I like to garage sale — I often buy clothes for my children, Christmas gifts, etc. this way.
Last year, I found a way to make garage-saling even more profitable. I can buy children’s and infant clothes and toys (only in excellent condition) often for about a quarter. Then I resell them at a local semi-annual children’s consignment sale. At this sale, clothes sell for 1/3 to 1/2 of retail price — so I can easily get $5 or more for a pair of children’s jeans purchased for a quarter.
I get to keep 65% of the sale price, and the remainder is donated to charity. I’m making money and contributing to charity!
9. Re-Selling Garage Sale Treasures!
Tonya M. from Bowling Green Kentucky sent in this idea.
Whenever I go to yard sales where they have children’s clothes and are doing “bag” sales ($1 to fill the bag), I buy up most of the kids’ clothes that are in good shape. I take them home and sort through them to see if there is anything that will fit my granddaughter. If not, I take the rest to a Kid-to-Kid location and trade them in for store credit. Then I can take my granddaughter shopping there for the clothes she needs. I did that the other day. I spent $4 and got $40 in store credit to spend!
Editors’ Note: Kid-to-Kid is a franchised operation and has locations in 25 states and Canada. Click here for more info. But scoring great savings on kids clothing or any other item that you have experience at reselling can become a lucrative side hustle.
Read more about hosting a great garage sale.
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