Friday, May 1, 2009

Frugal Living Friday: Gearing up for yard sales

Welcome to Frugal Living Friday! Each week I will feature a tip that can help us stretch our budget and live more frugally! If you have a tip that you want shared on Frugal Living Friday, let me know and you could become a guest blogger for a day.

I love a good yard sale! And I am fortunate to live in an area that has really good ones too. Over the years I have really scored on some items at yard sales. I look forward to spring so I can start hunting. Going to yard sales is perfect for finding items for your home, yard, and kids at rock bottom prices! I even do Christmas shopping for my kids at yard sales. Since they have been very young they are used to getting toys and things not wrapped in shrink wrap so they don't know any different. Why pay full price when you can find the same thing at a yard sale in good condition for less than half the cost?

Here are a few tips I have learned over the years to make yard sale hunting successful (besides the obvious like going early and such):

1. Keep an ongoing list. In the back of my planner I keep a list of things I need/want that I think I can find at yard sales. Then I know what I am looking for when I go. It helps keep me organized and focused.

2. Tell friends and family that live near you what you are looking for so they can also keep an eye out. My sister-in-law is really good at finding deals at yard sales, and she has found me several things on my list the past few years. She even found me a newer Food Saver last summer (with a bunch of bag rolls) for only $25! It helps to not be the only one looking!

3. Don't get too carried away. When I first started yard saleing, I would buy a lot of great deals but they were items I didn't really need or use. I then found myself either putting those things in my yard sale the next year or donating them. Now I only get what I know I can use at home, unless I find a last summer when I found Pampered Chef stones for only $3 each. I had to get those! I do use those stones all the time, they just weren't on my list to get originally.

4. Take cash with you. I still know people that don't take enough cash when they go to yard sales. If your list if fairly large (and it includes things like furniture and such) take enough cash with you to cover those expenses. If you don't end up using it you can put it right back into the bank. I would rather be safe than sorry, especially if I find what I am looking for.

5. Barter on the price! Don't be afraid to talk them down on price. Even if the price is low to begin with. You never know and the worst they will tell you is no. I always ask if they will accept a lower price (I give a specific number that I am thinking) and then depending on their answer I can decide if I want to buy the item or not.

6. Hit the neighborhood sales. I LOVE neighborhood yard sales. It's like one-stop-shopping. Many times we take the kids and bike through the neighborhood using the bike trailer for stashing our "loot." It is fun too. Then I don't feel like I am driving all over town wasting time.

I can't wait to start going to yard sales and find some great deals on items on my list this year. Do you love yard sales? Any tips you want to share? Happy hunting!


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