Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Making the Most of Your Next Yard Sale

(I couldn't resist the cute little pig!)

Some of you may be unaware, but I happen to be married to a wonderful man (I’m sure you knew that part already) who knows A LOT about saving money.

While Nathan and I were dating and even into our engagement period, I had no idea just how good he was at saving. Now that we’re married, he’s slowly but surely teaching me all he knows, and I am so happy for it! Now that we’re both in the “saving game,” we manage to save a good deal each month by scoping out the paper for coupons, the weekly store ads and of course, our most loved way to save—yard sales! I thought it might be nice to share the deals we’ve found each week, as well as tricks we've found to save some extra $$$. And, I’d love to hear from you what deals you’re finding and how you find them. Hence the name Thrifty Thursday.

One of the biggest and simplest ways Nathan and I save money is by hitting up local yard sales. (You may remember my post way back about the Nathan and Rachel Yard Sale Extravaganza.) Since the emergence of Craigslist, scoping out yard sales has been much easier! I thought today I would share how Nathan and I typically find and shop at yard sales so that it might help you next time you decide to go.

Here is our plan for yard sales. Maybe you know these already, but if not, keep these in mind next time to go.

  • Yard sales are not all junk. I used to give in to this false ideology, but Nathan has shown me that yard sales are full of things I need for cheap. For example, before our wedding, we were looking for an over the range microwave in black (something very specific). We happened upon a neighborhood sale one day, and there was a lightly used one for sale for only $75! If you’ve ever tried to purchase one of these, then you’ll know that a $75 over the range microwave is hard to come by. That’s not it though, we’ve found everything from a weed eater, name brand clothes, children’s books, items for church, holiday decorations, camping supplies, our grill and our dining room light!
  • We never pay sticker price unless it’s something we're dying to have and the price is reasonable. My cousin Missy might disagree with me on this one after her pushy yard sale goers, but trust me—if people really want to get rid of their stuff, they’ll gladly take a lower price. However, don’t insult them. If they’re asking $10 for an item, just kindly ask if they’ll take $8 (Nathan would probably say $5, but I get nervous asking for half-off).
  • Before we go, we try to have a plan. This is the biggest and best way to make the most of your yard sales. Going the first day of a yard sale guarantees you’re going to get to sort through all the good stuff. It's also helpful to know what you’re looking for. We did this a lot when we were shopping for items around the house. I made a small list of things we needed and would take it with me to yard sales, and I was surprised that we found ALL of the stuff on our list!
  • Along with having a plan, we map out our route. The night before we visit a yard sale, we sit down with pen and paper and map out a route. Craigslist is where we find 99% of our yard sales, but I know some people check the listings in the paper as well as hit the random sales that don’t advertise publicly. We find Craigslist to be easy and it’s full of yard sale ads! Typically, Nathan searches through the ads to find the “good” ones (the yard sales that are selling stuff we need/want). Once we have a list of several good ones we want to hit, we look at the starting times of each and decide which we need to go to first. If a yard sale starts at 8 near our house, we’ll hit that one first and then go to the others starting at 9 and 9:30. It also helps to set a radius for yourself. We usually set a 12 mile limit on yard sales, meaning that we won’t go more than 12 miles from home. This just saves money and time.
I know these tips kind of come at an inopportune time since yard sale season is starting to wrap up, but you can keep them in mind for next year. Also, don’t be afraid to scope some last-minute ones out before the winter approaches. As fall enters and yard sale season ends, we’ve found people are ready to wheel and deal. For example, last week we found so many great buys, and one yard sale had books for 10 cents. I manged to get two American Girl series at 10 cents per book! We walked out with a hedge trimmer for Nathan, 3 sleds for the kids at church and a bag full of books that I'm going to use for prizes for the kids at church, as well as keep some for our own book collection. All for about $10!

What great tips do you have for yard sales? Or, what deals have you found recently? I'd love to read your comments!

1 comment:

  1. ....bless us. We are thrifty yard sale/bargain shoppers by nature. It's in our blood. Seriously. Anyone who knows our mothers will agree. ha


We love hearing from our readers. Thanks for stopping by to leave us a comment!
All the best,