Monday, May 23, 2011

Garage Sale Strategies

A cup I scored in a free box at
a garage sale this weekend now
holds spare change.
'Tis the season for garage sales and yard sales! This is happy news for cheapsters everywhere. Before you run out in search of signs on street corners with those telltale hand drawn arrows (Yard Sale This Way!), here are some strategies to consider:

* Remember that driving around in search of garage sales actually costs you money - in gas. You can cut down on this by:

           - Garage sale-ing in your own neighborhood first, especially by bike or on foot. I yard-saled on foot last weekend and managed to make it to five garage sales near my house. Start out on the biggest non-highway road near your home and then just keep an eye out for signs!

            - Finding other yard sale enthusiasts to carpool with as you garage sale hop around town by car. You can even make it a social event, like the Saturday Morning Garage Sale Club. Even doing this with just one other person will cut your gas costs in half.

* Don't buy things just because they are cheap. This may seem to run against yard sale logic, but spending $2 on something that would normally be $200 is still a waste of $2 if you're never going to use it. Whenever you are paying money for something (no matter how little), be sure that that thing will serve a purpose.

* Make liberal use of boxes marked "Free." These are where you can stock up on objects you might use (but aren't sure) - no waste of money worries if something is free!

* Be wary of yard sale hosts who are actually trying to make a profit on their sale rather than just get rid of stuff. I've been to garage sales where t-shirts were $5 or $6 - twice the price of the local thrift store, and in fact pretty close to the retail price for new shirts. While those types of sales might benefit the sellers, they will not benefit your wallet.

Here's to another money-saving week, readers, and smooth sale-ing!

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