Best Garage Sale Strategies to Save Money

Getting deals a garage sales can be tough. However, there are certain strategies what will help you get the best price for something at a garage sale. Below is a list of several garage sale strategies to try out next time you are shopping or selling at a garage sale.


Tips to Save Money at Garage Sales

Buy in bulk: You’re more likely to get a price break if you buy the entire box. Do a quick calculation of the worth of the box of things before you approach them with a deal offer. Get them to name a price first then bargain down from there.

Know that nearly everything is negotiable. Some sellers price items knowing that buyers will haggle. Remember, get them to name a price then bargain down. Either arrive early enough to scout out the best products or late enough to snatch up what didn’t sell at lower prices. If you can’t make a deal at the time leave your number with the seller so they can call you if it doesn’t sell.

Make a shopping list. You won’t find everything, but have an idea of what you need. Yard sales are great for: 1.Candles- Everyone has half burnt candles usually for 25c or less. 2.Books- very heavy when moving. 25c for paperbacks and 50c is acceptable except textbooks etc. 3.Tools- just the basics, power tools are another story. 4. Children/baby anything. Do you remember where your clothes/toys came from at age 4? I don’t have them, but kids seem expensive enough.

Go to the rich neighborhoods at the end of the day, a lot of the times they give stuff away just to be rid of it when its clear it wont be sold

Middle class neighborhoods have the best garage sales. Rich folks too often don’t know the value of things; they often price things at 75% of retail and expect people to consider that a bargain; too often they are a waste of time. I think they just never bargain shop so they don’t have a clue “I paid $1500 at Ethan Allen for that sofa just 4 years ago, so $1200 is a steal!”. Sometimes they are OK though. Whenever you see high prices as their standard; just move on. Poor folks tend to buy cheap stuff and they wear it out.

Plan first. Craigslist is the easiest way. Select the map view to see what’s close to you. I look for moving, estate, or neighborhood sales. The host of a moving sale wants stuff gone and is more likely to negotiate. Estate sales can be uncomfortable. Often someone has died or moving to assisted living. It may feel weird to haggle with the grieving, but they also want the stuff gone. Neighborhood garage sales save you the trouble of driving around.

Best types of neighborhoods for garage sales. Need baby things? Go to neighborhood garage sales in new construction neighborhoods. Don’t expect to find much else though. Want antiques or something like a boat? Go to older established neighborhoods; look for the big older trees. Upscale condos can be OK; those people are getting rid of good things because they don’t have room.

Figure 10% of retail pricing for most used items. New in the box items can be worth more, worn things less. Some things really hold their value, esp. quality name brand items. Even though I could get many of the things I buy for less if I were to haggle, I think it’s fair to pay asking price if it is reasonable. I generally only offer a lower price if I think the thing is priced too high. At the end of the day or second day of a garage sale, most people are very willing to bargain, however. Some things very often are over priced: I don’t care how well your Windows 95 PC works, it’s not worth $100. Why does everyone think their old $45 retail price shop vac is still worth $20?

Bring enough money to buy that big ticket item that you’ve been looking for. Practice self control but recognize it’s not too often that you will find that pristine $500 bicycle for $100 and the next person who walks up might buy it. Then you are stuck paying retail; your kid has been waiting long enough.

Again, don’t be afraid to negotiate at a garage sale. I was uncomfortable doing this a first, but gets easier with practice. Keep quarters and singles. If you are only buying one item just ask, “would you take X for this?” and present the money. Seldom does anyone say no or they return with a different but still lower price. If you are buying several items, offer an even dollar amount for everything. “Would you take 5 bucks for all of these?” Sellers hate making change. If you present the cash and are fairly reasonable, the seller will take it.

Be cautious of some items. 1.Furniture-huge savings, but bed bugs are a thing. 2.Electronics/Appliances- try it out. Most garages have outlets. 3.Disc media-I’ve bought video games that appear scratch free, but were still unreadable. 4. Valuables/antiques/collectibles- be familiar or just use your phone. Fakes and reproductions exist even if the seller thinks it’s legit.

When to Haggle at a Garage sale?

Gaggling is annoying, especially when the other guy refuses to name a price but just wants to ignore low prices and force you to give higher ones. However this is not always true at garage sales.

And set prices are certainly not how it works in most places. Most countries actually have deeply ingrained haggling cultures and even in the U.S. cars, furniture, cable/satellite services, and real estate are always negotiable.

You say the price you want. They say what they want. You meet somewhere in the middle. Or not. It’s just a conversation. Usually all you have to do to start is say “are you negotiable?” and that gets the ball rolling in a friendly way. You can also just say “can I have this for $x?” It doesn’t really matter what price they want. You make your offer and they can accept or not. If your price is way different than theirs, no big deal. It’s like fishing. Maybe you catch something. Maybe you don’t. The best way to catch something good is to go fishing a lot.


Getting the Best Deals at Garage Sales

Look for city-wide garage sales in your area. Allows you to hit the most amount of sales with the least amount of driving. I’ve also been known to plot a route based on Craigslist and newspaper ad postings. Get there early. In my area most people hold a garage sale on Friday and Saturday. Friday morning has the best selection; Saturday around 11:00 things start winding down and deals can be made. Strike up friendly conversations – I don’t always do this but if I’m buying a lot it helps in negotiating. If you see something you really want, get it because you might not see it again. I often find myself passing over something that is a fair deal in the hopes of finding it later at an amazing deal. Finally, I skip over sales in newer subdivisions. Not only do you end up getting lost in curvy side streets, the goods are usually subpar. Usually a lot of cheap plastic stuff for whatever reason. Your mileage will vary of course.

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