Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hints from a Garage Sale Guru

Many Americans are feeling the “pinch” with rising prices of food and gas. Money doesn’t go as far as it used to. Because of this, more and more people who choose to go to garage sales instead of buying everything in retail stores. Besides finding tremendous bargains at a fraction of the original cost, you can also feel good inside knowing that you are helping the earth by recycling when you purchase used items instead of new.

Have a clear idea of what you want before you go to any garage sales. Make a list of items you want or need and take it with you. This will help to avoid wasting money by purchasing unnecessary items. Be very selective when you go. When buying clothing, check for stains, check zippers, and count buttons on clothing. Make sure electronic items work by plugging them and testing them in before you decide to buy. Look for missing pieces when looking at puzzles and games and see if there are chips in glassware. Don’t buy something just because it is inexpensive. There are many quality items out there. Even though things are inexpensive, they add up quickly. You don’t want to clutter up your home by purchasing unnecessary items. The real purpose of going is to buy what you need and want at a fraction of the price. Leave the great bargains that you don’t need for someone else to enjoy.

Prices may be higher than you want to pay. Don’t be afraid to bargain if you feel the price is too high. I don’t feel like I am trying to take advantage of anyone when I ask them if they would be willing to go down in price. They can always say no or choose a lower price that is acceptable to them. If they are asking a very fair price, then I personally wouldn’t try to bargain down the price. You can always walk away if you don’t feel comfortable about the cost. The greatest bargains can be found towards the final hour of the sale. By then, people are more willing to get rid of their treasures and some may make everything free just to save themselves from having to haul it away.

When going to garage sales, one of the hidden costs that people don’t always think of is the cost of gas. There are things you can do to keep gas costs lower. First of all, go through the sales and determine which ones you want to go to. Areas with more than one garage sale may be more worth the time and money to go to. Avoid driving long distances just for one sale. There will always be another sale in the future and you may end up spending more money than you save. One gas saving option is to carpool with friends and take turns driving or split the cost of the gas. You get time to visit as well as getting great bargains. Drive the most economical car you have. This is a time when you want the best gas mileage. Map out your stops and check times so you are not doing a lot of waiting or driving back and forth. To determine just how much you spend on gas, fill up the tank before you go. After you are done, fill the tank with gas again. The amount you spend the second time will be the amount you have spent to go to garage sales.

Going to garage sales can be a fun adventure as you get great bargains and make your money stretch. Be careful though, because you might just get hooked and skip going to retail stores in the future!

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