I had my first garage sale excursion this past week. Feeling the thrill of the sale again made me think it would be fun to share my favorite garage sale shopping tips. In no particular order, here’s what works best for me:
Garage Sale Shopping Tips
1) Have the proper change. I always have quarters, dollar bills and fives. Bring enough money to cover what you typically buy. If you are open to spending more, say $50 on the perfect piece of furniture, have the money with you. The last thing you want to do is give up a deal because you didn’t have the funds. Or worse, haggle the $1 item down to 50-cents and then ask for change!
2) Plan the course. I like to research sales the week of on Craigslist.com and in our local newspaper classifieds. Then I input the addresses into my GPS. I use an “old school” GPS, not my smart phone. This helps me navigate in neighborhoods I may not know too well, and helps me hit up sales next to each other.
3) Start early and stay long. I do not advocate showing up and harassing a homeowner before their sale begins. I’ve been on that side of the fence and it’s not enjoyable. But if the sale opens at 8 a.m. feel free to show up bright and early at 8 a.m. On the flip side, if you are still shopping later in the day it may be easier to haggle or find a great deal. Many sellers want to “get rid of everything” and are more eager to make a deal later in the day.
4) Bring water, coffee and snacks. I love treating myself to a coffee the day of the sales. Also, bringing a water bottle and some easy-to-eat snacks help feign off hunger during a long day of shopping! Individually wrapped nutrition bars, crackers and fruit are some options that work well on the road.
5) Wear the proper attire. Dress for the weather and wear some good walking shoes. Also, if it’s going to be sunny don’t forget sunscreen, your sunglasses and maybe even a hat or visor.
6) Don’t be afraid to haggle. I’m surprised how many people are uneasy about haggling. It’s part of the joy of shopping at garage sales! My advice is to haggle within reason and know your limits. If you are only willing to pay $1 and the seller won’t budge to meet your offer, then be OK walking away. If you really want the item, you can try to haggle and then decide to pay full price – but know what your plan is before you purchase. Also, haggle within reason and don’t offend the seller. If an item is $7 I may ask to pay $5, but I’m not going to ask to pay $5 for an item marked $20. I do not haggle on every sale either. Use discretion.
7) Shop with an open mind. I always tell sellers I’m just browsing, and I truly am, when I shop at garage sales. I’ll know my purchase when I see it. Sure, there are some items in the back of my mind on wish list but the joy of garage sales is finding that perfect item you never knew you wanted or needed!
8) Be friendly and have fun. Put on a smile and be friendly to other shoppers and to the sellers. I always say hello and thank them for having a sale even if I didn’t find anything.
There you have it. My favorite garage sale shopping tips. Are there any I missed? Please share your favorite tips in the comments!