DYI: Yard Sales
Okay, so I’m not above admitting I love a good yard sale. First, I love saving money – duh. Second, and more importantly, I love the adventure.
Call me Indiana Jones, but I get a kick out of finding used hidden treasures. It may be a vase. Yeah, I said a vase. My husband still gets me flowers. Or a pan. Or a piece of furniture. Furniture is my favorite find.
I get chills when I find a piece of furniture that I am able to use in the house. More often than not, I have to repair it, but that’s usually not a problem. Gorilla and super glue go a long way.
Let me fill you in on my process.
First, find a good yard sale or flea market.
Look in your local papers or social media. Most sales start in the spring and many will go into the fall depending on your location.
Remember to keep your eyes open for those community yard sales (so look at your neighboring towns/cities for opportunities). It’s a great way to hit numerous sales in one day.
Second, create a plan of attack.
My friend and I go together and we discuss what we are looking for.
What you need determines where you’ll go. Typically, the paper will indicate what type of things are being sold. I was looking for a table or dresser. Therefore, if it didn’t list furniture, and it will, I won’t hit that sale.
Then, map out your route. You don’t want to waste valuable time driving. Many yard sales in my community open early and close early. Some only sell to noon, so you better know what you want and where it is.
Caffeine, fuel, and cash. We usually take the truck, so I fuel up the night before. Remember, no wasted time during prime shopping. We are armed with caffeine. Coffee for me and tea for my friend.
Cash! The first time I went hardcore shopping I forgot cash. What an idiot. People don’t take debit cards. Nor, do most take checks, so what the heck was I thinking?
Thank goodness my wingman had money and loaned me what I needed. The next time we went I made sure I had plenty – ones, fives, tens and twenties. No hundred dollar bills.
Remember to remain focused on your plan. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a bunch of junk. I mean treasures. Like how many toasters do I need? Right?
The number of items at these sales is sometimes staggering and fun to look at, but stay true to your plan and you won’t waste valuable time and money on something that may be placed on your closet shelf. Like the pressure cooker, I had to have since I saw it being used on a cooking show. The pressure cooker that I’ve never used and had a broken seal.
Fifth, don’t accept the asking price. Have fun bartering for your item.
I have the most fun when I can get below the asking price. The seller expects you to barter for the item. So don’t be afraid to ask what their lowest price it.
Let me back up a second. Don’t negotiate for something that’s less than twenty-five cents. I had a yard sale and despised the people who tried to do that with me. So irritating!
Anyway, back to bartering. My friend has a difficult time doing this, so she knows not to buy anything without me being there to negotiate. She almost paid twenty-five dollars for a used patio rug!
I will typically ask half the ticketed price. I know I shouldn’t ask that low, but I can’t help myself. Hey, and it sometimes works. The seller will look shocked. Rightfully so and then counter. I will then come back a little closer to the counter and so on and so on.
It’s loads of fun and I love it. Plus, I’ve gotten some great amazing deals.
Sixth, load it up.
Our last yard sale was a little weird and successful. My friend was able to acquire 6 good size banana plants and an orange tree for ten dollars. I was happy we had the truck.
If you have large items on your wish list, take a truck or have someone on standby to haul your items. People have yard sales for a reason. To make a little money and to get rid of stuff. They do not want to hang on to those items after they are sold, so be able to haul the stuff away.
Seventh, congratulate your success and figure out what you are going to do with your purchases.
I am always pumped after a successful yard sale spree. Be sure to revel in your glory and celebrate your buying abilities.
You did it. You found cool things and you had fun getting the lowest price. Revel in your glory for a moment.
Okay, now that you’ve celebrated, hopefully, you have a plan for your treasures. If its clothes or kitchen utensils, start washing them. Let’s face it. It’s gross if you don’t.
If it’s furniture or equipment, you need to put it somewhere and take a closer look to determine if you need to make repairs. I will usually store in the garage and then clean it up. This allows me to make my close inspection to determine the number of repairs, if any, I need to make.
My last purchase was a beautiful dresser that now resides in my dining room as a side table. It needed some TLC before coming into the house. I was able to purchase and repair it for less than twenty dollars.
I use it as a buffet table. It was put to good use during the holiday season. Merry Christmas to me!
Now, go on your treasure hunt and see what you can find!
Want to save more?
Check out my book Diminishing Debt and Financial Soundness for Single Parents and Blended Families for ways to save more money.