Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.  

Learn to Save Big at Garage Sales

Today’s 52 Ways to Save post is inspired by this amazing community garage sale that I hit up with some friends over the weekend.  It was great!  There were at least 40 garage sales in this one community. They even provided a map of all the sales!

And with that, learn to save big at garage sales with these tips:

Find the Sales

Before you jump in the car to find garage sales, you might be wise to do a little research beforehand. The night before you head out, be sure to take a look at the sales in your area. When you look at the garage sales in your area, you can plan to hit the sales closest to you so you’re not driving all over the place. Plus, having a clear plan of action in place will help you save big because you’re not going from one end of the city to the other then back again.  Here’s where you can look for garage sales in your area:

  • Your local newspapers
  • Craigslist/Kijiji
  • Facebook Buy & Sell groups (I find people often post about their upcoming garage sales)

Write a List

Making a list of items you’re looking for can also be a money saver. Garage sales can be really exciting with all.the.neat.things that you must have for so cheap. All those neat things can add up to a lot of clutter and wasted money. So grab a pen and paper and start listing the items you hope to find that you will actually need.  Get specific, especially when it comes to kids clothes. Over the weekend, I was on the hunt for 2 pairs of pants, 3 t-shirts, 2 pairs of summer PJ’s and a great pair of sandals for my daughter. I managed to keep most of my money because I could overlook all the cute things she didn’t need (dresses! skirts! sweaters!).

Be prepared

Now, it’s garage sale day. But before you jump in the car, make sure you’re stocked up on snacks and your beverages of choice.  A day of garage saleing can be long and you don’t want to spend more at the drive-thru then you did on your garage sale treasures.

Bring cash

Make sure to have cash on you when you start. If you come across something that you must have, you don’t want to run to the bank and risk that item being sold to someone else!  Having smaller bills and change is ideal.

Get ready to bargain

I’ll admit that bargaining isn’t my forte, but I did however, manage to do a tiny bit of bargaining over the weekend!  I think most people expect you to offer a different price actually. So, just ask! The worst they can say No and the best they can say is Yes!  Just make sure you offer something reasonable. Sort of lame, but one person said I could have my purchase for $8, but I countered with $7 (because I had a $5 and a toonie). He accepted and I’m pleased with the deal I got on two jeans in brand-new condition and a t-shirt!

Another trick I learned is to see if they’ll let you fill a bag for a fixed price.  As I was digging through the kids clothes at one home, I was offered a plastic shopping bag that I could fill for $5. I would have jumped on this but I couldn’t find anything in the right size for my daughter.

Buy these items

I find that buying these types of items at garage sales will save you a load of cash in the long run:

  • Wedding supplies: Once our wedding was over, I sold all the candle holders and table runners that we had purchased. You might find similar items yourself!
  • Craft supplies: I’ve also sold a ton of fabric and card making supplies in garage sales over the years.
  • Collector items: If you’re a collector of a particular item, garage sales could be a gold mine for you!
  • Kid clothes: Can’t go wrong with buying kids clothes. Most of them will be in excellent shape since kids usually outgrow them before they get too worn.
  • Large baby/kid items: While I am quite hesitant to buy used car seats, I don’t think you can go wrong buying things like excersaucers, baby swings, high chairs and outdoor toys.

Since I didn’t find everything on my list at the community garage sale this past weekend, I plan on hitting up more future sales armed with the tips I listed.

What are your tips for saving at garage sales?  What are some of your must-buy items?

See the other articles in this series, here.