Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Warmer weather is here and for frugal shoppers everywhere that means yard sales! Don’t go into it not prepared. Learn How to shop yard sales like a pro (Finding the Best yard sale deals): tons of tips for finding the best sales, scoring the best finds, and bargaining your way to killer prices!
How to Find the Best Deals at Yard Sales
Warmer weather is here and for frugal shoppers everywhere that means yard sales!
I’m not sure about you, but I love a good yard sale and the deals that I find! While yard sales are excellent for finding good deals, they’re also a brilliant way to get ripped off. Unfortunately, not everyone is honest so if you’re not careful, you can really lose out on sizeable amounts of money.
Instead of worrying too much, use these 5 tips to make sure you get the best yard sale deals the next time you head out!
Shop with a Plan
Just like grocery shopping, hitting those yard sales without a plan can cause overspending. Instead of just going to browse, go with a clear plan of what you are looking for and how much money you have to spend.
Yard sale shopping is an art. Or perhaps it is better described as a competitive sport. You see others walking fast to get to a jammed-pack yard sale. You want to get there first to make sure they don’t grab what you want.
Like most things, to have consistently good “luck” with yard sales, you need to plan ahead. While driving around looking for yard sales can be fun, it can also mean you don’t get the best bargains before the other yard sales do.
Make a list of all the sales you plan to shop for and figure out the best route so you aren’t wasting a lot of time driving back and forth.
Narrow it down.
It seems contradictory to make a nice list to further narrow it down. Pick the sales that will give you better options, such as estate sales, multi-family sales, and neighborhood sales. They usually have more stuff, which makes them more likely to have excellent stuff.
Get up early – yes, this is a must. Most sales start at or around 7 or 8 am. It is very important to get there early – if there is really cool stuff for sale you can bet it will be sold first.
Finding the Best Yard Sales
Almost everyone will have some clothing and random household knick-knacks to sell. Finding the best yard sales after years of going to them comes down to their advertising.
Sure, I have found some great ones without it, but if you are researching, here is what you need to know.
- Look for “estate sales” or “empty nesters” looking to downsize.
- Downsizing or moving out of state.
- If looking for clothing, specifically for kids – Look for the sizing of clothes in advertisements.
The best yard sales are the ones where the sellers are motivated to just get rid of their stuff.
Deciding on a budget before your shop
You can lose a lot of money shopping at yard sales if you aren’t careful. This is why it is important that you shop with a budget in mind. What are you looking to buy? And how much are you willing to spend?
Knowing how much you can afford to spend can make your yard sale shopping experience a positive one, rather than a regretful one. Yard Sales can be fun and exciting, but purchasing lots of items you don’t necessarily need can make you have buyer’s remorse.
And PLEASE REMEMBER, don’t buy things just because they’re cheap or a good deal. That money can be better spent going toward items that you truly do need.
Curb the impulse buys
Yard sales are a brilliant way to find the things you need (or want) for less. Keep in mind that you will always find a few things that you have never seen before and will be very much tempted to purchase. Impulse buys can blow your budget if you are not careful.
If you’re looking at an item that isn’t on your list, it’s probably best to skip it. The worst thing you can do as a bargain shopper is to spend more money than you initially wanted to on things that you’re never going to use. OUCH!
You can also make sure you have a budget buffer (extra money built-in) for those unexpected must-have finds. This way, you don’t blow your budget.
The Impulse Exception
Typically, I say watch out for impulse buys. WHY? They can cause you to go over your budget. But…I do make exceptions on impulse buys in one situation: If the item is something you 100% absolutely know you will need in the near future.
And Two, you can pick it up for 75% off or more, it may be in your best interest to purchase it now and store it. I keep the words “near future” to be in the next 6 months or fewer.
Test, Test, Test
Never buy electronics or appliances (even small ones) used without being able to test them. You run the risk of taking your purchase home only to find out it doesn’t work. If you’re purchasing a toy or game that has many pieces, be sure you count them as well before you buy.
The last thing any of us want is a broken-hearted kid on top of a loss in money.
Learn the Art of Negotiating
Yard sales are the perfect arena to practice your skills in negotiation. If you’re not happy with the price that an item is marked, don’t let your fear stop you from asking if they’ll take less.
Most people who hold yard sales expect people to try to talk them down on price so they’re not going to “jump down your throat.” By negotiating your price, you’re making sure that you’re getting the absolute best deal possible!
Three quick methods of asking for a good price.
1) Offer your preferred price
2) Ask “How much?” then counter with half that amount, rounded up.
3) Ask the seller, “How much?” and then simply say, “Would you take any less than that?”
I use the third option all the time. It’s the least confrontational of the three methods, perfect for anyone new to negotiating or uncomfortable with haggling.