Friday, May 10, 2013

Yard sale tips and tricks!

I talk a lot about garage sales and scoring great deals and some of you asked for more details!

I find my sales through Craigs List .  I don't get the weekly newspaper and I find their online version hard to use.  

When you log into Craigs List you pick your city and right in the middle is a section listed as "for sale" and within that list you will find "Garage Sale"

I log in Thursday night to gather my addresses.  I typically only scan the first 2 or 3 pages.  

First thing I look at is where the sale is!  No point in reading whats being sold and getting excited for a sale that is an hour away!! CL is great in that each listing has a simple title and in these things ---> (    )  the city is listed. 

When I spot one near enough to me I click on it.  Hopefully they have some sort of a list of whats for sale .. if not I tend to skip them.  I am not looking for sales with antiques, records, tools, clothing for small dogs (no joke) or car parts.  I am looking for sales that say things like "toys, children's clothing size xx to xx, household" those sort of things.   

I also look for block sales, neighborhood sales, street sales, multi family sales, larger sales with more stuff!  Gas is expensive .. today it was $3.79.  If I can find a larger sale with more stuff its worth the gas money to get there and back because I stand more of a chance of finding something I need. 

Oh, another big tip - WATCH THE SALE DATES!! People post their sales on CL weeks in advance so even though you see the ad today the sale might be next month.  I also only yard sale on Fridays so make sure the sale starts Friday rather then Saturday (and lots and lots do)

Once I have my list all set I have 1 more super great tip that helps me save even more money .. its this website.  Find The Best  You enter all the addresses you want to go to, up to 25, enter your address as the start and finish location and click go.  Within seconds you have turn by turn directions to each one of your sales following either "fastest time" or "shortest distance"  As I said before, gas is expensive!  Driving in circles wastes time and money!  I love this website because it keeps me from wasting gas. 

I often see signs for sales while I am out .. rarely will I stop.  Signs are often weeks old and the sale is long over.  Without knowing whats for sale I risk ending up at a sale with nothing for me wasting time and gas.  If the sale is right there and I can see it out my window I "slow down" and window shop if something catches my eye but this only applies to sales I drive past (not a sign for a sale that I would have to turn to get to) 

Friday morning I head out with my map, snacks for the kids, cash and a smile!

I have a few tips to help save a few bucks when shopping .. I would think most of these tips would be common sense but in this day and age it turns out they are not. 

- Be NICE.  You are walking into someone else's space! Smile as you walk up their driveway. I always spot the seller fast (typically the women standing there with a fanny pack or apron!) and say Good Morning! Being nice right off the bat will most likely cause her to be nice back .. more open to haggle. 

- Leave the sale as you found it.  If they have clothing for sale don't riffle through checking sizes and leave it all unfolded in a heap. If  you pick something up and decide you don't want it, put it back where you found it.  

- Be respectful of the homeowners house.  Just today  saw someone cut through a yard to get to the sale next door and trampled their bulbs, I am hoping he just did not see them.  Watch their flower beds, try not to  walk through the yard, don't snoop in the garage where things are not for sale.  I had this happen today .. knocked my socks off .. DON'T SMOKE IN THEIR DRIVEWAY!!! Seriously people. 

So now you have picked a house, smiled and said good morning, picked up a few things you want and its time to check out.

- I listen to the seller and other buyers for a few minutes while I shop before I check out (My sweet friend Kristy taught me this trick) If another buyer tries for a lower price and is told no I know trying for a better deal for me may not work.  If another buyer haggles and wins there is a pretty good chance I can offer less and be told sure also! 

- If something is an amazing deal already, like these brand new shoes for 25 cents and the others for just 1 dollar I wont haggle!  Take the good deal they are offering and be happy, don't be greedy/to cheap. 

- Try "grouping" or "bundling"  things together and offering just slightly lower.  A good example of this would be 2 items both listed at $3.00 bucks, I would offer $5.00 for both.  I find this works pretty good. 

- If someone is selling an item for say $50 .. don't low ball it and offer $20.  Insulting the seller will always result in a NO.  

- Always buy the lemonade!  We were all children once and tried to sell kool-aid on the side of the road, remember how it felt to be passed by??  Whats .50 cents here and there to make a kid smile.  Buy it! 

- If you are able to score a lower price, great!  Make sure you have smaller bills with you!  Asking of they will take $12 rather then $15 and they say yes and you pay with a $20 ... I personally think its rude. To me its like saying "I had the money to pay your price but still offered less" Maybe sellers don't care but I do.  I try and pay with the actual amount needed so they don't know I have a pocket full of cash. 

- Lastly, whether you buy something or not .. say good bye!  I always leave saying "good luck today!" to the seller.  

I know this was a lot of reading ... with no awesome picture .. but I hope it was helpful! 


  1. I'm going yard sale-ing for the first time this week, Adina and I thought these were great tips! Good job, girl! Miss you...

    1. Good luck! Let me know what you find .. and I miss you too!!

  2. A few more tips===keep a wallet with your OTHER "Emergency Yard Sale Find Money" stashed in your pocket--I NEVER take my bag out of the car for sales!--and keep your "Small bills" in the other pocket. Heres how this works:: Say you see a FIND for a few bucks more than you really want to spend. I don't mean you want an item the seller has priced at $100 for $20; but maybe that $25 item could go home with you for $20---if you do it right. Check it out CAREFULLY and let the seller SEE you do this. That way they know you are interested. Then you can pull out that $20 you have stashed--all nice and handy--and say--Gee I only have $20 on me--can we make a deal??? IF it works great--if they hold out and you still really WANT it search diligently in your OTHER pocket for that remaining $$$. Or not! You can always return and see if the item is still there. I got a Maytag washing machine--nearly new!!!! For $16 dam dollars this way--and I was NOT trying to get a deal--I honestly did not have anything else on me and even offered to go to the ATM. The guy just wanted it GONE and even loaded it for me. The original price? $50---which was a STEAL to begin with!

    Don't buy something with a plug or pieces until you KNOW it A. Works B. Turns on or C. Has ALL of the pieces! Games and puzzles and the like and household items all fall under this rule.

    The smaller and less "organized" the SIGN is often times the better the sale--dunno . why but in 40+ years of doing this---and this is now how I make my living--this has held true. These people probably did not have time to plan this real well and get signs from the store etc. And thus they might NEED to just get RID of stuff--or not even CARE about it. And they surely did NOT use Craigs if they even have Internet access!

    And yes--drivebys are perfectly acceptable! We used to pass by all "Barbie Pink" sales--then we had a little grand daughter who--you guessed it. Hello pink!

    Don't be shy to ask to try on.

    Have a flashlight and a tape measure and YOUR measurements for furniture etc. Pocket size tape measure is the best way to go--clip to your belt loop. Stash a list of furniture and clothing sizes in that wallet with your spare cash.

    Spray n Wash comes in a gallon size refill for a REASON!!!! Mostly washing this stuff!

  3. Great tips! I too keep $1's in one pocket and bigger money in another! I totally forgot to mention that! And I also have a list of the shoe sizes I need for the kids I keep with me also. Oh .. and I never carry my purse .. its always locked in the trunk :)