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9 Ways to Save Time and Money at Garage Sales

9 Ways to Save Time and Money at Garage Sales

Having a garage sale is a great way to get rid of less frequently used items in your home and make a little bit of money as a result. But what about purchasing other people's furnishings and used items at their garage sales? Here are some tips to help you save time and money when shopping garage sales.

1. Get Up Early

It's true that the early bird gets the worm and in order to get the best prices on the best items you have hit the garage sales early. Individuals who love going to garage sales are often up by 6 AM to beat the rush. Finding diamonds in the rough takes dedication and low-price high-end furniture and durable goods go fast so get there early to get the jump on great deals.

2. Plan Your Route

Just like running errands, the most efficient use of your time is to hit as many garage sales as possible and then wind up back at home. Most garage sales take place on Fridays and Saturdays and postings will appear online a few days prior to that. Map out where the garage sales are and plan accordingly the night before.

3. Limit Haggling

Excessive haggling isn't likely to get you anywhere with a seller who is intransigent about pricing. Sellers normally fall into two categories; those looking to maximize revenue and those looking to get rid of inventory. The key is to identify which type of seller you're dealing with and avoid those looking to make as much money as possible. After one or two offers and counter-offers, if the person isn't budging then move on.

4. Get An Overview

As you drive around from garage sale to garage sale slowly drive past and take a look at what is available prior to parking your vehicle. This can save a significant amount of time by providing a brief overview of what is for sale and deciding whether or not it is worth your while to stop. Not all garage sales are created equal so don't waste your morning stopping when there is nothing of interest to you.

5. Be Patient

A common mistake is to try and hit as many garage sales as possible in the limited time available. This leads to rushing around and possibly missing that unique item you were looking for to begin with. If you stumble across a garage sale which seems more like an estate sale then take your time to look at everything on hand.

6. Have Change Ready

More often than not, individuals conducting garage sales will have plenty of small bills and loose change to complete transactions. Sometimes however a lack of change can be a negotiation tactic to keep the price at bill denominations such as $5, $10 and $20. If you have singles and change on your person then you can negotiate a price and pay for it on the spot.

7. Buy In Bulk

When it comes to books, music CDs, movies or other small but similar items offer to buy the entire box. Most people of course are inclined to only purchase those few items which peak their interest but buying an entire collection you can save more money than buying one thing at a time. Even if you wind up with a few things you have no interest in, you can still resell these at your own garage sale or give them to friends and family.

8. Know Item Values

Sometimes it can be difficult to properly place a value on something you find at a garage sale. This will get easier as you spend more time frequenting sales but initially you may come across something you're interested in purchasing but the price may seem too high. The rule of thumb is to offer 10% to 15% of what you think the item would've cost brand-new. The price may go up or down from there but at least this is a good starting point to prevent paying too much.

9. Everything MUST Go!

If you see something you really want but the price is too high and the seller is unwilling to negotiate then a great technique is to wait until the last day of the garage sale. Most people don't want to haul large items back into the house so if you wait until the last minute you can make an offer to take it off their hands. The risk of course is that someone else may purchase the item ahead of you but it will depend on how badly you want to get a great deal.

Image by: colros