||If you don’t subscribe to
the newspaper, buy or borrow one the day before your shopping trip. Or,
if your local newspaper lists all garage sale ads online, save yourself
a little money and get the yard sale listings there. Just make sure that
the paper’s online listing is complete. Some newspapers charge
advertisers extra to have their ads posted online. A quick call to the
newspaper’s advertising department can confirm if the newspaper’s
website contains all the yard sale ads or not.
||On the day of your shopping
trip, you want to spend the majority of your time actually finding
bargains, not driving all over town. Before you leave home, use the
classified ads and a map to locate areas that have the most sales. To
save time and gas, concentrate on hitting all the sales in those areas.
||Once you know the general
area to which you are headed, take some time to map out your exact
route. A map-making computer program such as Rand McNally’s StreetFinder
comes in very handy for this. Or simply use a city map or Yahoo Maps
online at http://www.maps.yahoo.com
to locate sales and get directions.
||Your yard sale shopping
experience will be more pleasant if you--and any family members who go
with you--are comfortable. Make sure everyone wears weather-appropriate
clothing and comfortable shoes. Sunscreen and hats are also helpful if
your crew will be out in the sun for long periods. Don’t forget to make
sure everyone hits the bathroom before you leave the house!
||To keep you and your young
yard sale shoppers’ hunger and thirst at bay, take along a small cooler
with easy-to-handle snacks and drinks. Of course you could stop for
fast-food when stomachs start to growl, but doing so would take time
away from bargain-hunting.
||Rather than carrying your
purse, you may want to carry your money and any essentials in a
fannypack or small change purse you can put in your pocket. This leaves
your hands free to inspect the merchandise and also frees you from
worrying that your purse being stolen.
||You can’t judge a book by
its cover, and you can’t judge a yard sale by your first impressions,
either. You never know what kinds of bargains lurk in the seller’s
garage. Sometimes you find the best deals at the sales that are least
organized because the sellers just want to get rid of their stuff.
||If your kids shop with you,
save yourself a lot of hassles by making sure they each have their own
money to spend. Give them a pre-determined amount to spend before you
leave the house, or have them bring their allowance money. This saves
you from being the bad guy when the kids ask for things you don’t want
to buy. Many times they decide they don’t want the items enough to
spend their own money.
||Negotiating is the name of
the game. Most sellers are willing to deal as long as you are fair with
them. Asking the seller to take $2 for an item marked $20 is pushing
your luck. The seller may be more than willing to sell the item for $15
or even $10, depending how late in the day it is. Remember, too, that yard
sales provide an excellent opportunity to teach children about
negotiating. For the young or shy shopper, you may have to help out a
bit by saying something like, "My son wondered if you’d take $1.00 for
this game." Eventually your child will learn to make these requests on
||Going to yard sales early
in the day (as soon as the sales open) has the advantage of getting the
best selection. If you are looking for a big-ticket item such as
furniture or electronics, you’ll probably have to go early. Going later
in the day has its advantages, too. Sometimes sellers are willing to
practically give their stuff away rather than have to pack it up and
carry it back in their homes.
||Be sure to carry lots of
change and small bills. Of course it is the seller’s responsibility to
have change, but wiping out the seller’s entire change supply with a $20
for a $1 sale is inconsiderate. Save your change throughout the week to
use for your Saturday yard sale trip.
||If your time for shopping
is short, you may want to concentrate only on one-day sales. If a sale
runs on both Friday and Saturday, there is usually little left by the
time Saturday rolls around. To get the biggest return on your time
investment, visit the one-day sales first; then if you have extra time,
you can stop by any sales that have been running for two days.
||If you try to negotiate
with the seller on a large item, but the seller won’t budge, leave your
name and phone number along with the price you are willing to pay. Tell
the proprietor to give you a call if the item doesn’t sell and she
decides to accept your offer.