First Person: How I Find Great Bargains at Yard Sales

Yahoo Contributor Network

It's yard sale season again and for my family, that means it's time to buy "new" shoes, clothing, and other items. My husband and I plan our warm weather weekends to include Saturday morning yard sales. We usually come away with little money spent but a great supply of bargains. Here are a few tips for how we find great bargains at yard sales.

Make a List

One of the first things I do in order to be successful at yard sale shopping is to make a list of items I am looking for. I include sizes for all family members and what items they need.

I also list other general items that I might be looking for and if I know it, I will include the new price. This helps me know if I really am getting a bargain.

Work as a Team

My husband and I work as a team when we bargain shop. We know what each is looking for and when we stop at a yard sale, he usually goes one direction while I go the opposite direction. This give us two sets of eyes to browse and look for items.

Pick it Up

One rule with a yard sale, if you see something that you think you might want, pick it up. You can always choose to put it back down, but while you are trying to make up your mind, someone else might pick it up and buy it.

Negotiate Prices

When shopping at yard sales, you have to be willing to haggle prices. That's my husband's department. He is much better at negotiating a price than I am because even if something is priced cheap, he will still try to get it cheaper. I am not as zealous about getting items cheaper, so if I am satisfied with the price, I won't try to haggle. His is the better strategy because he has managed to find us some really great bargains for better prices while I probably would have settled for the asking price.

Check Items Thoroughly

A bargain is no good if it doesn't work or requires a lot of work to repair. When shopping at yard sales, it's important to make sure something is in working order or good repair before you pay any price for it. If I look at an electrical item, I ask the seller to allow me to plug it in so I can see it work. Carry batteries with you to pop into battery-operated items so you can check them.

If I am looking at clothing, I examine each piece carefully for rips, tears, stains, missing buttons, broken zippers, and the like. An item that needs repair can be bought cheaper if you point it out, and in the same way, an item that needs repair may not be worth buying.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.


View Comments (1)