Tips for Shopping Yard Sales
Make a plan. Check your classified section and community Facebook groups for yard sale announcements. Plan out your route the night before.
Set a time limit. It is easy to get caught up in hunting for bargains. Set a limit on how much time you want to spend out at yard sales and stick with it.
Have a budget. Only bring enough cash with you to cover the budget you set for yard sales. If you don’t have the money with you then you can’t spend it!
Make a list. Keep a running list of everything you need and want to purchase. Have a list of sizes for your children, yourself, and your spouse. If you need furniture or other large item be sure to measure the area you plan to put the item and carry a measuring tape with you. It might take some time, but you will eventually find something suitable.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal. If you are purchasing a number of items at one yard sale, don’t be afraid to ask the owner for a deal. They are more likely to cut a deal with someone buying a lot. It never hurts to ask.
Check the item over. Look at the items you are purchasing from every angle. Check for scratches, dents, tears, stains, etc. If it is an electronic item ask if you may plug it in to verify it works.
Look up the item online. If you are unsure if it is a good deal, do a quick search to find out what the regular retail was for the item. It should be at least half of it’s original selling price.
Tips for shopping at the thrift store:
- Go early! You don’t want to be digging for a bargain when it is crowded. Plus it won’t be so picked over.
- Find out what days your store puts items on the floor. Most of our stores put items out 6 days a week (they are closed on Sunday).
- Find out if your store will sell you an item if it doesn’t have a price tag. Most of my stores do not. So the first thing I do is make sure it has a price tag, if it doesn’t I put it back before I get attached.
- Make sure you look at the item from all sides. You never know where a crack or a stain might be hiding.
- Shop ahead of time and make frequent trips. You aren’t going to find everything you need in one trip.
- Find out if they mark down certain colored tags each week. Our stores all have big signs hanging from the sky with 3 colors displayed. One is 30%, one is 50% and one is 70% off!
- Find out if your store offers a discount for Senior citizens.
- Keep your eyes peeled for Disney items! I found 2 tops from Disney ($1.48 and 99c) and a Minnie and Mickey doll (39c each) on the above trip.
My tips for buying clothing:
- First look at the price tag. If it is over $3, I usually skip it (unless it is a 2 piece outfit, etc).
- Then look at the label. If it is Walmart, Target, or Kmart brands and it is priced over $1, I skip it.
- Check the front, back and sides for stains. Lift up the sleeves and look on the underside. I once paid $6 for a warm up suit from Old Navy for Emily only to find paint stains on the underside of each arm. Talk about frustrating.
- Check all the seams to make sure they are still in tact.
- Check all the buttons to make sure they are still there.
- Check to make sure the zipper zips (and that it’s still there!).
- Check to make sure the snaps snap shut.
- Smell them to make sure they don’t smell funky. I always wash mine twice with extra fabic softener before we wear them.
Also don’t forget that that thrift store is a GREAT place to get books, especially early readers. I have only purchased my kids 4 books at shelf price over the past 6 years. Every other book has come from the thrift store.
Tips for Consignment Sales
Shopping at consignments sales can save you some money, especially when it comes to kid’s clothes which they outgrow overnight or ruin. But selling the clothes your kids have outgrown at those same consignment sales is a win-win!
Consignment sale season is February – April and August – October. You can find local sales in your area by searching “your town (or other larger towns near you) consignment sale” in Google. You can also use the Facebook search feature. Or ask other Moms that live in your area.
If you put items into the consignment sale, you will get to shop before the public.
Once it opens to the public, you can choose to either go on opening day for the best selection or limit yourself to going during their discount period. Consignment sales that last for multiple days often have a discount day or time block. They will advertise this time on their website or flyer.
Set the minimum amount you are willing to pay per item. Look at the price of the item first and if it doesn’t meet your minimum, don’t look at it! You don’t want to be tempted by a super cute outfit that is way out of your budget.
Find out if the consignment sale allows rolling carts, baskets, bags or strollers. Some do, some don’t. Clothes are going to get HEAVY so if you can bring something (even an empty stroller) to put them in, that will save your arms.
Bring water and a snack. You might be at the consignment sale for a while.
Find out all the ways to save with our helpful Savings Bingo!