6 Tips that will Make You an Expert Yard Sale Shopper

Want to cut costs? Use these yard sale tips and start saving

Why shop at a yard sale? Let’s face it. Prices aren’t getting any cheaper. The cost of living is going up, up, up and salaries seem to be going down, down, down. If you’re in this situation and have a growing family, you need to be shopping yard sales. Follow these yard sale tips to make them no pain and all gain.

Tip #1 — Get organized

If you’re shopping for particular items like baby clothes, skis, or dishes, check the paper and the Pennysaver for yard sale ads. Many times people will tell if they have a lot of one item. This saves you a lot of time.

Make a list of items you need. This keeps you focused and on track. It’s easy to forget something you need when you get busy shopping. Of course, you remember as soon as you get home. To prevent this, always make a list.

Plan your route before you leave home. Check out the yard sales in your local paper, use MapQuest or Google Maps and put your yard sales in order. This saves you time and gas money.

Tip #2 — Be prepared

The one thing you need at yard sales is cash. Don’t expect anyone to take a check. The day before your shopping trip, go to the bank and get cash in small bills.

Looking for clothes for the family? Write down sizes for each member before you leave home. This takes out the guesswork. Remember, you can’t return yard sale items.

Tip #3 — Know your prices

If you’re looking for certain items, do some research and find out the current retail price or the fair market value if you’re shopping for antiques. The fair yard sale price is 25% to 40% below the ‘new’ price.

Tip #4 — Get ready to haggle

Don’t be embarrassed to haggle at a yard sale — it is expected. If you think a price is too high, tell the owner why. Explain that that price isn’t low enough from the ‘new’ price or point out damage. Many times, owners price their stuff at an ‘asking’ price but are willing to go lower.

If the owner won’t budge, leave your contact information. They may be more than willing to let you have your price if the item has not sold by the end of the day.

Tip #5 — Safety first

If you’re shopping for baby items, visit this website for a listing of all recalled items. This is especially important for the safety of your baby.

Tip #6 — Test it out

Before buying an electric item, ask the owner to plug it in so you know it works. For items that operate on batteries, bring an assortment of batteries with you so you can test the item. If you can’t test the item don’t pay more than $1. You never know if battery-operated items are going to work.

Look under tags. Unfortunately, some dishonest sellers will put tags over cracks, chips, and damaged spots.

Make sure the item is complete or ask for a discount. Don’t be afraid to ask if the item works, how old it is etc.

There you go! Follow these tips and you’ll be amazed how easy and economical shopping at a yard sale can be.