Friday, May 2, 2008

Frugal Fridays: Yard Sales

Ah, yard sale season. I love the thrill of the hunt. Waking up on a cool in hand...eager to snatch up the "trash" that is to become my treasure.

My mom is my favorite yard sale companion. She, much like myself, is not a morning person. At all. She knows how to behave on such an occasion as yard sale hunting. The first stop is always COFFEE. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. This part is not optional. You need to be alert and ready. Oh, you didn't know that yard sale hunting is a competitive sport?

Here are some tips to make your hunt a successful one:

1. Plan you route the night before. You have to get up early so you need to know exactly where you are going to be efficient. Pick up a few newspapers, check Craigslist, and jot down the order you will hit the sales that appeal to you. But be prepared to be flexible, because sometimes you find some winners by word of mouth while at other sales.

2. Have the right money on you. Do not go to yard sales with $20 bills or people will beat you with a stick. These are not stores, shoppers! Try and have ones, quarters, and dimes on you.

3. Keep a little list in your pocket of clothing sizes of your family members, names of games, and titles of books you are on the lookout for.

4. Speak up. Don't be afraid to haggle prices down, check an electronic in an outlet, or ask if there is a collection of whatever it is you are looking for. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, people!

5. Pack snacks and drinks so you can refuel throughout the day in your car.

6. The early bird gets the worm. Bigger and more desirable items go fast and go early.

7. Dress for the occasion. Wear comfy shoes, preferably sneakers. It is dewy in the morning and flipflops will leave you with wet feet as you trek across people's lawns. A ponytail or baseball cap is a good idea. Don't waste precious shopping time applying makeup or fixing hair. Don sunglasses.

8. Toss some bags in your trunk. Sometimes people plain forget to keep some old bags around for their yard sale so bring your own!

9. Apply the same principles as you would if you were shopping in the stores. Do you really need the items? Don't buy junk you won't use no matter how great the price is.

10. Go often. I like to think I will go every weekend, but I usually don't make it. I do try and go several times a month though. Yard sale shopping is one of those hit or miss things. Sometimes my mom and I come home with nothing, sometimes we can barely shut the trunk.

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