Yard Sale-ing Tips

This Mama Knows writes a regular newspaper column titled “Wallet Watchers” in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript that provides money saving tips.

As published in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript on June 9, 2011.

It is that time of year where my Saturday mornings often consist of cruising for yard sales.Yard sales are my dirty little secret. Yes, I like to dress in clothing from pricey stores like the Gap and Banana Republic…but what you may not know I get a lot of these expensive clothes at yard sales.Even my penchant for expensive handbags is satiated by these Saturday morning adventures.It was just last week that I snagged a designer Coach handbag for just $10.But even if your tastes aren’t quite as expensive as mine, the fine art of yard saling can also really benefit you.One of my favorite sayings is “buy used, save the difference”, something I picked up from watching TLC’s show 19 Kids and Counting.Why pay full price for something that you can pick up for pennies on the dollar? You can find anything from sports equipment to small electronics to kitchen items at a yard sale.

Like any activity, there are a few things to keep mind when you are hitting those yard sales, tag sales and flea markets:

·Always bring cash and have smaller bills too because often the seller doesn’t have change for larger denominations.

·Plan ahead and make a list of advertised yard sales that pique your interest.A good resource for finding yard sales is the newspaper and online on websites such as Craigslist.

·Bring your GPS. Save yourself time and frustration and bring along your GPS so you can find the advertised yard sales quickly and easily, especially if you aren’t familiar with the area.

·While some sellers don’t mind early birds, be respectful and adhere to the advertised hours. There is nothing more frustrating for a seller than those over eager shoppers who show up too early while they are still trying to set up.

·Don’t be afraid to haggle a little if you feel the price is a little high or if you are buying a lot of items.But don’t low ball every time, it is insulting to the seller.

·Have fun! Yard saling is like treasure hunting, you never know what you will find!

Hosting a yard sale can also be a great experience too.You get to offload unused items and make a little cash in the process.But having a yard sale is a lot of work and what makes it easier is a lot of planning and organization.Here a few tips and guidelines to remember if you want to have a yard sale:

·-Months before the sale, have a box or bin to start sorting through your unwanted items. You can even price them as you put them into the box to save time later.

·-Some towns require a permit to have a yard sale, so be sure to inquire about this before the sale day.

·-Do plenty of advertising. Put an ad in the newspaper and online on sites like Craigslist. Also place flyers on community bulletin boards.

·-Be sure to have large, easy to read signs directing people to your yard sale

·-Have plenty of change on hand. Small bills and coins are a must. Most yard sale shoppers are fresh from the bank or ATM and have $20 bills, so you’ll need to make change.

·-Clearly price everything. People are more likely to buy when they don’t have to ask the price of an item.

·-Keep expensive items like jewelry within sight at all times. Also, you may want to consider keeping CDs, DVDs and video games near you at all times as well. I’ve had yard sales where the discs have been stolen out the case!

·-Guard your money! Use a fanny pack or contractor’s apron if you can’t keep an eye on a cash box at all times.

·-Be realistic with your pricing. The general rule of thumb is to price items at 25% of their original cost new if they are somewhat current items.Outdated items need to be priced much lower or even have a box of free items. Remember your goal is to get rid of stuff, not to bring it back into your house at the end of the day if they don’t sell.

Yard sales are a great way to pick up wanted items for cheap money and to also offload unwanted items.With a little bit of planning and forethought your yard sale selling or shopping will be a success.

You can read my feature column, “Wallet Watchers”, in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

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