Monday, May 21, 2012

Garage Sales: Descent into the Unknown.

Garage sales are the Cracker Jack Boxes of America.  Inside each is a prize.  A musty old sweater of cats for 25 cents.  The surprisingly classy coffee table I'm resting my feet on for $5.  Or a pair of detached baby doll heads, price not listed.

The one on the left kept blinking.  

You will never find better deals than at garage sales.  Not on Craigslist, not in the classifieds, not anywhere. My couches, my coffee table, my driver, and my fishing pole I all got at garage sales.  All are high quality, all are in good condition.  The combined price total?  $137 bucks.  70-90% off retail is common.  Every dollar saved at garage sales is a dollar I can invest elsewhere.

On top of it all, garage sales are fun.  My friends and I hit five different sales last Saturday morning.  Sure, there's loads of junk. Sifting through people's undesirables is its own odd delight.  You will uncover some gems.  Last weekend I found not only those baby heads, I also test drove an electric scooter.

And nothing beats the feeling of finding something you need a great price.  Jackpot.  If you really like to save money, or screw your neighbor, bartering is a totally accepted part of the experience.

If you've never been, it's easy to get started.  Some simple tips:
  1. Bring Cash:  No, the sweet old lady down the street will not take your credit card.
  2. Scout out the sales on Thursday and Friday:  Check the local newspaper, Craigslist, grocery store bulletin boards, and/or that street corner where everyone posts stuff.
  3. Arrive Early:  The best stuff goes fast.  I'm fairly certain this is a top-ten favorite old person activity, and they get up before you do.  But if you can find away to rise and shine early on Saturday morning, sharpen your elbows so you can beat granny to that blender.
  4. Don't Be Afraid To Barter:  Garage sales happen because people want to get rid of stuff.  Most people are willing to take 10-20% off the price listed.  That number goes up the later it is in the day.  Nobody wants to pull their junk back into their garage.
  5. Make It An Outing:  Make it a guys (or girls) day out.  The next date you go on?  Mix it up, take her to a garage sale.  You'll never lack for topics to talk about, and plus you can show of your witty, zany side by trying on the sweater with cats.  Or show her what a tough guy you are by negotiating the price of that remote control truck down to $8 from $12.  The romantic possibilities are endless.
Let me know about your own experiences and tips.  Happy hunting!

No comments: