Seventy five years ago, the thought of buying someone’s used garbage was almost unheard of — my Mother-In-Law, who was married just after WWII simply couldn’t understand my fascination with them. I tried to explain, but she didn’t quite “get it”.
When the approximate cost of raising a child today is about $225,000 – buying things second hand can really help you save a chunk of change! Little people grow so fast that they often grow out of clothes and shoes before they wear them out. This makes for a perfectly good re-saleable item!
So, here are my big tips to save HUGE money by taking advantage of your local garage sales:
Make a list. If you plan to buy ahead for your little people, you need to know what you already have so you can see what you need so you can fill in the holes. Many parents stockpile clothes for a season or two ahead, pick up toys for a fraction of the cost, and redecorate a bedroom for pennies.
Create a Budget. It is easy to get carried away and buy everything that seems like a great deal but it is really important to work with-in your means. Temptation can de-rail your original plans to save. Go over your list and start putting your maximum price to each item. I know that I won’t spend more than $5 for a dress for Miss Sarah or $0.50 for a T-shirt.
Make a plan. Are you looking for specific things? Tell your other garage sale buddies to keep their eyes out too! Use tools like “Yard Sale Treasure Map” to help search online listings for specific items and create a optimized GPS driving route. That makes it easy to breeze through a City Wide Garage Sale instead over being overwhelmed with a sea of signs and sales. If you score big at one house, make note of it. That way you know to hit it again next year during the next city-wide sale, as they have similar tastes to yours.
Watch What You Buy. It’s hard to tell if used bike helmets or booster seats have been involved in an accident or not. They should be avoided if they have been as their integrity has been compromised. Let’s not forget toys and items on recall lists. Check HERE to make sure you don’t get anything that might actually harm your little people. A general rule of thumb for toddler toys? If it can pass through a toilet paper tube, it is too small to let them play with Old baby furniture might have lead paint, cribs can have too large a gap between the railing posts, and so much more. Make sure all pieces are there for games, that electrical appliances work, and clothes are stain/hole free.
Are you a seller?
Ask yourself a question: do you want to make money or get rid of things?
If you want to get rid of things, price things accordingly. T-shirts from Walmart shouldn’t be priced the same as ones from Justice or Gymboree. Your former cherished coffee mugs won’t garner $5 each, but will be more attractive to buyers at $0.25-0.50 each. Consider grouping things together in bundles or sets like all old Happy Meal toys in a zippy bag for $5 instead of $0.50 each. If you offer books at $5.00 a bag instead of $0.50-1.00 each (still offer to sell books individually), they will disappear before your eyes!
If you are trying to make money, make sure you advertise EVERYWHERE and do a detailed list of things you are offering. Antiques, name brands, and make sure you use lots of pictures. You might want to think of selling your things on EBay or through a resale shop instead.
Do you love garage sales as much as I do? Do you have any great tips to share?