How To Be A Savvy Yard Sale Shopper

If you want to be able to brag about the deals and steals you've found at local yard sales, here are some tips to keep in mind!

Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, I posted an article about How To Throw A Sucessful Yardsale. This week’s post is a follow up for those that would rather hunt for treasures that part with any of their own.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, yard sales are popping up in neighborhoods all across the country.

Most people only stop at a yard sale when they know the people throwing it or when they see an item they’ve been looking for while driving by. However, for the dedicated few who make it their mission to never pay full retail price for anything their family needs, the yard sale circuit is a full-time job.

If you want to be able to brag about the deals and steals you’ve found at local yard sales, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Plan Ahead

Weekend yard sale listings run in local newspapers and online classifieds starting on Thursday or Friday. Peruse these advertisements looking for the words “multi-family, estate sale, moving sale, and everything must go!” You should also look for mention of any big ticket items, like furniture or clothing that you’re interested in purchasing.

Make a list of all the yard sales you want to hit on Saturday, including addresses and times of the sale.

2. Map It Out

Like most things in life, it pays to be efficient when you yard sale. You’ll tire quickly (and waste a lot of money on gas) if you spend all day criss-crossing your town looking for sale signs. Use Google Maps to find all the addresses that you’re interested in and plan the most circuitous route possible.

3. Get Up Early

Big-ticket items go fast, especially furniture, patio sets, and nice home decorating items. Get to a sale prior to the posted time if they have items you are interested in. Wait patiently till the seller opens, and be the first to see the goods! (via If there’s a phone number listed, and you just can’t risk losing something to another shopper, you might even be able to convince the sellers to let you stop by on Friday night.

4. Bring Cash

When you’re hosting a sale, it’s essential to have plenty of change for your customers. Carrying plenty of small bills and even coin change as a shopper can be a great strategy for making the most of your money and staying organized. Bring a set amount and leave your check book at home. This will ensure that you only spend what you can afford.

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Haggle

The best part about yard sales is that there’s no MSRP. Although items may be tagged with prices, those are only suggestions. Inspect items carefully, noting any damage or missing parts. If you’re buying one large item, it’s usually pretty easy to get the seller to throw in some smaller stuff like clothes or children’s toys for a nominal fee. If the seller refuses your offer, don’t be afraid to walk away for a few minutes. Chances are that they’ll be thinking about how badly they want to get that stuff off their lawn, and they’ll reconsider your offer before you leave the sale.

For more tips about being a savvy yardsale shopper, check out The Yard Sale Queen’s list of confessions. And don’t forget to share your own tips in a comment!

Image Credit: Flickr – frankh

Written by Beth Buczynski


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