Who doesn’t love a good sale?! That all-too-rare occasion when our favorite stores cut their prices just long enough to create a mad frenzy of shopping oblivion. For some of us, a sale is an excellent excuse to go shopping. For others, it’s the only time when we’re able to buy something we want (or even need) at a price we can afford. But let’s talk about another kind of sale. The kind of sale where prices get REALLY good – at a time and place that is always changing. A sale where the selection is always a surprise and the prices are always negotiable! A sale where everyone wins… including our environment. I’m talking about garage sales – yes – yard sales, estate sales, moving sales, and block sales – or in greener, fresher terms: “Recycling Events”. Call ‘em what you want, but the bottom line is we’re talking about SALES! And a sale in any form means shopping (and savings), right?
Right! And yard sales are not only a great way to save money, they’re also lot of fun! What’s more? They can be an excellent way to help make your family’s financial ends meet. But before we go into detail please allow me to recognize that shopping at sales like these seems to have a bit of a negative stigma among certain folks. That being said, I’ve talked with tons of people on this subject; and those few, less-than-supportive comments I’ve heard have been isolated, loosely-held opinions that seem to be a bit out-dated at best. In fact, that the vast majority among us consider “garage-saleing” to be a perfectly acceptable and intelligent (even wise) form of spending and managing a budget. Furthermore, most people agree that holding a sale of their own (whether it be to raise money or simply to “de-clutter”) is not only a good idea, but an excellent way to recycle. The overwhelming opinion is that these sales are for wise consumers – smart people who recognize the value of two things in particular: 1) paying pennies on the dollar for things they truly need, and 2) keeping perfectly useful things out of our landfills.
Perhaps “these tough financial times” have brought about a need to take a second (or even third) look at how we’re spending – and how we’re saving. The truth is, wise spending through SAVING is always a good idea. Let’s take a look at some of the many ways you can use the wisdom of yard-selling to help your family meet its financial goals:
1) Remember this old saying: “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”. Most of what can be found at an average sale is genuinely useful (to the right person at the right time). Of course you’re going to come across some real junk (not unlike some of the stuff you would try to sell at your own sale!). That’s just part of the fun!
2) Watch for traps: it’s easy to buy something just because it’s a good deal. Whether you’re buying to save money on something you need or buying something to sell at a profit, if you aren’t reasonably well-educated on the true value and current market for reselling an item, you’ll probably end up selling it at a loss at your next sale.
3) Have a plan: Create a master list of true needs- and stick to it. Start by looking at your favorite classified ads on Wednesday (craigslist.org and gsalr.com are my favorites). I’ve found that the people who hold the sales with the best stuff are also the people who spend the most time planning them. Take advantage of their hard work by reading the details of their ad and contacting them about items of interest right away. You can likely buy an item before the sale without concern of “missing” it. Make a map: take some time at the end of the week to create a route by prioritizing each sale based on the items you need or want most.
4) Think about consumables, holidays, and “vintage” gifts: I don’t think I’ve ever been to a sale that didn’t include at least one thing that was still in its original package, often with the price tag intact. What’s wrong with buying something brand new at a sale, wrapping it, and giving it as a gift? For that matter, most things we find at these sales don’t really age at all (for example: what’s the difference between a new picture frame and one that has been sitting on a shelf in someone’s house since the day it came off the retailer’s shelf?). What could you do with the money you save by buying and using a partially-used can of air freshener or toilet bowl cleaner? How about a package of unexpired batteries or a half-used bottle of pesticide (does your flashlight know the difference? Are the bugs any less dead?). Imagine how much money you could save if you bought your holiday decorations early. Do people really know the difference between something you bought at a yard sale and something you paid full price for at a local retailer (do they even care)? Would your child be upset if you were to let them win at a used game of CandyLand? Would they rather have ten perfectly good birthday toys you found in someone’s garage or two new ones you bought at a department store? Do you or someone you know love vintage jeans, boots, or golf clubs? Would you rather pay $200 for a used violin for your aspiring young artist or $800 for a new one she’ll outgrow at the same time? Hmmm???
5) Holding your own sale is an excellent way to generate cash (the average sale can bring between $300 and $1200). Give yourself at least two weeks to get ready. For details and tips for holding a successful sale, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.