As mom to 5 little gremlins aged 7 years and under, I have to stretch my dollar and make every cent count. Keeping up with the basics like shoes and clothes is a high wire act in itself, but add in the latest toys and kids’ books and I have to be a money magician!
That is why I shop yard sales. Some may say “junk sales”, but I beg to differ. Yard sales are a great way to buy kids’ items for just a fraction of the original cost. And if you look properly you can find brand new items, or those in like new condition!
What kinds of prices, you may ask? I regularly pay $1 to $5 for new, sealed board games and gifts; 25¢ to $2 per piece for kids’ clothing; 25¢ to 50¢ for books; $2 to $5 for playsets and ride-on toys; $5 for complete videogame systems, and $20 for a double stroller. Yes, I even bought a smooth top range for my kitchen at only $25, and my family uses it daily! (The same one was $500 on Kijiji!)
Here are some tips to help you make the most of yard sales and really S-T-R-E-T-C-H your dollar:
Map It! – Find yard sales in your area by checking the garage sale section of Craigslist or your local paper. There is even a FREE iPhone app called Yard Sale Mapper that will help you locate sales near you! If you are low-tech, drive around and look for yard sale signs posted at intersections in your area.
The Early Bird Catches the Worm! – Yard sales are the most plentiful on Saturdays in the warmer months, from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Come right when the sale opens to have first pick of the best loot. The early bird catches the worm!
Location, Location, Location! – Shop yard sales in affluent areas for the best quality and most expensive items. It is simple math: families that have more money to spend, also discard the best stuff.
Take 5? – Don’t be afraid to haggle on prices at yard sales, as cost is definitely not set in stone. Remember: most sellers are trying to get rid of the items at their sale, and don’t want to bring stuff back into the house. Therefore, offers are always welcome at yard sales. So, will you take $5?
Fun is My Middle Name! – Don’t forget to have fun! Discovering hidden treasures at yard sales is an exhilarating experience! Make it into a family event, and the kids will be delighted to discover their own treasures too! And your pocketbook will approve.
This article was written by me, Jenna Em, and appears in the June 20th issue of the Kuklamoo blog! http://blog.kuklamoo.com/2012/06/20/stretching-your-dollar-with-yard-sales/