Garage Sale Tips for Beginners

garage sale tipsGarage sales are a great place to save money. You can save even more money by following some simple garage sale tips.

Whether you shop at garage sales and yard sales often or not, you can use these garage sale tips to save you money!


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Tip #1 — Hold on to it!

If you aren’t sure you want an item (and it isn’t too large) carry it around with you. If you put it down, there is a good chance that someone else will pick it up.

Recently at a school garage sale, there were 8 boxes of Rokenbok. Rokenbok is a building set that has vehicles, conveyors, little balls, and lots of pieces to make buildings. It is very expensive but cool to play with.

Someone I know has been looking for Rokenbok. Each box was $3 so it would have been $24 total, which was all the money I had. After calling him, he said that he could get there in 20 minutes. The school had a shopping cart, so we loaded it into the cart. A guy walked over who had thought about getting it earlier but did not. It was worth it to carry (or push) it around until my friend arrived to look at it. They were able to purchase it because we picked it up in time.


Tip #2 — Ask for a lower price

If you really want something and think the price is too high, ask if they will take less.

If something is reasonably priced or already pretty cheap (like 50¢ or 25¢) don’t ask for a lower price. It is insulting to ask for less on something that is already cheap.


Tip #3 — Have small bills and change

If everyone brings $20 bills to a sale and only buys something that is $2 or less, the person having the garage sale will run out of change pretty quickly. Try to save larger bills if you are buying a lot of items or something higher priced.

Ideally, the person having the garage sale will have lots of change, but sometimes people don’t.

Check out other tips for having a garage sale: How to Have a Successful Garage Sale


Tip #4 — Check for missing objects

If the item you are buying is missing something, look around for it.

When we bought the Rokenbok from the school rummage sale, the controllers had been placed over in the electronics section instead of with the rest of the Rokenbok in the toy section.

If you still don’t see the missing part, ask the person if they have it. Sometimes, they might have left it in the house.


Tip #5 — Go to rummage sales when pressed for time

If you are short for time, choose a church or school sale to go to first. They will have the biggest selection and variety of items to choose from.

Check out the different kinds of garage sales you can go to: The Ultimate Garage Sale Guide


Tip #6 — Ask if you need something

Make sure you don’t buy something just because it is a good deal. Ask yourself if you really need the item.

If you don’t need the item, don’t know what you would do with it, or aren’t going to resell it, then don’t buy it.

A couple years ago, I saw a nice wooden restaurant-style high chair for $5. It was a really good deal, but I didn’t know anyone who needed a high chair. I did not buy it.


Tip #7 — Look over your item

Always make sure to look over your item before purchasing it.

Make sure books aren’t colored in or missing pages. For clothes, make sure they don’t have stains or holes in them.

If you’re buying a puzzle, make sure it doesn’t say anywhere on the box that it’s missing a piece.

When purchasing DVDs, CDs, and video games, make sure that the correct disc is in the case and that it is not scratched up.

Board games could also be missing pieces, so make sure you check!


Tip #8 — Check “unwashable” items

If something is not washable like furniture, rugs, purses, etc., check it over thoroughly.

Make sure it doesn’t smell or have stains.

I once bought a box of scrapbook paper on a cold day. When I got it home and in my house, I noticed that it smelled like smoke. I could never get rid of the smell even after a year, so I threw it away.

Some items may smell like smoke or be musty, and those can be hard smells to get out.

It is better to check there then bring it home and have to throw it away.


Tip #9 — Be wary of un-priced sales

I really don’t like going to sales where items are not priced.

It seems like the person at the sale always gives me a high price. Plus, people who don’t price items usually decide on prices based on what they think you specifically would be willing to pay. They might give someone else a better price.

It doesn’t seem like they ever offer a good deal when nothing is priced.


Tip #10 — Take advantage of ads with pictures

I like to look at garage sales on Craigslist. There are also groups on Facebook that post garage sales.

A lot of these ads will have photos of the sale. These can be really handy when considering if you want to go to a particular sale.

It is especially nice if the sale is not close by. Then you don’t feel like you are wasting your gas money.

Last year, I spotted a Hero Quest board game in a sale photo. The picture was a little blurry, but I could tell what it was. I made sure I went to that sale first because I really wanted to buy it. I was able to get it because I got there at the beginning of the sale.


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What garage sale tips do you have?

Comment down below how you get the best deals at garage sales.


Related posts:

10 of My Best Garage Sale Finds

Save Money by Shopping at Garage Sales

Easy Ways to Save Money By Planning Ahead

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