Jessica emailed in the following tip:
Summer is in full swing and like many bargain hunters, I love a good garage sale. It’s like a treasure hunt. Looking though one box or pile after another, searching for that one needed item.
Garage sales, however, can have their downsides as well. Here are three pitfalls to avoid when going to a garage sale:
1. Don’t buy what you don’t need.
Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean you need it. Spending a $1 on a set of curtains may be a great deal but if you have three sets of curtains at home and have no need for another why waste the money.
The best way to garage sale is to have a list of items that you need and are looking for. I also try to make a list of my children’s clothing sizes so I can purchase a size up of off season clothing they will need in the future.
Also remember to travel with a tape measure this will keep you from buying that item you just knew would fit but turns out to be too big for your space.
2. Try before you buy.
If you are going to buy electronics, kitchen appliances, yard equipment, or anything that requires electricity or batteries, make sure you try before you buy. In my experience garage sale hosts are happy to demo an item for you to show you all the bells and whistles.
Make sure you run it through all the cycles and ask if the owner has had any problems with the item. I may just be blessed but I have never had a bad experience buying any items such as these at a garage sale most people are honest with the things they sell but you always want to do your due diligence.
3. Watch your mileage.
When you go out hunting for your treasures have a plan. Look through your local sale papers, check Craigslist, and look online for other garage sale postings in your area. Most will have a list of items that they are selling and this will help you decided on a route before you leave the house.
Driving around on a Friday or Saturday morning just searching for signs or going all the way across town for a sale that turns out to be nothing can be hard on your gas tank and eat up your garage sale savings.
Garage sales can be a lot of fun and a great way to stretch the family budget. Just remember to set some simple guidelines for yourself before you start and you can really watch the savings add up.