Time to Go "Saleing"

As the weather warms, signs for yard and garage sales pop up everywhere. Using the bargains found at these sales can be a big help in stretching a family's budget.

Most yard sale shoppers expect to pay only one-third to one-fourth of what the item cost when new. Some shoppers will find items priced even lower.

People may assume that items sold at yard sales is junk. However, people have many reasons to get rid of things. They may be moving or selling things that belonged to an elderly relative. They may also be selling items no longer needed or replacing older items with new ones. Those who make it a practice to shop yard sales find many treasures others overlook. In addition, "saleing" can be very cheap entertainment.

Here are some tips on what to look for:

Infants and children's clothing can be found in like-new condition. Be sure to check for spots, stains and holes. If you have a sewing machine or are handy with a needle and thread, you can often get a lower price for things that need simple mending.

Buy children's clothing a season ahead in a larger size. This is a good idea if you need winter coats, boots and gloves.

Adult sized clothing and maternity items are often overlooked at yard sales. Those who take time to go through piles of items may be rewarded with unexpected bargains. Check for missing buttons, belts and the condition of any trim.

Books are often the best priced items at yard sales. Soft cover books usually sell for 25 cents, while hard cover books cost about 50 cents. Have your children pick out a book instead of a toy. Then read it together.

Kitchen utensils such as baking and cooking pans can be great finds. Make sure the finish has not worn off and that the bottoms are flat. Pans that are not flat may cause the food to cook unevenly or burn.

Sets of dishes, glassware and serving pieces can often be found. Cups are usually the items that may be missing. Count all items in the set to make sure it is complete.

Household linens such as towels and sheets may not be in the colors that go with your home. Still, their great price can make them a good choice for everyday use.

If you are looking for curtains or drapes, come with a list of measurements for the windows so you do not have to guess.

Appliances should always be checked by plugging them in. Ask if the instructions are available.

Some other saleing tips

  • Make a shopping list before you go shopping. Know the items and sizes you need before shopping. A list will help to avoid impulse buying.

  • Take time to shop. If you are in a hurry, bargains may be missed.

  • Do not feel you have to buy something every time you stop at a sale.

  • Do not be afraid to ask if the seller will take a lower price for an item. Make an offer. They expect this, especially after the first day of a sale.
Happy "Saleing!"

Prepared by Barbara Dahl, Consumer and Family Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension.

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