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Headed to a Yard Sale? Pros Say To Look For These Clues and More To Maximize Your Savings

Fight inflation with these yard sale shopping hacks.


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As the weather warms up, more and more people start to have yard sales, and you can find some serious savings on clothing, furniture, collectibles and more. While yard sales are already known for their great deals, you may be surprised to learn that there are unexpected ways to save even more money than you previously anticipated. We asked the experts for their best thrifty tips guaranteed to give you a deal-filled summer.

Click through these pictures.

Savvy yard sale shoppers surefire way to snap up incredible bargains: Show up early to one that’s selling exactly what you want so you get first dibs! But with many yard sales around, how can you know which will have what you’re looking for without wasting time and gas driving around? Log on to Facebook Marketplace, search “yard sale,” then click on each post’s image, advises yard sale expert Emily Tieman of Emily Retro. “Shoppers don’t realize that clicking through the first photo leads to even more photos which show you many other items being sold,” she says. “Once, I saw a yard sale whose first picture was of kids’ items, but when I clicked through and scrolled, I saw they were also selling a vintage store display candy rack that I had been looking for. It ended up being an amazing yard sale — and I got the candy rack!”

Don’t see an item you want? “Just ask,” says Robin Vinci of YouTube’s RockinRobin’s Garage Sale Finds. “They often have it but didn’t put it out, and you’ll get the first shot at buying it!”

Spy money-saving clues.

To find sales that have the lowest prices, Tieman advises looking for clues in the signs and descriptions to tip you off. “Phrases like ‘vintage sale,’ ‘antique sale’ or ‘brand-name clothing’ often mean prices are more expensive because the seller knows the value of the merchandise they have.” These sellers are often focused on making the most money from their sales. “But a sign or description that lists items in broader terms, like ‘clearing out the barn,’ will likely have more great deals that save you cash,” Tieman explains. That’s because these sellers are often more interested in making room and ensuring items get a second life with someone else.

If you’re hosting your own yard sale, it helps to be aware of buzzwords that might bring in more cash. For example, you can try pointing out merchandise that’s American-made, by grouping the goods on one table marked with a “Made in USA” sign or writing this phrase on individual product labels. According to a survey by the nonprofit organization The Reshoring Institute, shoppers are willing to pay up to 20% more for US-produced products. One key reason: They’re perceived as higher quality, making them worth the extra cash.

Haggle this way.

Sure, prices at yard sales are already super-low. But you can usually get what you want for even less! “This is the last chance before sellers give away their items, so they’re willing to make a deal,” says yard sale expert Amber Guttilla, who runs the Instagram account Sustainably Vintage. Luckily, bargaining is easy. Start by offering to buy multiple items for less than they’d cost individually. “Sellers are always willing to come down on a price when you buy more,” she says.

Another Guttilla tactic? “When you ask for a price on something and you get an answer you don’t love, don’t say anything. It creates doubt in the seller’s mind, as well as discomfort in the awkward silence. A lot of times, they’ll reconsider and go down a little more on their own.”

Add ‘estates’ to your list.

“Estate sales are yard sales that are run by professional liquidation companies on behalf of folks selling a lot of the contents of their home — say, because they’re moving overseas — and you can save big on a wide range of items,” says Guttilla. And for multi-day estate sales, the bargains grow larger each day, she explains: “A three-day sale might look like this: Day one is full-price, day two is 25% off and day three is 50% off.” By the last day, you may be offered bigger savings without even asking, especially if you buy more than one item. “Once, I had about $50 worth of goods in my basket, but when I went to pay, the woman said, ‘How about $22?’ which I gladly took!”

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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