I don’t know if you ever noticed this or not, but there are some serious weekend shoppers out there. They love to visit flea markets, rummage sales, estate sales, and yard sales every single weekend. They go out for different reasons. Some people love to look for things for their own use, while an ever increasing number go out looking for things to resell on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Most of the people I know realize that I hit these sales a lot looking for collectibles and memorabilia, so they’ll often ask me to keep my eyes open for one specific thing or another. I don’t really mind, especially now that cell phones have made getting in contact with them so easy if I should happen to find what they were looking for.
Recently, I started thinking about what types of quality second hand items I find on a consistent basis. These are things that I know I can find with a fair amount of certainty. They are also the things that I won’t pay full price for until I’ve spent at least one weekend looking for them in acceptable used condition. Most times I can find these things at a fraction of what the original retail cost was.
Gently Used Designer Clothing
If you like to wear designer brand clothing, or you have kids who want it, a yard sale can be your best friend. I learned years ago that teenage girls tend to outgrow this expensive clothing long before it looks worn out. If you shop around (especially in more expensive neighborhoods) you can often find moms clearing out the clothes that no longer fit their kids anymore at great discounts. Resellers should look for brands like Aeropostale, American Eagle, Hollister and others of that ilk. eBay buyers LOVE to buy these items in bulk and will occasionally bid it up to some pretty hefty sums of money. If you are just buying for yourself or the kids, it isn’t unusual to find this clothing selling for about a dollar per piece. Compare that to what it sells for in the store. This works for guys clothing too, but I mostly come across a lot of girls’ clothing. When the size is right and the condition is good, I’ll grab it up by the armload for my own daughters.
Used Hand Tools
These are usually found at estate sales. People having yard sales are still using all of those hammers, screw drivers, and countless examples of gardening equipment. At estate sales, these items get treated like leftovers and are usually relegated to a far corner of the garage. I love to snag cool looking tools when I find them because they are usually on a dollar or two a piece. If you don’t mind that the tools might need cleaned up a bit, this is another place where you can save a pretty penny compared to buying new. Check for damage to the tools, but usually these are a pretty good find. Just as an “FYI”, do a little research before you head out. Some old hand tools like Stanley Planes and some older hand saws can be extremely valuable to collectors. How valuable? Think in the neighborhood of hundreds of dollars each. Most of the time though, I just consider the second hand tools a great way to keep my own garage and shed well stocked on the cheap.
This works along the same lines as the designer clothing. Kids outgrow things. They don’t just outgrow things though. They want new “stuff” to replace it. For most people, buying a new home to fit an endless supply of toys is not a practical option. That means that something has to go most of the time. If you’re a mom (or if you know one), you have probably noticed that when they say to get things cleared out, they usually mean it. That means that toys that have been outgrown get sold dirt cheap. This can include relatively expensive items like play gyms, outdoor playhouses and even wagons. The often get sold for far less than retail. The only catch is, you have to give them a thorough once over before buying and you have to have a way to transport larger items that very day.
This is just a very brief list of ideas for saving major money on the things you want. I’ll follow up with more shortly. Please feel free to comment about any great savings you’ve found second hand. One man’s trash really is another man’s treasure and there are some amazing deals just waiting to be found if you are willing to consider checking out the various second hand sales that take place every week.