Saturday, June 2, 2012

'Tis the Season

I am too cheap for Goodwill unless it's on sale (love me some $1.29 days). I'm too cheap for resale or consignment (unless I've turned stuff in for store credit). I am even cheap at garage sales! 
I really like Garage Sale Season!
For example: if you're selling a DVD movie for $2 and a mixed bag of plastic Easter eggs for $0.50, I'm going to offer you $2. If you tell me they're from two different families, I'll still give you $2 and tell you to duke it out as I make a swift getaway (true story). 
So... I made out like a bandit today! 
For Seth...
2 swim trunks
2 t shirts
1 dress shirt
2 jeans
2 Zip off pants
1 pair of pjs
1 pair of Teva sandals (Joel's... where are all of Seth's!?!?!)
For the Girls...
4 dresses (one of which is Gymboree)
4 pjs
1 sandals
1 jeggings
7 plates
1 fry daddy
7 My Little Ponies
1 tie rack
1 garden kneeling pad
1 changing pad
2 books
1 box of breastmilk storage bags
All of that for... (you probably won't believe me) $22.
How I do it:
I'm a planner. I scour craigslist, make a list, then make a map of sales I want to hit.
I take the kids and roll down the windows.  They wait *patiently* while I shop. 
I pass out snacks for the kids and let them watch Netflix on my phone (thank you Verizon for unlimited data... I was grandfathered in). 
I ration water thereby avoiding an early pit stop.
I make a planned pit stop!  It doesn't make sense to me to save all of that money on clothes and shoes only to get gouged on fast food faire and coffee. I like parks with restrooms or Fred Meyer's childcare and I take my travel mug (hence the planned pit stop).  Besides, Samuel still needs my undivided attention eventually.
I buy multiple items and round the prices down.  Most people take my offer or give me *seemingly* legitimate reasons why they can't (like: "it's the neighbor's I don't have negotiating power").  If it's a kid sale, I might haggle (for learning purposes) and then donate the difference to their cause (usually, kids are raising money for camp or charity or something).
I have been known to walk away. Yes, I want and could probably legitimately say "need" a 4 slice Krups toaster, but $15 would've blown my budget.  I'll wait.  
I like neighborhood sales where I can hit 10 sales in a 1/4 mile.
I always look through the FREE box... matchbox cars, tie racks, breastmilk storage bags, Easter egg dye... you'd be surprised what people think has no value. 
Prices I like to pay...
Kid shirts and shorts $0.50
Kid pants, shoes, and pjs $1
Adult shirts and shorts $1
Adult pants $2
Generally, I like to pay 90% off retail
Keep in mind, they're going to give it to Goodwill or a friend if you don't buy it, your quarter makes them happy.
And just so you know, if you're selling me something, do not under any circumstance say the price like a question, "it's $2?"  If I smell blood in the water, I'm offering you way less!
Today, my pit stop was a huge score too! 
Grocery store...
2 gallons of milk - clearance for $1.50 ea
3 lbs of 93/7 ground beef - clearance for $5.67
18 oz chicken italian sausage - clearance for 1.87 less 55 cent peelie
2 - 6 packs dahlias @ $3ea
5 books (free - Skippyjon Jones was there in the plush - Jenna hugged him)
4 water bottles (free)
4 bicycle helmets (free)
6 chocolate samples (2 of each: dark, milk, caramel she said it was okay! 3 for me and 3 for Kyle if he gets home at a reasonable hour and I don't eat them and destroy the evidence)
8 sunscreen samples (don't tell someone like me "take as many as you like"...I have 5 kids)
5 cookies
and live music
Total: 47 cents (and 2 - $3 catalinas, 2 - $4 catalinas, and 2 - 0.99 catalinas)
AND (I love this) they have a family restroom and a coffee shop with a corner table for Samuel to receive nourishment.  
A word of caution: buyer beware!  Always have a plan for items that don't work, don't fit, or have unnoticed stains.  Give them away, sell them, whatever.  If you negotiate, you won't be terribly disappointed if your $0.50 shirt has a stain on it.
Personally, once I know I can get things this cheap, I am more likely to wait on something. I've wanted a Fry Daddy for ages, but I wasn't willing to pay retail prices - glad I didn't, got it today for $3.  Have patience, Young Grasshopper, you will find what you're looking for.  Wii Resort, I know you're out there somewhere.
And to the two rude ladies, both of whom got to what I wanted seconds before I did. You two, who arrogantly rubbed my nose in it ("should've gotten here sooner" and "gotta move faster"), I'm happy for you... but you're not very nice.   One of you in particular, forgive me for giving you the stink eye as we apparently followed one another all over town all day giving me ample time to forgive you. I'm okay now, and I forgive you... 9 hours later. 


  1. Great job!I am impressed. I am trying to ignore garage sales since we are moving. It's hard. Just about as hard as resisting $0.50 chili and $0.50 pounds of butter. Well, didn't do so hot on resisting those! Guess I'll just have more to pack!
    We used a platter tonight for dinner that I have literally been waiting to find for 2 years. I've looked in the kitchen section for one that I liked almost every time I've gone to the Goodwill in the past 2 years. Nothing had suited me until recently. It actually matches some of my plates exactly and it's just a basic cream colored platter in a nice size. I think I love it more than ever since I waited so long for it and only paid $1.50. Whohooo!! By the way, I served up roasted vegetables and some of that chicken sausage you purchased. It's a super easy go to meal for us and I serve it over couscous which takes me only 6 minutes to make!

  2. I channeled you at my garage saleing and haggled today. I ended up with a bunch of boys clothes (2 jeans, 5 pajamas, one rash guard swim top, one t-shirt) and a pair of rainboots for Ava for $11. I was bummed I had to stop deal hunting for a birthday party. Let me know next time there are some particularly good sales - especially the neighborhood ones. I'll go with you. There are still a few things I need for Ava.

    What website do you use to find your Fred Meyer deals?

  3. So glad to see this, embarrassed to admit I have not been to garage sales in a couple years. I was so dismayed when I searched for maternity clothing at Goodwill..everything was 4.!!
    I was feeling glum until I read your blog today, now you have given me hope that I will be able to find clothes for Rowan and I at more affordable prices!
    Thanks for sharing. I'd trade you some kid help for a ride to the next bunch of neighborhood sales... ;)