Good Morning! Since it is raining here, and has been for a whole week, I don’t have a weekend camping adventure to share with you like I planned. I didn’t even get to start a campfire, cook a few favorite recipes or take food pictures to share with you. I am sad; I love cooking and experimenting over the campfire. At least it is finally garage sale season, so I was able to stop at a few garage sales and I can share my new treasures with you.
I get very torn at garage sale time. The beginning of spring and the new growth outside, after winter and the excess of Christmas, always inspires me to increase my frugal activities. I start meal planning again, I research frugal DIY projects for the house, I update our debt-reduction charts and I even turn off lights and use more candles.
Then, garage sale season starts.
Oh the sales, the bargains, the possible treasures I might find!
I know I should put every dollar to debt reduction, I know a dollar spent on a sale/bargain is still a dollar spent, and I know I don’t need more____________(fill in blank with anything you wish-I probably don’t need it, except chocolate, I always need more chocolate). But…..it is garage sale season again!
Some years, I have overdone it at garage sales. The kids only need so many books, toys, dress-up clothes and clothes, even if they don’t cost much. Other years, I have totally boycotted garage sales. I did not go to any, but I missed them and I missed saving money on things I could have bought.
This year, I am going to find a balance between overdoing and boycotting garage sales. Hopefully, I will enjoy the garage sale season more, at least that is the goal.
3 New Garage Sale Habits
The 3 parts of my new balanced garage sale plan are: controlling food/drinks/expenses, keeping a buy/don’t buy list and controlling the number of garage sales.
- Control food/drink/expenses. I live in a small town, and we only have garage sales once a year. On the weekends I garage sale, I must drive to a nearby larger town. If I drive to town, I could also eat breakfast in town, right? And, I will probably need to get coffee and a donut while I drive around, right? And if I go to many garage sales and I am still in town after noon, I could also eat lunch in town, right? If the husband chauffeurs me to garage sales, he also needs breakfast, lunch and donuts, right?
WOW That is a lot of extra money to spend, while ‘saving’ money on garage sales!
This summer, I will eat breakfast at home, bring my coffee cup and a thermos of coffee to last all morning and also bring a snack. I plan on being home by lunch, more about why in #3. This habit should help reduce expenses while I garage sale. I should save over $150 monthly! For fun, I could plan to eat out one meal a month, just not 2 meals every Saturday.
- Keep a Buy/Don’t Buy List. I don’t need more stuff. It is fun to find new or even ‘new to me ‘ stuff and it’s fun to find things I do need or will need in the future, but I definitely don’t need more knickknacks to clean. The husband thinks I don’t need pretty vintage dishes or old cookbooks, but I’m not so sure.
Since I discovered 6 twin sheets hiding in the camper for 1 twin bed, I have been trying to control the amount of stuff I bring home. I have a small notebook in my purse with a Garage Sale Buy/Don’t Buy list. It really helps remind me what I need to watch for, like a winter coat (hard to remember when I am wearing sandals and shorts) and Christmas fabric to trim cloth napkins. It also helps me remember what not to buy-for example t-shirts for kids (1 ½ drawers full is plenty) or any books. That last one is very hard to do, so I look for only perfect, dirt cheap books.
I also watch for birthday and Christmas presents at garage sales. I have bought brand-new-never-opened presents, like crystal growing kits, tie dye kits or jewelry kits and saved lots of money. I have also bought gently-used-like-new books (I know, more books) and toys. I asked my extended family, and they are fine with an occasional garage sale present for kid’s gifts, especially when they still look new. Of course, I also like to make presents, so I am always looking for craft supplies.
As our kids have grown, I discuss buying used items as presents with them and they are comfortable with some. I would not want them to feel badly about presents ever. They understand though, that a $20 set of Legos from a store is a lot different than a $20 box of Legos from a garage sale, all washed up and in a new storage box. I also understand that sometimes the $20 Lego Star Wars set is more desired.
I try to keep present ideas on my Buy/Don’t Buy list.
- Control the number of garage sales. When I go garage sale-ing, I like to go to every single one; I wouldn’t want to miss finding a treasure. I will print a list of every garage sale, even if there is nothing I would want in the description of items.
The husband likes to go with me, but also doesn’t want to spend the whole day in town. He has projects to finish around the house and yard usually. But since I like it when he goes garage sale-ing with me and I really don’t need much (see #2) I need to limit the number of sales I go to. It is hard to skip some though. When he is driving, I try to watch for garage sale signs with addresses. Often these are posted near busy intersections, so I frantically squint to see the addresses and scribble them down quickly before he drives away.
Since he doesn’t like to go to every sale, I am hoping to make shorter lists of garage sales. That way we can get home before lunch, we won’t need to eat out and he can still do projects around the house.
This week, I did pretty well with my 3 new garage sale habits!
#1- I ate breakfast at home and brought coffee in the thermos. We did stop for donuts and we ate a small lunch out, but $15 was acceptable.
#2-I only spent $2.25 and did not buy any books! I did find a 50 cent jacket and t-shirt for the grandbaby to keep in the camper and 2 bags of Christmas bows for 25 cents each. I spent 75 cents on embroidery work that I didn’t need, but it is so pretty.
#3-I did not go to all 14 garage sales, though we might have visited 10 and we were in town longer than I expected.
So how about you? Do you follow any of my new 3 garage saling habits already? Do you control the expenses, keep a buy/don’t buy list or control the number of garage sales you visit? I hope I can follow these 3 habits and make the garage sale season more enjoyable this year. I really don’t want to boycott garage sales, but I also want to work on debt reduction this summer. Please let me know if you try any of my new habits, or maybe you have a different habit that helps you with garage sale season to share.
Happy Camping (or garage saling!)