You need more dollars these days, and you usually get less with them.
Groceries, gas, airplane leg room. Less, less and less, all for more money.
Ever wish you could get more (stuff) for less (lucre), without going to Wal-Mart (Stock Quote: WMT)!(Not that we don't love Wal-Mart).
Here are some ways:
If you think high season for garage and yard sales is over, think again. “Normally it’s dead season but…because of the economic market, we’re still seeing a lot of traffic,” says Nate Denning, co-founder of www.Gsalr.com, a new web site where you can search for garage, yard and estate sales by zip codes and keywords. At any given time the site boasts up to 60,000 listings!
Bargain seekers with upscale tastes often favor estate sales (see below), but yard sales do offer more adventure and the possibility of finding antiques, vintage clothes or fine woodwork for a fraction of the market price.
Some advice if you plan to haggle: Dress down and don’t drive up in a fancy car. If all you own is a brand new Lexus, park it out of sight. Next, carry cash and not all in one place. Don’t let the sellers see that you have, say, a $100 in your wallet. Haggling won’t be as easy. Instead, keep a $10 in one pocket, a $5 and a $20 elsewhere. If you swear that you’re down to your last $20, the seller can’t tell you’ve got more cash in other hiding places. To butter up sellers Bruce Littlefield, author of Garage Sale America suggests the 'Kiss & Kick' method. Instead of saying: “Why is this $50? Are you insane?!” Try: "I love your earthenware flowerpot. How'd it get chipped?" Also, go early for the best stuff and later in the day for the bargains.
Estate sales occur after a home owner passes away, moves or, more commonly now, forecloses. "Right now is a great time for buyers to be in the market for furniture,” says Christine Acosta, owner of Key Estate Sales in Chicago. "It is twice as busy due to foreclosures."
To find local estate sales consult the almighty craigslist.com, as well as gsalr.com and estatesales.net. Score at least 30% off household items such as sofas, bedroom sets, lamps and China.
Words of wisdom: “Try to be at an estate sale a half hour before the advertised time and make sure you bring cash,” says Sanford Cohen, owner of Estate Sales Los Angeles. If you plan on buying a larger piece of furniture, like a dining room table, arrange for your own pick-up and delivery that day. The most common thing buyers forget to do? That's taking measurements, says Cohen. Remember, all sales are final at estate sales.
RESTAURANT LIQUIDATION SALES
Restaurants fail more than any other start-up business: In New York City a restaurant shuts down every four days! So restaurant liquidation sales are a gold mine for those looking for heavy-duty cookware, freezers, barstools, plates, chairs and tableware. (Sorry, celebrity chefs are not included.) Search for liquidation sales in the classified section of your local newspaper, on craigslist or oddle.com. A Google or Yahoo search for the terms liquidation sale and your town might do, too. Can’t leave work to visit a daytime restaurant liquidation sale? Search www.acitydiscount.com at your leisure. This 35-year-old retailer of new and used restaurant furniture and equipment offers discounts in the 30% to 50% range. Some items are non-returnable.
CONSIGNMENT SHOPS (for Fashion)
How can you profit off of someone’s buyer’s remorse for spending some $5,400 on a Burberry scarf or $2,000 on a Louis Vuitton clutch? Hit up the clothing consigners in your neighborhood (you can find them at consignmentshops.com). A new micro fiber Prada messenger bag that sells for $500, could go for $150 on consignment. And most consigners restock their racks daily. Don’t forget to scour shops in upscale areas, like Marin County north of San Francisco, the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Philadelphia’s Main Line. Search on the University of Southern California’s web site at for a compilation of the top 100 zip codes with average household incomes of $150K and average property values of $500K and up.
CONSIGNMENT SHOPS (for Furniture)
At Furniture Buy Consignment in Lewisville, Texas, the owners say they provide savings of up to 60% off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. That includes discounts on name brand furniture from Ethan Allen, Henredon, Thomasville, Drexel Heritage, Century and Row. Here, negotiating is not entertained, but furniture consignment shops have different rules.
An item labeled “refurbished” technically means it was used once and returned to the manufacturer most likely because the original buyer was indecisive. In other cases, the item needed some repairs or a clean-up. Stores can’t legally put returned items back on the shelves as “new,” so they get tagged “previously owned” or “refurbished” with an up to 30% markdown. The refurbished market includes Dell laptops (Stock Quote: DELL), Callaway golf clubs, Apple iPhones (Stock Quote: AAPL), and Black & Decker (Stock Quote: BDK) kitchen appliances, and more.
Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 8 p.m.