Just like any kind of shopping, perusing garage sales has its dark side, too. You can buy the wrong things, or you can end up paying way more than you should have on an item that it turns out you didn't really need anyway. If you're a newbie to the garage saling scene, or if you've been frustrated by your experiences before, read this article to help you spot the garage sale shopping pitfalls to avoid in the future.
Buying clothes that don't fit -- this is extremely frustrating even if you can return the clothes later, much less when you can't return them at all! If possible, ask the host if you can try on the clothes, even if it's over what you're wearing at the time; that will at least give you a decent idea of how it would look if you were actually trying it on. Some hosts will provide you with a changing room or area; take full advantage of this, and don't risk buying useless clothes just to save a few minutes.
Overpaying on unnecessary food or drink items -- while you can usually get a great price on food sold at garage sales, there are going to be times when, just like at a movie theater, you pay the exorbitant price because there's nowhere else to get a refreshing beverage or a hot dog for lunch! Try to come prepared with your own food and drink, so that you don't have to overpay on things you don't need. The exception to this, of course, is if a youngster is running the stand and you'd like to help them out.
Double-buying something you already have -- arriving home with your new purchases, only to find that you already had some of the things you just paid for: that's incredibly frustrating! To avoid double-buying, give your house a once-over before you go, just to refresh your memory with what you already own and what you might need. That way, you don't go out there and unintentionally spend money on duplicates.
Buying broken electronics -- you can't avoid picking up a few duds here and there from bad garage sales, but you can avoid purchasing electronic devices that don't work by testing them at the sale before you buy it. If the host refuses to let you test it, you may want to reconsider your purchase, because that's often a sign that they know something is wrong with it!
Shop local garage sales a lot? Use our local listings to help you find some great ones this weekend.