Garage sales are, for obvious reasons, ideal for bargain shoppers...but sometimes there's a deal on the deals, and you just can't pass it up! While it may seem simple enough to walk in and pick out what you want at a discounted yard sale price, there are actually ways you can get the most out of a deal a host offers you.
If a host is offering a percentage off, don't just start snapping up items because they are listed at good prices. Stop and consider what it is you're interested in buying, and then take a stroll through the discounted stuff. When you go to barter, if the item you're discussing is already discounted, remember that a) they've already knocked the price down quite a bit and b) to start from the right price -- don't use the price tag as your variable guide, calculate the price in your head!
When shopping two-for-one sales, always buy in pairs. It makes no sense to pay full price for an item just because you can't find a suitable match. Either find something useful to be the second item (a surprise gift for your friend who's coming over, perhaps?), or choose one thing to put back. But do take advantage of these types of sales, especially on books -- which is what you'll likely find going two for the price of one. If you've never used PaperBack Swap (http://www.paperbackswap.com/) but you like to read, definitely give this a shot by getting your trade-out books at discounted prices.
Should you spot a sign that mention a happy hour -- and items for sale that you're intrigued by -- plan your saling around the happy hour sale. You might be at a sale that seems to have a lot of unsold merchandise; maybe ask the host if he or she plans to have a happy hour. If so, and if you're not totally attached to any of the items you're interested in, let them know that you'll be back the next day (or later that day); go ahead and return later, instead of paying full price now.
Bag deals are great fun, because it challenges you to be a good user of space and learn how to pack most efficiently. There are several ways you can make good use of bag deals. First, calculate how much you'd pay for each item on its own. Sometimes, bag deals are actually a rip-off in that unless you're only buying some very specific things, you'll pay way more for the bag. This does fool shoppers, though, since it's advertised as a "deal." Second, put flat things on the bottom of the bag. That way, you can most efficiently use the space inside the bag, and any weird, lumpy items can set on top. Finally, be sure to fold whatever you can, and roll clothes -- that's the most efficient way to pack them!
Lastly, if you have time at the end of the day, shop garage sales right before they close, especially really large ones that will have a lot of promising merchandise left over. A weary host is often more than happy to sell you the junk they really don't want to drag back into their house at a much lower price than if you'd approached them earlier in the day.
Come visit GarageSaleCow.com for a really great deal: all the resources are free! With the ability for visitors to list and find local sales, the nation's best garage sale website would love for you to join in on the garage sale conversation!