Shopping Garage Sales for Gifts

You know how hectic the Christmas season is, even if you're just making a trip to the grocery store.  What if you could save time and stress by purchasing all of your gifts ahead of time?  Yeah, yeah, you're thinking, that's called eBay and Amazon.com.  But actually, you could do it for much less money and much more fun by purchasing all your presents at garage sales this year.

Gift wrapped from a saleBefore you set off, make a list of people you buy gifts for: family members, friends, coworkers, your accountant, your hairdresser, and so on.  Unless you normally just give them a loaf of homemade bread or a bag of holiday iced cookies, they're fair game for the list.  Remember, this is how you're going to save tons of time and money on your holiday spending this year!  Next to each person, list a few hobbies or interests they have.  You may feel this is redundant, but when you're scanning a garage sale, it'll help to glance down at a few keywords to see if you spot anything on the list.

Set a budget limit, either per gift or total, and write it at the top of your list (or next to each name, if you go per person).  Think about how much you spend on average during the holidays, and cut that down by between 50 and 75%.  Yep, as long as you have the storage space and the self-control to not give them the gift as soon as you get home, you could save up to three fourths of your holiday spending budget, just by buying early and buying at garage sales!  But the budget limit is important, so that you don't end up tossing away more money in one weekend than you have.

When you start to shop, only consider fairly new or restorable items for purchase.  Wrapping up a broken toy or grimy electronic gadget is tacky and possibly even dangerous -- corrosion could have occurred, or the item could malfunction, hurting the recipient.  Obviously, the exceptions to this rule are items such as books and records, or items you are intentionally purchasing vintage for a recipient who will appreciate such things.

You may find that there are some people on your list whom you don't talk to enough to know what they'd like.  In that case, buy some generic gifts.  These include things like popular books, blank journals, attractive dishware, useful kitchen gadgets, fun (but generic) Christmas ornaments, and other practical household goods.  If you go overboard with the generic gifts and find that you have too many, consider going around the holidays to a homeless shelter and handing out presents as a way to lift your spirits and help out the community.

There are some gift items you shouldn't buy at garage sales.  Clothing is difficult enough to fit without dealing with its used condition, and unless you're positive you know the size the recipient will be in six months or more, you should probably just put that top back.  Stuffed animals can carry head lice from previous owners, and easily pick up dirt and grime from being loved by small children, so it's best if you leave those for a toy shop or Hallmark store.

Don't forget that little goodies you find that aren't quite good enough for full-blown gifts can become stocking stuffers!

Give someone the gift of information today by pointing them to GarageSaleCow -- a completely free resource for the garage sale fanatic in your life!




Comments (6) -

Marco Fields
Marco Fields
2/19/2013 3:23:24 PM #

If your planning to shop for gifts then buy a teddy bear if your giving it to a woman. You could find old stuff toys which are still in respectable condition and could be better with a few baths. Once you buy those, you could wash it for a couple of times and it would look like brand new. You could stitch up loose ends or broken parts and pair it with a letter or dedication to make the perfect gift <3

Geoffrey Carr
Geoffrey Carr
2/19/2013 3:28:55 PM #

There's a lot of things to choose from in a garage sale. You should know the person you're giving a gift to. What do they like, what things have they mentioned that they want, their wishes and things like that would be useful in choosing the right gift. I would choose something that she would always  remember me whenever she uses/ sees that object. I usually go for the useful objects like pen pots and organizers. That way she will always remember me when she arranges her things or just writes her assignment.

Bennie Lynch
Bennie Lynch
2/19/2013 3:36:38 PM #

Nice geoffrey! I think I could try to join a garage sale soon. Honestly, I've never been to one. Whenever I need to give someone a gift, I always go the mall and buy new, expensive things to please that person. I realized that it doesn't matter how expensive the gift is, what matters is the person, the thought and effort that was made into it. I'll go find my girl an interesting yet special and dear to her heart stuff. thanks for the inspiration guys

Myron Gilbert
Myron Gilbert
2/19/2013 3:41:11 PM #

What's the most generic gift you've ever received? Me, I hate getting handkerchiefs. I always got those during christmas parties, exchange gifts when I was in grade school and middle school. Am I that sweaty, unhygienic, untidy that i deserved all these dozens of handkerchiefs? Never got to ask them why they always gave me handkerchiefs...

Edmund Frazier
Edmund Frazier
2/19/2013 3:47:37 PM #

I got all shapes and sizes of picture frames from gifts from my relatives, friends, co-workers. Now my house looks like a photo booth or an art studio for taking graduation pictures . These may be the most if not,the second most generic gift I received in my life. It shows that the person who gave this was a busy person so he did not have time to find a right present for you or he's just this lazy, rude friend you have. Either way, you're at the disadvantage because you gave your effort in finding a good present and what did you get? A generic picture frame with no effort given to buy it.

Sarah Lei Black
Sarah Lei Black
4/4/2013 2:02:21 PM #

Tip: List all the people you will be giving gifts and the corresponding items you want to buy for them! I had this experience before (that was Christmas Season) wherein I went to a garage sale just a few blocks from our house to see if I could find some items to give to my family and fortunately I did. I was overwhelmed by the prices and all the items I picked was a good find so I decided to purchase it all thinking the price was worth it. I didn't notice that I've got more than what I was planning to buy. As far as I can remember, I had enough budget. To my surprise, I paid a good amount of money and I almost ran out of budget. Good thing I bought some extra money with me. So, beware because even if you think the prices are cheap, but if you buy more than what is expected, you will definitely be out of budget,

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