Subscribe -- FREE!
Shel Horowitz's monthly Clean and Green Newsletter
Receive these exciting bonuses: Seven Tips to Gain Marketing Traction as a Green Guerrilla plus Seven Weeks to a Greener Business
( Privacy Policy )

Find Fabulous Frugal Bargains at Yard Sales - Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip

Find Fabulous Frugal Bargains at Yard Sales

As of last Sunday, I'm now the proud owner of a set of 10 French crystal wine glasses--for eight dollars. I have items in my wardrobe that cost me a quarter. The $600 Scandinavian wall unit that holds my computer and lots of other stuff cost me $50. When my kids were younger, our swing set was $25--the same price I paid for a $300 exercise machine last fall.

All these and hundreds more bargains, some as little as a nickel, came to me from good yard sale shopping. (They may be called garage sales, stoop sales, tag sales, swap meets...)

Yet I know many people who get very frustrated, pawing through junk and never finding anything. Here are a few tips to yard sale success.

  • Spend a few minutes with your newspaper classified section--look for geographical concentrations of good stuff and plan a route that takes you to half a dozen or so
  • Go early in the day for best selection, late in the day for best price
  • Don't be afraid to dicker--or to leave your phone number with your best price if you can't negotiate (if it doesn't sell at the asking price, guess who'll get called)
  • Neighborhood-wide or street-wide sales, sales at churches and schools, sales to benefit nonprofits tend to have the most stuff (and often, the lowest prices)--especially good for kid and baby items
  • If there's a college near you, end-of-semester is prime yard sale time
  • Rich neighborhoods have the best stuff, but may charge way too much for it
  • When you drive by and see one or two blankets with meager selection, don't bother stopping
  • Know how much it would cost to buy new; aim to pay 10% or less, up to 25% if you really want something
  • Thoroughly examine condition: test drawers, plug in appliances, sniff clothing and books for mildew, hold vinyl record albums flat to check if they're badly warped, etc.

My thanks to those who sent me ideas for the first-ever International Frugal Fun Day, October 2, 1999. You can read all the suggestions and send your own at

Lots more on shopping, as well as tons of good stuff about slashing the cost of travel ... dining ... live entertainment ... and so much more. 280 pages of grat advice on having fun cheaply: The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook,

Return to the Frugal Fun Tips Archives
Preview Shel Horowitz's Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook a 280-page e-book that shows you how to save a big pile of money on travel, dining, entertainment, recreation, and all sorts of other fun.
This article originally appeared in Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tips. Please click here for your free subscription.

Share this article/site with a Friend

Bookmark Us

Many of the 1,000+ articles on Frugal Fun and Frugal Marketing have been gathered into magazines. If you'd like to read more great content on these topics, please click on the name of the magazine you'd like to visit.

Ethics Articles - Down to Business Magazine - Frugal & Fashionable Living Magazine
Global Travel Review - Global Arts Review - Peace & Politics Magazine
Frugal Marketing Tips - Frugal Fun Tips - Positive Power of Principled Profit

Clean and Green Marketing

Our Privacy Policy

Disclosures of Material Connections:
  • Some of the links on our site and items in our newsletters are sponsored ads or affiliate links. This financial support allows us to bring you the consistent high quality of information and constant flow of new content. Please thank our advertisers if you do business with them.
  • As is the case for most professional reviewers, many of the books I review on this site have been provided by the publisher or author, at no cost to me. I've also reviewed books that I bought, because they were worthy of your time. And I've also received dozens of review copies at no charge that do not get reviewed, either because they are not worthy or because they don't meet the subject criteria for this column, or simply because I haven't gotten around to them yet, since I only review one book per month. I have far more books in my office than I will ever read, and the receipt of a free book does not affect my review.

Site copyright © 1996-2011 by Shel Horowitz