Thursday, April 16, 2009

Know Your Prices

Shopping used can save you tons of money on toys, clothes, books, and household items but are you really sure you're getting a bargain?

If you are new to shopping used it is very easy to get carried away buying all the bargains. I have found that yard sale prices vary a lot. You might find Old Navy clothes at one yard sale for $2 for a pair of jeans and then at the next sale up the road find an entire table of "brand new" clothes for $.50 each. After spending way too much at yard sales I decided I would create a price book for the items I typically bought at them. Here is an example
* we are a home school family and books are important to us but I aim to spend $.50 or under for books unless it is curriculum or a very valuable book
* having five children I also am on the hunt for clothes. I have found that I need to raise my clothing budget for my son ( he's 10) because it's harder to find use clothes for boys in his size. For my girls my goal is no clothes over $.50 unless it's a jacket- under $3, shoes $1, or a fancy dress $3. For my son I'm willing to pay $2 for jeans and $3 for sweatshirts.
* Again since I have five children we are also shopping for toys. I try to buy toys that have a decent resale value like Fisher Price or Little Tykes. I stay away from stuffed animals and barbies. The most I will pay for a toy is $1 unless it's in really nice shape.
* household items I will only spend $5

Sometimes no matter how many yard sales you visit you still can't find what you're looking for. Don't go to Walmart yet...check out your local thrift stores. Visit each one to see how their prices compare and the quality of the items they stock. You might be surprised at what you find. In my small town we have four thrift stores. My favorite is a Goodwill that is like shopping at a department store, it's huge and has a large selection, however they also have higher prices. I love my ACTS thrift store, I don't think anything is more than $2 and they have an amazing selection of name brand clothes. I shop there for my son because I'm guaranteed to find his sizes.

If you can't find what you need at those two places check your local consignment shops. They typically have the highest prices but the best quality and most variety. However, I find if I shop the days of their sales it is just about as cheap as a thrift store. I shop consignment when I'm looking for birthday gifts before yard sale season begins.

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Tim, Allyson, Emahry, and Jonathan said...

Great tips. I know it's easy to "overspend" at yardsales and there is a strict no return policy :)


Mom2fur said...

I sure get what you mean about dressing a boy! I have 3 sons (and a daughter, btw), who are all 'big boys' now--ie, young men. But when they were little, you'd sneeze and they'd grow three inches!
I like that you have a base price for anything you'll buy. I don't pick up much any more because my husband will be retiring and I need to get rid of things, not buy them. But I do pick up toys and videos for the pediatric office where I work, and I will have to remind myself never to pay over a dollar or so for anything. Come to think of it, my boss has a second practice in a very poor section of Brooklyn. I'm going to make it a point this year to find fifty cent clothing items that are in good condition to donate to her patients there. See that, you inspired me to be more charitable!

Hoosier Homemade said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Cool idea. I have a running list of prices I will spend on each category of items in my head, but in the midst of "the hunt" its easy to forget!