A great way to save money on decorating your home is to visit local flea markets and estate tag sales. The old adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is so true. Some people who are redecorating their homes sell perfectly good stuff in yard sales, at the flea markets, and donate to good will stores. Shopping in these places can save you tons of money and it is fun looking through all the items available. Here are a few pointers to remember when you shop flea markets and thrift stores.
Study up on antiques and collectibles before you shop
Go to your local library and brush up on what’s valuable in antiques and collectibles. Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles: Amazon.com: Magazines’s books are excellent for this purpose. If you do this, you’ll know what’s valuable when you see it and won’t miss out on a real treasure.
Make a shopping list
For instance, if you’re redecorating a room, make a list of color schemes, measurements, and other pertinent information on specific items you may be looking for. This way, you’ll have a focus and an idea on what you’re looking for.
The only disadvantage of buying at flea markets, yard sales and goodwill stores, is that you can’t return items, so make your selections with this in mind.
Negotiating a better price
Do some research before you go shopping. If you’re looking for an antique lamp, search EBay or Craig’s list for similar items to see what they’re selling for. Then you’ll know when an item you see is being sold at a reasonable price. If it’s more than what you think it should be, then you know there is room to negotiate. You can make an offer by asking “Would you be willing to take ____??_ for this? Vendors appreciate polite buyers who ask in this way and are more likely to bargain with you.
Always inspect the item
Always open drawers, look underneath, pick item up if applicable and look for cracks, missing pieces, or any other defects. If any of these are found, point this out to the vendor and use it as a leveraging tool to get a lower price.
Always take cash
All vendors take cash, not all take credit cards. Also, an advantage of taking cash is that you’ll never spend more than you took.
Timing is important
For example, getting to a sale early does ensure you’ll get the best selections, but if a cheaper price is what you’re after, going later is more beneficial. Vendors want to pack up and take home as little as possible, so they will probably slash prices toward the end of the sale.
Be considerate of the Seller
Don’t insult the seller by asking them to reduce the price by half or more. Offer no more than 25% less than the asking price. This is reasonable and you’ll have a better chance of getting a reduction in price. Ask with confidence, and don’t seem shy or uncertain or chances are the vendor will stay firm with their price.
If you’re patient, you can find some really nice items at a bargain. Just go with knowledge of what you’re looking for, but also have an open mind. You may find something that would work and look even better than what you had in mind.