Whether you are a seasoned picker or an every now and then garage saler, you can save some serious dough by honing in on your inner haggling skills. For some people, haggling just comes natural. I recently had a garage sale where a very young girl (around 5) haggled a five dollar item down to a dollar. When she walked away I thought to myself, "that smart little girl just used her cuteness to get a ridiculously good deal!" This brings me to lesson 1.
Lesson One: Know what you have and use it!
That adorable little girl knew what she had just as I know what I have. Let me introduce you to my secret weapon.
28 pounds of pure "melt your heart" power! This little guy has got me more free and ridiculously cheap stuff than you could imagine. If I walk up to pay for my goods and this little guy is holding something I say "Ah geez, he is just not going to put this thing down! How much would you sell it to me for?" Nine out of ten times they say, "You can just have it!" Score for me! Maybe you don't have a little one, but you have ridiculously long eyelashes you can flutter, or you're incredibly funny, or you're a great sweet talker. Learn what you have and use it!
Lesson Two: Kill 'Em with Kindness
If there is one thing I've learned after countless estate and garage sale haggling, it's this: talking down to someone or being rude won't get you anywhere. The last thing people want to hear is "This [fill in the blank] isn't worth near what you're asking!" Maybe to them it is. Maybe you're at a family run estate sale telling them a precious memento from their childhood isn't worth squat.
Always be kind! Strike up a conversation. Comment on how beautiful their things are. Get off on the right foot and they will be more open to bargaining with you.
Lesson Three: Know What You're Getting In To
Are you at a normal 'ol cleaning out the attic garage sale? A moving sale? A family run estate sale? An estate sale run by professionals? Each type of sale has different elements that need to be addressed. You can usually sniff out if people are eager to get rid of their stuff. If it's a family run estate sale, (my favorite kind of sale) you know they have already removed everything they want to keep and usually they are wanting to get rid of the rest. However, be advised of what I said above, this is usually a difficult thing to do and many of the items have sentimental value to the seller. It has been my experience that items in family run sales are generally less expensive than those at sales run by professionals. These professionals usually know more about the items, what they sell for, how much the item is worth etc. Remember, they are making a percentage of the profit so they are in it to get as much money as possible. I like to hit up these types of sales on the last day which is sometimes the 50% off day. If it is towards the end of the sale, they may be willing to go even lower than 50% off which is a great thing for you!
Lesson Four: Pile It Up
So once you have struck up a conversation or at least hopefully said hello, inquire about the price of a few items. Ask if they'll take X amount for a few things. Once you've gotten them down on a few things, start a pile. They get excited when they see you piling it up! Once you've got everything you want in a pile ask them what the price for the whole pile would be. Remember, you have already got individual discounts, when they discount your pile, it's like a double discount! I've got some very great deals with this strategy.
Don't forget the old saying and perhaps the most important in picking and buying in general. "It never hurts to ask!" If you don't ask, you surely won't get a discount and if you do... the worst they can say is no. So go for it! Assert yourself and give it a try. You never know the good deals you might get.
Do you like to garage sale? What are some of the ways you get good prices?