Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yard Saling for Savings

January is a great month for resolutions and what better resolution could you have than to find new ways to save money for travel? This month's articles will focus on ways to help you conserve cash for that trip you'd like to take when the weather warms up.

Saving money is not the least bit painful; there's no discomfort because you will not have to make any sacrifices. Conserving your dollars involves spending intelligently, rather than haphazardly, so you can live below your means and bank the rest of your income for travel. You won't scrimp. It is possible to live well, even luxuriously, on far less than you might think.


David and I seldom pay full price for anything. Only two items of furniture in our three-bedroom house were bought new. Most of our appliances, tools, garden and kitchen equipment came from consignment stores or estate/garage sales.

We have literally found everything—from professional cake-baking equipment to custom-made draperies—while pursuing our favorite Saturday morning hobby. If we don't locate what we're searching for on our regular weekend outings, we know we'll come across what we need eventually at an estate sale. Since we generally spend only pennies on the dollar for any item or get the item for free, our patience is always handsomely rewarded.

While I frequently shopped at consignment stores and occasionally went to a garage sale, David quickly made a yard sale zealot out of me. When we first moved in together, my two old file cabinets didn't survive the trip from Tucson. I went shopping for a new one but was appalled at the $150-$250 price tag. David suggested I
wait to buy until after Saturday's garage sale which proved to be great advice. Much to my surprise, we found a heavy-duty, four-drawer file cabinet for $50. Had I been willing to wait another week or two, I could have had one for $15!

When my beloved hand-blown Mexican pitcher broke and I had to switch to a plastic container, my iced tea didn't taste nearly as good. Since the pitchers of comparable quality in San Diego cost around $35, I planned a trip to Tijuana where I hoped to find one for under $15. Yard sale Saturday came first, though, and I found an identical pitcher to the one I'd broken, a hand-blown Mexican glass pitcher, for only $1!

We weren't quite as lucky with timing when our toaster oven broke. After three weeks, we checked some stores where the $40-65 models soon strengthened our resolve to keep looking for a used one. Sure enough, that Saturday on an overcast morning, we picked up a like-new Black and Decker oven for $5.

Even when we're not shopping for anything in particular and come home empty-handed, we still have had an enjoyable morning and met some interesting people. On the days we do find just what we've been looking for, we congratulate ourselves for our recycling efforts. Someone has gotten paid for something he no longer needs, and we have exactly what we require for a fraction of what we would have paid in a store.

If you want to find estate sales in your area, check out this site.

To locate yard/garage sales, try Garage Sale Finder. You can even customize a yard sale route with this site. Click on the “My Route” tab and input your address. Go back to the “Location” tab and put in your zip code. From the “Sale List” tab, click on the sales you'd like to visit (another window will open on the map at right) and click the “Add to Route” button at the bottom of the individual ad. When you've finished adding all the sales, click the “My Route” tab again and click “View and Print Route.” The site generates a map, step by step directions; and the date, address, and description for the sale. You'll be ready to go Saturday morning with your own individualized route.

Another site that does almost everything the Garage Sale Finder site does is GSALR. You can create a customized plan with a map and directions, but this site does not list the advertisement for every sale.


  1. Thanks for the link! I'm working on adding a few more features to Garage Sale Finder, though the cost of programming is killing me! Yipes! No money in it, but I love garage sale shopping, so it's my passion.

  2. Hi Valerie,

    I'm sorry you're making no money from your wonderful site, but I hope knowing that all of us garage-salers love you is some small compensation! Thank you for all your efforts. We really do appreciate your help.