Tag Archives: estate sales

Garage Sale Tips: Bargain Hunting 101

On the landscape of bargain hunting, there are quite a few VIP players, and it can be confusing to tell who’s who. PennySaverUSA.com has the 411 and is going to make it easy to tell the difference between a garage sale, estate sale, and a swap meet/flea market.

Garage sale

(AKA yard sale, tag sale)

Definition – A sale of used household or personal articles ( such as furniture, tools, or clothing) held on the seller’s own premises.

Where you’ll find one – In the actual garage or front yard of someone’s home, in church parking lots, at several homes on neighborhood blocks, i.e. a community sale.


Click above to get even more garage sale tips.

What you’ll find there – Garage sales will feature a wide array of new, lightly used, and very used household items. Common finds at garage sales include children’s toys, kitchenware, tools, clothing, home décor and more. Prices are usually 75%- 95% off what you would pay at a department store, but you often have to be willing to sort through unwanted junk to find your treasure.


  • Price negotiation is expected, as long as you make reasonable offers.
  • Bundling items will get you more bang for your buck.
  • Friendly conversation will earn you better discounts.
  • In the case of garage sales, the seller is always right. Be respectful of their belongings, and you’ll take home the best bargains.

Estate Sale

Definition – “An estate sale or estate liquidation is a sale or auction to dispose of a substantial portion of the materials owned by a person who is recently deceased or who must dispose of his or her personal property to facilitate a move.”

What you’ll find there – Due to the fact that many estate sale items often belonged to an elderly deceased person, you will frequently find vintage items and antiques at estate sales. Prices are usually 50% off +, but will often be in better condition than garage sale goods, so will be priced higher.


  • Be sensitive – the items for sale often belonged to a recently passed loved one or someone who is losing their home.
  • Price negotiation is acceptable, but ask gently and don’t push it if the seller isn’t willing.
  • Bundling items will usually earn you a better discount.
  • Complimenting the quality of the items and the previous owner’s taste will put you in good standing with the seller.

Swap meet or Flea market

Definition – “a gathering for the sale or barter of usually secondhand objects”

Where you’ll find one – At community centers, parks, church parking lots, and fairgrounds.

What you’ll find there – Unlike garage sales, flea markets and swap meets are large affairs and are run by a collection of individuals. Flea markets often feature a variety of artisan wares, antiques and vintage, small local businesses, and food vendors. Swap meets are set up similarly but tend to be more industry or hobby specific and serve as a marketplace for workers in that industry to barter, sell, and trade specific goods related to their industry. For example, Classic Car enthusiasts meet at the Pomona Swap Meet to trade and sell parts for their antique autos, while people from all over Orange County go to flea-market style Orange County Market Place for bargains on everything from sunglasses to artisan foods.


  • If attending a swap meet, bring items that someone will want to trade for to get better discounts on what you want.
  • Price negotiation is often welcome, but not as flexible as garage sales. Don’t push it if the vendor doesn’t seem interested in going lower.
  • Bundling items will get you more bang for your buck.
  • Don’t be surprised to find expensive items at a flea market. A lot of the goods have taken hours of love to create, and the artisans price accordingly.
  • At a swap meet, bring your hobby with you – half the fun is showing off your car, boat, or amazing quilt to fellow enthusiasts

Now that you’ve got the scoop, head to our garage sale classifieds to find the best garage sales, estate sales, and flea markets taking place in your neighborhood this weekend.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Garage Sale Tips: Shopping for Mother’s Day 2012 gifts

It seems like every year when Mother’s Day rolls around the media pushes us to spend big: diamonds, fancy restaurants, and high-dollar perfumes. But you don’t have to burn a hole in your budget to give an unforgettable Mother’s Day gift that the moms in your life will cherish. Your neighborhood garage sales and estate sales are just the place to find unique, one-of-a-kind gifts, and mom will appreciate you being smart with your money.

Before you go shopping, make sure you’ve read our Weekend Shopping Guide for garage sale tips to help you get the most out of your experience. Once you’re up to speed, all you need to know is what type of mom you’re shopping for, and what yard sale items match her interests.

Gifts for the Gardening Mom

Unique planters, teacups, or vintage bowls – all of these can be found for $5 or less at garage sales. Put a little soil in them and a miniature plant (think succulents or violas), and you’ve got a gift that will wow. For inspiration, head to Epheriell Designs who made a beautiful teacup succulent garden.

Mother's Day gifts

Succulents like cacti can make great Mother's Day gifts.

Antique spoons – Antique spoons are easy to transform into adorable garden markers. Artsy VaVa has an easy DIY tutorial for creating whimsical herb garden spoon markers. Anyone would love this garden gift.

Lawn buddies – There’s always a cute figurine or two hiding out at a garage sale. Find out her favorite animal and keep your eyes peeled. There’s sure to be a porcelain or brass critter who’d love to call her lawn home.

Gifts for the Bookworm Mom

The obvious, books – Make a list of your mom’s favorite authors and scour the tables of your local yard sale. Books can usually be scored for $1 – $2.

Unique bookmarks – Many garage sales will have items that could be turned into beautiful bookmarks (think buttons, charms, and jewelry) at the sale. Head to Good Life Eats for inspirational DIY bookmark ideas before you go shopping.

Once you’ve rounded up some good reads and reading accessories, assemble them in a beautiful book gift basket with some of mom’s favorite teas and snacks. You’ll win the favorite kid award for sure.

Gifts for the Fashionista Mom

Jewelry – Head to estate sales or garage sales that explicitly state they have jewelry for sale. You should be able to find good bargains ranging from $1 – $10 at most sales. While the big box stores and high price tags might seem impressive, a garage sale jewelry gift is one of a kind and can be a real beauty once cleaned up. Who knows, you may even stumble on a valuable treasure.

Scarves and shawls – These can also be found at many estate sales. Keep an eye out for boxes filled with colorful silks, and you’re likely to find a vintage scarf or shawl hiding in there that would look beautiful on mom. All you need to do is give it a gentle hand wash and iron, and it will be ready for gifting.

These are just a few ideas. There are plenty of treasures to be had at garage sales. Know some gift ideas that we missed? Tell us with a comment, or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Wishing you a very happy Mother’s Day, and many successful garage sale treasure hunts!

The PennySaverUSA Team

Rating 4.00 out of 5

MOGASA’s Shopping Tips for Finding Valentine’s Gifts at Garage Sales

PennySaverUSA’s garage sale mobile app MOGASA will provide a guest blog post each Tuesday. Enjoy …


Vintage items like this owl from our blogger partner Thrift Core make good Valentine's gifts.

Romance and garage sales? You don’t often hear these phrases paired together, but MOGASA wants to change that because we believe thrifty can be thoughtful. Find a gift this year that will truly speak to your Valentine’s heart when you give something uniquely theirs that you found at a garage sale. MOGASA’s handy shopping tips will make romance come easy.

Getting Started

The week before you shop, look for neighborhood signs, ads in your PennySaver, and posts on the free MOGASA mobile garage sale app and pick a number of sales to visit. (Hint: MOGASA allows you to create easy driving maps to the sales you’re exploring.) For garage sales, the saying “The Early Bird Gets the Worm” holds true, so plan to hit the trails around 6AM to find the best stuff.

What to Shop for

There are a lot common items that you’ll see at almost every sale, and with a little love, they can be transformed into the perfect Valentine’s gift. Here are our top five picks.


To the right person, old books can, in fact, be sexy.

  1. Vintage jewelry – Often found in full boxes at estate sales. All these need is a little cleaning (Silver for Sale has great tips), and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind piece the recipient will treasure forever.
  2. Picture frames – There’s always a beautiful picture frame or two hiding in a yard sale. Dust it off, and then check out Funky Junk Interior’s 83 tips for unconventional picture frame uses. Or, just put a sweet picture in it.
  3. Porcelain or ceramic figurines – Have a friend who loves owls, rabbits, or the elusive unicorn? You can bet you’ll find one of these at a garage sale along your route, and our friend at Thrift Core has an excellent tutorial for transforming figurines from retro to chic in a few short minutes.
  4. Books – Avid reader on your list? Look no further than the book pile at your local yard sale. There’s sure to be a good James Patterson in there, and Joanne Palmisano author of Salvage Secrets has a great tutorial for creating a sweet reader’s gift basket with thrifted books.
  5. Vases – You can save on a beautiful flower arrangement when you pick up the vase at a yard sale. We bet every sale you visit will have one. Once you’ve chosen the vase that speaks to your heart, save even more when you get her favorite long stems at your local farmer’s market.

**Super shopper’s hint** Write out everyone you need to buy for and some highlights about what makes them unique, e.g., favorite color blue, loves owls, collects old records, this will make tracking down the perfect gift much easier.

We hope we’ve helped you create an unforgettable Valentine’s Day. Leave us a comment with what you’re giving your sweetheart for Valentine’s.  Happy treasure hunting!

Rating 4.00 out of 5