A friend recently told me I should share some of my *frugal* (okay, CHEAP) shopping tips.
I shop thrift shops, yard sales and a few other stranger places (more on those later).
Unless you are the hyper type that has to rush around to yard sales to find *all the good stuff before it is gone* do these things:
Go later in the day when people are liable to be ready to shut it down...you will get deals because people don't want to haul that stuff back in!
Go on cloudy days when the skies are threatening rain.
Go on days when it is so hot and humid that people are dropping of heat stroke.
Go on a cold, chilly, windy day.
Inclement weather is AWESOME to go yard-sale-ing.
People do NOT want to endure nasty weather to get 7 bucks for that coffee table...offer them 4 bucks so they can get back inside under the ac or heater or out of the rain. They'll take it.
Take your time looking. Especially in bad weather. I frequently have sellers blurt out to me "Look, what do you want, I'll make you a deal!"
ONLY carry one dollar bills and change. Yes, it will be a pain in the butt to count out 20 bucks in ones for that tv, but if you pull out a wad of 20s and 100s, you'll be charged higher prices!
Think ahead. If you see things new in package or close to new or maybe an antique or used item that would be appreciated by someone in your family or circle of friends, think ahead to birthdays, Christmas, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, etc. If you have an infant and you spot a toddler bed in great shape at a cheap price, GET IT! Store it until you need it...that baby will be needing it sooner than you think and you won't find a bed at that price again!
That's my yard sale advice.
On to *stranger* places to shop:
Dry Cleaners. Yup, go shopping at your local dry cleaners, especially if they are a *mom and pop* type business. Though state laws differ, most dry cleaners sell off clothes left behind by customers after 30, 60 or 90 days. Frequently they sell them just for what is owed--the cost of cleaning them! Men's suits, coats, jackets, prom dresses, wedding dresses, sweaters, women's suits! I have seen them all (and bought quite a few). Where else can you get a freshly cleaned 300 dollar leather jacket for 15 bucks? A friend of mine bought her wedding dress this way. Sixty dollars. She looked the dress up online--$4000.00! A designer wedding dress for 60 bucks! She paid another $100.00 for alterations and had a gorgeous wedding dress that fit her well!
Now...onto another strange place...check with companies in your area that rent out linens for events. Tablecloths in particular. Call a wedding planner and ask what company they use. You want the BIG tablecloths. They discard them after they get a stain or the edges fray or they get a hole in them. Frequently, they are 100% cotton, but since they have been washed so many times, the fabric will be pre-shrunk when you use it. Some use cotton-poly blends. Most take dye really well. They are perfect for curtains, quilting, I have even made skirts and dresses out of some. You can dye the fabric using various techniques...solid color, tie-dyed, batik, etc.
Look, ways to shop frugally and save money are out there!
Sometimes you just have to look in *out of the box* places to find the best ways for you!