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Monday, August 6, 2012

Never Pay Full Price!

“Never pay full price!” This has been my motto for years and years and it has served me well. I am originally from Boston where the famous Filene’s Basement Store was the go-to bargain store in all of New England. Once or twice a year they held a wedding gown sale and brides-to-be lined up outside the store hours before to get in and get great deals. These were gowns from the “upstairs” bridal salon that went for 50-76% off the normal price. It was pure bedlam but many, many women went home very happy.

My shopping at sales only has grown to include consignment store, thrift stores, estate sales, roadside finds, Freecycle, flea markets and Craigslist. I find that in addition to being great shopping meccas, they are also social opportunities because of all the great people I have met.

My local area has many consignment stores ranging from furniture, household goods, electronics, toys and clothing. There are always some duds in the mix but for the most part the items are pretty good. For example, I purchased an almost new rotisserie for $20. These usually go for about $100. Not bad at all.

One particular store designates itself as “upscale consignment” meaning that they only accept really good, in season clothing. I have been very successful there because it appears that there is a woman out there who is the same size as me (poor woman) and has the same sense of style. Most of her clothes are Liz Claiborne and I have kept a really decent wardrobe because of her.

Thrift shops affiliated with churches are a little harder to shop because all of the items are donated - no matter what condition they are in and what year they were made. The churches are using this sale money for charities so they want to get as much money as they can and thus, make the prices a little high for my liking. But, I have scored some great vintage pieces that I have revamped and sold. These stores usually will not haggle and that can be discouraging.

Estate sales can be the opportunities of a lifetime if the sales are not run by professionals. The professionally run sales have higher prices to make the commissions higher. With that being said, there are still great finds at estate sales. The owners usually just want to get rid of everything and move on. The owners will bargain with customers and, at the end of the day the prices are usually cut. Everyone is happy!

Roadside finds are wonderful! They are free and give real meaning to “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. At first it may be a little daunting to see something put out for trash and stop to pick it up but it becomes easier the more one does it. I stopped for a small chifferobe(sp?) - checked it out to see if it could be rehabilitated and if it would fit in my car. Everything checked out and I moved my car closer. I put the back seat down and went to move it. Ugh! It was heavier than I thought but I was determined to get it. After twenty minutes of pushing, shoving and lifting, it was in the car. As I was about to pull away the front door of the house opened and the owner smiled and waved. I’m sure I was great entertainment for that twenty minute. CH and I refurbished it and sold it for a fair but nice sum.

Freecycle is a website where people ask for things they need and offer things they do not need. Some people ask for vehicles and above ground swimming pools but for the most part it is clothes, toys, household things, etc. It is a national website, I believe. One joins the one closest and emails requests and offers. Very easy and very free.

I like smaller, local flea markets. The gigantic ones are too much to handle for me. The dealers are usually open to negotiation and will tell the history of the item at the drop of a hat. I like that part. We have been very successful selling at a local market. One time we were sold out in 3 hours and went home very happy.

Craigslist is a website where one can post items for sale, services offered, houses for rent and on and on. There is a section for free items but I find that it is mostly for kittens. The prices are almost always reasonable and most sellers will negotiate. Recently we purchased a lady’s desk for $30 although he was asking $100. I guess he just wanted it off his hands.

CH and I love the endless possibilities of shopping and selling in non-traditional venues. We only buy what we need and sell our furniture at reasonable prices. This makes living so simple.

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