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4 Reasons to Avoid Garage Sale Shopping

Yesterday a fellow personal finance blogger, Holly at Club Thrifty, posted about 5 reasons why she loves shopping at garage sales.

I’d venture to guess that a lot of personal finance bloggers and readers do like to shop at garage sales as they can be a great way to save some money on your purchases. Well, no offense to Holly and the rest of you that love shopping at garage sales, but I personally HATE shopping at garage sales. Here’s why:

Lack of Selection

One of the reasons I don’t shop at garage sales very often is because they don’t often have the items in sizes or colors I need anyway. Sometimes you can pick up some good stuff at garage sales for dirt cheap, I get that, but in my rural area there’s not much selection. When I lived in a college town I’d go garage-saling (yes, we made it into a bit of hobby) to get used furniture and nicer quality stuff from the “rich part of town”. But now in my rural area there isn’t really a “rich part of town” to be found.

They are a Time Suck

Now that I work full-time, have a part-time weekend job, am trying to finish up a major yard renovation project at my house, and I have a freelancing business to run, my time is very limited. I have to be pretty picky about what I do with the small amount of free time I have and generally this doesn’t include driving around town to look at dusty stuff in people’s garages. Instead, I’d rather spend time with my family or friends, or working on one of my non-income producing hobbies. 🙂

You Buy Cheap Crap You Don’t Need

Holly talks about how she finds lots of stuff she’d likely buy anyway at garage sales, thus she saves money and the environment. That’s great! I love that idea. But personally, the garage sales in my town are usually full of stuff I don’t need and they entice me to buy cheap Walmart crap that ends up becoming clutter. Yes, they are usually very cheap, therefore they aren’t a huge money waste, but I still have to figure out how to deal with disposing of them.

I’d Rather Shop at a Second-Hand Store

We don’t really have second-hand stores in my community, just one with terrible selection, but when I visit Denver I like to hit up lots of their second-hand stores to see what I can find. Sometimes you can find designer or other high-quality clothes and home items for really cheap. Plus I like that my money is being used to support a charitable organization, instead of going to the garage sale owner so they can buy more crap at Walmart and have another garage sale the next year.

On the flip side, I do love having garage sales. I had one at my house last year and with all the stuff we sold, the total we brought in was about $625! It was a pretty lucrative sale as my mom, my cousin, and I all got rid of a lot of our clutter and made some cash too. $625 may not sound like much, but we had no large items at all, so it was mostly made $1 or $2 at a time.

Do you like shopping at garage sales? Have you ever held a successful garage sale?

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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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