Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Life for Old Calendars

It's that time of year. I just got the cutest 2013 Mary Engelbreit calendar for the kitchen. Now, what to do with my 2012 Thomas Kinkade model???

We have always saved our old calendars. They make wonderful art references for artists, which we use them for. We cut up one old folk art calendar and framed pages for a matching set, used to decorate the walls of our folk art inspired den. When making a scrapbook for one of my kids, I also used tiny illustrations cut out from an old Mary Engelbreit desk planner.

What else can you do with old calendars? Check out this short article for even more ideas. In the meantime, now is a great time to get 1/2 price 2013 calendars from places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Free Kindle Download

We are offering our book FREE today and tomorrow. What a great way to start saving in the New Year!

Get it here:

Please pass the word!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Saving Money is Always a Great New Year's Resolution

Wow, Christmas flew by at our house. We had a wonderful time with the whole family together as well as a brand new grandson! We hope yours was a blessed and memorable day.

New Year's Eve is just around the corner. Have you started making any resolutions yet? Making a short list intimidates some people, as they feel like they may have failed if they don't accomplish everything on the list. I hope you don't feel that way! Look at it like something to shoot for, and don't be too hard on yourself if you can't make them all happen. There's always next year! At least by making a list, you can feel good about the fact that you are going to make a serious effort at improving your life and/or the life of those around you.

Not only in this economy, but anytime, learning different ways to save money is always a great resolution to make. When you really sit down and look at the many places your money goes, there is always room for improvement. Here are just a few areas where most of us could improve:

FOOD! Are you eating out way too often? Buying that high priced drive thru coffee on the way to work? Purchasing brand name grocery items without coupons or price comparison? Throwing out leftovers instead of finding clever ways of using them in a new dish? Then you have ways of saving a lot just in this category.

ENTERTAINMENT. Wow, do we spend a lot in this area. Whether it's a night out at the movies or paying that big cable/satellite bill, this takes a big chunk out of the budget. When you next have one of those evenings when you click through fifty channels and can find nothing to watch, that's the perfect time to make the big move. Try cutting your cable package to the minimum. Or....really take the big plunge and cancel it completely! We did this last year, buying an inexpensive Roku unit, a new Tivo, and using the Netflix account we already had. We have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, as we discovered the huge amount of online streaming content we can get for free. We set up OTR (over the air) antennas for the local channels, too, and it hasn't been painful at all.

If you like to go out a lot, a local Entertainment coupon book may be well worth the cost, too. You can get discounts on everything from restaurants to movies to bowling and much more. Look through the book for your area before buying, to make sure there are plenty of coupons you'll use to justify the purchase.

GAS. Ouch. Gas prices this past year have been downright frightening, but you can certainly improve on that expense. We keep our longer shopping trips to a minimum, combining all of those errands into one big trip to the city. Even in our small, local area, when we go out, we try to get everything done in the same trip. We own several vehicles, and use the most fuel efficient ones for any longer trips we need to make.

As always, we also think going to garage sales is a huge money saver in so many areas. Check out our book for ideas that will save you money on gifts, appliances, decorations, special events, decorating and so much more. (Psssst...the book will be free this weekend, Dec. 29-30).

Cheers and here's to a very frugal New Year for you and yours!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Frugal New Year!

We've been a little quiet here at the Garage Sale Saver blog. Well, garage sales generally slow down to a crawl between Thanksgiving and New Year's, as well they should. We have to have special time for family, friends and the miracle that is Christmas.

We hope you tried out some of our gift buying and holiday decorating tips from the book as you prepared for the season.

Be ready, though. Once we begin 2013, we hope you'll have read our tips from our book, "The Complete Money Saver's Guide to Garage Sale Shopping" and you'll be ready to start the year saving!

In the meantime, from our home to yours, have the Merriest of Christmases and we look forward to sharing more tips with you in 2013.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Free Kindle Book Day- Spread the Word!

We're running a FREE Kindle book download, tomorrow only, December 1st for just 24 hours. If you haven't read our guide on becoming the master at garage sale buying, now is the time!

Download it here, but remember, it will only show up as FREE on December 1st.

We'd love your Facebook posts and Tweets to help get the word out while it lasts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Better Than Black Friday Deals

What's better than Black Friday deals? Garage sale deals, of course!

With Black Friday deals, you can sometimes get some incredible buys for as much as 50-60% off normal prices. Sound good? Yes, but garage sale deals are consistently as low as 90% off original price and are not limited to one day or one weekend out of the year. That's why we felt it was important to share our tips for getting the very best deals all year long.

There are items that we like to buy new, and Black Friday is a great time to do that (especially online where there are no crowds to fight.) But for even better prices all year long, the garage sale can't be beat.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The "Do Not Buy" List

Well, another weekend is here, and with it, another round of garage sales. But are there some items that could actually be dangerous to buy at garage sales?

A Reader's Digest article lists things to avoid at garage sales, including hats, bike helmets, plasma TV's, mattresses and more. They make good points and you can read it here.

It is possible to consider buying a few of these things if you take the proper precautions. For example, finding a great buy on a fairly new model baby crib is doable, I think, IF you follow the advice in our book and check online for recalls first. Of course, you'll want to look over the piece carefully for any missing or defective parts, too.

Saving money is great, but using common sense when buying products that could harbor pests or have safety issues is priority one.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When is Shopping Better Than Selling?

It would seem to make sense that selling (making money) would always be preferable to buying (spending money), but in the case of garage sales, the opposite is true.

We had our own garage sale today. Since we are out at garage and estate sales every weekend, it is rare that we have one ourselves, but we had gotten to the point where it was time to move those unused items and store surplus. We had a very good day, sold the majority of what we had put and made a tidy sum. Or did we?

You really don't make much, if any, profit from a garage sale. It's still smart to have one now and then just to clear your place out, but it is rare that you will ever get what you paid for anything. You're lucky to get 10% of your original price.

On the other hand, if you follow the suggestions in our book, "The Complete Money Saver's Guide to Garage Sale Shopping," then you will almost always be buying things at a tremendous bargain and saving a great deal of money. As we discuss in the book, staying on a predetermined budget, knowing the local market and knowing what things retail for, you should arrive at garage sales well prepared to make the very best buying decisions possible.

Go ahead and have that garage sale now and then, but know that the real money is in buying smarter in the first place.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Last Day to Get Our Book for Free

As of this writing, almost 4000 people have taken advantage of our free download promotion. Today is the last day, so be sure to get your copy of our book now! Here's the link:

Hope you enjoy it and pick up a few new tips!

p.s. Don't have a Kindle? No problem. Amazon offers free Kindle reader applications for phone, tablet and PC here:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall Decor a la Garage Sale

A section in our book talks about decorating for the holidays with garage sale finds, and this may be one of the easiest things to do. If there is one thing you'll always find plenty of at garage sales, it's decor for the holidays.

For fall, you'll find a lot of silk autumn leaves and arrangements as well as ceramic turkeys, Thanksgiving planters and autumn toned candles.

Today's garage sales offered up an exceptionally cute pair of standing, stuffed Pilgrims which we snapped up for $5. They'll be a unique and eye catching duo in front of the fireplace, although my official garage sale "buddy" thinks they should go in our store instead. He is still working on the concept of "cute."

If your fall table or mantle are looking too bare, be sure to get out to the sales next week for something to give your home a warm, autumn look!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Our Book is FREE This Weekend!

If you haven't already read "The Complete Money Saver's Guide to Garage Sale Shopping," there couldn't be a better time than this weekend.

We are officially launching the book and it will be a free download starting tomorrow, Friday, October 19th throughout the weekend. Take advantage of this offer and be sure to spread the word!

To order, click the book illustration on the right to link to Amazon.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Don't Judge a Sale by Its Cover

In our book, we do emphasize that you should not necessarily skip garage sales based on the neighborhood alone. We have found that some real treasures are there to be found in very modest neighborhoods.

We came across a good example of that today when we took an old gravel one lane drive back to a little mobile home tucked behind an industrial park. We ended up buying a lovely Tiffany lamp for $8 and a set of portable CB radios for $3. In fact, my garage sale buddy is playing with the new CB radios as I write.

Don't let those little, out of the way sales fool you. They just might sell you the next "Antiques Roadshow" treasure!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Best Garage Sale Map Ever!

Just discovered, this one isn't in our book but we may add it to a new edition.

When compiling a map on a day with a large number of garage sales, try this great app:

Just type in one address per line and let Multiplotrr do the work. Multiplotrr easily compiles them all together instantly. You'll love it- we do!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Visit to the Nursing Home

Our book, "The Complete Money Saver's Guide to Garage Sale Shopping," includes a lot of ways we can use the variety of purchases found at garage sales. One area we didn't include is one you may not have thought about...nursing homes.

This came to me because we currently have a close relative in a local nursing home and visit there several times a week. The residents have limited room and can't get too cluttered, but there are a lot of nice little goodies from garage sales that can brighten their day.

Among the items found at garage sales that residents can use: Stationary, paintings and wall decor, many kinds of storage containers, small photo albums and picture frames, small silk plants or arrangements, inspirational books, quilts and comforters, door wreaths. Most of these items can be found new or in new condition.

You may come up with a lot more after visiting with the patients or staff and finding out what their individual needs and wants are. Cheer up a nursing home today for just a few dollars spent at a garage sale.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Make a Floral Arrangement With Garage Sale Pieces

In our book, "The Complete Money Saver's Guide to Garage Sale Shopping," we list a variety of uses for garage sale finds. There are lots of ideas for things you can make yourself from garage sale supplies. One idea not in the book is to make your own silk plant arrangement from garage sale finds.

Purchasing a beautiful silk plant arrangement in a retail store is pricey; usually $50-70 range. You can easily assemble your own, combining parts from arrangements bought at garage sales. It's easy to find a pot, brass planter or base for your arrangement, too.

While shopping, be looking for the colors and type of silk plants you have in mind. If you don't feel creative, check out a library book on arrangements for ideas. It shouldn't take long to find enough pieces in good condition to put your own unique arrangement together for under $10.

Many silk plant pieces and arrangements at garage sales have gotten pretty dusty. Here's a source for cleaning:

For more ideas, here are a few links for ideas on making arrangements:

Have fun! If you decide to try this, we'd love to have you email us a photo of your finished arrangement:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

90's Guru for the Frugal- Amy Dacycyzn

Maybe some of you remember who was frugal before frugal was cool. I sure do, because we received all of her newsletters and bought her "Tightwad Gazette" books when they came out. Our three kids were very little at the time and we really put a lot of her money saving techniques to great use. I felt her ideas were so important that I never threw away the newsletters. In fact, I pulled them out recently and read them all over again.

Amy Dacycyzn is the author of the "Tightwad Gazette" and has inspired thousands of people over the years to get creative and enjoy the simple life. This is not a lifestyle for hard times but all the time. I think it's likely that following her writing back then probably had something to do with our affinity for garage sales and creative ways of saving money.

Whether you've followed Amy before or not, take a look at this video interview from 2009 to get an idea of what she's all about:

Thank you, Amy!

What Will They Think of Next?

Indeed, what will they think of next? As we shared in our book, "The Complete Money Saver's Guide to Garage Sale Shopping," sometimes it can be pretty amusing to see what people will put out for sale at their garage sales.

Yesterday's award went to an upscale house where they had a large duffle bag of empty beer cans for sale. This was a lovely home in a nice subdivision where they were having a neighborhood-wide sale. Unable to resist, we had to ask about them. the seller explained that her husband had been saving them since college and thought they were valuable.Were they? Due to the condition, we would guess not, but you be the judge. Here's the scoop on beer can collecting:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Renoir at a Flea Market?

In our book, we take some time to stress the importance of knowing what you are looking at and checking for labels. We also talk about some of the treasures we have come across. We've had some good days, but we can't hold a candle to the woman in Virginia who bought a Renoir original at a flea market for $7. That's right, an original Renoir for $7.

She originally bought it, planning to use the frame and discard the artwork. That's one idea we suggest in the book, along with using the art with another frame. Fortunately, she did look further into it before making a move. She took it to an auction house for evaluation and their fine arts expert identified it.

The painting will be auctioned and is expected to bring in $75,000. Read the whole article here:

Although rare, these finds are out there, so go forth and find yourself a Renoir!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Mikasa Weekend

How did you do on your garage sale shopping excursions this weekend?

We came across TWO beautiful sets of vintage Mikasa china and snapped them both up. One in particular called "Fresh Cuttings" appears to be very hard to find now. It was a small set but the bright, beautiful colors make it a stand out!

Have a great week-

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Let's Talk Labels, Part 1

In our book, "The Complete Money Saver's Guide to Garage Sale Shopping", we talk about the importance of knowing things of value when you see them. You need to familiarize yourself with labels...on collectibles, china, furniture, etc.

One example of this is a recent garage sale purchase we made for $4. It's a large rabbit made by Annalee. The Annalee brand has been around since the 1950's and they are highly collectible. Visit their site and you'll easily spot these very unique pieces when you see them, easy to identify not just by the tag, but by the painted faces.

The Annalee doll we purchased for $4 would probably sell for about $50 based on comparable eBay listings, and is from the 1960's as dated on the tag. This is a great resale item or gift for anyone you may know that collects them.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time to Plan Your Weekend Savings Route

Is it Thursday already? I'm heading out soon to an estate sale that starts today.

Holiday weekends can sometimes be busy garage sale weekends. Remember, tonight is the night to check for Friday garage sale listings. Many will start on Friday and you'll want to be there first! Your Thursday night bedtime ritual is to check your local listings and Craigslist for tomorrow's sales. Check late because some sellers list them late. Be sure the car is gassed up and ready to go.

Happy shopping this weekend! Let us know what treasures you find.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Garage Sale Tip of the Day - Cash Rules!

Most of you who have ever been to garage sales will know this, but many do not..Do not expect to pay by check at garage sales! Very, very few people will take a check payment at a garage sale, although many estate sales will accept checks. Always bring cash in different amounts (twenties, tens, fives, ones and change).

Before going to an estate sale, call or email to see if they take checks OR take both cash and checks with you. Resellers, don't forget to take your sales tax permit along if you plan to purchase tax exempt for resale.

Have you looked through the book yet? It's just .99, free to Amazon Prime members and you can download the entire first chapter as a free sample. What are you waiting for??

See the book HERE.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our Book is Live!

Our book is now live and ready to go on Amazon!:
Click HERE to see it.

We've started it out at just .99 and FREE To Prime members, so we hope you'll download yours now while the price is so low.

Whether you are new to garage sales or not, we hope you'll find at least a few new tips to save money or find the perfect thing at the very best price. Let us know what you think!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ready to Publish!

We're so excited! After much preparation, we're almost ready to publish the "Complete Money Saver's Guide to Garage Sale Shopping" for Kindle. We're just waiting for our cover design to be completed and we'll be ready to roll.

There are many articles and tips online for shopping garage sales, but most of them just touch on a few highlights and that's it. This book is different because we have tried to cover just about aspect of the garage sale experience; how to prepare, how to get the best deal, what not to buy, decorating and crafting with garage sale finds and much more.

Look for our official book launch in days to come!