It’s no secret that the cost of living skyrocketing makes superfluous spending something we have to think about long and hard. Gone are the worry free, spend what we like on whatever we want days of shopping. But here’s the thing. You’ve heard it before, but it’s a fact. You don’t have to pay retail. Not ever. Not even close. And I’m going to share with you how.
Most everyone’s heard of Craigslist. There are no hidden fees, no taxes, and you can easily weed out dealers by choosing the search option “by owner”. There are tremendous deals to be had by buying anything you could possibly want secondhand. And unless otherwise noted, everything is negotiable. EVERYTHING! The first question out of your mouth should be, “What is your best price?” or “Can you work with me on the price?” The answer will almost always be “yes”!
Even on sites like Etsy, contact the seller and ask those same questions. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you ask politely, the worse that can happen is they’ll say “no”. But I have not ever found that to be the case. The same is true on eBay. If there is no “buy it now option”, you can still contact the seller and make an offer. If they agree to accept your offer, they will simply relist with a “buy it now” option at the agreed upon price.
For my friends on the east coast, you have a treasure trove in your own backyard. Consignment stores, like Great Finds and Designs in Timonium, Maryland, www.greatfindsanddesign.com, mark their inventory at incredible prices. So incredible, that their inventory changes DAILY. Drive into the DC area for the day and be surprised at the local charity thrift stores by what has been donated. Again, you’ll find unbelievable merchandise at equally unbelievable prices.
If you haven’t visited a Home Goods store recently or ever, you need to go. Now! Trucks bring in new merchandise daily. The products are firsts, not seconds, and are current season. Each Home Goods stocks differently. Some, due to demographics, will stock more heavily and more often.
Now here’s something for those of you who like antiques, but can’t afford or don’t want to pay dealer prices. The vast majority of dealers do not go to Europe and ship back containers for their stores. They can’t. It is cost prohibitive. They go to local auctions and estate sales. In the Dallas area, there are two notable auction houses, Miles Autry Auctioneers, www.milesautryauctioneers.com, and Ennis Auction House, www.landmark-auction.com. You don’t have to be a dealer to attend or have a tax id number to bid. You can preview AND bid on upcoming auctions online a few days before the actual auction or, if you prefer, go in person to preview and bid. The advantage you’ll have over the dealers is that they have to stay below a certain price point to be able to make a profit. Even if you go $50 to $100 over what you could buy it for retail, you’ve still saved yourself a lot of money!
The same is true for estate sales. You can sign up for notifications for your area by simply entering your zip code and email address to sites like http://estatesales.org/ and receive weekly notifications of the sales closest to you. Most estate sale companies will post photographs on the site to entice buyers to come. This will help you decide not only which sale you might want to attend, but how early you are willing to get there to beat the competition!
Watch shows like HGTV’s Flea Market Flip or The High Low Project to get your creative juices flowing. Reusing, repurposing, reimagining are in vogue! And the possibilities are limitless! Challenge yourself to “think” outside the realm of traditional design, all while saving money and enjoying the creative process!