Another way of getting the goods!
I've heard a lot of suggestions on getting items through garage sales, dumpster diving, thrift stores, and the like. I haven't seen anyone suggest going to live auctions. I know that not everyone has the benefit of having the time to spend at an auction though. But I still wanted to put this idea out there. I discovered auctions because I work in an antique mall, as well as enjoy collecting and re-selling antiques (which has sometimes helped me through hard times....it's nice to have paid a quarter for an antique at a yard sale and then re-sell it for quick money because I need gas or book money). I've gotten spectacular deals through the afforementioned methods since my hobby of antiquing isn't really in a penny-pinchers budget. While most people go to auctions for antiques and there's a preconception that that's all they have at them (as well as I understand that a 'collecting' hobby isn't always in a penny-pinchers budget)...I've sometimes found great deals on useful household items at auctions. How do you find out where/when auctions are? Well...ads in the newspaper sometimes run, with a sale listing. You can try looking in the phone book for a consignment auction place and finding out their schedule. It's free to go and look at what they have before the selling begins! If there's an antique shop or mall in your area, some of them hang upcoming auction listings with dates, places, and items on a bulletin board. I've been lucky enough to have a place in my town that holds consignment auctions twice a week on a regular schedule. A consignment auction means that people bring out stuff to be auctioned that day, giving the auctioneer a cut ( btw, actually bringing out YOUR stuff to [email protected] consignment auction...I'd reccomend a garage sale first). You never know what they'll bring out or how high *or low!* the price will go. Some days it could be all high-end, hoity toity antiques...another day it could nothing but junk...most days, it's a mix. But at my local consignment auctioneering arena...tuesdays there'll be grocery store foods that are at their 'best by' date but still edible! Normally this is things like cookies and chips. HOWEVER the amish will often bring fresh eggs and vegetables out for sale...sometimes people will bring fresh vegetables from their garden. My mother got 3 pounds of tomatoes VERY cheap (I think it was $2? and i must say they were excellent). Going to auctions for veggies isn't really the first thing I'd reccomend, since a farmer's market would be your better bet for a set price and a quick in-and-out situation. But I just wanted to put that out there :P I've also gotten and seen furniture, cookware, dishes, appliances, and any other sort of household item you can think of show up at these consignment auctions. Sometimes there's been local restaurant closings so there'll be all sorts of high-priced appliances going cheaply at these consignment auctions. My parents got a brand new washer and dryer for $100...as well as she's gotten restaurant/catering supplies cheaply for a friend that has her own catering business. Actually...the computer I'm using right now came fully loaded from a consignment auction for $300 (original retail for it was $2,000 but the business closed) Some times, if no one is interested in a pile of items...they'll go for $1 (normally when it's mostly people out there for antiques...no one is interested in cookware and kitchen items). Also...other times if someone bought a pile of stuff for a few bucks just to get one item...they'll leave the rest to just be picked through for anyone interested. I'll say that you should be warned about going to auctions though...1) don't get auction fever and bid-bid-bid! 2)auctions are not for the impatient...it can sometimes take time for the auctioneer to get to the item you're waiting for (so obviously, auctions aren't the best bet for people that want to stop in before going to work) I'll say that normally one-day auctions (auctions that had a listing put out because an entire household's worth of stuff is being sold that day, on location of the property) can be equally fruitful. There's many one-day auctions I see going on where a person is moving away or into a retirement home so their household goods go cheap since most everyone else is there for the antiques. I know this option isn't as practical as thrifting/garage saling due to the time you could be waiting for an item...but I still hoped it could be useful for anyone on this list that does have the time. In some ways, going to an auction has saved me more in gas and money than garage sales and thrifting has since I can't ride the bus to garage sales and the thrift stores are rather spread out from each other...meanwhile, I could waste more time driving to garage sales to end up finding nothing at the end of the day than I could by just walking into the auction building, seeing nothing up for auction I like, and going back home. So I guess if you've got the time and the patience...an auction could be the place for at very least, some good dumpster diving and the entertainment that comes from watching the auctioneer hussle :P You just might find some cheap treasures, too.