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Treasure Hunters Find Bargains At Local Yard Sales
By Crystel Bailey
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Forget air-conditioned malls and stores, and go to yard sales to find great bargains on clothes and other useful items.
Everlyn Johnson, apparel and textile program leader with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said yard sales are a good idea for buying children's clothing; seldom worn items, such as party clothes; and household goods, such as furniture for college students.
"Yard sales offer excellent prices on clothes. You can get them for a fraction of the retail cost," she said.
Jan Lukens, consumer management consultant with MSU's Extension Service, and Johnson offered tips for shoppers to help them buy wisely at yard sales.
"Shop early for specifics, and shop late for bargains," Lukens said.
Large items, such as furniture or home appliances, are often sold before the yard sale starts, so call ahead of time or arrive early at the sale.
"If you want to bargain, try buying in bulk. Tell the seller you'll buy several items, especially if you can get a better price," Lukens said.
Sometimes sellers will price an item higher than what customers want to pay.
"Ask them for the lowest price, and if it is higher than what you want to pay, say so. Offer a lower price, but be ready for them to say no," Lukens said.
Plan yard sale trips to go to several sales in the same area. This way buyers can get a feel for reasonable prices and make the best use of their time and effort.
Johnson said to look in Wednesday through Friday newspapers for advertisements because most yard sales are on Saturdays. Listen to the radio for local events and look for posted signs that advertise yard sales to find when and where they are.
"When going to yard sales, buy as long as it fits into the budget," Johnson said.
She said the average family spends between 6 percent and 20 percent of their income on clothing, while teenagers and young adults spend the most money. Older adults usually spend the least.
Johnson said to make sure clothing fits into a person's wardrobe, and if buying for other family members, make sure clothing matches each family member's different style.
"If you buy a new garment, it should match at least three other clothing items you own," she said. "If your son likes to wear athletic clothing or your spouse prefers business-casual looks, buy clothes for them that fit their individual styles."
Make sure clothes fit into a normal clothing care plan. If they require dry cleaning, consider that cost in the total price of the garments.
"Don't be led by fashion trends alone, but buy classic clothing because it will stand the test of time wherever the trends go," Johnson said.
A few clothing items Johnson said never go out of style are the five-pocket jeans, medium-width lapel jackets, A-lined skirts, shirt- waist dresses, notch-pointed blouses, medium-width waist pants and straight-leg pants.
"Don't waste money on clothing that is too small or too big for children. Look for garments that are free of stain and fading. Look at the elbow, knee and seat areas for wear. Make sure zippers work, buttons are secure and pockets are not torn," Johnson said.
She suggested carrying a card of measurements because most yard sales do not provide dressing rooms. Measure the shoulders, chest and hips areas (side seam to side seam), sleeve length, waist, and pant and skirt lengths.