Monday, 16 September 2013

10 Top Tips for Car Boot Sale Success!

After my recent success at a car boot sale, where I managed to snag a MAC eyeshadow for 20p, I thought I'd write a post on how to bag the best bargains at car boot sales. Now, I'm by no means an expert, I mean, I won't be appearing on Antiques Roadshow anytime soon, but these are just some tips that I use when I go to car boot sales. I've also peppered this post with pictures of things I bought at car boot sales, because who doesn't like a good picture?
Gold watch for 50p. Although I need to get the battery changed...

So, here we go, my top 10 tips for car boot sale success!


1. Don't be embarrassed

When I first heard about car boot sales, I'll be honest, I was a bit snobby about them. Why would I want to buy other people's junk? Wasn't it all just chewed up kids toys and stained duvets? Well, some of it is, but you don't have to buy those things. Have no shame. Everyone's there to either make a bit of money, or find a bargain. There's no judgement at car boot sales.

2. Get there early
  
This may seem a bit obvious, but its true. Anyone who's queued up for the infamous NEXT sale, or any sale for that matter, will know that the good stuff goes at the beginning. So, get there when it opens to the public, or alternatively....
Benefit Justine Case (complete of course) for £1
3. Sell stuff yourself to bag the best bargains

You get first dibs on the good stuff and you get to make a bit of money yourself. The best deals I've ever done at car boot sales have been when I've been selling stuff and got talking to people on neighbouring stalls. If you strike up a bit of rapport with them, then you can really get some cut price stuff. Mates rates, and all that.
4. People are desperate to shift stock at the end of the day
That being said, another strategy is to wait until the end of the day and get rock bottom prices. Generally, people are tired by the end of the day and don't want to lug all of their stuff home with them. They're much more receptive to cheeky (read: low) offers, so play your cards right and you could grab a real winner. However, remember that what's left at the end of the day might not be the best. Which brings me onto my next tip...

A gorgeous lamp for £1
 
5. Don't buy things for the sake of it

All bargain hunters know this, but it needs to be reiterated. There is no point in buying something just because it is cheap. Yes, you could get a charming cartoon frog statue for 20p, but chances are (unless you're a massive frog fan), it will end up back on the car boot circuit when you next do a clear out. 

6. Know what you're looking for
I find the best way to combat #5 is to go to the car boot sale knowing exactly what you're looking for. This doesn't have to be very specific, for example, you are unlikely to find a Mulberry Bayswater for £5 just because you want it to happen. Trust me- I've tried. Be realistic, but specific. I like to go with a general idea, for example, I'm looking for candlesticks, or necklaces and see what I find. Often, a broad idea is best, because it opens you up to new possibilities.

A delightful decorative plate for 10p
7. Don't be afraid to dig
I use my TK Maxx mentality at car boot sales and do as the seven dwarves did and dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in the car boot the whole day through. Or something like that. You can often find hidden gems under the pile of Hannah Montana DVDs (sorry Miley, it seems like everyone is getting rid of your stuff post-VMAs) and it's pretty rewarding to find something that everyone else has missed. Generally, the messier the stall, the more of a chance of finding a bargain and the cheaper it will probably be. You can spot a professional car booter from a mile off. Not worth it. Steer well clear.

8. Get chatting to the seller and haggle

Another obvious one, but haggle as if your life depends on it. Now, there are obviously some cases where this just isn't sensible. For example, if someone offers something for 20p, don't be that person and try to haggle them down. Come on now. Usually you can knock the price down a bit by being indecisive, for example, just umming and ahhhing and then turning to walk away can often cause sellers to lower their price.

Of course, the best way to get a bit of a discount is just to be nice. Be friendly, be smiley, be chatty, get on their good side and be a bit cheeky, a bit flirty even. It doesn't pay to go in and be like those people on the Apprentice and be aggressive. It's really off putting. Compliment their stock, say you've been looking for the item for ages, that it's your mum's birthday and it's exactly what she's always wanted. Anything like that. Be a bit tongue in cheek. They'll appreciate it, and so will you.

Yes, I'm still reading Crichton. 5p
9. Don't be intimidated

I touched briefly on being aggressive in your haggling, but it's also worth remembering that it works both ways. Sometimes the sellers can be aggressive, pushy, and let's be honest, a little weird. 99% of people there are friendly, good natured and normal, but you do get the odd one who is a little, well, odd. Remember, you don't have to buy anything, you can just walk away, no matter what they say to you. I'm making it sound a bit scary, it's not. Just don't feel like you have to buy anything that you don't want to. 

10. Enjoy yourself
This is the most important one. Car boot sales are fun. They're a community activity. They're not a super serious business deal. They're just ordinary people looking to make or save a bit of money. Have a laugh with the sellers, enjoy the terrible bbq that is inevitably on, grab a bargain. If you don't, that's ok, there's plenty more to come.

Silver candlestick for £3 (I love this so much)
And there we have it, my car boot sale tips. Do you have any tips you use at car boot sales?

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