Zach the Yard-Sale Whiz. Mrs. Tweedie 2010. Zach Bissonnette , 11, jumped out of bed before 7 a.m. After gulping down orange juice and a granola bar, he and his mom headed out for Saturday morning yard sales near his Cape Cod, Mass., home.
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Zach Bissonnette, 11, jumped out of bed before 7 a.m. After gulping down orange juice and a granola bar, he and his mom headed out for Saturday morning yard sales near his Cape Cod, Mass., home.
Zach didn’t spend any money at the first five yard sales. But at the sixth he hit pay dirt: a console game system with two games for $7.00. Each component was still wrapped in plastic in the Styrofoam tray compartments. Although played with, the system had been so carefully repackaged it was what dealers call “mint-in-box.”
Money doesn’t burn a hole in Zach’s pocket. He’s a patient and careful shopper, and knows how to get value for his dollar. He buys at yard sales, flea markets, rummage sales, and thrift shops when ever he can. “It’s the best way to recycle,” he says. “It’s good for the environment, and fun. It’s going hunting.”
Zach, a sixth-grade student, even snares clothes bargains! Last spring he wore khaki slacks, a shirt and tie, navy blazer and loafers to an interview at Cape Cod Academy. Everything had been purchased either at yard sales or rummage sales!
MORE FUN THAN THE MALL “While driving home from yard sales I add up the retail (store) price on books I bought. Then I compare them to the prices I actually paid-usually 25 cents for paperbacks and 50 cents or $1.00 for hardcover books,” Zach says.
“On a typical day I might get two or three Matt Christopher books, a Gary Paulsen and maybe a couple of Beverly Cleary or Hardy Boys books, all in excellent condition. Retail price might come to $25.00, but I’d have spent $2.50.”
“Once you see what great things you can buy this way and how much fun it is, malls seem dull. One of my favorite finds last summer was a collapsible aluminum golf cart that was just about new. (Zach plays tennis and golf.) We paid $5.00 for it and saw the same cart for $80.00 at a discount golf store the next week.
Last week we bought a basket for a friend’s new kitties to sleep in. We bought our aquarium complete with stand for $10.00 last year. My mom loves that my new jacket cost $5.00 instead of $70.00
Zach mainly buys sports equipment, games, magazines and books, and adds to his collection of old video games and systems. But he also keeps his eye out for “smalls”-collectibles such as the figurine that he bought for a quarter. He can resell these at profit, either at his favorite Internet auction site, or at a local consignment shop.
At his sixth yard sale of the day, Zach scores again. He finds a set of skis that were used only a few times and then outgrown. When the man selling them reduces the $40.00 price by half, Zach’s mom buys the skis and poles for him. At $20.00, they cost about the same as renting skis for a weekend! And when Zach outgrows them, they can probably be resold.
Zach’s Tips For Shopping Yard Sales1. Resist temptation to overspend. Don’t buy what you don’t really want or need, just because the price is low.2. Inspect your selections carefully. Look for chips, stains, wear, and tear.3. Prices are rarely firm. You can make a fair offer, or just politely ask, “Can you do any better?” You can frequently get 25 % off the asking price.
Zach’s Tips For Shopping Yard Sales(Continued)4. Be very careful when buying anything electric or electronic. Make sure it works. Ask a parent for advice.5. Know the retail (store) prices of things you want to buy. Expect to pay about one-quarter the retail price when you buy at a yard sale.6. Keep your eye out for gifts. Does you mom or dad like to cook? Does your little brother or sister collect action figures?
Zach’s Tips For Shopping Yard Sales(Continued)7. Party and holiday clothes are usually a good buy. Kids often wear these clothes only once or twice before outgrowing them!8. Clean what you buy. Can it be washed or dry cleaned? Ask for advice.9. The early bird gets the best picks-but prices often drop in the afternoon.10. Be proud of what you buy this way. Tell people if you want to-consider it a sign of being a smart consumer!