TRASH TO TREASURE: Build the better garage sale to maximize your money efforts

Everyone’s been a little short on cash and long on ideas.

Choosing the best avenue to ensure you’ll soon have some extra income could prove to a laborious process, but one seemingly timeless option always is mentioned at least once.

The garage sale.

In the day and age of CraigsList and eBay, you would think that the idea of piling your stuff in a front or back yard, or actually lining up your belongings within a garage to sell seems a little antiquated. But selling items online isn’t always practical, especially if you’re talking about larger payoffs in the form of appliances, furniture and televisions.

Shipping often can turn into a nightmare, so those not exactly enthralled with everything that goes into online selling and sending turn toward an old friend with a little life left to give.

The garage sale is more than just your stuff scattered on a front lawn and priced way too modestly to make even a profit. This is an opportunity to pay close attention to how your sale is set up and executed so that you can limit your expenses and maximize your profits.

Those expenses might come from a newspaper ad, which ironically can be incredibly pricey even though that information medium is showing no signs of making a popularity comeback. Instead, try posting your sale online through social media. Some Facebook sites are dedicated exclusively to local people trying to promote and eventually make sales through their garage sale endeavor. These ways allow you to skip the $100 newspaper ad and promote your garage sale for free.

Right away, you’re well ahead of the game.

And if you really want to make a garage sale successful, you might want to follow some simple advice: sell stuff. Far too often, garage sales are set up perfectly, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Make sure you aren’t too attached to these items you’re trying to get rid of, otherwise you’re in for a long afternoon and very little money to show for it.

Don’t be overly afraid to part with anything from a lamp to an old TV, otherwise your sale will slump significantly. Mark your prices accordingly and let them be. Don’t haggle over a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in years; let them go for a fair price.

Finally, don’t bother wasting time and money putting together a sale in a spot within your neighborhood that no one visits. If the area you live in isn’t overflowing with traffic, then don’t bother. If you still want to sell your old stuff, ask a friend or family member that lives in a more bustling neck of the woods to team up with you to have the sale of the century.

Who knows, maybe that teamwork and taking control of your perceived “trash,” could lead to plenty of treasure in the form of a few bucks by the end of your sale. 

Wheel Will: Just wait, and you’ll see how much you save on that sort of new car

Car dealerships sit anxious and pensive as the calendar year comes to a close.  Before you can even say “Happy New Year,” they’re in the midst of a marketing drive that is touting the newest cars on the lot, which bodes well for saving money on your next car purchase.

Buying a vehicle, new or used, is quite the financial endeavor, but only the most competent will employ tactics that take the entire buying scope into perspective and make a purchase that is deemed perfect.

Saving money on your next car doesn’t have to entail haggling sticker prices or getting into a back and forth argument with an overly aggressive salesperson. It just takes a little research and wherewithal to hold your own once you step on to the showroom floor.

At that point, you’re either the hunter or the hunted. The latter leaves you in quite the unenviable position and probably means you’re going to overpay for the car. You’d much rather rely on being in the former category and take control of your car buying situation.

The first step is understanding that the end of the year or the very beginning of the new year is an ideal time to buy a vehicle. Dealerships begin slashing prices on, for example, 2013 vehicles to make room for the 2014 ones. Even though 2013 has just ended, in the car business, those model year cars, trucks and SUVs are archaic in car years.

Once you’ve determined the year car you’d like to pursue, you’ve got to then comprehend the inner workings of how the salesperson skews the numbers, and tries to focus on the monthly payment, rather than the actual price of the car.

One big mistake a car consumer can make is answering this famed question: “How much are you looking to pay each month?” In car terms, this means if you tell them $300, then they’ll make the “numbers work” but truthfully that probably means they’ll extend the terms.
So that 60 month car payment simply gets rewritten as 66 months; not exactly a magic act of epic proportions.

Another huge misstep when you’re buying a car is divulging too much information about your own financial standing or being pushed into making a decision on the spot. It’s perfectly fine to walk away and continue shopping for a better price, and you should make sure to tell the dealership that’s why you’re leaving.

And don’t fall for techniques employed by the lesser known car salespersons and dealerships, such as letting you take the car home for the evening. That’s a huge red flag that you’re not dealing with a professional organization. In that same vein, be leery of giveaways or promotions that encourage you to spend $30,000 on a car and get a free cooler or barbeque grill.

Who wouldn’t love a new iPad Air, but not for the sake of overspending on a car?

It’s time for you, the consumer, to turn the tables on the dealership and do what you want when it comes to making a financial investment as paramount as a car.

TRICKS OF THE TRADE: Stores know how to hook you into spending more money

The holidays have ended, but that doesn’t mean you’re quite in the clear just yet.

Retails stores have their eye on you. More importantly, that can’t stop staring at your wallet.

The after Christmas sales aren’t the only means to make you spend more money and keep you coming, and staying, within the confines of your favorite retail place.

You’ll be more apt to spend money, which means less cash on hand, a dwindling bank account and stores that are smiling from ear to ear.

So what’s their secret to keeping their sales revenue bloated and you focused on buying any and all products?

There isn’t one particular trick of the trade that retailers implement per say, and they certainly shouldn’t be dubbed as the “bad guys” in this situation. Stores simply provide an arena to make purchases, and provide a product or item that you may opt to buy. The trick for the consumer is to buy what you need, not so much what you think you need.

Stores make the process a little harder for customers to ignore, when they tout sales, coupons, clearances and discounts across the board. But it’s up to the consumer to show a little restraint and put paying their bills ahead of a Playstation 4.

A sure fire sign a store is out for blood, however, is if they have a sales associated manned at the front door and is quick to hand out coupons before you’ve even tried on one sweater. Those same savvy sales people might also be handing out bags, or in some cases, carts as you walk through the door. Think of it realistically: if you have a bag or cart, aren’t you more apt to fill, or overfill, it?

Although it might be a different sales associate, you might find yourself faced with an overly helpful employee. Naturally, part of their job is to help you find what you’re looking for, but they’ll be quick to point out what looks good or a recommendation of what they think is best. Granted, that advice could prove potent and ultimately lead you in the right direction as far as making a purchase, but you should be a little leery if they’re adding on to an already large purchase.

For example, you’re in the midst of buying a new laptop, and that aforementioned sales person follows you to the register with a case, cooling pad, wireless mouse and headphones in tow. That’s salesmanship and soon to be overspending on display.

Being able to resist that temptation and differentiate between those who are trying to be helpful and those creating a financial hardship for you is the key to keeping your spending at a minimum.