Now that garage sale season is in full swing, understanding the do’s and don’ts of garage sale culture can help you snag the best deals, save lots of money, and enjoy the hunt!

DO: Negotiate on Price

Bartering is definitely expected when you go to a garage sale. The most respectful way to barter is to be upfront. Try to negotiate a specific item before setting it aside for purchase. For instance, if you see a rug you would like to offer less on, explain why (there is a small snag) and what you want it for (would you take $10 less?) right away. Another tactic is to ask for a rounded down number once everything is added together. If your total is $11, save a little money by offering $10 so you only use one bill and it is easier all around. Be sure to remain respectful when negotiating so as not to offend the seller.

DON’T: Purchase Junk

Before spending money at garage sales, ask yourself if the purchase is a want or need. It is common to pick up so much stuff at garage sales because the prices are low. If you will not use the item at least once per year, do NOT buy it.

DO: Go the First Day of the Sale

Popular garage sales can get picked over within a couple hours. It is important to pay attention on the listing when the sale starts. If you can not get there the first day of the sale, consider visiting different sales instead. Some garage sales are only open Saturday and those are the best ones to visit if you work during the week. Otherwise, the best day for garage sale deals is usually Thursday.

DON’T: Waste Your Time

Although sellers might get frustrated, do not feel guilty driving by sales that don’t look interesting to you. However, beware that large sales do not equate to nice stuff. Even small garage sales might have just what you are looking for. The best rule of thumb for whether or not to drive by is how the house looks. If the house is well-maintained, consider stopping to check out their sale. If the house is run-down and poorly maintained, you can bet you will purchase items that you find blemishes on later.

Using these guidelines for visiting garage sales, you will be able to save lots of money finding treasures in other people’s trash.