How to Stretch Your Hard-Earned Dollar

The advantages of shopping at estate sales and other great places


We’ve seen some interesting trends in the personal property market over the last few years.  Staggering statistics for the aging population means a tidal wave of residential contents, and a soft market has put a pinch on many wallets.  Couple this with millions downsizing, simplifying their lives, passing away, divorcing, moving out or the country, etc., and what you have is a healthy buyers market.

My parents used to tell me stories of when they were children during the Depression and what my grandparents did to stretch a buck.  Some of their stories were hard to believe, from grandpa making wine in the cellar and selling it for $1 a bottle, to my other grandfather buying thick sheets of leather to re-sole all the kids’ shoes because they could not afford new shoes.  Dad even mentioned that, as a small boy, he would run down to the butcher to get the bones before anyone else did, so grandma could make bread and bone broth with vegetables.

Regardless of economic times, we should learn an important lesson from the previous generation and be practical with our money so it goes farther for us, especially when we work so hard to earn it.

Estate sales, yard sales, auctions, and second-hand stores are all wonderful ways to stretch your hard-earned dollar.  Estate sales have fabulous items and the widest possible variety of anything you could want or need: furniture, decorative items, tools, jewelry, clothing, antiques, collectibles, etc. (and I do mean et cetera).

Many of these items are gently used or still new in the box.  The beauty of these sales is you never know what you might find; the thrill of the hunt is part of the excitement.

Negotiating your price is fun depending on the estate sale professional’s policies.  Please be fair-minded when negotiating.  After all, the family may very well need the financial assistance from the sale to help with mom’s illness or health care bills.

Here are some advantages for shopping at estate sales:

  • This is the ultimate in recycling
  • It helps a family just like yours
  • Designer/brand name items for much less than retail
  • Most furniture is made from hardwoods, and well made
  • Find out-of-print books for avid readers
  • Hard to find vintage items
  • Find unique items from around the world
  • Find older electronics and record albums
  • You may find a treasure/investment
  • A great place to find eclectic gifts
  • Something for everyone

Visit some estate sales this weekend and enjoy yourself!  You never know what you will find!

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising.  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at

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