Mr.CBB’s Garage Sale Tips For Buying and Selling Stuff!

Photo Source
Garage Sale, Yard Sale,Rummage Sale, Church Sale,Trunk Sale or Car Boot Sale as we call it in the UK  all of which essentially mean the same thing…. cheap prices for “stuff” people no longer need,want or have room for.  The Spring and Summer time are the high times for garage sales especially here in Canada. Warm weather and sun plant the Spring Cleaning bug and sends people into a selling frenzy.  For newlyweds, students,first time home buyers or anyone who wants a bargain now is the time of year to get out and get searching.
What’s it like driving Mrs. CBB to Garage Sales…. well, where do I start (I hope she doesn’t read this…
I remember when I first settled here in Ontario in 2007 I had never been to a garage sale at someone’s house in my life. I have to admit it can be a bit draining with the wife raging with excitment in my ear. Her hands waving in the air, hurry, I see the sign, look,look,look at all the people, pull over,she jumps outs, nods up and down, side to side, she jumps back in, go,go,go,… oh yes this  does my head in, but I’m used to it now.  If you’re a man and are the driver I’m sure 100% you can relate…you are smiling and nodding as you just read that I bet. If so, +1 for you now go grab a pint, you deserve it!
Always plan your routes to save time and money in the gas tank. No sense saving a buck in the budget when you are blowing it on petrol.
Stadhampton car boot sale

Stadhampton car boot sale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When my wife was visiting the UK she said the same of the “car boot sale” me mum and dad brought her to as I was selling off my life to move to my new life here in Canada. You’ll find garage sales at people’s homes like here in Canada but more in fields or council land. Sometimes you will pay a small fee to enter like 1 pound or $1.60 CDN to get in (was $2.35 CDN to the pound back then but sadly that’s a whole other post). There will be other sellers with their vehicles open or trunks filled with items to sell. It can be quite the party actually with lots of food and drink, fun for the entire family!
I did manage to sell almost everything I owned through the car boot sales and am happy for the most part. Mind you I am kicking myself for selling a few items one in particular was my galvanized steel watering can for the garden. I miss that can and have struggled to find them here for the past 3 years. Low and behold I come across one at Wal-Mart the other day for $12.99 and I stopped at nothing to pick it up.
Garage Sales have been amazing here in Canada as it has helped us pick up some great second-hand must-haves for our home and garden at a fraction of the retail price. Just today our community was having a Garage Sale extravaganza all over the neighbourhood. The neighbours come out from hiding and we get to check out each others “junk” (the seller for the most part believes it’s junk) and make new friends. You know the old saying “Someone’s junk is another person’s treasure.”
Garage sale

Garage sale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before the big day today the Mrs. had me prepare with her some items to bring along as apparently there is a strategy. Below are some tips that I’ve learned that helped me prepare for the go,go,go of the morning. I’m thrilled and saddened to say that I found a steel watering can today and I paid under $1.00 for it.. far stretch from the $12.99 above.  We picked up everything in this picture today for the grand total of $6.00. I know amazing I bet you are thinking… well that’s the power of negotiation and neighbours who want to get rid of stuff.
Garage Sale Buying Tips In No Particular order
  1. Source out all the garage sales in your city
  2. Map out the sales in order of vicinity to each other so you are not wasting gas driving back and forth around town
  3. Mark off the garage sales you’ve been to
  4. Always bring a baggie or purse with mixed small coin $0.05.$0.10.$0.25 and $1.00 and $2.00 coins. (this helps the transaction go faster as well as aids in negotiating for smaller items)
  5. Never pull out your money until after you negotiate a deal
  6. Keep bills in small denominations in one pocket and coin in the other
  7. Always negotiate unless the price is already “bargain basement” (very low price)
  8. If you want it you better grab it or the man or woman behind you will
  9. Get up early in the morning, don’t be late or you will miss out and don’t be an early bird. Most sellers like to set up their sale in peace before the crowds start rushing in.
  10. Don’t try to get something for nothing, appreciate the already low prices, understand garage sale pricing.
  11. Bring shopping bags with you if you are walking so you are not lugging multiple items around
  12. If you are buying electronics ask to see them work
  13. Do ask if an electronic can be returned if it does not work
  14. Don’t be rude and push or shout out to the sellers it’s not auction hunters… YEP!(ok lame I know haha.. I tried)
  15. Thank the sellers for the sale… and enjoy your new-found toys

Yard sale on Green Street in .

Although I have not personally held a garage sale in Canada the same still stands in the UK plus what I’ve seen here in Ontario.
Garage Sale Selling Tips In No Particular Order
  1. Always be ready the night before if you can. Know your items and price your items according to what makes you happy.
  2. Have a garage sale pricing list if that makes it easier
  3. If you have stuff you want to give away “Free” make a free garage sale sign for it ahead of time
  4. List your garage sale on Kijiji,Craigslist or the local paper with time, date, address and other pertinent information.
  5. Post garage sale signs in the neighbourhood on mailboxes or even make ground signs with an arrow directing traffic. You can buy signs or if you are wondering how to make your own garage sale signs you can design a garage sale template in power-point and simply print them. You will find garage sale sign ideas on-line  here or use your own creativity, be unique.
  6. If you are selling electronics make it convenient for the potential buyer to test it out or if you have a stereo for sale plug it in and have the tunes going! Might as well party up the early morning folk!!
  7. Be polite to all potential buyers, greet them and tell them you are available if they have any questions.
  8. Be flexible on price of things may not sell
  9. Join up with other neighbours to bulk out your garage sale. You have all seen the drive-bys. I’ve done it, and so will others.. bulk it out and give people a reason to stop. The more the merrier and it makes for an interesting day with others around.
  10. Put all the big-ticket items up front where they will be eye-catching to the people who simply drive up to take a quick peak. Most people will decide with-in seconds whether they want to stop in or not simply by what they see. So don’t hide great items in the back, bring them to the front and market them like a pro would!
  11. Always have change ready for buyers so stock up on small bills and coin and keep it on you. We’ve heard of seller’s money going missing because they get distracted. Borrow or if you have one of those pouches you can tie around your waist as your cash drawer!
  12. Don’t turn anyone away early birds even if they are pushing the etiquette envelope..  money is money, a sale is a sale.
  13. Track what you are selling so you know how much you made for each item in the end and the total of all sales
  14. All sales are final unless specified!
  15. If people ask why you are having a sale, tell them the truth, if you want to get rid of stuff, tell it like it is and you might be surprised how fast it will sell.
  16. Treat a garage sale like a business, think like an owner, play like a customer and you will sell everything you want to get rid of! Marketing and a friendly attitude are the keys to success!
Last week I asked our Awesome Facebook Fans:
What are your tips for people who are about to embark on garage sales whether it be having one or going out to them.. what advice would you give them? What was your best Garage Sale score?
Photo Source
  • Debbie Perkins-hammonds- If you are having a garage sale price stuff to sell. I’d you are buying at one and think stuff is too high and they won’t mark it down don’t buy it.
  • Theressa Hill- My best garage sale buy was a collector’s item cookie jar, creamer set and spoon rest that I picked up for $5 and is worth about $300.
  • Becky Turner-Deslaurier My best find was at a dance studio garage sale where I picked up 1 pair of tap shoes, 4 pair of jazz shoes, 2 neck ties (for my hubby) 2 strands of snowflake decorations, and a large area rug all for free! It was the end of the day, but we felt guilty and gave them $15.
  • Jen Peacock-Remember it is a garage sale, not a second-hand store or eBay. Be organized and lay things out on tables. Things don’t get noticed if they are in boxes on the ground or under tables. Saturday is the best time for a garage sale. Sunday is for sleeping in or church for most people.
So always remember that before you buy new ask yourself if  you think you can pick it up cheaper at a Garage Sale this spring or summer!

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Haggling the Best Deal with your Communications Company

Do you call your cable company annually to negotiate a better deal? If not, read this post to learn how you can save yourself and your family money each year with a simple call. Haggling with your communications company may seem like a pain in the back side but with high competition for services it’s worth the time it takes to talk to a customer retention agent.

Every year I shake my head when I do the yearly round-up of our expenditures with Rogers Cable. I must admit that I have lowered these costs over the years but am looking to downsize them. Sure I have some of the best Rogers retention plans going but sometimes they make it difficult to want to continue being a long time client of theirs.

The cancellation department also handles the retention phone calls for customers who have promotions coming to an end. Essentially all they are is a customer service representative with retention strategies to try and keep you as a customer. They are the people who can boost your savings depending on your needs and how well a customer you are.

Rogers client retention may not seem like a big deal when you are 1 customer but if everyone decided to move to another company that could put a dent in their earnings. Rogers is one of the leading communication companies in Canada with continued revenue growth up 3% according to their 2012 Quarterly report located on their website with adjusted operating profit up 7% and earnings per share up a whopping 33%.

2013 Rogers Retention Plan 

It’s that time of year where I make the annual call to our communications company as our Rogers promotions are coming due.  I like to update this post with what we were offered or what they call the best “rich offer” they can give us for all of you to compare your deals.

Our end of promotion total bill for the 2012-2013 year was $149.71. Our new bill will be $153.55 which is a bit more but last years promotions were far better than what they are offering today. I’m still not sure what we will do with this promotional deal they offered us. Below is what Rogers offered us for the 2013-2014 year of promotions.

Rogers Wireless Cell Phone Retentions Deal

  • Cell Phone $31.12 includes 200 Weekday and Unlimited Weeknight and Weekend
  • 100 Any time Canadian Long Distance Minutes
  • 6 pm Early Evening Calling
  • Call Fwd, Call Transfer, Call Answer, Call Display Bundle
  • Bundle Discount
  • Total $31.12 (this is apparently the cheapest cell phone plan with Rogers)

Rogers VIP Cable Retention Deal

  • VIP Digital Cable
  • 1 FREE PVR (Personal Video Recorder)
  • HDTV Channel Pack
  • Bundle Discount 20%
  • Total $66.55

Rogers Home Phone Retentions Deal

  • Change from Classic Plan which is no longer available to the Favourites Plus Plan $19.99 month plus tax for 2 year promotion not a contract. It will cost $45.00 a month when the promo is done (I’m sure this will change as prices always go up)
  • 500 North American Long Distance Minutes (it will cost $5.00 extra when the promo is done)
  • Loss of Rogers to Rogers switching from Classic to Favourites
  • Total $22.95

Rogers Internet Retentions Deal

  • Rogers High Speed Lite
  • Bundle Discount 30%
  • Modem Charge $4.00
  • Total $32.93
Previous Rogers Retention Deals

Here is one true example back in 2010 we were paying just under $200 a month for 4 services or $2400.00 per year. In 2012 I received the same 4 services plus more for $159.68 or $1916.16 per year by calling retentions.

In 5 years at the 2012 rate we could have put $9580.80 down on the principal of our home. In 20 years that’s a whopping $38,323.20 although we know this cost will increase over the years. It really puts it into perspective when you see the average numbers over the long-term.

There are always price hikes with Rogers (most companies for that matter) for one reason or another so always keep in mind that your promotional price likely will go up over the course of the year. There is nothing they can do about it so you have to suck it up or leave which might mean you break a contract although their service agreement states:

If a change to a Month-Month Service of a Term Service entails an increase in your obligations or a decrease in your our obligations and if you do not accept such a change, you may terminate the affected Services without a Cancellation Fee by sending us a notice to that effect no later than 30 days after the amendment takes place.

So make sure you read the service agreement which you will find at the bottom of the Rogers Home page. It pays to stay informed because you can’t turn around and say you didn’t know if they offer it to you. If you are late paying your Rogers bill they will charge you a 2% late fee per month calculated and compounded monthly on an account that is not paid to the tune of 26.82% according to their service agreement.

Do we really need all those services?

Ask yourself the above question and if the answer is no cut out some of the services. We are looking at chopping some of the features we pay for this year such as a bundle pack on our cell phone.  We might cancel the VIP cable for Basic cable and find internet services elsewhere.

Before We Call Our Cable Retention Department

The first thing we do is sit down with our budget spreadsheet and look at our yearly total for our communications bills. Take the time to add yearly costs of your Cell Phone (s), Cable, Internet and Home Phone so you have the exact numbers. You can’t haggle a deal if you don’t know what you previously were spending. If you are a new customer you might have more ammunition for better start up deals so don’t be afraid to ask, they do want your business after all. 

If you have just completed this task I bet you are surprised to see costs in the thousands if not more per year for these services. In 2011 we spent $2030.09 for our Rogers services for the year. The next year in 2012 we paid$1807.25 to bundle our services with Rogers for the year through the retention department promotion pricing. That was a difference of $222.84 for the year which is better than nothing and for some a month of groceries in their grocery budget. So, we have home phone, cell phone, internet and cable with Rogers.

Your communication costs are all variable spending habits, meaning we really don’t need them at all. They are a luxury but one that shouldn’t break the budget in order to have them.

How To Negotiate 

If you want to learn how to negotiate with Rogers or whoever your communications provider is remember it’s a business. As a client you want to be professional and at least be prepared to make the phone call to haggle with them. Below is how I go about tackling my annual call to our communications company.

  • Write out your year to date totals for your communications bill and review your current bill for pricing.
  • Know when your service contracts are due and write this information down so you can prepare your negotiations ahead of time. ( I like to call the retention department one month or more before our promotions expire)
  • Keep junk mail from other cable and phone companies as you may need this information.
  • Search the internet for companies in your area that offer the services you need.
  • Call or Email these companies to get quotes on comparable items that you receive from your provider.
  • Tell them that your contract is coming to an end with your current provider and you are looking for the best deals.
  • Bundling your services with one provider may end in a better price but not always, research is best.
  • When you have all this information in front you then you are ready to do the next step, haggle with your current provider.
  • Typically there is a customer service number you can call to discuss your services. I like to call and ask for the Retention Department when calling Rogers or you can ask the cancellation department for retentions as they are the same people from what I was told from an agent today. 1-888-Rogers (7643)-1
  • When I reach the retentions associate I tell them I am potentially considering cancelling my services because I have found a better deal unless they are willing to negotiate with me. I am being honest as this will be my intention if they cannot match or beat a competitive quote that I have. It’s not a means of blackmail it’s just the way business goes just how they tell us there will be an increase in price for our services. Don’t just call and act like you are owed something, be considerate.
  • Be polite to the retentions agent on the phone, use their name just like they use yours as you are not aiming to cause a confrontation as they are simply doing their job.
  • Let them know what quote you received from a competitor comparing apples to apples(meaning for the exact same services) and for how much and ask them if they can meet or beat it.
  • If they say no you can either continue to negotiate, cancel your services or call back another day until you get the answer you want.

Almost 99% of the time these retention agents have given me better promotions than advertised or others have received. If you have been a long-standing customer with an excellent account use this to your advantage. Tell them how dedicated to the company you have been and wish to continue being although I’m pretty sure it’s obvious as they can see your account history. There’s nothing wrong with reiterating your commitment to their organization.

I also follow Red Flag Deals (RFD) “Hot Deals for Rogers Customers” at redflagdeals retention thread but I would also like our fans to post their internet, cable, home phone and cell phone deals here in our comment section so others can follow CBB Communication Retention Deals here!

Arm yourself with the best defence, in the end its your money, so spend it wisely.

Quote-Budget and Money

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