Finance | Frugal Living

Reduce Spending Tips From Garage Sale Buyers

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

As interest rates increase in Canada, I talked to garage sale buyers about how they plan to reduce spending.

If someone wants to reduce spending, they can, but often that means giving up something important.

Last Saturday, we hosted our first garage sale, where I took the opportunity to talk to people.

I wanted answers without asking them directly so they didn’t think I was odd.

Maybe, I am a bit odd, but I do it to gain insight for my readers and our family.

Surprisingly, almost everyone who stopped by our garage sale extravaganza stayed to chat.

A few buyers hoped their finances would improve; however, it was just optimism.

Now they are left to face the reality of possibly selling their home and renting.

Garage sales are now a way of life for many people who struggle to pay the bills or want to reduce spending.

I know that sounds odd, but if we look at why people reduce spending, it can go two ways.

To reduce spending, you can buy something brand new but on sale or used at a garage sale.

There are other ways to buy used items, but a garage sale is the most lucrative for buyers.

Today, I want to discuss questions I asked my garage sale customers that might surprise you.

  • Ways to reduce spending
  • What is the primary purpose they go to garage sales?
  • Items of Value at a garage sale
How To Reduce Spending Habits In Canada
How To Reduce Spending Habits In Canada

Ways To Reduce Spending Money In Canada

Since this was my first time holding a garage sale in Canada, I was thrilled.

That might sound awkward, but when I lived in the UK, a car boot sale was in a field.

The idea was to pop the boot (trunk) and put any items out you wanted to sell.

A garage sale in Canada is fun because people stop to chat about life, including money.

I first noticed that I had four types of buyers who came to our garage sale.

  • Resellers
  • Seniors
  • Parents with young children
  • New Homeowners

I also found that each group had different reasons for garage sale shopping.

  • The reseller was looking for specific items, which I’ll talk about below, and items new in a box.
  • Seniors and grandparents sought something to do after their early morning breakfast.
  • Parents required everything from household items to kids’ toys, clothes, indoor and outdoor apparel, etc.
  • New Homeowners were of all ages, some single, others married or in a partnership needing furniture, kitchen products, home maintenance tools, garden tools etc.

Only one of the four groups was reluctant to stick around and chat with me.

If you guessed the parents with kids, you’re right, mainly because kids get restless.

Even so, I still managed to pick their brains about how they plan to reduce spending during challenging economic times.

What Is The Main Purpose Of Garage Sales?

You can imagine that each group of buyers at a garage sale came with a reason.

Often I found myself staging what I had for sale based on the traffic I could see arriving.

For example, if I noticed seniors coming, I didn’t touch anything since they looked.

If parents with kids in tow arrived, I would direct them to items such as toys, books, DVDs, or kitchenware.

As soon as we had customers, Mrs. CBB would say, “Welcome to our garage sale.”

May I ask what you are looking for today?

She was very cheeky but friendly as it was 8 am.

I wanted them to stop and talk to me, but people move fast regarding garage sales.

Everyone said good morning, and most came with a game plan since they told me what they wanted.

For example, one lady was looking for size 3 boys’ fall clothing.

Types Of Buyers At Our Garage Sale

  • The resellers were hunting for items they could flip or make money from in the future.
  • Seniors are not always grandparents, and grandparents are not always seniors. The purpose of visiting garage sales gave them something to do. Also, grandparents were looking for items to gift or purchase for their daughters or son’s kids to help them reduce spending full-price.
  • Parents, especially first-time parents, look at everything for kids, from clothing and outdoor games to shoes, hats, ride-on toys, and educational games.
  • New Homeowners seemed to have no game plan and came looking for anything to help them save money. I would have stayed home if I wasn’t looking for specific items. Street garage sales are best since the buyer doesn’t have to drive and waste gas from sale to purchase.
  • Overnight Cleanup Crew drives around the city filling trailers with free stuff left on the curb.

Name Two Items Of Value At Garage Sales

The early birds are those who show up before a garage sale begins.

Out of 4 men asked me if I was selling the following hot-ticket items.

  • Video Games
  • Gaming Consoles
  • Gold
  • Jewellery
  • DVD’s
Gold necklace and earrings
Why buying gold jewellery at a garage sale is a good investment

An older gentleman stopped to tell me that he’s been collecting gold for 30 years at garage sales.

Authentic anything gold, he would negotiate with the seller and purchase.

He says that he has amassed pounds of gold that he keeps in three bank security boxes.

When I asked him why he did this, he explained that it was all he could leave his children.

Since he can’t afford to leave them a financial legacy as money is tight, he’s leaving the gold.

That was mighty smart, especially since he gets most of his gold at rock-bottom prices.

Another tip he shared is that he finds lots at garage sales in second-hand shops.

The gold gets taken to a buyer, who then sells it to someone who turns the jewellery into gold bars or makes new jewellery, such as a jeweller.

Bars of Gold
Turning Gold Jewellery bought at a garage sale into Gold Bars

Fifth Type Of Visitor To A Garage Sale

You probably won’t see the fifth type of spender, the overnight cleanup crew, unless you have FREE Stuff.

At our garage sale, I kept a corner of the driveway for free items, including a computer chair, kids’ toys, tea bags, kitten toys from the Dollar Store, a coffee mug, and a planter.

Our neighbour who coordinated a street garage sale said we’d have another by the end of the garage sale.

It was already two o’clock, and buyers dwindled to one here, and there, so we decided to close up shop.

Everything we had that we no longer wanted or felt wouldn’t sell was left to the curb.

At night while everyone was sleeping, the fifth visitor to garage sales came around and scooped it up.

These nighthawks will take your stuff and either fix and sell it or get money from the scrap yard or electronics recycler.

Reduce Spending To Increase Debt Repayment

With the Bank of Canada raising interest rates, homeowners fear the future.

I had a couple at our garage sale that said they had reached their limit with money and felt they would lose their home.

Of course, it was heartbreaking to hear, so I gave them lots of resources and tips to help them.

The first item to reduce spending was groceries, clothing, holidays, renovations, etc.

It’s about giving up what we don’t need, even if it plays a significant role in your life, such as gaming.

You’d be surprised how many adults play video games and the expenses that come with it.

Sell your video game console, chair, and games since they are hot items but not at a garage sale.

Our neighbour sold a Nintendo Wii for $15, left by the previous owner, a hoarder.

When you reduce spending, any savings can go towards debt repayment, including a mortgage.

You might have to stop or reduce paying into a tax-free savings account (TFSA), Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), Registered Education Savings (RESP), or other investment accounts to stay afloat.

Increasing Interest Rates For Canadians

Rising interest rates in Canada set at a goal of 2% by The Bank of Canada 2022.
Rising Interest Rates in Canada 2022 Pushing Canadians to Reduce Spending

Will increasing interest rates solve inflation?

On June 1, 2022, The Bank of Canada increased the interest rate by 0.5%, bringing it to 1.5%.

The Bank of Canada aims to raise the interest rate to 2%, which I’m guessing will happen.

Canadians who are already struggling with money need a game plan starting now.

Earning more money is also fundamental for Canadians to get ahead or save for a rainy day.

Perhaps homeowners could rent a room to a College, University, or International Student.

If a home has a basement apartment, it may be time to put the rental to good use to increase cash flow.

Mortgage Renewal And Increased Mortgage Rates

Increased interest rates in Canada may force some homeowners to sell.
Increased interest rates in Canada may force some homeowners to sell.

Most homeowners who overbid or buy at home at the tip of their borrowing power may struggle.

According to a recent survey from Manulife, the findings were unsurprising.

Nearly 1 in 4 homeowners would have to sell home if interest rates rise more: survey

The Manulife survey also found that two-thirds of Canadians do not view home ownership as affordable in their local community

Home Affordabiity With Increased Interest Rates

Rising Costs Affecting Canadians Budget

How can Canadians reduce spending to aid in what some may call a recession or pending recession?

We’ve already started with rising costs on everything, stores closing, and employers struggling for employees.

It will take a long time to get out of this mess, and the first thing to do is get your finances in order.

An older lady browsing the garage sale told me she wasn’t looking for anything.

If she spotted something, she would assess whether she could use it or if it was a dust collector.

She told me that living on government income as a retiree is hard, and she still rents a room to her grandson.

I asked why he was staying with her, and she told us she still had a small mortgage.

She pays extra on the mortgage with his rent money and has had to reduce her spending habits to pay off debt.

It’s not an easy life without savings, she says, looking me in the eyes before walking away.

Money Follows Us From Birth Until Death

From birth to our impending death, ensure all your documents are up to date and stored in a fireproof safe.

Lastly, if you don’t have a Will, it’s essential to create a Will either online or with a lawyer.

Reduce Spending Now Instead Of Waiting

DVDs at garage sale for buyers who no longer have cable.
What buyers are looking for at a garage sale

If you are living on a tight budget and feel that you will struggle to pay bills, don’t wait to react.

Find ways to save money anywhere, even if that means cutting the chord on entertainment for a while.

We said goodbye to cable last year and have no regrets about our home phones since we both have mobile phones.

Although we are doing well by living mortgage-free, that doesn’t mean that we spend frivolously.

I don’t care who you are; if you want your money to work for you, reduce spending, pay down debt, and invest.

Discussion: How many of you fear that impending interest rates might affect your ability to pay the bills? Please leave me your comments and questions below.


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