Let’s talk shopping, or at least obtaining needed items.
Shop Garage Sales: You may know already that garage sales have a dedicated following. As you become involved in shopping this way you will meet others and will be able to use them to help you find items you need. Tell these garage sale buddies to keep their eyes open for baby items, for example, and before you know it they will be calling with a find. Remember to inspect all items closely before buying to make sure they are safe. But watch out that you don't get hooked on this kind of bargain hunt, or this idea may backfire on your budget.
Market Place: If you participate on Facebook try selling on Marketplace. Your experience with garage sales will help you here as you price your items. Be sure to meet people to deliver items in a very public place during daylight hours.
FreeCycle: Many communities have websites devoted to items people no longer need and will give away. You can also post items you are searching for.
Hold a Garage Sale: After you have shopped garage sales for a few weeks you will have a good idea of the price you can charge at your own garage sale. For best results and to share expenses and effort, ask neighbors and friends to hold a sale on the same day. Make sure this is worth the time. In some areas, garage sales don't work anymore because there are just too many of them and people are accustomed to purchasing cheap items at those $1 shops. Use the money you make at a sale to purchase food storage or other preparedness items.
Shop at Flea Markets: There is a higher price to be paid at a flea market than at a garage sale, but there is much more variety, and it is one-stop shopping, thus saving on gas. These markets are great places to purchase local honey, fruits, and vegetables. Flea market items are also more likely to be new, but buyer beware – flea market vendors are strictly here today, and gone tomorrow.
Sell at a Flea Market: Find a vendor who is willing to share a space for a small price or gather a group of friends and share the cost. The advantage over a garage sale is the volume of people you will attract and the slightly higher price you can charge. Again, designate this money for prepping purchases or bill paying only.
Hold a Swap Meet: Get together with a group of friends and trade. This is a great way to get kids clothing and baby items. Contact friends and set a time and place for the swap. Make it fun - have everyone bring a favorite appetizer and dessert. You can either pass out play money and have the items “priced” or hold an auction or draw numbers and let everyone choose items in order of the number they have drawn. Decide ahead of time what you are going to include in the swap - baby items, household, furniture, books, etc. This is a great way to find clothes, books, toys, and more, for gifts.
Shop at the Outlets: Find out where the local grocery outlets are located. These are most often bread and baked goods outlets, but you can save quite a bit over the cost in the stores and as the items are perishable there are often additional markdowns.
Buy Used Furniture: There are so many resources for used furniture. Make sure when you make a purchase that the piece is sound or can be inexpensively repaired. Also, be sure you can refinish a piece without a great deal of expense and calculate the cost of refinishing into the purchase price. Be cautious when buying upholstered furniture.