Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to shop, get a good price and have everything come together

I find that everyone I talk to and meet, I get asked a lot of the same questions. Some of the two most asked questions are probably the following:

"Where do you find all of your treasures?"
"How do you get a good price? How do you haggle or ask for a better price?"

So, I'm going to attempt to break down some of my best advice when it comes to these things. These are strictly my opinions and yours may differ from how I approach certain things such as asking someone for a better price on an item or how I shop. 

This mirror was in our last home, our military housing rental. It was definitely the style I was going for at one time and although I still loved it, I found that it sat in the guest bedroom more than it did hanging on my walls so therefore during the great clean out before we moved, I got rid of it. I actually found this mirror on Craigslist from a lovely woman who lived in Orlando. On a day that I was planning to go to Orlando, I arranged to meet her and got an awesome deal on a very large mirror. 

Here comes the negotiating part of this. This was a very large mirror and from what we both can see, very pretty. I believe in the ad she was asking $75.00. I asked if they could take $50.00 because I didn't want to low ball them but I wanted to pay about $60.00 so I figured she'd meet me in the middle. Friends, there has been VERY few occasions where I have made an offer LESS than half of what someone was asking because I feel like it's almost rude or a slap in the face depending on what the item is that you are negotiating. So here's my #1 for finding a good deal.

1. Be a good, fair, respectful buyer. Just because you want a good deal does not mean that you should low ball someone on something that more than likely they had in their home or loved at one time. Think about someone going to your home and you were selling something your family left to you but no longer had room for it. You posted it for a fair price and expected to come off your price a little bit but someone offered you next to nothing for it. It would probably upset you. This also can pertain to painted furniture, crafts and handmade items. Being a furniture painter myself, I, of course, have gotten people asking me if I will do any better on price or if I will take less. In some cases, I do try to work with people but I will be the first to admit, I have to count to 10 when someone low balls me on a solid wood antique that I know is worth 2-3 times what I am asking but I put fair prices on my furniture and items to keep them always moving. Just please consider someone else's feelings before you try negotiation and ultimately remember what you want to pay and what you think is a fair price.


2. Be a frequent shopper. When I first begin the search for that perfect piece of furniture or item, I go to my usually places; Target, TjMaxx, Ross and Marshalls. I also frequent many thrift stores, Craigslist and online yardsale pages on Facebook. As I am sure some of you are aware, sometimes there are certain thrift stores that don't seem to have much change over time. Check anyways. You never know what you're going to find that is new or just came in for them. It pays to be a frequent customer and you just may develop a great relationship with the employees/owners. Craigslist I usually browse about once a week or more often if I am searching for something in particular. Online yardsales on Facebook are a little more difficult for me because I don't sit on my computer all day to see what everyone is going to post next. Sometimes I get lucky and find something and sometimes I even have friends tag me in things that they think that I would love. Totally appreciative of that by the way! ;-)


3. Go to the clearance first. Every store that I go in, usually chain stores have clearance. That is the first place that I head to. Think outside the box on items and remember that you can repurpose more than just old furniture these days. Sometimes the best things are on clearance for the silliest reasons and something that is easily fixed. I've also learned that it never hurts to ask a manager if an item has a cosmetic flaw such as a well seen scratch etc. if they can give a discount for the item. I've gotten 10% of some many things for tiny scratches and dings so it never hurts to ask! Just remember again, to be respectful and do not just do this for any old item. There clearly has to be a flaw. The photo above of our old chandelier, was on final clearance in Lowes. If I remember correctly, it was only marked for $22.00! AND on top of that, we got an extra 10% because of my hubby serving. Amazing.


This old door I pulled out of the garage behind a grocery store. Amazing. The top I sold as one piece, almost looked like a window. And the bottom panels I cut up and sold each with hooks for the entryway and for baby girls nursery. 


I found this apothecary chest at a local thrift store. I overlooked it the first time walking around. If you know me personally, you know that in every store I usually walk around TWICE because I'm afraid I overlook things the first time. It pays to take a second look. ;-)


This *GORGEOUS* shaker buffet I got off Craigslist before we moved and I was SO sad to see it go. I miss it sometimes ;-) But I sold it to the sweetest woman who was just as excited as I was when I first saw it. I loved it and still do! They do not make furniture like this anymore.

4. Support small businesses. This is easy for me because I myself can relate, obviously ;-) Every year, I frequent the small thrift stores, our local antique mall (WildWood Antique Mall-Melbourne, FL) and shop for gifts for my family and myself and home there FIRST before I go to the large chain stores! You will find more ONE OF A KIND items there than you will at Target. Not that I don't love me some Target... but remember that buying from a small business means that the money from your purchases goes directly back into the business to produce more goodies ;-)

5. Yardsales, estate sales and auctions: Go. Stop. Even if it looks like it may not have much. There could be something hidden that you would otherwise miss out on. Just remember what I said about negotiating and being a respectful buyer. I purchased this table back in North Carolina while I was visiting my folks. I can't even admit how much I got it for because I felt like I stole it! 




So there you have it, just some little tips tonight. I'm off to go redecorate something probably!


-Ally

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