Auctions are one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday with my family. Maybe it’s the historian in me that likes to see old things not available in today’s stores, or maybe I just love getting a good deal!
Either way, auctions are fun–and free unless I buy something. Often, I find great deals on a few household things, plus I get to spend a day with my family.
This time of year, there are plenty of auctions in this area…just about one every week. Here are some tips for an enjoyable auction experience.
- Read the flyers. You won’t know exactly what’s at an auction until you get there, but you can prepare by reading the auction flyers. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize which auctions are likely to offer something you want and at the price you want to pay. For example, an auction that has lots of collectible glassware is likely to attract antique dealers or older ladies. In my experience, it’s hard to get a good deal on housewares or antiques at this type of auction. But, auctions that list a variety of household items are more promising for the things I like to buy.
- Know retail prices. The only way to avoid paying too much for an auction item is knowing how much the item retails for. For example, the jars in the picture above retail for $.50 or more per jar so I knew I didn’t want to pay more than a few dollars a box.
- Go early and stay late. Get to the auction well before the bidding starts so you can get your bidder number and have plenty of time to look through the items. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a great deal simply because the majority of bidders got to the auction late and were too busy getting numbers or looking around instead of watching the bidding. Larger auctions that run late into the day often lose bidders as the evening approaches, so fewer bidders are around to run up the prices.
If you’ve never been to an auction, I recommend giving it a try. Even if it seems a bit overwhelming at first, hang around and watch for a while. It won’t take you long to get the hang of it.