So the credit card companies now have to comply with some new rules, designed to protect the consumer and some of them are a long time coming. College kids are no longer going to be able to mortgage their futures while they are still building one. They will need parental permission to get cards if they are under 21 and will need proof of income as well. This is good news but don’t be fooled by it. No credit card company has your best interests at heart. They are here to make money and  make money they will. One of the good things they now have to do is show you what you will pay and for how long on your balance. I can only hope they when you see that $10,00.00  paid of at the minimum will take 43 years to pay off and cost some ridiculous amount of money that the hot tub or the vacation put on plastic won’t look so appealing. Financial preparedness matters as much as physical preparedness.

In my own never-ending quest to save money, I take every chance I can to buy used. We are just approaching the time when tag sales will be popping up and the tag sale presents a wonderful opportunity to pick up things you need without paying retail.

The time to start prepping for the tag sale season is right now. Over the next few weeks, keep notes on things you need. I broke the crock from my crockpot a few weeks ago but the unit itself works just fine. I didn’t find one at the thrift shops I frequent so I will be on the lookout for one of those. I have jotted down the dimensions of the one I broke. I find these pretty often for under a dollar. I know that Phoebe is going into size 7/8 so I will keep my eyes peeled for that size, paying particular attention to the big-ticket items like winter coats and boots. I don’t think I have ever bought her a new coat or boots. I always look for hand tools, kitchen ware and gift quality toys, books and puzzles. I often find camping equipment for pennies on the dollar, once even getting a good down sleeping bag for $5.00.

I do some prepping before I hit the tag sale trail. I make sure I have a lot of small bills and change but never flash a wad of cash. It will put you in a bad bargaining position. I always offer a bit less money for any item unless the price is already exceptional or if the family looks like they are raising money out of need rather than just cleaning out junk. If you are thinking you might buy something that requires batteries, bring along fresh ones when you shop. You don’t want to come home with some electronic gizmo that doesn’t work. If I am looking for furniture I take the seats out of the van so I will have lots of room. I have learned to travel without kids and with snacks and drinks. I have also learned to go to the bathroom before I leave home and have spot picked out to make a pit stop on the road. Ahhh. the joys of aging.

The best sales are moving sales and estate sales. These are the best for the good stuff; cast iron cookware, linens, tools and good quality used furniture. I avoid CDS and DVDS as they often skip. I also remind myself of my own weakness. Books are a problem for me.  I can’t resist a book that looks interesting, especially a cookbook or gardening book. Most become clutter 5 minutes after they get in the door. 10 books I don’t need  is $5.00 wasted and more stuff I need to find a home for.