25 Jul
Posted in: Budget
By    5 Comments

Turning Yard Sale Items Into Store Credit

I spent the last couple of hours of tonight working on a dragon costume for Benjamin (it’s even more bizarre than you think…he wanted a Chinese dragon costume–technically a Chinese lion dance costume–not an easy thing to whip together) so I need to write about something that won’t fry my brain any further than it is. I’ll write a separate post about the costume (and will include pictures, as they are definitely worth a thousand carefully-chosen words) but suffice it to say, his costume is cute and in the spirit of the Lion dance–sort of like drugstore knockoff perfume is in the spirit of Chanel #5. 🙂 Probably not going to be mistaken for the real thing but either one would be fun if you were a toddler and didn’t know any better and no one mentioned to you that it stunk.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yes. Yard sales. My “safe zone.” Today was terrific. For $3 I got a dark pair of CK jeans, a dark brown suede jacket, a pair of Marks and Spencer black wedge shoes, and a BUNCH of yarn, because, don’t laugh, I’m taking a knitting class this fall. I’m already all signed up because I knew if I let it go, I’d put it off for another year or two, since here I am, over 30, and not understanding even my class supply list. Worsted weight? What the hell? Anyways, I got four skeins of black Austrian yarn (too cool) and two big skeins (one of them a full pound) of unopened stuff from Joann Fabric. This is especially fortunate, because as I am about to admit yet again, I am perhaps the cheapest bastard on the planet. The next stop for those two thingies of yarn will be back to Joann, to exchange them for ones I like even better.

She has red hair, is five foot four inches when she is wearing tall shoes...you all have seen her on our poster. Do NOT accept this woman's returns!

She has red hair, is five foot four inches when she is wearing tall shoes...you all have seen her on our poster. Do NOT accept this woman's returns!

This is a yard sale trick I have done a few times and am *almost* embarrased about, but clearly not enough because here I am, announcing it to the world. 😉 It’s surprisingly easy to pick up new items at yard sales and return them to the store they were bought from for store credit, and I usually do quite well when I do so. For example, Nick and I bought a bag of unopened cabinet hardware from a yard sale for $5. It was definitely from Home Depot…it was even still in the plastic HD bag. There were also a few odds and ends in the bag that I thought might come in handy for a project we were doing. When we got home, I took those few things out and took the rest to Home Depot. It turned out the hardware was worth $45 in store credit. I can’t believe the people at the yard sale didn’t take it back themselves, but I think there must be a lot of people who won’t return things because that happens quite often. I won’t go out of my way, but if it’s a store I like and it’s an unopened item, it can be very tempting. I’m not much of a bargainer at yard sales (if it’s marked too high, I’ll just walk away) but this doesn’t really bother me.

Does that make me a bad yard sale attendee? Or a good one for shrinking the supply chain of unnecessary items that people buy? Thoughts?


  • Have fun at the knitting class. Buy yarn that you like the color and feel of as that’ll keep you knitting longer. And don’t buy cotton. Your hands with not appreciate it. 🙂 Check out ravelry.com for lots of knitting patterns and forums and advice and stuff. Then let me know and we can be friends there. haha!

    • Michelle, you might want to see how exactly bad I am before you agree to publicly be a friend of mine on a knitting site. 😉 Ha ha! I’ll check it out.

  • No shame in getting store credit. I would be proud of myself. And the dragon costume is adorable. I’m sure Benji adores it.

    • Thanks, Sandie, Peach!

  • Wow, you are my new hero for returning yard sale items, I would have never thought of that! I am really bad about returning things to the store, especially if I don’t have a receipt.

    I totally suck at knitting. It is just about the least enjoyable craft thing I have ever attempted. It takes my full concentration, makes my fingers and eyes hurt, and I am really slow. Maybe I’m doing it wrong? I hope you enjoy your class, and make lots of cool fluffy scarves 🙂

So, what do you think?