I'm here today to talk about a topic that is dear to me, one that I've never fully shared before in such detail: Flea Markets. After going to flea markets over the past 2+ years, I have lots of good tips to share with you that should help you get the most out of your flea market trip and score some good deals. Sound fun?! Okay here we go...
Nearly every Sunday morning, my hubby and I wake up at the crack of dawn to head out to our local flea market. While he takes photos of all the crazy stuff, I'm always on the hunt for that perfect vintage item whether it be vintage sewing supplies, bakelite bangles, aqua kitchen accessories, or 50's hats.
The best part about the flea, besides the low-prices, is the variety of items for sale. You never know what you're going to find that you need, and every week brings a new assortment of vendors and merchandise.
From my experience, flea markets are one of the cheapest places to shop for quality vintage goods aside from going directly to estate sales.
There are several different types of flea market vendors. There are guys selling items directly from estate sales, as well as one-time vendors who bring the items that didn't sell in their garage sales. There are collectors looking for a quick buck by selling parts of their collections off, along with people selling new items that look almost new. Each market will be different depending on your area but they're all about selling things cheap & prices are almost always negotiable. Be prepared to encounter many fun, colorful characters. :)
Random Bits of Wisdom
- Arrive within 30 minutes of opening or not at all
- Dress kinda grubby
If you look like a million bucks, you are probably going to be quoted higher prices by the vendors than if you look, well, drab. Not all vendors will price things that way, but I tend to play it extra safe on this front. I've had people look me up and down and the female vendors have even glanced at my ring finger to look at my ring. As a bonus, this makes waking up earlier much easier since I just roll out of bed and run out the door with little to no prep.
Ladies, this includes purses! On the drive to the flea I transfer my wallet, keys, etc to a long-strapped purse that goes across my body and leave my real purse in the trunk of my car. The long strap on my 'crappy bag' affords two hands for snatching things up easily.
- Guys are more willing to negotiate prices, especially guys in their 50's (or more)
- If you see something you want, don't walk away from it
- Don't be afraid to walk away if the price isn't low enough
- Carry only the amount of cash you are willing to spend
- If you buy a large item, the vendor can hold it in the back until you're done shopping for the day.
- Be prepared --> with a flashlight & shopping bags & singles
Also try and bring your own canvas totes. It makes carrying you items easier and prevents any accidental breakage that could happen with a plastic grocery bag (if the vendor even has any bags to give you).
If you're buying low cost items, vendors may grumble at breaking your 20 dollar bill. I try and have singles when possible to avoid this... but it's not a requirement.