How to Save Money at Auctions

By glblguy

Country Auction

We did something interesting and different yesterday, we attended an Estate auction. This was my first auction, and it was both a wonderful experience and a great deal of fun!

First I was really surprised that there weren’t more people. Just guessing here, but at most there were probably about 40 people and lots of empty chairs.

There was an assortment of items like I had never seen, including very old and valuable antiques, jewlery, furniture, toys, clothes, books, and tons of other items. There was even a pastor’s robe and choir gowns!

We ended up purchasing about 5 things:

  • A very old and handmade pie safe for our kitchen. This was the most expensive item we purchased. We got it for $175. It’s in great shape, and is a beautiful piece of furniture made with a quality you just don’t find in today’s furniture.
  • A love seat for our boy’s “entertainment room” so they would have something to sit on when reading, watching TV or playing on their play station. Here’s the best part, I got it for $1 !!! Yes, that isn’t a typo, 1 whole dollar. I was the only one that bid. I think it is the salmon color people didn’t like. We’re just going to put a throw cover on it anyway, as it has some minor stains and wear.
  • An antique wooden goat “ride on” toy for our daughter. I think we got it for about $5. It’s really cute, when you pull the reins, it’s head turns and looks different directions.
  • Some plastic toy horses for our kids to play with. I think there were about $5 a piece. This is the one item we payed too much for as we got confused that they were being sold per item not as a lot.
  • An antique John Deere night lamp for our 4 year old who is obsessed with John Deere tractors. I’d challenge you to see one while driving down the road before he does!
  • Three boxes of misc stuff, including books, dishes, glassware, lamp chimneys, and other various items. Best part, each of these boxes was $1 (yes, again that’s 1 dollar). We are going to put the items up on eBay and use the funds to pay-off our debt.

All said and done, we bought a number of items, and spent about $275.00 total. Like I said earlier, it was a great experience and I learned a few things I thought I would share.

Bring your spending budget in cash. We ended up spending a little more than we had planned. We got some great deals though, and we’ll make up for it by selling the items on eBay, but I would highly recommend setting a spending budget and bringing that budget in cash. It will keep you from spending too much and the auction companies seem to prefer cash. They did take our Visa debit card, but I understand a number of them don’t. They also charged a 3% for the Visa transaction which hurt a bit.

Research the Items on-line before attending. Most if not all auctions put the items up on the web or display them some time before the auction so you can see what they are selling. This is a great opportunity to pick out the specific items you are interested in and determine their value and how much you will pay.

Bring a truck or trailer. You never know what type of deal you may get, and I would suggest bringing a truck or trailer to make transporting the items easier. We had no idea we would be buying a sofa, but fortunately by in-laws brought their pickup.

Bring Lunch. Our auction started at 9:00am and didn’t end until almost 3:00. They had a very reasonably priced concession stand, but it would have been a lot cheaper and healthier to have brought our own food and drinks.

Bring some boxes or plastic storage containers along with some newspaper. Fortunately the auction house had some extra boxes laying around, but had they not we would have had to carry a bunch of small, breakable, individual items. All of the experienced auction attendees had boxes. I would also highly recommend bringing some old newspaper to wrap any glass or breakable items in. The items in our boxes on the way home were making some bad noises on the way home. Nothing was broken when we got home though.

Stay For the Whole Auction. We noticed as the day progressed, people slowly left but a number of the items remained to be sold. We stayed until the end. Due to there being fewer people and the auction house wanting to get rid of the remaining items, things started going for much lower prices. During the last hour of the auction we purchased about $250 dollars worth of merchandise for $3.

We attended an auction by Hinson Auctions in Oaksboro, NC. The Hinson family have been auctioning since 1966 and were super nice folks. Ted Hinson was the main auctioneer, and provided a great auctioneer voice and good entertainment. We’ll definitely be going back.

If you are looking for a fun and different way to get some great deals on used and new items, I would highly recommend attending an auction. They are a fun way to spend a Saturday, spend some time together as a family, and meet some really nice people. We brought our kids with us as well and they had a great time, and are even asking to go back. They enjoyed looking at all of the old items and listening to the auctioneer.

Here are a couple of links to find auctions in your area: Auction Zip and Auction Guide.

4 Responses (including trackbacks) to “How to Save Money at Auctions”

  1. Erin Says:

    How cool! I live in the NC too and am checking out Hinson’s Auctions right now. We are a few hours from Charlotte, but the drive might be worth it for one of these auctions. We could use some more furniture, especially pieces that are unique (no more particle board furniture pls!)
    Thanks for posting this-I’ve never been to an auction.

  2. glblguy Says:

    Erin, that’s great. This was our first time, and we loved it. They have had another auction since, and have one coming up next Tuesday (8/14). During the week, so I can’t go as I have a full-time J.O.B. We’re waiting for another weekend auction.

    They frequently do estate auctions at the site of the estate as well, and I have heard those are fun as well.

    Let me know if you go and what you think!

  3. Make Friends, Earn Money Says:

    Personally i love auctions and I think they are by far the best way of picking up some real bargains, however the only drawback I find is that you can also get tempted to by far more than you actually need as you get into the auction spirit. My advice is go with a list and stick to it.

  4. Auctioneers Says:

    one more TIP FOR live Auction! is a great place to find: Bid Auction, Live Auction, Public Auction, Liquidation, Auction House, Online Auction, Police Auction and Government Auction