I really look forward to the warm weather season. It's not so I can have backyard cookouts, go to the beach or go fishing, although those are also great benefits to the summer. No, I look forward to the warm weather because that marks the beginning of yard and garage sale season!

While most people scour the circulars in the Sunday paper to find their best bargains, I hold off until garage sale season and shop for the items I want second-hand. Sure, there are some people who overcharge for their garage sale items, so some shopping around is still necessary. However, the prices I pay for the items I want beat any sale that any of the retailers are offering, hands-down.

Garage sale season has really just kicked off where I live, but my family has already scored some great buys:

A bicycle for my wife. She has been wanted a bicycle for a couple of years now and finally found a nice used one. The seat needs to be replaced, but the bike cost her a whopping $5.

Assorted flower pots and planters. At my house, we grow herbs and tomatoes in large flower posts. These run $8 - $15 at Home Depot. We got them for 50 cents each.

Jeans for my son. These usually run $15 to $25 at the store, but we got some good second hand jeans for $2-$3 a pair. My son is just going to ruin them while he's camping and playing outside anyway, so why buy them new?

A charcoal grill/smoker. I've been wanting a smoker for my backyard barbecues for a long time now. We finally scored a Brinkman smoker at a yard sale. It retails for about $90. We got it for $5.

Those are just a few of the bargains we have found so far. We are on the lookout for a dining room table and chairs next, to replace the set we have that is several years old and falling apart. One benefit to the current state of the economy is that people are selling more of their belongings at yard sales to raise cash, and some good bargains can be had, and you're helping them out at the same time.

The next time you have a "want" instead of a "need", check out those yard and garage sales and save yourself a ton of cash!


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