Get the Best Price

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By Lisa Scarbrough

I take a lot of pride in saving money for my family. That’s why, when it comes to buying, I look not only for the best price, but opportunities to get an even lower price. Some places are easier than others, and you need to maintain some etiquette when negotiating (I hate the word “haggling”). I’ve been putting my skills to hard use over the last month as I transition my son’s bedroom from the infant nursery into a toddler Seussville. Here are a few of my tips for you to try the next time you’re shopping:

Yard Sales
Deals are harder to beat than what you’ll find at yard sales. If you show up at 7 am, don’t expect the seller to be incredibly willing to take your first offer. I find the best deals are garnered after 10 am, or when the heat index is nearing 100. Also, instead of asking for a lower price on just one item, pick several items and offer a price for the lot. I love going to yard sales closer to noon as sellers are more motivated to get rid of their stuff so they don’t have to pack it back into the garage.

Thrift Stores
Some thrift stores will let you negotiate prices like at a yard sale, but you should assume that most will not. Instead, ask if they have any specials. If you are a fan of Goodwill stores, each week you can get 50% off a particular color tag (the sign is usually posted when you walk in as to what color is on sale that week). If your local thrift store has a Facebook page or email list, sign up as you may get deals through their posts and email blasts.

I love eBay. I’ve been on the site since 1999. One of my favorite features on there is the “Make Offer” button. I’ve garnered some incredible deals over the last month through it, most at 50% off the original price. Before I make the offer, I search eBay and to see what other sellers are asking for the same item. For items that don’t have a “make offer,” I put the item on my watch list and wait to see if it sells. If it doesn’t, I send an offer to the seller using the “contact seller” link. Over the last month, about 75% of my offers have been accepted. I’ve also contacted sellers to get shipping fees reduced, though often times, the priority shipping is only $1 or so more than economy shipping. **Note: Be sure that if a seller accepts your offer that they create a new auction with a “Buy It Now” button. Otherwise, any purchase you make will not be covered by eBay’s Buyer Protection.** You may also look to purchase items from the same seller as they will often combine shipping on your winnings (just be sure to check their shipping description to see if they will).

My big scores off eBay: $6 for 4-in-1 game, $4 for new-in-box Matching game, and $6 for flashlight, all using the “Make Offer” button. and Marketplace
It seems I will never have enough books, and and Amazon Marketplace were created just for people like me (well, probably not, but they are making a pretty penny from my purchases). The issue with these two sites is the shipping. Marketplace charges a flat shipping fee per item, regardless if you are purchasing more than one item from the same seller. On the contrary, charges a fee for the first item and then about 1/2 that for each additional item. For that reason, I tend to buy most of my books on instead of Amazon, but I maintain a wishlist on Amazon to keep tabs on newer listings at lower prices.


Yardsellr/Danny & Kate
I just recently got introduced to Yardsellr (or Danny & Kate - same inventory on both sites). It seems like a Craigslist/eBay hash up. You buy the items outright. You may pay shipping on some items, others the sellers may ship for free. But when you make a purchase, the site charges you a fee (they call it a “slice”) for the purchase. Where you get the savings here are on Photons (called “parent points” on Danny & Kate). I still have not quite figured out how to get more, but they award you a few when you log in and do other actions on the site. Additionally, if you mark an item as a “Love,” you may find that the seller gifts you photons to help toward your purchase. My best score off of there so far has been a Dr. Seuss T-shirt for my son for $1.75, that was using photons I had and with the site getting their slice. There are not quite as many items available as eBay as I belive the site is still getting traction. They also run “block” specials where they will multiply your photons toward a purchase in that particular block. It does require that you wait for their emails to get a good deal. My main gripe about this site is that the photons run out. You either use them or lose them.
There is no telling what you will find on from one day to the next, and if nothing else, you’ll enjoy reading the narratives with their items. I’ve scored two different sets of Dr. Seuss floor puzzles for my son at the cost of just one. You can sign up for their emails specifically for kids items, shirt of the day, and five more categories. There is a flat shipping charge with each order.

Essentially, if you’re willing to make the effort, you can almost always get a lower price on items. Remember, it never hurts to ask.

Lisa Scarbrough offers mom-on-a-dime advice for parents like her who still hold out hope that they’ll be able to afford the rising costs of college tuition (yeah, right). Course, Lisa has some time to prepare; her son, Ian, is three years old. Lisa lives in Guyton, GA, and when she’s not chasing after her little man, she serves as the Digital Properties Manager for Paula Deen.
Read More From Blogs.

Read More From Lisa Scarbrough.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:


Great tips! As the owner of antique store and a avid bargain shopper I can tell you that I have folks who ask all the time if we can do better on a price in our store. It never hurts to ask and I encourage it. Even though I have a store with multiple antique dealers, my antique dealers like us to call with offers. There will be some antique dealers that will not budge, but most are open to knocking a few dollars off. Here is a page to multiple sites for buyers and sellers: It's worth a look and has a 40 sites per page at your fingertips including Paula's. Shop 'til you drop! Linda

By Linda Bright on October 02, 2012


Lisa, Thanks for the great advice and shopping tips!! It is so much fun to find a bargain.

By Cindy Edwards on August 01, 2012


thank you, for your diabetic recipes. I myself a diabetic enjoy the recipes. It makes life much easy for me and my family. And thank you for the tips about ebay i have never used ebay before. I buy the Dr. Seuss books and puzzles for my 3 grand kids. My son is army and now they live in OK. So the grand kids love me to read to them over the phone every night before bed time. Thank you again.

By Debby Russell on July 27, 2012


Some people have yard sales because thay need the money and you have some people who try to get something for nothing...

By Anonymous on July 27, 2012


I use all of those but yardsellr, hadn't heard of that. Another good site is the Goodwill auction site: Rock on, Bargain Mom!!!

By Lt. Sanders on July 26, 2012


Thanks for the tips about eBay. I've had eBay for a while but just started really using it for shopping. I will definitely try to see if I can get some of these great deals like you.

By Tanya on July 26, 2012


What a GREAT idea on the Yard Sales! I never thought of it that way, especially after my grandmother always told me that 'early bird gets the worm' at yard sales. Great great advice Lisa!!

By Jenn on July 26, 2012


This post is full of great ideas...some I'd never thought of. I will definitely use them to try to stretch my dollars even farther. Thanks for the tips!

By Pamela Meagher on July 26, 2012

Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts


Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm