Flea markets are an awesome way to buy a lot of things with very little money. Spending a long afternoon with a few friends (and some refreshments of course) at a local flea market can do wonders to your mood. Many a time you do not find something that you have been looking for in a shop or a mall, but you might just find it at a flea market! For example, first edition of a book by your favorite author, or old currency, and many other knickknacks.
All those goods available at such low prices, however, are bound to tempt you to pick things that you probably don't need. You might even end up paying too much for something that is not worth the money! Here are some shopping tips that will help you get the best bargain.
9 Novel Shopping Tips for a Flea Market
Plan it out
It is advisable to make a list of things that you are particularly going to look for when you go to a flea market. It so happens that we sometimes lose focus on what we really want when we see so many goods. It is almost irresistible, as everything is at such low prices as well. You might just end up picking a lot of other things, but not what you wanted. Better make a list, pick the things you have listed out, and then look around for other things. It will also be a good idea to bring a pocket-diary to a flea market so you can keep a track of the money you are spending.
Visiting a flea market the day it opens and on any of the later days can make a big difference. The earlier you go, the more variety you will have. A flea market sells mostly second-hand goods. So it's not like there will be multiple copies of things. This holds especially true for rare or collector's items. Make the most of the first day. Also do not make haste to grab the things you see the minute you lay eyes on them. Take the time to tour the entire market and then go back to the stalls you liked. That way you will be sure of picking the best bargain.
Read between the lines
Flea markets sell all kinds of things - books, clothes, jewelry, old furniture, etc. Most of these things are secondhand items. Try to gauge how old the item is before you plan to buy. Look for things like functioning, quality, how much has the item been used by the previous owner, etc. In case of books, flip through the book to see if any of the pages are missing. In case of clothes, check if the seams have come loose. In case of old furniture, sit on it! Also consider carrying a measuring tape along with you. That way you can actually measure the dimensions of a piece of furniture you intend to buy and check if it will fit in the place you have at home.
Things NOT to buy
It might be quite risky to pick up health products from a market. Cosmetics, medicines are a no-no. You may never know whether the products are genuine or not. It is better to avoid picking these things. However, be very, very careful if you absolutely must pick them up. Check for the labels, see if they are genuine, check for things like manufacturing and expiry date, etc. Really scrutinize the product before you pick it up. Be careful and vigilant before buying such items to avoid possible health hazards such as allergies, infections, side-effects, etc.
Once you know how much the item you want to buy has depreciated, bargain! Do not end up paying the price of a new stereo for one that is a few years old. There are a few people who will be honest about the quality of goods they are selling. However, some might be out there to really milk the opportunity and dupe you! beware. Another tip here is: if you buy a lot of things from a single stall, or if you spend a lot of money at a particular stall, you can try to bargain with the vendor to give you one of the items for free, or to give you a flat discount on the sum total.
Take care of your belongings
It is best to leave all your fancy and big purses and bags at home and come to a flea market with only your wallet (or better still, money in your pocket). The reason for this is, you have less stuff of your own to take care of and keep a watch on. Plus depending on how many things you plan to buy, your hands need to be free to pick up all the bags! If you absolutely must carry something however, go for a simple sling bag. It is easy to carry, and you can stuff it with extra things you pick up at the market as well.
Unless someone at the flea market is really creative and has thought it through, there are chances that none of the stalls at the market will offer refreshments. Of course all that shopping and roaming around is bound to leave you tired, isn't it? Stock yourself with some refreshments. Fruit juice and a couple of sandwiches should keep you going.
Say no to plastic
I would emphatically suggest you to carry your own shopping bags, carry bags, or better still reusable shopping bags with you. You can fold up a canvas bag and keep it in your purse. You may even put two or three reusable shopping bags in your sling bag, so that you are well-equipped. Also avoid buying packaged drinking water. Instead carry your own water bottle with you.
Drape it right
This might seem a little out-of-place, but some of you might appreciate it. It is best to wear comfortable clothes when you go shopping, especially to a flea market. Most flea markets open during the day, and many buyers like to go shopping around afternoon. With the sun up above your heads, you are bound to sweat! Carry napkins, wear a hat or scarf, protect your eyes with proper sunglasses, and wear skin-friendly clothes.
Flea markets offer the opportunity to truly satisfy and quench your urge to shop. They make the perfect destination for an impulse shopping spree - for you are not spending too much! Hope the above shopping tips help you out the next time you visit a flea market. Have fun!