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Money Matters Blog

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tale of a Garage Sale Guru

 For Jill Johnson, what started as a way to save money while growing up has turned into a way to support the community and provide a valuable lesson in finance.

Johnson, vice president of lending at Community Financial, learned the benefit of shopping at garage sales as a child and has maintained the same perspective as an adult with her own family.

“I was raised that way,” Johnson said.  “We could not afford to buy everything new. Garage sales were a necessity when I was a kid. Now, it’s not necessary, but my kids have had plenty of stuff because we didn’t pay full price for it.  You can have plenty of things when you don’t pay full price.”

According to Johnson, it just takes a little bit of time and strategy to find what you’re looking for when garage sales pop up in the spring and summer.  Veteran garage sale goers many times have a plan and know exactly what to look for.

“People love it when your driveway looks like ‘Toys R Us,’” Johnson said.  “Babies don’t wear out their stuff, so that is the place to go for the little ones.  Garage sales are great, because if you hit the right one, you can find quite a bit.”                                                            
Community Financial VP of Lending Jill Johnson has attended garage sales since she was a kid.

Some people travel to different neighborhoods or cities to find the best sales, but Johnson prefers to stay local.

“I stay around where I live,” she said.  “I like going where there are subdivision sales, because you can wander all across the countryside to hit five or six, while at sub sales you can hit five or six at once.”

Shopping at garage sales can save a tremendous amount of money, even compared to resale or thrift stores.  As a mom with a newborn baby at home, Johnson has found garage sales to be even more valuable.  Johnson estimated that in general, she saves about 50 percent and approximately 90 percent off retail stores by shopping at garage sales.

She also likes garage sales because they directly impact and support her community.

“I like that the money goes directly to a family,” she said. “And doesn’t have to go through the retail process.”

For a list of garage sales in your area, visit

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