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Florida shoppers, what do you gift someone who has everything? Something they can’t find anywhere else. If you still gave gifts to grab after Black Friday this holiday season, look to your local garage and yard sales for unique gift finds perfect for Christmas.

For warm-hearted gift-givers everywhere, holiday shopping season is our Super Bowl. Nothing excites us quite like being able to find the perfect, handpicked gifts for our tribe. This holiday season, let's put a smile on the faces of our melting pot of friends, relatives and other loved ones. And let's save money doing it.

We all know that dollars add up when shopping for people who have such different personalities and tastes. For some, it's weeks of online searching and paying shipping costs. For others, it's going in and out of retail stores paying hiked up holiday prices.

Try something different this year. Save big bucks by making garage and yard sales your go-to this holiday season. Here's why.

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1. Take unique gift giving to another level.

At garage sales, you never know what you're going to find. You may stumble upon a vintage, satin designer scarf for that one friend who's the right kind of stylish. That's a win. Meanwhile, in a department store, that same brand is being sold for $700 or more. The best part? The person receiving the gift won't likely meet another person with the same item.

A note on vintage finds: There's an abundance of accessories and clothing on tables in driveways on Saturday mornings. Most times, what is being sold is what's left or unwanted of the personal belongings of someone who has lived a full life. And every now and then, you'll run into the fashionista/o homeowner selling their own vintage finds. Nine out of 10 times, you're paying low bucks for one-of-a kind items worth more than mass-produced products.

Find a garage sale near you:

yardsalesearch.com

yardsales.net

Garagesalefinder.com

Facebook (do a search for "garage sales" then jump into the "Groups section, you may find a Facebook Group that posts garage and yard sales in your area)

2. The right packaging will take your gift to another level.

Think about it. You may be lucky enough to spend as little as $5 on a pair of used cufflinks that are in perfect condition. They're no longer sold in stores and/or they have the right initial on them. Thus, they're are a rare find. While they may already look expensive on their own, step up your gift-wrapping game to make it really special and high end. Spend a few bucks on a little black box to put them in. Or better yet, a personalized cuff link holder by Mark and Graham. So not only is your gift personal, it's one of a kind and you spent less than $50.

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3. People love a good story.

The stories you'll sometimes hear about the things you're purchasing from a garage or yard sale will wow you. They may connect you to the gift, or in the tale of the gifter, connect the gift to the person receiving it.

The best way to hear background is to greet the person running the sale, ask them why they're selling and what item they hate to part with, if anything at all.

4. Spend less money.

It's no secret that what you'll find at a garage sale will be significantly cheaper than shopping retail or even consignment. Plus, in true garage sale fashion, you'll want to negotiate and bargain wherever you see fit. Never shy away from doing so -- it's part of the fun and the culture.

5. Less competition and no lines.

People getting rid of the old to make room for the new don't have a season. You can be in any part of the state and find a garage sale happening near you. The best part about holiday shopping is that it's during the fall so you'll be spoiled with decent weather.

For some odd reason, while sellers don't take off, buyers do. You won't find as many shoppers at garage sales throughout Florida in November or December as you would during spring and summer months.




If you're reading this, personal gift-giving can be fun and meaningful. And to be successful at it, you need to know two things: how to love and how to shop.

Online shopping is convenient, sure. Stopping by a few major retailers works at times, too. But there's a whole world out there of stuff people don't want, don't value or simply want someone else to enjoy.

Pro-Tips to note before you go:

Do your research. Find the garage sales near you, prioritize the ones with detailed descriptions and photos so you know what you're getting yourself into.

– Generally, the most popular day for garage sales is Saturdays. This means more garages and better variety of items to choose from.

Get there early. The longer you're not present, the faster the best items are being purchased at ridiculously cheap prices.

– Take a close look at what you're buying. Is it broken? Tarnished? Use this to info to haggle the price down or pass altogether.

– Typically, transactions are cash only. Bring small bills.

Make room in your car if you plan to purchase big items like a vanity, jewelry box or unique mirror

– Want to host your own garage sale? Start with these tips.

This story has been written and syndicated across GateHouse Media Group's 22 Florida markets.