Have you ever gone to an auction? The first "real" auction I went to my father-in-law bought a house in Iowa for $10,000. The house was in a college town and he was going to rent it for $500 a month. I was amazed. We went to another auction in the same town and I bought canning jars and a bunch of handy items for about one-tenth of its cost new. Some stuff was cheaper than that.
I haven't been to an auction lately. Mostly it's because I forget about them. There's one tonight that's less than an hour away. It looked pretty good since they post pictures of some of the things that they are auctioning. It's now 8:30. I just remembered! I think if I want to go I'll need to put it on my calendar.
The local auction house usually holds an auction at least once a week. Sometimes it's a sheriff's auction but most of the time it's estate auctions. Kids don't want the stuff that their parents collected over the years. A lot of the things that go at these auctions are worth buying. I've seen kitchen appliances go for a quarter of what you'd buy them for on craigslist. I've bought canning jars for a dime each. It's not that the descendents don't care about the stuff but if you are fortunate to have your parents live a good long time you are already well established in your home with your belongings. In my case my kids are all established in their homes. I'm hoping that my grandkids are all fully established and won't need anything when it's my time to depart. Then they'll only keep the special memory items and sell the rest.
There's going out of business auctions and next Tuesday a divorce auction. Restaurant auctions are great places to get extra kitchen supplies. I got two magnetic knife holders that are screwed into the wall in my kitchen near the stove. They cost a couple dollars at auction rather than around twenty each if purchased new.
What will I be looking for when I go to an auction? First, stuff I'd normally buy. Tonight's auction had a box of Scott heavy duty towels for the garage. They cost somewhere around $10 but I'd bet they sold for a dollar. What are they selling at the next auction? A travel trailer, a fishing boat, some farm equipment, ladders, books (ok, this is dangerous for me!), a treadle sewing machine, bookcases, a piano, a large iron footed cooking pot, and more.
Just don't get carried away. Know what you need and what you want. Would you buy it new if you were out shopping today? Would you buy it if you were looking on craigslist? Don't buy just to buy. You really don't need to buy all those albums to play on the record player you just bought run by your solar power just in case of an EMP. Neither do you need ten sets of hedge clippers that are so worn out that they should be scrapped. Auctions are a good way to buy stuff and good prices. Check one out.