5 Tips to Get the Best Deals at a Flea Market

by Dagmar Bleasdale on September 15, 2013

5 Tips to Get the Best Deals at a Flea Market, DagmarBleasdale.com

I have been on a thrifting kick lately, as you know if you follow me on Instagram.

I’m shopping for our Blue Cottage, which is so much fun to decorate, and for my Etsy store, Dagmar’s Home Decor.

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L and I made another trip to the Stormville flea market. I had to refrain from buying a big, vintage cupboard that wouldn’t have fit in the car, but I did get this heavy mirror in there.

It was a great steal at $30. I want to paint it white with chalk paint and hang it in our living room.

People often ask me how I find the amazing deals I find. Here are:

5 Tips to Get the Best Deals at a Flea Market

I’m slightly addicted to thrifting – finding a great deal on items at thrift stores, tag sales, and flea markets.

I break for a yard sale, and my husband and son are used to me looking for sale signs and our car coming to a sudden stop on the weekend.

I like to decorate our home with beautiful, eclectic things on a budget and sell others on my Etsy store, and flea markets are full of great deals.

Here are some of my favorite tips to make your flea market visits a success.

1. Find Out If the Flea Market Has Sections for Items You’re Most Interested In

When I go to a flea market, I’m not interested in new merchandise, and sometimes there’s a lot of that. Large flea markets make a point to separate merchants, and that helps you to concentrate on what you’re most interested in.

Park near the selection you are most interested in so you can drop off larger items at your car and go back for more, maximizing your time.

2. Always Haggle

Flea market vendors don’t expect to get full price on their items, and it’s rare that a vendor will not budge if you ask him for a better deal.

If you’ve never haggled, then a flea market is the place to learn that skill!

My tip: start with asking for about 30 percent less – you might be surprised and get a yes. If the vendor doesn’t budge after your first offer, offer a little bit more and then decide if you like the item enough to accept the next offer he makes you.

Always ask if that’s the best he can do – why pay more for an item if you don’t have to?

3. Get Creative

Get creative when it comes to getting the best deal: if there are a few other items you like from the same vendor, ask her for the best price she’ll give you for the whole lot. Vendors want to get rid of their items, so buying in bulk can help to get an amazing steal.

Also, if you just have to have that mirror because you’ve been looking for one just like it for months – tell the vendor! Sometimes your enthusiasm about how her item is what will make her want to give it to you for less.

4. Strike Up a Relationship With Your Favorite Vendors

If you are wowed by all of the items by a certain vendor because her items are just your style, or if you find that you keep buying items from the same booth week after week, it might be a great idea to tell them which items you’re specifically interested in and ask them to look out for them on their buying trips.

I recently gave a “picker” my email address because he offered to be on the lookout for deals on vintage mason jars and linens for me. It’s a win/win for both sides.

5. For the Best Deals, Go Near Closing Time

For the best selection, you’ll have to arrive early – some dedicated shoppers even arrive before opening hours.

But the best deals are to be had an hour or so before closing time. Vendors don’t want to pack up and lug their wares home again, making them more willing to slash prices.

A successful flea market trip is one that sends you home with items you love that you didn’t pay a lot of money for. These are just 5 of my tips to make that happen.

Also, dress for the weather, in comfortable clothes, and keep in mind that you might be lugging some items for a while — so bring a backpack or even a rolling shopping bag.

Happy thrifting! You’re going to have a blast!

Do you have other tips to get the best deals at flea markets?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy | Canary Street Crafts May 25, 2015 at 8:43 PM

Great tips! I hit the local thrift shops and garage sales nearly every week but I’m so looking forward to going to some outdoor markets this summer.

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Dagmar Bleasdale May 26, 2015 at 11:19 PM

Hi Amy, thanks for coming by! If you blog about your finds, I’d love for you to link up to my weekly “Thrifty & Vintage Finds” link party! I usually post it Monday evening/Tuesday morning.

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Angela McKinney May 25, 2015 at 3:51 PM

Great tips. I plan to drag my husband to the local flea market here this summer. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

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Dagmar Bleasdale May 26, 2015 at 11:19 PM

I wish I could get my husband to come! :)

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Kristine Hart May 21, 2015 at 1:10 PM

I love flea markets! Great tips! Didn’t make it to Brimfield Antique show last week. Shooting for July. Thanks for sharing!! :)

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Dagmar Bleasdale May 21, 2015 at 11:16 PM

I also didn’t make it to Brimfield :) Do they have another one in July? Thanks for coming by! Dagmar

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Kristine Hart May 22, 2015 at 12:08 AM

Yes, July 14-19 and again in Sept, 8-13. :)

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Dagmar Bleasdale May 22, 2015 at 12:28 AM

Oh, wonderful! Thanks!

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Kristine Hart May 22, 2015 at 1:13 AM

YW :)

Pamela Smith May 21, 2015 at 10:22 AM

I love thrifting, flea markets and garage sales! You just never know what you might find out there! Thanks for the great tips!

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Dagmar Bleasdale May 21, 2015 at 11:16 PM

Thanks for coming by, Pamela!

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Maria@SewTravelInspired May 20, 2015 at 8:26 PM

I loved your tips. We have a couple of great flea markets in my area and I love going to them. One thing I can’t bring myself to do is haggle. I think I am going to try and follow your advise. Thanks for sharing.

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Dagmar Bleasdale May 21, 2015 at 11:19 PM

Thanks for coming by, Maria! Just try it out one time – it’ll work :) Vendors expect you to haggle – they won’t take it personally.

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Cathy May 18, 2015 at 1:34 PM

These are some wonderful tips for conquering those massive flea markets. Thank you for sharing at Share It One More Time. Cathy

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Shannon from Bohemian Junktion May 18, 2015 at 12:10 PM

Great tips. I’m a flea market addict!

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