Author Topic: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?  (Read 3913 times)

aFrugalFather

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Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« on: September 03, 2015, 01:35:14 AM »
I struggle with my addiction to bargain hunting at garage sales.  I love finding great deals and flipping some things and keeping other things.  Since I have a wide range of hobbies I generally have a good idea when things are priced well (in my spheres of expertise at least).  Anyway, this is just background to say that I also take my kids with me often since I am the primary caregiver on the weekends.  They are 2, 4, and 6 years old and to them its sort of like going to the toy store except I typically only give them a dollar to spend.  The problem is we almost inevitably end up getting a bunch of fun toys even with their limited dollar budget and I worry I might be teaching them to consume too much, even though the cost is so low they are accumulating a lot.  What I mean is that they don't really know the value of a dollar yet in the retail space although I try to teach them.  For example, we don't buy toys new but sometimes they see something they want, and I will compare the cost to what we see at garage sales.  "You could buy that match box car for a dollar, but remember when we got those cool transformers for only a dollar as well?  Which would you rather have?"  But ultimately even for my 6 year old, he is just trading in this green paper for fun stuff and I worry that might be a bad life habit overall. 

I guess what I know deep down is that I shouldn't get them used to buying excess luxury items almost every weekend since we have more than they need by far, but I also enjoy sharing my garage sale hunting hobby with them.  Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 01:37:20 AM by stevez32 »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 10:14:33 AM »
I think teaching them to buy things used is good parenting.

Maybe you could institute a "one in, one out" rule with the toys now that you've reached a critical mass and start donating or having your own sale?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 10:27:48 AM by iowajes »

aFrugalFather

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 10:17:04 AM »
I suppose everything in moderation is the key.

SomedayStache

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 02:05:31 PM »
I'm impressed with the fact that you take your 3 kiddos with you garage sell hunting.  My 3 kids are the same ages and despite my avid love of finding treasures I just can't imagine taking 3 kids into and out of carseats multiple times in a short period. This is the reason I haven't made it to many garage sales since my first child was born in 2008.

If giving them a dollar makes them happy and gets you your time, go for it.  Parents beat themselves up and second guess everything far too much these days.

TrMama

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 02:38:03 PM »
Why don't you teach them to resell their old toys at a profit?

StockBeard

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 04:01:28 PM »
Sounds like a cheap and fun activity. We do it once in a while on weekend too, typically we're on our way to the park and see a garage sale going on, we always have a look. The kid seems to like it a lot.

pwegifts

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 06:26:44 PM »
Or maybe have them trade an old toy for a new (used) one.  If they find a toy they really like at a garage sale, they can buy it, but they have to let go of a toy they already have.  Maybe donate it to another child/family/organization in need. 

Might help in keeping from toy overload and having them keep the toys they really play with.

aFrugalFather

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2015, 06:42:26 PM »
I like the one toy in and one toy out, but I imagine that would be difficult here.  There are so many little pieces of toys that they would grab I'm sure. We have 50 matchbox cars at least as well so would have to be some sort of size to size so that a big transformer isn't tradable with a matchbox car.  Equal value is not quite understood yet. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2015, 06:52:01 AM »
I like the one toy in and one toy out, but I imagine that would be difficult here.  There are so many little pieces of toys that they would grab I'm sure. We have 50 matchbox cars at least as well so would have to be some sort of size to size so that a big transformer isn't tradable with a matchbox car.  Equal value is not quite understood yet.

I don't actually have kids yet, but my sister does the one in, one out with her kids.

If they come back with tiny things, she just gives the kid a "look" of "is that the same?" and then tells them to scoop a few more into the box. 

The 2 year old is probably too young to developmentally get it, but the 4 year old should start and the 6 year old should understand.   

K-ice

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2015, 11:11:13 AM »
I don't see it as a problem.

To find balance, I agree with getting them to sell/donate their old things.

I sold my doll house with "strawberry short cakes" as well as my first bike.
I've hand pangs of regret for the house since it was wood & my mom & I wallpapered it together.

But that money literally became my first stash and part of my down payment 20+ years later. :)



Argyle

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2015, 11:41:28 AM »
I think you're onto something.  Teaching them to buy used is excellent but shopping as recreation can and does lead to problems.  Of course not everyone who shops at garage sales is a hoarder.  But the hoarders I know do frequent garage sales and do that same thing as your kids are learning to do: "This is so cheap!  Only a dollar!  And I like this kind of thing!  I'll buy it!" 

As I see it, the garage sale experience has to be balanced by other kinds of learning too.  One is what other posters have mentioned, that things have to be gotten rid of as well as obtained.  This is going to be a lot harder for kids than learning to spend.  Maybe it needs to happen before you go to the sale: "If you can find a handful of toys for us to take to Goodwill, then you get a dollar to spend at the sale.  Or you can keep your current toys, your choice."

But another is to learn that there are other excellent things to do with that money.  Right now every time they go to a garage sale they get free money.  It's as if money is generated by shopping.  They need some kind of structure where they're making the choice between spending and saving for something greater.  Maybe every time they save $10, you give them $1 in interest.  So every week it would be "Here is a dollar you can spend it for toys at the garage sale (although you do have a lot of toys already), or you can save it in this piggy bank and when you have $10 you'll get another dollar.  Then eventually you can use that money for X, Y, or Z (good things that they might use that money for, maybe some experiences rather than just more toys)." 

Again, I think you're spot on to be alert to the messages you're giving them.

RunHappy

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2015, 11:44:58 AM »
I struggle with my addiction to bargain hunting at garage sales.  I love finding great deals and flipping some things and keeping other things.  Since I have a wide range of hobbies I generally have a good idea when things are priced well (in my spheres of expertise at least).  Anyway, this is just background to say that I also take my kids with me often since I am the primary caregiver on the weekends.  They are 2, 4, and 6 years old and to them its sort of like going to the toy store except I typically only give them a dollar to spend.  The problem is we almost inevitably end up getting a bunch of fun toys even with their limited dollar budget and I worry I might be teaching them to consume too much, even though the cost is so low they are accumulating a lot.  What I mean is that they don't really know the value of a dollar yet in the retail space although I try to teach them.  For example, we don't buy toys new but sometimes they see something they want, and I will compare the cost to what we see at garage sales.  "You could buy that match box car for a dollar, but remember when we got those cool transformers for only a dollar as well?  Which would you rather have?"  But ultimately even for my 6 year old, he is just trading in this green paper for fun stuff and I worry that might be a bad life habit overall. 

I guess what I know deep down is that I shouldn't get them used to buying excess luxury items almost every weekend since we have more than they need by far, but I also enjoy sharing my garage sale hunting hobby with them.  Any thoughts?

Some of my favorite memories were going to flea markets and garage sales with my parents.  I loved looking at all the STUFF!  My parents would give us a couple of dollars to buy something we wanted.  We learned how to haggle.

One purchase I had for over 10 years was a hideously blue frog toothbrush holder.  I loved that thing more than I care to admit.  My parents were super glad when I finally dropped it and broke it.

I also still have a dresser my parents bought for my room when I was about 3-4 years old.  It is going in my baby's room.

Kaspian

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2015, 12:11:59 PM »
Some of my favorite memories were going to flea markets and garage sales with my parents.  I loved looking at all the STUFF!  My parents would give us a couple of dollars to buy something we wanted.  We learned how to haggle.

Me too!  It was like treasure hunting.  Even at that age I disliked stores but loved flea markets and garage sales.  I found older unique items infinitely more fascinating than new ones.  We weren't given money for the sale though.  We either brought a few dollars we'd earned through chores or had to beg mom (which often involved a signed in blood promise to complete certain tasks for the rest of our lives.) 

starbuck

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Re: Taking kids to garage sales? Horrible parenting?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2015, 12:35:45 PM »
How often are you going to yard sales? Do you approach it like a business with flipping and reselling, or a hobby? You used the word addiction in your OP - is that an accurate description, or hyperbole?