Written by Brooke Wagner

DENVER (CBS4) – I remember my first treasure hunt. Strand after strand of sparkling baubles adorned the room. Trunks of fine silken gowns lay open for the taking. Feathered hats, shiny shoes, mysterious books, glistening crystal, sumptuous fur wraps … all of it was there.

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Ah, my first garage sale.

I was about 11 years old when my folks took me with them to work at our church sale. I had about 2 hours to dig through all the goodies in the Friendship Room. It was a bounty like I’d never imagined. I had my purse in tow filled with about $3 in change. Lucky for me, at the end of the day, the fill-a-bag special was for … you guessed it … $3 a bag. I went home with shoes, purses, jewelry, books, records and dolls. Thus started my affection for garage sales.

After many years of garage sale shopping, “salers” develop a kind of radar. We can drive buy, scan a sale, and decide if it’s up our alley. If you’re just starting out, I recommend neighborhood sales. You can do an Internet search for a neighborhood name, then “community garage sale” and see what comes up.

When I moved into our neighborhood I asked where the best community sales are. Most areas have several. You should be able to get dates by doing a search, asking around, and checking the paper or Craigslist. Neighborhood sales can help you save gas because they provide one-stop shopping. You can also check the paper or Craigslist for sales that have items for which you’re looking.

It’s extremely time consuming to stop and start at every sale. So make a list of your most desired items. Let’s say — toys, books, glass wear and furniture. As you drive by, do a spot check for items that roughly fit the description. If you see something in a category on your list, it may be worth it to stop.

Haggling is a tricky topic. I don’t like to haggle much, so if an item is marked with a price I think is reasonable, I’ll usually take it. If the item’s overpriced (this often happens with parents who have their kids mark their own items — they’re either 10 cents or $10 — then I’ll politely ask, “Would you consider taking $X for this?” Or if I’m buying multiple items, I might come up with a round number that’s slightly less than the total and ask, “Would you take $X for this whole stack?” Usually, people just want to get rid of as much as possible. However, it’s much more difficult to haggle early in the morning when the sale has just started. You might go back later in the day or just start your hunt a little later to get the best prices. It depends on whether price or selection is your top priority.

When my kids were really little I would fill my car at our neighborhood sale. Ride-on toys, Barbie clothes, Hot Wheels, puzzles, books, games, and gently worn shoes and clothes are excellent things to buy for little ones. They grow out of things so quickly; you really can save money by buying at garage sales.

Some of my personal all-time favorite garage sale bargains:

Stuart Weitzman pumps for $5

HUGE box of about 30 Lego sets for $10

Books — I like to buy children’s books by the box, and then I sort through them and donate the ones we already have or don’t need. I once bought two big boxes of about 100 books for $2!

Nothing makes you feel better about what’s in your wallet than a really good garage sale! Let me know about your favorite finds in comments!

Still looking for last minute Mother’s Day ideas? Here’s a list of 10 Mother’s Day gift coupons from Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch:

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Coldwater Creek
If you can find stylish apparel, chic accessories, and cozy home decor all in one shop, then you’re sure to make mom proud this Mother’s Day. Shop Coldwater Creek for the perfect gift and receive free shipping plus 25 percent off your order with coupon code AFLC451.

You can never go wrong with a bouquet of flowers. This Mother’s Day 1-800-Flowers is offering free shipping and no service charge on their Mother’s Day Collection. Select from a gorgeous collection of Mother’s Day arrangements and gifts, and apply coupon code  MDAY46 during checkout.

They say flowers are the way to a women’s heart, but be assured that a stellar pair of shoes can achieve the same outcome. This year let mom pick out a fabulous pair of shoes with a DSW gift card and receive a $10 bonus card with each purchase of a $50 gift card.

Teleflora can help you find mom’s favorite flowers and have them delivered right to her door. This year you can even receive 15 percent off your order by using coupon AFPX15 during checkout.

You can always rely on Sears to help you celebrate Mother’s Day in the finest fashion and save. Shower your mother with stunning jewelry and receive 20 percent off by applying the coupon code  MOTHER20 during checkout.

Ann Taylor
At Ann Taylor find an additional 25 percent off sale styles with coupon code EXTRA25. Mom will love their classic and stylish apparel and accessories, and you can enjoy awesome savings.

Nine West
Nine West boasts a stylish collection of shoes, bags and accessories. Find chic accessories at Nine West for your stylish mom and receive free shipping on all orders.

Capture your favorite memory with mom this Mother’s Day and create the perfect photo gift. Use the coupon  SHIPIT20 to receive free shipping on orders over $20.

FragranceX has an impressive collection of women’s fragrances, skincare and makeup so you’re sure to find mom something she’ll love. Use the coupon code FREE during checkout and receive free shipping on your order.

Kate Spade
If your mom loves nothing but stylishly chic and trendy fashions Kate Spade is the place to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Right now receive free shipping on all orders plus $50 off orders of $250 or more with coupon YOCSP11.

Happy Hunting!

And don’t forget the CBS4 Deal of the Day!

About The Blogger

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– In her Brooke’s Bargains blog Brooke Wagner writes about finding bargains and saving money for her family. She calls it one of her favorite hobbies. Blog entries cover everything from the latest steals, deals, and freebies to cheap family activities, saving for college, and what to buy right now.