Car Boot Sale Tips for Buyers – How to Find the Best Car Boot Sale Bargains!

Following on from How to Survive a Car Boot Sale and Car Boot Sale Tips for Sellers, today I’d like to share some of my best car boot sale tips for buyers.

There are some wonderful deals to be had, so I will tell you the best ways to find yourself a bargain, and let you in on my best buys over the years.

Car Boot Sale Tips for Buyers

Best Time to Buy at a Car Boot Sale

The early bird catches the worm. You will have the most choice and the best chance of finding what you want if you arrive early to buy at a car boot sale.

Bear in mind the advertised times may not be accurate. Sellers may arrive earlier and leave earlier.

If you prefer something a bit quieter, arrive mid-way through the car boot sale. Sellers are often starting to reduce their prices too.

Leaving it until the boot sale is nearly finished may result in getting some bargains at knockdown prices, even freebies, as people don’t want to take it all home with them.

Buyers Take Your Own Bags

Make sure you take your own bags.

A rucksack is good as it leaves hands free, as is an over the shoulder shopping or tote bag.  Don’t expect sellers to provide them anymore as people don’t use single-use plastic bags so much.


Always expect to pay in cash and take plenty of loose change.

Try to give the right money if you can, particularly at the start of a car boot sale.  Keep your money, phone and keys close to your person. A bum bag may be useful to keep your hands free.

Be Covid Aware and Safe

Wear your own PPE (face mask or shield, gloves).Take a hand sanitizer or pack of antiseptic wipes with you and use frequently.

Practise social distancing with other buyers, sellers and staff.

Carry your money in a bumbag or pocket to avoid having to access wallets and purses from a handbag or rucksack.

Take an open shopping bag with you to avoid unnecessary handling of zips and ties on other types of bags.

If you are wearing gloves dispose of them in a bin on your way out or take home with you. Use a hand sanitizer before you open your car.

Be Prepared When Buying at a Car Boot Sale

If you are looking for something specific, take time to research retail prices to make sure it’s really a bargain.

Be wary of electrical or battery-operated goods unless you can see them working or they are brand new still shrink-wrapped.

If you’ve decided to buy something that is quite expensive, check the item well for chips, cracks, expiry dates, etc..

Check clothes well for stains, rips, or odours. That vintage dress isn’t going to be a bargain if you get can’t rid of its musty smell where it has been stored in someone’s loft for decades.

Be Respectful to Car Boot Sellers

Just because it’s ok to haggle, it doesn’t mean you have to. If someone is asking a fair price please pay that.  Remember the sellers are trying to raise funds too.

If you’re buying to sell on, know your market and resell price.

a car boot sale with people walking away in one direction at a car boot sale maintaining social distancing to follow covid-secure guidelines for outdoor markets

Best Bargains at Car Boot Sales

I tend to buy clothes, household items, and new gifts from car boot sales. I love it if I can buy an old bit of furniture and upcycle it, or I see a garment that I love the fabric of, I might buy it and transform it into something else.

You can quite often find new items and household and DIY products at a fraction of their shop price.

Books for both children and adults are always good buys, as are CDs and toys.

My Best Car Boot Sale Bargains

I couldn’t believe my luck one day when I found a brand new Debenhams dress for a fiver. I could see that it was a good quality item but it wasn’t until I got home that I saw what the price tag said – £90! What a bargain!

Occasionally, I have found items that I’ve later sold on at a good profit. These include:

A Nat West Piggy Bank that I bought for 50p and sold for £10, and an
MA1 flight jacket for 50p.

I used to wear the flight jacket to gigs as it was lightweight and comfy and as I’d only paid 50p for it, I didn’t mind leaving it in a corner or under a chair. It didn’t matter if it got stolen and I was always able to wash it if it got dirty.

It wasn’t until many years later I found that it was worth quite a bit of money. I stuck it on eBay and it sold for £50!

I buy lots of bits for the house. It makes it so cheap and easy to change your colour scheme and helps cut down DIY costs.

I’ve bought numerous tins of paint for the home and garden for a couple of quid, some new packs of laminate underlay for £1, and even a free shelf unit that I painted hot pink and used as a tea station.

Remember: It’s easy to get caught up with getting a bargain but do you really want it or need it.

What have been your best car boot sale bargains?
Do you have any other tips for buyers at car boot sales?

5 thoughts on “Car Boot Sale Tips for Buyers – How to Find the Best Car Boot Sale Bargains!

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