I love garage sales for many reasons, but the thrill of the hunt might be the biggest reason. I rarely go to garage sales in search of a specific item because that's asking for disappointment--garage sales are very hit-and-miss. I always keep a running wish list of things I want, though. My wish list prevents me from making impulse purchases and helps me remember the things I want to buy so that I can snag them for cheap when I spot a great deal or treat myself to something nice when I have some extra money. Here are some examples of wish list items I've stumbled across at garage sales, thus saving quite a bit of money.
New desk chair: The desk chair I had was that very basic model you always see that has no armrests. Mine was so old that the padding was virtually nonexistent and using my computer caused me back pain. Needless to say, it was hard to get any work done on my desktop computer. I find that desktops are better for certain tasks, but since I also had a laptop, I couldn't justify paying retail for a new desk chair. Luckily, I found the exact kind of desk chair I wanted (full back support, adjustable seat height, adjustable armrests, lots of padding) at a garage sale for $3. I couldn't believe it! True, the top of one of the armrests keeps falling off, but to save $97, I'll deal with it.
Jewelry organizer: I had been looking for something to organize my jewelry, which I was storing in Tupperware containers. It got tangled easily and it was hard to pull out what I wanted to wear. As a result, I had stopped wearing a lot of my jewelry -- a waste of a fair amount of money. I searched on eBay for jewelry boxes and organizers and didn't find anything that would suit my needs for a reasonable price, so I had resigned myself to sticking with my existing Tupperware system. Then, at a garage sale, I found exactly the kind of organizer I was interested in for $1.00. It wasn't an item I truly needed, and it was one I had decided I could live without, but for $1.00 I'd certainly choose to buy the item and get more organized.
Canning jars: Thanks to a post on Get Rich Slowly, I came up with the idea to make muffin and cookie mixes for Christmas this year to save money. I needed some nice jars to put them in, but I didn't know where to buy them and I didn't want to spend much money on them since the whole point of my gift idea was to save money. One Saturday morning, I found five jars for 50 cents each at a yard sale. Three of them have particularly attractive green lids, and five jars is plenty for my needs. At the store, I doubt I could have gotten even one jar for $2.50!