Every first weekend of the month, there is a flea market held at the Kane County Fairgrounds in the Chicago area. I’d only visited once before, when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter 12 years ago, but it was cold and rainy that day, so I didn’t stay too long.
I’ve heard so many people tell me to go. So this summer, I finally went, accompanied by my friend Rebecca.
Here are some highlights:
49 dollars for a chalkboard. That is all I have to say.
I should have purchased this for above our bed. 🙂
I am no cowgirl, but I love the idea of pairing boots with a skirt.
I take a terrible picture.
I am better looking in person.
Rebecca didn’t like her face in this one. I couldn’t see because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but she has never taken a bad picture in the 17 years we’ve known each other, so I’m not sure what she’s talking about.
It a lot of fun spending the day with one of my favorite females on the planet.
Here are some flea market pointers.
1- Don’t bring the kids
The porta potties were few and far between. The food choices were even more inconsistent. If you’re planning on bringing your children, believe us, they will be miserable, as will you. Plus, if you do not bring them, you will have more money to spend on things you wish to buy.
2- Don’t have a schedule
Make plans to spend the entire day there.
We left the house at 8 a.m. and didn’t get home until nearly 5 p.m.
If you feel rushed, you may end up spending more than you intended.
3-Go on the last day if you want to save
Because the vendors do not want to pack up their goods all over again and transport them back home, they are more inclined to make a deal with you.
Yes, if you go on the first day, you will have first dibs, but they won’t move on the price.
You must choose which is more important to you.
4- Don’t buy from the front until you’ve shopped the back
The front booths were charging much higher prices than booths that were further in.
For example, at one of the first booths inside, we found mason jars with a price tag of $12 each.
However, there were mason jars for sale all around the market at prices well under $12 to as low as $1.
So take your time and don’t buy everything you see as you first walk in.
5- Take a break
Because there weren’t many food options, we left the fairgrounds and went to lunch at a nearby restaurant. So we got our hands stamped to ensure that we could get back in, and because parking was free, we could come and go as many times as we liked.
This also helped us to put things into perspective in terms of the pricing we observed, the items we wished to buy, and where we wanted to walk in the market when we returned. It was a much-needed respite from the flea market, and I suggest this for everyone.
6- Bring cash and set a budget
Many vendors accepted credit cards, but the majority solely accepted cash only.
My advice is this- don’t bring a credit card.
I would’ve spent a lot more if I had brought my credit card, but since I brought cash, I stayed on budget.
Which brings me to budgeting; set one before you even leave the house. Be realistic and accept that you are going to see items you’ll never see again. This isn’t like Target or TJ Maxx, so keep that in mind as you are making your budget.
7- Negotiate (aka-haggle)
I admit that I was a little nervous at first, but by the end of the day, I was a seasoned negotiator.
This is normal at flea markets, so don’t be alarmed if you’re not used to it. You’re not required to negotiate if you are satisfied with the price. But if you’ve seen prices for, say, mason jars at a significantly lower price all day? And you happen upon one for $12? Then you can certainly bargain for a lower price. 😉
8- Go with a wish list
Rebecca and I had distinct lists of things we desired.
Mine had things like an old window, shutters, vintage knobs, plates, and a mirror.
She was on the hunt for metal baskets.
Going to a flea market without a wish list is similar to going to the grocery store without a list. You’ll end up acquiring a lot of stuff you’ll never use.
Here are my finds:
Old locker basket
An old shutter from a farmhouse in Wisconsin.
$21.00 (after negotiating)
An old window $7.00
Cute flower pin for my denim jacket.
Total spent = $50.50
The next one is in October. Will we see you there?