Recently, I started attending a mostly monthly auction at a local auction house. They start by posting an auction catalogue on their Internet site. Then they host preview dates when you can go in and see the items up close. Finally, there are a number of nights when the auction is actually held. I'm always amazed at what people get excited about and what items go for pennies on the dollar. Tonight was no exception, but I went with great restraint.
I make sure I go to the preview and highlight the items I'm interested in. I have a close look at them to make sure there are no hidden flaws that will prevent me from using it. Then I figure out how much I'm actually willing to pay for it and set my limit before the excitement of the auction builds. Don't be afraid to walk away. In case you're wondering where the deals are?
Jewelry - Like new cars it looses the majority of its value as soon as it walks out the door, but I've seen pieces that would go for thousands of dollars in the store go for a few hundred. If I'm in the market for a wedding ring, you can bet I'm pointing my soon to be husband in that direction.
Rugs - I'm always amazed at how expensive area rugs can be in the store. I've seen large area rugs go for as little as $150.
China - A full set (54+ pieces) of Limoges, Spode, Lenox, etc. will go for about $300 as opposed to $300 per setting in the store.
Silver - If you are into entertaining you can find great pieces for little money. Mostly because no one wants to polish it.
Furniture - Why buy IKEA or other brands that are designed to last a few years when you can buy solid furniture for the same cost.
Just for the record, I did not walk away with my item. It went for $100 more than I was willing to spend. Also, like Costco, not everything is a bargain. Don't get sucked into the rush of bidding. You'll only risk buyers remorse.