One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday is strolling through a flea market.  It’s refreshing to be outdoors, getting some exercise, all while finding some great deals too!

If you’ve never tried shopping a flea market though, it can be a little intimidating.  So here is my guide on how to shop at flea markets. Enjoy!

1.  Do a some flea market research on the front end.

Ask around at antique malls or thrift stores in you area about what flea markets may be around.  Try and talk to people who have been to the market you will be shopping, and ask them where are the best places to go at that particular market.

You can also look up local flea markets online, and many even now have Facebook pages where they will post some of their wares.  Some markets have better selection than others, so try make sure the market you have chosen will be worth your time.

2. For the best deals, head to the fields.

Many markets have both indoor and outdoor space.  You can be certain that the items for sale in the indoor spaces are more expensive, so I always make a point to head to the outside grounds of the market for better deals. You may have to wade through more junk outside than you do inside (hopefully not piles of junk as big as this one!), but it’s worth it for the better prices.

3. Bring your flea market gear

Plan on doing a lot of walking when shopping a flea market.  Comfortable clothing and shoes is a must. Also, bring some water and a snack–all that walking and shopping always makes me hungry!

A small push cart or wagon is also helpful for hauling around your purchases. Often times it’s quite a distance between where you shop and where you park, so it’s best to bring some wheeled transportation to help yourself out.

CASH is a must!
Flea market dealers thrive on cash. It’s easier for them to make deals and to make sales. So, bring more than you think you’ll need (you never know what treasures you will see!) and keep it in a small bag that you wear over your chest.  Some dealers will accept a check if that’s all you have left, but it’s best to just make sure you have plenty of small bills.

4. Don’t judge the book by its cover–think creatively about what you see for sale

The ability to score a great deal is my favorite thing about shopping at flea markets.  The best way to find the best deals though is to think outside of the box when it comes to what you see for sale.

Just because a piece of furniture is finished in an outdated color doesn’t mean it can’t become what you want it to be–refinish or paint it!  And that old, rusty pan you see lying on the ground can be turned into an adorable hanging planter for your garden!

Just like department store shopping, shopping out of season at flea markets is another way to score great deals.  Back in the spring I found this beautiful iron sled for sale at a local market.

Because it wasn’t the winter holiday season, the dealer was willing to sell this item for really cheap.  Rather than just holding onto it until Christmas time though, I looked past its winter theme and decided to use it as a beautiful Easter display.

When you see out of season items at a flea market, don’t pass them by . . . Try to think about other ways to use them and scoop them up then for a much cheaper price!

I hope that you feel more confident now in your upcoming flea market shopping adventure. Enjoy yourself and get ready to find some great deals!


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