I did car boot sales living on the breadline & made enough to buy my first motor and holiday – my top tips

THEY say one person's junk is another person's treasure – a valuable lesson business entrepreneur Lisa Williams learned at a very young age.

The mum-of-two, 35, grew up going to car boot sales every weekend with her family, spending her £5 pocket money from the age of 10 to bag bargains to sell on when money was tight.

By the time she was 17 she'd made enough money selling her finds she was able to afford to buy her own Vauxhall Corsa car, and to put towards a holiday to Florida.

Lisa, from North Wales, even credits the experience with teaching her the entrepreneurial skills to get her where she is today, working as a business coach.

Here she shares the valuable life lessons she learned from car boot shopping, and the tips for anyone thinking about giving it a go…

Living on the breadline

Growing up, Lisa visited sales regularly, to make a bit of extra cash for treats when money was tight.


I make £1,500 a month flipping car boot finds – I sold a £1 jumper for £85

Car boot sales are a great way to make extra cash – here are our top tips

She says: "I used to go with my parents to make extra money.

"I learnt from a young age around nine or 10 that if I brought things on a car boot sale I could re sell them to make money, so I would often spend my pocket money to then make more money.

"One of my earliest memories of car boot sales was when I was on crutches after fracturing my ankle at around 12 years old.

"We were at a car boot sale buying in order to re-sell and I was on my crutches having spent my £5 pocket money with bags of things which I later resold to make a profit.

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"I had brought toys, like dolls, barbies and games for 50p and was able to resell for £2-£3 each.

"I don't know what my family made but it was a way to have those treats while living on the breadline."

Entrepreneurial flare

Now, Lisa credits her business success to this experience, saying: "I didn't really buy for myself, I usually brought to re – sell which is now where I first saw my entrepreneur side.

"By 17 I had saved enough spending money to go to Florida and bought my first car – a Vauxhall Corsa.

"I truly believe that these skills of buying and selling were the basics of any business model, you need to invest to make money.

"If you do not invest in you and your business then you will not move forward.

"So these skills to me were learnt very early on!'

Driving success

Now, Lisa doesn't need to rely on car boot sales as she runs her own business specialising in vision boards, but still does them from time to time.

She says: "Now, I usually do them once or twice a year to get rid of old toys and clothes after a de-clutter.

"This year I plan to do one over the next few months which will contribute towards our holiday spends to Egypt In May."

'Arrive early to get the best deals'

"My top tip would be arrive early to get the best deals," Lisa advises to anyone wanting to give it a go.

"I do remember sleeping on the back seat of the car a lot with having many early starts.

"Also, find what the best car boot sales are in your local area, and also meet new people and get talking to others who attend regularly."

Here are NetVoucherCodes.co.uk top tips…

Don’t be afraid to haggle

Haggling at car boot sales is completely normal and the sellers won’t be offended when  offered a lower price than they’re asking.

They’ve got a car full of stuff and they probably don’t want to take it back home again. Instead of saying “I’ll buy this”, ask “What’s the best price you could do for me if I bought this?”

Ask for a discount for bundles

When you find multiple items from one stall, you’ve got more leverage to negotiate on the price because the seller might potentially be getting rid of all of those items at the same time – they’ll be saving time and you’ll be saving money.

The early bird catches the worm

As Lisa also advises, the earlier you get there, the more chances you’ll have of finding good deals, as the best items get sold very quickly.

You could also have a quick look around towards the end of the event when people give away items extremely cheap just to get rid of them.

Bring plenty of loose change

Car boot sales are a great place to spend all of that loose change that’s been lying around in your car or pockets for ages.

You’ll also be doing a favour for the sellers who often get handed £20 notes for items that cost a quid.

Look at the quality

There’s no luxury of a return policy at car boot sales so before purchasing an item, make sure that it has no hidden faults or defects.

Spotting the defect beforehand also gives you an opportunity to ask for a discount.

Has the item got a good resale value?

Even if you don’t want it for yourself, you may consider reselling an item if you know it is potentially worth good money.

Nowadays you can just easily look items up on your phone to see how much they’re worth.

Dig deep into junk boxes

A lot of people undervalue the goods that they’re selling and sometimes you can find some real gems in those ‘everything for 50p’  boxes or piles.

They’re definitely worth rummaging through if you’ve got some spare time. 

Set yourself a budget

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It’s easy to get carried away by all the sales and discounts but if you don’t actually need it, it’s not a bargain!

Have a think before purchasing if you would actually use it or whether you just like it because it’s cheap.

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