The shaky job market has taken a toll on Snyder and her husband, David. At one point over the summer, she thought she might lose her job as an office manager for a non-profit group. At the same time, her husband was told not to bother reporting to his dental lab technician job one day a week. Altogether, they lost about $500 a month in wages.
Not helping matters was a sharp spike in the family's health insurance costs, which rose several hundred dollars a month.
So Snyder turned to garage sales to supplement the Eudora, Kan., couple's income. She now goes to as many as 65 garage sales in a single morning, up from 15 a year ago. Snyder, who hits her first home at 6:30 a.m., looks for items she can resell on eBay or Craigslist for a profit. She estimates she makes up to $4,000 a year from her side business, double a year ago.
"It's like a treasure hunt," said Snyder, 44, who is married with three grown daughters. "And I can turn it around and pay the bills. It's fun."
By shopping at garage sales, Snyder also saves a lot of money on the household items she needs. For instance, the budding photographer bought some frames, backdrops and lighting equipment that was priced at $250 for only $40. And she found a crib for her pregnant daughter for $35 that once retailed for more than $300, she was told.
Like many other people, she has cut out frivolous purchases. Snyder, who has redecorated her house with garage sale finds, recently walked past a $20 Coach purse because it didn't meet her thrifty new standards.
"I don't buy things for fun anymore," she said. What she picks up either has "to make money or save a lot of money."