Here's your first tip: Start Early!
I started in March, and I found 3 items used that I could re-finish to be brand new. My biggest find? A full wooden train set mounted to a board. The paint was scratched and dented, the track was perfect, the draw bridge still worked, and the houses on the set were in great condition. The train set was given to me if I hauled it off... I spent $14.00 at Michael's (using coupons) in getting some new wooden trees for it, and some model paint to touch up a few spots. My dad has a piece of 600 grit sand paper I asked if I could snag and I fished the entire thing up!
(sample photo by: Great Little Trading Co.)
I found some trains on E-bay and one on clearance at Toys R Us because the package was damaged. For the bucket of train carts I got to go with it (total of 4 trains) I spent $41.00. Total for this project: $55.00 (I just rounded up on the change).
Total Value: $289.00 (approx and depends on the brand train you get, the one I was given no longer is in business).
Total Savings: $234.00! Awesome deal and it will make 2 little girls very happy!
Look for the other 9 hints and tips coming before Thanksgiving Day.