Things You Should Rarely Buy New
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Buying new is extremely convenient, but inevitably leads to me spending money that I could instead save. Some things (underwear and socks) I always buy new. But most of time time a used item will be just as good if not better. Before you go shopping consider the old adage:
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without
Stores are conveniently designed to draw you in and spend money, so the more items you buy from the used market the fewer quick stops you make at Target. (And we all know what a quick stop at Target actually means.)
Where to Find Used Items
If you are reading this, you may love rescuing things from the dumpster or side of the road and participating in the used market! Or, perhaps, you are scared of buying used, fear not there are many clean, hardly used items available!
Whenever we need/want something we wait a couple days and even weeks to acquire it to confirm we still want it. I add the item to a handy spreadsheet so I don’t have to keep remembering it, and then go about my life. If, in a few days, we still want the item I hunt the new school classifieds before going out and buying new.
My favorite methods to buy used include:
- Free Cycle
- Let Go
- Thrift Stores/Consignment Shops (but only for clothing really)
- Ebay (shop through an online portal like Ebates** to save even more money)
- Buy Nothing Groups
- Facebook local selling groups
- University Surplus Store
- Yard/Garage Sales
I haven’t tried out ThredUp or some of the other new sites, but there’s new used market apps created all the time! Greater connectivity leads to easier access to free or cheap items. Comment below if I forgot any or your favoite places, please!
The Trick to Shopping Used
You can spend just as much, if not more buying used! Which can turn thrifting and couponing into expensive hobbies!
Only shop used when you actually need/want the item. (Just like regular shopping.)
I only look on these websites or venture to the thrift shop when I have something specific in mind. I used to just buy things “just in case,” but then never use the items! Buying something you don’t need, even if it’s really cheap, is still expensive!
What I Buy Used!
Regardless of income/financial system the used market should be investigated for the big ticket items! I know many of you are short on time, and just want to make a big bang for your buck! Well don’t worry, I broke the lists into categories!
For those of you, like me :), who enjoy hunting for the perfect item, I’ve included my full list of used shopping items.
Big Ticket Items
Homes – New homes in typically come with small lots, cookie cutter designs, and construction traffic. Also, people living in those new homes will often be flashier with their wealth, and may encourage you to up your lifestyle just from observing their behavior daily. We’ve all heard tales of being the oddball frugalist in the neighborhood. New homes come with great energy efficiency upgrades, but older homes can be retrofit with extra insulation, newer appliances, and new windows. Typically, older homes are in more central locations along established bike trails.
Bikes – The used market is great for bikes. We have bought one bike new, but it was the 3 year old display model that was half off. Even though it was a great deal, we are nervous locking that bike up in public, so it is only used for exercise, not errands. The used market is great for adult and kids bikes! Just buy a new helmet!
Boats – Machine and man powered boats are abundant. Especially in the fall when people don’t want to store them!
Medium Ticket Items
Tools – Look for Shop Smiths, Table Saws, Routers, Mechanics Tools, etc. Lots of the older tools can be repaired more easily than the new (although replacement belts can be hard to find).
Furniture – Craigslist is a great resource for this. Also, let your extended family know you don’t mind used. We’ve received some beautiful antique furniture from relatives that were moving or clearing out space in their homes.
Perennial garden plants – we participate in neighborhood swaps to get variety in our landscaping. These can get expensive! (And pots to hold your plants!)
House Decor – There is an amazing used market if you are flexible and don’t focus on getting one specific item. Not shopping helps you to not constantly need to upgrade to the latest trend. I love HGTV too, so I know it can be tempting! But, fortunately, minimalism is chic right now, so having a more sparse home is still stylish!
Baby Items – You can even find brand new items! Most baby items are hardly used and abundant on the used market.
The Small Ticket Items
House Plants – People love giving these away.
Glass Mason Jars – We peak in the glass recycling every time we drop ours off and without fail there’s loads of mason jars. If people know you can, your friends may offer you some too!
Brewing Equipment – We homebrew beer and that can be a very expensive hobby! (Check out how expensive our taps were!) Fortunately, it’s a very trendy hobby now, and lots of people get into it, only to realize that it takes a bit of time to master. Craigslist is full of used kegs, brew kettles, and fermenters.
Dog Toys – Try out the yard sales for people getting rid of plush baby toys, they make awesome dog toys! They last a long time and can be purchased for $0.25.
Most crafting items – Obviously, some items are consumable and must be bought new (thinking of you envelopes). But the used market is great for stamps, die cutters, knitting needles, sewing machines, and fabric. Also, try to use up what you have before buying more!
Hobby Items – chances are someone near you has tried a hobby, decided they didn’t enjoy it and are looking to unload. (Fishing, pottery, woodworking, etc.)
Weird Kitchen Gadgets – these are especially available a few months after the holidays. This pineapple slicer is surprisingly helpful. An avocado scoop, super unnecessary.
Frugal Used Goods for Everyone!
We like to practice stealth wealth and buying used helps do that! Spending time shopping may give a nice dopamine burst, but may not be one of your core values. You can get that same burst shopping used and finding a bargain!
Finally, we typically follow the rule of no used gifts. When we do gift used, we make sure that the item is in impeccable condition and actually wanted. Some of our friends also highly value used items, so we don’t hesitate to give them high quality used gifts. Chances are that not everyone in your life is frugal, and may not appreciate a used gift.
Buying used also encourages us to sell our unwanted used items too. Which helps give our neglected goods new life! Buying and selling used lets you meet funny people and get great stories. Participating in the used marketplace helps connect you with your community!
What are your favorite items to buy used? What do you have to buy new?
Did I miss any favorite places to shop used?
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**Sign up for Ebates using this link and you will earn $10 after making your first $25 purchase!