Most people know that in order to save money, you have to cut costs. One way I try to cut costs is by buying used items. Some people have an aversion to buying second-hand goods. I guess I can understand that you’d rather own something that’s never been touched by anyone else. The way I look at it though, being able to buy an item at a reduced cost is a bargain I can’t refuse. Here’s a list of items I prefer to buy used.
Cars these days are built so well, it’s not uncommon for them to last well into 200,000+ miles. Their looks may deteriorate but who cares. For me, a car is just a way to get from point A to point B. As long as it’s safe and reliable, I’m happy.
That’s why I prefer to buy used cars and let someone else take the hit for depreciation. A new car loses 20% of its value within the first year. No, thank you.
So many dealerships nowadays offer warranties and pre-owned certifications on used cars to give consumers a peace of mind. Rental car companies also regularly sell off inventory and you know those cars are super well-maintained.
You can also choose to buy from a private party which will give you the biggest bang for your buck. This is perfect for people who know their way around cars or have a trusted mechanic who can inspect the car before you purchase it.
I love reading. At my most productive I can plow through 10 books a month. I get most of my books from the library which is free and helps keep my bookshelves free from clutter.
There are occasions, however, when the library doesn’t have what I need. Instead of buying new books, I choose to get a used copy to save money. This also works well for school textbooks.
In college and in grad school, most of my books were exclusively used. It’s nice to have books that aren’t pre-highlighted but at $100 per book, it’s not worth it.
There is such a high markup in fashion it’s unbelievable. That’s why stores constantly run sales offering discounts up to 70% off. By shopping for clothes at thrift stores, I can get them at a lower price and can actually afford to buy higher quality pieces.
I used to get most of my clothes from Target and Old Navy because they’re cheap. The downside is that they can fall apart after just a few wears. I want better quality clothes without paying retail prices and shopping at thrift stores gives me the best of both worlds.
I’ve purchased Ann Taylor blouses for $10 that would otherwise retail for $60-$80 (not that I’d pay full-price for clothes but you get my point). I think living in a large city helps as the thrift stores here have really good selections.
Tailoring is a big part of making clothes look good on you. I’m very short so it’s hard to find clothes that fit well off the rack. Buying clothes at reduced prices means I have money left over in my clothing budget to pay for alterations if needed.
Another good thrift store find is home décor. For me, home décor is purely aesthetics as the decorative objects serve no purpose other than to look pretty. Therefore, I really try to not shop for such items at retail stores.
Garage sales are also good for finding objects to decorate your home. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! I like to look for frames, mirrors, paintings, and ceramic objects. The first 3 are great for filling in blank walls. Ceramic objects, especially white ones, are quite trendy these days and the spot of white can really brighten up a space.
I had good luck finding oil canvases at a garage sale and we painted them with leftover wall paint to make homemade wall art.
Buying used furniture is another good way to save money. I’ve purchased used dining sets, sofas, side tables, and baking racks. It’s like buying a used car. Getting dents and scratches on used furniture doesn’t bother me as much as it would if the furniture were new.
I have limits though. I strongly advise against buying used mattresses because it’s not something you can just toss in the washer. You might unwittingly bring home bed bugs and fleas. Also, you just never know how people treat their mattresses. This is the same reason why I avoid buying upholstered or fabric chairs and sofas which can’t be easily cleaned.
The best part is that furniture is very easy to resell. After hubby and I got married, we combined our stuff and sold off duplicates. I sold my used furniture on Craigslist and recouped pretty close to what I paid for them.
You might be surprised that you can buy used gift cards. They’re used in the sense that they were originally gifted to someone else, not that they’ve been spent. By purchasing them used, you get a discount. The people selling them have no use for the gift cards so they’re incentivized to sell the cards at a price lower than face value.
Please don’t buy used gift cards for someone else. That’s just tacky. By all means, buy them for your own grocery and restaurant needs. In addition to grocery stores and restaurants, you can also find gift cards to clothing stores, hardware stores, movie theaters, and the Granddaddy of them all, Amazon. You can look for used gift cards on eBay or Gift Card Granny.
You can save a lot of money by purchasing second-hand goods. Let someone else bear the burden for depreciation while you benefit and take your savings all the way to the bank.