So Guy 1, we’ll call him Fred, set a New Year’s Resolution. He’s going to get in shape this year. So Fred looks through the ads, does some research, and decides on a few pieces of exercise equipment that he’d like to own.
Fred’s got some money saved up, but he wants to get a deal. So he heads for the store with the best price. While he’s there, he picks up a couple other things and signs up for the warranty. He had to put some of the cost on a credit card, but he should be able to pay that off soon-ish.
Guy 2, we’ll call him George, also has a New Year’s Resolution. He’s going to declutter the house. That exercise equipment has been nothing more than a clothing rack for the past 2 years. It still works just fine…but what’s the point if no one is going to use it?
George takes a few pictures and lists it on Craigslist. He puts a fairly low price on it, because he’d rather get rid of it fast.
Poor Fred. Now he’s paid much more money than he had to. Plus he got suckered into paying extra once he was at the store. Had he only known George, he could have had an awesome deal on equipment that, while not brand new, was actually a slightly nicer model than he could afford brand new.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Save Money By Finding Awesome Used Stuff for Sale
Sometimes we decide that we have to have things, and we have to have them right now. Could that be the reason you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck? Is it really worth the stress?
Craigslist does have its downfalls. You should never meet someone alone (if you can help it). Always meet in a public place. That’s a bit trickier when we’re talking furniture or exercise equipment, so use caution.
Other options include local Facebook yard sale groups or Ebay Classifieds. I’ve also found deals at flea markets, festivals, and swaps.
If you use common sense, the stranger danger can be minimized.
5 Reasons to Buy Used
Here’s why I love looking for used stuff for sale:
- Buying secondhand is a great way to bring together two people who wouldn’t have otherwise met. George had a perfectly fine piece of exercise equipment. It otherwise might have gone to the dump.
- January is a great time to get awesome deals. People are selling items because they’re decluttering or trying to get their finances in order. While you’re getting a bargain price, they’re pocketing some extra cash to get them closer to their goals.
- I love to buy older items. Most of my furniture and decor is decades older than I am. The old stuff is made well and lasts much longer than what you get in stores today.
- If you like unique items, buying secondhand is for you. If you dig enough, you’ll find items that suit you perfectly. And very few others will have the same thing in their home.
- Savings, duh!
Steps to Try
If you’re ready to make a big purchase, try these steps first.
You’ll be surprised at how often people will give away items they’re no longer using. Once I put a plea out on Facebook to see if anyone knows of a deal on a bed frame and someone offered to give me one they didn’t want.
Another time I mentioned needing a new dryer. I ended up getting an amazing deal on a washer dryer set from a friend fed up with their big set. (Perfect for a family of 7, though!)
Children go through clothes so quickly that there’s a glut of clothes. Mention that you need clothes in a certain size and you’re bound to find someone with bags of outgrown outfits.
It’s another good way to get recommendations from friends you trust.
Search for Used Deals.
There’s a certain technique to finding your absolute best deal on Craigslist. My brother’s a pro, so I’ll let him tell you about it.
When you are looking for something specific, you have to keep looking as often as you can. For things that go quickly, you have to be the first one to respond.
Also, when you’re searching for something, it helps to broaden your search. Think of all the names your search could go by. Dresser, chest of drawers, wardrobe could all mean the same thing. Fridge or refrigerator… and keep in mind some people struggle with spelling, so also try refridgerator.
When I bought my truck, I was being very picky. I had a list of about 5 things that it HAD to have, and it was a rare find. Luckily I was in no hurry. A month or so later, I found the perfect truck. It was listed an hour or so earlier. I immediately called the guy and setup a time to go look at it later that day. On paper it was perfect and almost $1000 less than I expected to pay.
When I got there, looked it over, and drove it a little, I knew I was walking away with it. (Although you have to have the poker face the whole time.) When we started to deal, he immediately offered to come down another $200. Though I was willing to pay the full asking price (and probably more) I hesitated and asked him if he’d take $100 less. (I think I just wanted to see if it would work. I actually felt a little bad about it.) But he agreed. It was the quickest and easiest $300 I ever made.
On smaller purchases (as long as I feel that they are priced right) I won’t even try to negotiate. But anything over $100, I will always ask if they’ll take $20 or so less. I feel like people price things by building in a little wiggle room. (I usually do) Most people expect you to ask them to take less, so what does it hurt to ask?
Another beautiful thing about Craisglist is the lack of temptation. Impulse purchases are rather unusual when you buy used. Just don’t search for things you don’t really need.
Which brings me to…
Sleep On It Some More.
Are you really sure you need this item? If you can find a way to do without it, put any cash you’d saved up into your Secure Your Savings account. It was surprising to learn how many things we could live without in our own #yearofno. It’s worth it to escape the worry of not having an emergency fund.
Items We’ve Bought Used
Here’s some of the used stuff we’ve bought over the years:
- cars (sometimes privately owned, always a big saver)
- tickets (Buying from scalpers doesn’t save, but the guy who can’t make it to the Reds game tonight is willing to deal.)
- furniture (My brother bought used furniture, used it for a few years, then resold it at a profit.)
- appliances (We got a deep freezer for a fraction of the price because someone was moving and couldn’t take it.)
- lawn mowers
- baby equipment
- hunting equipment
- instruments (be careful to only purchase solid name brands)
Take These Steps:
- Decide if you really need that big ticket item after all.
- If yes, start searching using the methods described here. Be patient for your best deal.
Learn how to find used stuff for sale and you can pocket the savings for years to come.
Remember, there is nearly always a George out there to match your own Fred.
What do you like to buy used?