Ready to buy? Before you shop new, you should always check into used stuff for sale. Here you’ll find tips to help you get the best deal and save more cash.
Gal 1, we’ll call her Sally, set a New Year’s Resolution. She’s going to get in shape this year.
So Sally looks through the ads, does some research, and picks out a couple of pieces of exercise equipment.
She’s got some money saved up, but she wants to get a deal. So, she heads for the store with the best price.
While she’s there, she picks up a couple other things and signs up for the warranty.
And sure, she had to put some of the cost on a credit card… but she should be able to pay that off soon-ish.
Gal 2, we’ll call her Lisa, also has a New Year’s Resolution. She’s going to declutter the house.
Ugh. There’s that exercise equipment she bought two years ago. It’s been nothing but a clothes rack ever since.
It still works just fine…but it’s pretty obvious she isn’t going to use it at this point.
So Lisa takes a few pictures and lists it on Craigslist. She puts a fairly low price on it, because she’d rather get rid of it fast.
Sadly, Sally will never find out about this deal. (sad trombone) The thought of buying used equipment never really crossed her mind.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Save Money By Finding Awesome Used Stuff for Sale
Now I’m a big nerd. I’ve always wanted to save my money.
Between that and all the yard saling my Mom did as a kid, buying used is just natural to me.
But I know that isn’t the case for everyone.
Because I’ve had people look at me like I have two heads when I mention that I bought my shirt at a thrift shop.
Why do people think that’s so ewwwwww?
I mean, yeah. It’s true that you don’t want to buy everything used. (I’d rather not wear someone else’s underwear…grrrrrooossss.)
But you have common sense. Probably more than the average person, right?
And you can tell the difference between “Oh my gosh…I can’t believe they’re selling this brand name at that low of a price!” and “ick…..ick.ick.ick.ick.”
Believe me…there are a lot more of those bargains out there than you’d think.
In fact…I stopped buying brand new clothes for myself. Not just for the savings…but because the brand name clothes I can find at a rock bottom price last a million times longer than the stuff I’d been buying at the mall.
5 Reasons to Buy Used
Here’s why I love looking for used stuff for sale!
It saves on waste. Lisa had a perfectly fine piece of exercise equipment. If she didn’t sell it, it probably would have gone to the dump.
You can feel good about it. Buying used gives money to a fellow Mom (or, you know, whoever) that’s out there with the same goals you have.
She’s decluttering. She’s trying to make a little extra money.
You have to respect that.
Buying older items is awesome. Most of my furniture and decor is decades older than I am. The old stuff is made better 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.
And the bonus reason…it’s the savings, duh!
How To Buy Used
There are a ton of ways to buy used. And more coming along every day!
Mercari is the app that lets you buy or sell things in a flash. You can have things shipped right to your home from anywhere.
Think eBay…you have a lot more options than you’d get at a thrift store. And right now, you can get $5 just for listing your first item!
The LetGo app is better for larger items, or for things that wouldn’t ship well. Think of it like a yard sale, but with a bigger selection.
Ebay is still around and going strong. My favorite thing to buy from them is winter boots and coats.
You’ll be surprised at how often people will just give you something 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 huge 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 good to get recommendations from friends you trust.
Other Places With Used Deals
There are a ton of places to check when you’re looking for a bargain on a slightly used item.
- Craigslist (they’ve started charging people who are selling cars, so the selection isn’t as good as it used to be)
- Facebook Marketplace
- Ebay Classifieds
- flea markets
- local swaps (You might find them advertised as Swap Days or Trade Days or even as a festival in local towns.)
The Secret To Getting A Rock Bottom Price
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.
A List Of Stuff You Shouldn’t Buy New
Here’s some of the used stuff we’ve bought over the years:
- cars (buy 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 always 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
- pets (If you count this…animal shelters are filled with them!)
- instruments (but make sure you know what you’re doing)
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 almost always a Lisa out there to match your inner Susan.
What do you like to buy used?