Ways to Save Money #3: Buy Used
A short time ago, I wrote a review of an eBook called Save to Quit. Along with the book, you get another eBook titled 500 Ways to Save Money that gives general saving ideas as well as ideas across a number of categories. This article is part of a series highlighting the money-saving ideas, one at a time. Note that I donâ€™t get any referral income for these articles. Check out the rest of the Ways to Save Money Series here.
When you see a need for new clothing, furnishings, decorations, electronics or other purchases, do you automatically think “I must buy new“? Do you even consider the options for used or refurbished goods? “Buying Used” is the third of the “500 Ways to Save”, and below are my own experiences and comments about buying used.
I’ll be honest. When I need clothing, I don’t bother with going to a thrift store, but I can explain why. I don’t buy clothes frequently, and when I go shopping, I just want to get in and out. Last year, we spent $1,100 on clothing. Of the items we bought with that money, I would only consider buying half of it used (no used undergarmets, socks or shoes please).
I’ve purchased clothing from thrift shops before, but I haven’t found it to be an easy task. I’m picky about the fit of my clothes, and digging through racks of used plaid pants and men’s capris (seriously, what hetero man would wear capris?) isn’t my idea of a fun Saturday afternoon. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to buy used.
I’ve bought used from Craigslist, eBay, Goodwill, friends and neighbors. I love shopping at Kohl’s, which while it’s not used products, the clothing is considered “toss-aways” from major retailers. Lastly, I only wince slightly at buying refurbished electronics. I figure there’s a good chance it was fixed right the second time around, and I haven’t been disappointed yet.
I do recall buying used much more when I was a poor college kid than now, and I do also remember my parents frequenting Goodwill and Salvation Army for clothes when I was younger, and also yard sales. I wasn’t a picky dresser back then, so having a shirt 2 sizes too big didn’t bother me, but sometimes we found a gem that fit and looked just right. That’s if you can say anything in the 80’s looked “right”. So what if I went to school with Jane Fonda workout stockings and tights 😛
So the moral is to consider buying used for stuff that you need. There are literally dozens or hundreds of options available to you within a few mouse-clicks or miles. But I will warn you that you could get carried away because “you’re getting such a bargain!“. I’ve bought a lot of useless crap simply because it only cost 50 cents. That life-size cutout of Richard Simmons doesn’t quite fit into our decor anymore.
But that’s just my own experience. I want to know about YOUR successes (or failures) with buying used. Have you been burned more than once? Or when was the last time you bought new clothing? Maybe you’ll convince me to buy used more often!
See the rest of the Ways to Save Money Series here.