If you’re on the hunt to cut back on expenses, one of the best ways is to buy second-hand items. Paying full price for specific items usually doesn’t make sense because the markups are unreasonably high. Your best shot? Switch to more sustainable buying habits such as second-hand shopping.
Like many people, when you imagine consignment stores, you probably think of dusty furniture and ragged clothes. Yet, if you take the time to visit, you may find excellent brand-new or slightly used items for affordable prices. First, let’s look at why buying used is better than new.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Is Buying Second-Hand Better?
- 2 When To Avoid Buying Used Items?
- 3 Things To Buy Used Instead Of New
- 3.1 Second-Hand Furniture
- 3.2 Cars And Other Vehicles
- 3.3 Books Or Textbooks
- 3.4 Bikes
- 3.5 Gym Equipment
- 3.6 Musical Instruments
- 3.7 Household Or Kitchen Appliances
- 3.8 Baby And Kids Clothing
- 3.9 Children Toys
- 3.10 Console And Video Games
- 3.11 Computers Or Laptops
- 3.12 Smartphones
- 3.13 Electronics And Tech Gadgets
- 3.14 Discounted Gift Cards
- 3.15 Hand And Gardening Tools
- 3.16 Sporting Equipment
- 3.17 Designer Clothes
- 3.18 Jewelry
- 3.19 Wedding Dresses And Accessories
- 3.20 Items With A Lifetime Warranty
- 3.21 A Place To Live
- 3.22 Pets
- 4 Bottom Line
- 5 FAQs
Why Is Buying Second-Hand Better?
“Is it better to buy new or used?’ often pops into mind when purchasing expensive stuff. Besides your wallet, focusing on second-hand goods will also protect the planet. Here are several plausible reasons why purchasing pre-owned items brings many benefits.
- Sustainable fashion. Creating a sustainable home is all about slowing down new fashion and technology trends.
- Budget-friendly living. If you’re looking to buy items on a budget, shopping second-hand is a no-brainer to cut the cost.
- You are saving natural resources. By thrifting, you keep the resources invested in new products from waste and prevent pollution.
- Less garbage in landfills. Buying second-hand means less waste out of landfills.
- A total change of mindset. Along with a new perspective of life comes a greater appreciation for the role that human-made items have.
When To Avoid Buying Used Items?
The crucial strategy is to know when to save money and buy something used and invest extra cash for new stuff. Indeed, buying second-hand is a tried-and-true method of saving but not at all costs. Due to proper hygiene and equipment safety, some items just can’t be purchased used – like mattresses or baby car seats.
Here’s our ultimate list of what to buy brand new.
- Mattresses, bedding, and linens,
- Car tires,
- Baby car seats, cribs, and furniture,
- Shoes and hats,
- Bathing suits and underwear,
- Sports safety gear,
- Computer software,
- Vacuum cleaners.
Things To Buy Used Instead Of New
For many widely available products, paying the full-price is outrageous. Instead, you can find the same quality when you buy that product second-hand. Here are 20 items you should always consider buying used.
Start searching for pre-owned furniture bargains by browsing local yard sales, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, antique shops, and flea markets. If you’re looking for upholstered furniture such as couches and armchairs, ensure those are clean, comfortable, and sturdy.
With a bit of DIY, you can often transform an inexpensive second-hand item into a piece of art. On top of that, you’ll save a significant amount of money compared to the price you’ll pay if you were buying it brand new.
Old furniture tends to be well-made, and this makes it relatively resilient. Usually, a fresh coat of paint or a scratch removal procedure will make it look like store-bought. This way, you will end up with a new, inexpensive, and durable piece of furniture.
Moreover, you can snap up exceptional deals on gently used furniture at eBay, consignment stores, and estate sales. Many of the items you’ll find there are in good condition, so sprucing them up on your own shouldn’t be time-consuming.
Cars And Other Vehicles
Brand new cars lose a significant portion of their value the minute they leave the dealership premises. Insurance for a new car will also cost you a lot more than a used car since it will be heftier to fix and maintain.
The best way to save on your next car is to avoid paying the total price. A regularly maintained year-old auto operates like a new car and costs about 20 percent less. Then, you’ll save an additional 10% for each consequent year after the vehicle leaves the factory. Plus, if you can avoid interest by paying cash rather than taking out a car loan, you’ll save even more.
There are many reliable used cars for only $5,000. Of course, the older the car, the cheaper the price, but the higher the risk. Getting a vehicle inspected by a mechanic can reduce the risk you’re running when buying a pre-owned vehicle. Check Edmunds, and search by make, model, price, and year to find deals nearby.
Typically, buying from a private seller is cheaper than buying vehicles at authorized dealerships. Another popular place to find a moderately used car is Facebook Marketplace. Still, you need to ensure safety measures are in place. Lastly, whether to lease or buy a car is also something to consider since both have pros and cons.
There’s really no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on brand-new books when you can find perfectly fine second-hand copies.
Books Or Textbooks
If you’re a bookworm, you know how easy it is to purchase books on Amazon. But, why pay the total price if you can get the same book for half-off? Anyone who enjoys reading should get in the habit of visiting second-hand bookstores to save on books. If you prefer shopping online, you’ll find real bargains on sites like BookScouter or retailers like Chegg and Alibris.
As long as pre-owned books are readable and in decent condition, purchasing them is also an eco-friendly option. You’ll be catering to your needs while saving trees and the planet. Alternatively, you can rediscover the library, which may even offer free ebooks.
When it comes to college textbooks, these are among the best things to buy used to save money as a college student. Consider checking the library, doing textbook exchanges, or finding an older edition for less. Do thorough research before buying, and you’ll find many ways to get textbooks cheaper or even for free. Plus, selling the same books once you complete the year is a fantastic way to get your money back.
Like cars, new bike models come out every season. Consider this your benefit since you will find older models for a fraction of the cost during the colder, off-peak months. So, remember to look for discounts at your local bike store during autumn and winter.
If you reckon prices at your local bike shop unreasonable, try Craigslist or eBay for a gently used or older model. Before buying online, use due diligence. If some of the ads seem fishy or use stock images, the offered bicycles for sale might be stolen.
A significant advantage of second-hand bikes is that they are as good as new ones. Apart from paying a lower price, the replacement parts you’ll need will be cheaper, too.
Kids bikes are another segment you should be particularly aware of when purchasing second-hand. There’s no need to splash out on bikes which kids quickly outgrow. Hunt down a used one with slight wear and tear for a fraction of the cost of a new bicycle.
If you’re a sportsperson and love working out, then you’re probably in the pursuit of various equipment. Plus, you must know how expensive sports gear can be. Exercise equipment is a luxury, but you can always buy it at a discount. If you plan to hang onto this equipment for an extended period, buy it strategically.
Pre-owned sports gear is also a smart way to save if you want to try a new sport. So, even if you don’t fancy the sport, the reasonable price will make everything worth it, and you can resell. Log in to Facebook Marketplace to check if anyone nearby sells high-quality gym equipment at a discount. You should also visit Craigslist for great deals.
You can find used exercise equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, and dumbbells in good conditions. The reason is that people buy bulky gear intending to start a regimen but give up quickly. Next, they try to get rid of these goods that take up too much room. Grab the chance, but always test the equipment before buying. Our ultimate piece of advice is to check out your local gym that might be selling old equipment at killer prices.
Overall, basic instruments like guitars, wind instruments, and drums haven’t changed at all over the years. If the instrument is moderately used and works correctly, consider buying it to score a better price by not sacrificing quality.
Pre-owned instruments cost a fraction of what you’d pay at an average music store. Music gear retains its value even though it’s way more affordable than procuring it brand new. Plus, by purchasing used violins or drums from other musicians, you’re helping them get a better one as they progress in their careers. We suggest you also check out listings on Craigslist for fantastic deals on music gear.
Household Or Kitchen Appliances
Generally, purchasing new kitchen appliances from a department store may exceed a couple of thousand dollars. So, why not buy both large and smaller devices like a blender or mixer second-hand locally or on eBay and Craigslist?
Buying pre-owned household appliances like washing machines, fridges, and microwaves is also recommendable if they stopped working all of a sudden. Often, the issue might not be fixable, and you may not have the needed cash as new ones are pretty expensive. Considering a used appliance, in this case, can save you a lot of money. Look for items in decent condition from past owners who recently changed their kitchen. Plus, you might be able to negotiate a lower price.
Baby And Kids Clothing
Second-hand baby clothes are the ultimate things to buy used to do wonders for your budget. Babies outgrow their clothing sizes very quickly, and new apparel may not fit them next month. Buying used baby items will make you feel like you’re not wasting a lot of money on temporary things. On the contrary, stick to new shoes as health experts do not recommend using worn ones.
For more fashionable clothes, head to the thrift and resale stores in upscale neighborhoods. Also, browse reputable thrift shops in your area or ask friends and family for hand-me-downs. Last, you can find superb bargains at Craigslist or eBay. Sites like Kidizen are a viable option, too.
Like clothing, kids use toys for a short time only, which is terrible news for parents. Children get tired of most toys at some point, so it’s wise to save on children’s toys. Moreover, you don’t get to keep toys forever, so buying them pre-owned makes sense. Many toys are available at a discounted price, and some are so rare that you can only find them second-hand.
Babies particularly outgrow these items, so think about buying at least some of your baby gear used. Do your budget a favor and avoid Toys R Us for more affordable used options like Craigslist, eBay, or Swap.com. Neighborhood yard sales can be an absolute gold mine for finding cheap but usable cast-off toys.
For example, new wooden swing sets can range from $300 to several thousand dollars. That’s a lot to pay for something your kids will quickly forget about. Find used swing sets for half the initial price via your local paper’s classifieds or Craigslist.org. Finally, don’t forget to sanitize second-hand toys before use.
Console And Video Games
Consoles and video games are a lot like books. Most of us buy them new, enjoy them once or twice, and then toss them on a shelf. If this resembles you, think about recycling your entertainment money and trading them in.
Video games are costly, and it’s a lot to pay for something you could finish in two days. Get serious about buying second-hand games and start economizing right away. Plus, past owners can give you an honest review of the item and provide you with games that no longer exist.
Sites like eBay and Swap.com are among the best places to score deals on used video games. Additionally, online stores such as Amazon and Newegg often feature sales with new copies at discounted prices. Still, pre-owned consoles are typically 10 to 70 percent less than new ones.
Computers Or Laptops
A professionally restored computer is a perfect alternative for a new laptop or computer. Start by checking out Gazelle for certified, pre-owned electronics. As a bonus tip, you can get rid of old electronics through the same site and earn extra cash. You can even purchase certified laptops on Amazon or Amazon Warehouse.
Facebook Marketplace is another place full of prospective buyers and sellers to search for electronics. However, don’t forget to verify whether used computers are fully operable before purchasing when you buy used things online. All in all, a decently used laptop is not an option to ignore.
If you have a good eye for used clothes and shoes, you can save thousands of dollars and stay fancy. Thrift shops these days have some really awesome options if you know how to spot them.
Most of the newest cell phones these days come with a hefty price tag. New models change with the speed of light, and it seems impossible to keep up with the offer. The next best option for affordable cell phones is to start looking for a moderately used but certified handset.
When on a budget, people can’t afford the latest smartphone models. So, like many others, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a top-notch smartphone. Some of the best spots to purchase used mobile phones include Swappa, eBay, Amazon, Groupon, and Gazelle. You can also ask your carrier if they have some refurbished phones to offer.
Electronics And Tech Gadgets
Although constantly improving, tech gadgets are pretty easy to break if you’re clumsy. Since they are so fragile, providing a used one is a wise option. Often, you may save hundreds of dollars buying used tech items via Amazon Warehouse, for instance.
Buying a pre-owned gadget several months after a product’s release can be another neat way to save. We suggest you stick with factory-refurbished and professionally examined items that usually come with a warranty. Consider the “open-box TV” option from stores like Best Buy or Target to get up to 25% of the total price. The discount you get is on returned TVs or sets used as store models.
Electronics can save you a lot because so many people foolishly feel the urge to buy the latest gadgets. However, used electronics can be a mixed bag. Older items might become obsolete or incompatible with the newest technology. Plus, it may be hard to tell whether there are hardware issues.
Discounted Gift Cards
Buying second-hand gift cards may seem unusual, but it’s a unique way to save for a rainy day. The best gift card exchanges and resale sites you should give a try include Raise, GiftCardGranny, and Giftcards.com. Resale sites give you the chance to save 10 to 30 percent on store credit at shops.
We suggest you get in the habit of buying discounted gift cards as soon as possible. Opt for both physical and digital gift cards at legitimate sites like Cardpool and Raise. In case you get a scam card, such sites allow you to return it within a specific period.
Hand And Gardening Tools
Many homeowners can’t find the time to maintain their lawn, so they usually assign this task to a landscaping crew. Guess what? They’ll put the yard tools they no longer need for sale. Go online, and you’ll find nearly new items, such as electric grass trimmers and landscaping fixes, for incredibly low prices.
Buy even smaller tools like hammers and wrenches at garage sales or pawn shops. They get made with high-quality and age-resistant materials, which keep them in superb condition for ages. By buying gardening tools used, you’ll pay half the price but get almost the same quality as with a new item.
Finding a wide variety of hand tools at a discount is an easy task. Some of the best available bargains for gently used tools are on Craigslist and at garage sales. We recommend you test the products for defects if you are buying them in-person. Also, look for tools from brands like Craftsman that come with a warranty.
Brand new sports gear can be unreasonably pricey. Kids grow fast, so they need a larger size every year. Even worse, they may not like the sport, so you’ll be throwing money down the drain. Moreover, you can put on weight and only need some complex equipment until you get back on track.
Hence, if you or your kids are thinking about taking on a new sport, forget about brand-new equipment. You’ll end up overpaying and feeling guilty if the latest fad is short-lived. Check out retailers like 2nd Time Sports, Craigslist, and eBay for used, intact sporting goods. Depending on your needs, you can resell the same items later on.
Take advantage of people who have exercise gear they wish to unload for cheap. You can even find free equipment on sites like eBay and Freecycle. Another store that specializes in used gear that you must check out is Play It Again Sports.
Do you fancy high fashion and brand clothes? Luckily, there’s no need to give this passion in the name of saving money. The ideal approach is to give your wallet a break and buy high-priced clothing items second-hand.
In general, the markup on designer clothing is outrageous, making sense to buy it moderately used. For designer threads and discounts for up to 90%, head to stores like Goodwill, TJ Maxx, or consignment stores. You can also find posh apparel online on sites like TheRealReal, ThreadUp, and Mercari. However, if you wonder whether it’s better to buy new or used underwear or swimwear, opt for a store product.
First-hand jewelry often comes with an incredibly high markup. But you can get exceptional deals on pre-owned jewelry at estate sales like Worthy. Such sales get usually held online so that you can purchase your favorite piece from home for just a fraction of the cost. Going to the nearest pawn shop for used jewelry is also a great idea.
Moreover, people may sell their jewelry collections when they are downsizing. So, if you’re up to find vintage or custom pieces, don’t miss the chance to buy pre-owned jewelry at affordable prices. More often than not, used jewelry includes the paperwork that came with the original sale proving value. So, when purchasing expensive items, ensure you get the official appraisal documentation.
Wedding Dresses And Accessories
By nature, wedding dresses and tuxedos get made and worn for one day. Well, rarely twice or more, and even if this is your case, you’d probably like another gown. Indeed, when getting married, it’s tempting to go out and purchase the best and most expensive items for your big day.
Hold your horses! No matter your style or color scheme, you will always find something that fits perfectly online. If you wonder where to buy used things such as bridal clothing and accessories, visit sites like Stillwhite and Tradesy.
Also, consider buying your wedding shoes preowned at spots such as Poshmark and Once Wed. Buying used wedding items, including décor and props, will keep the expenses down. Plus, nobody will ever notice you didn’t splash out on a new outfit.
Items With A Lifetime Warranty
Spending extra cash for a warranty isn’t always a bright idea. However, if the previous owner already paid the fee, why not reap the rewards at no additional cost? In such instances, you’re running a minimal risk. Once the item has an issue, the manufacturer will replace or repair the defective product for free.
Stick to brands like Cutco, Craftsman, Pampered Chef, Briggs & Riley, and Tupperware. These manufacturers are well-known for their unique lifetime warranty programs. Do some meticulous research, though, as several companies only honor lifetime warranties for original owners. Amazon is the natural place to turn to for products with lifetime warranties.
A Place To Live
A new home will spare you the trouble of doing regular repairs and running hefty maintenance. Yet, even if you factor in fix-up costs, a pre-owned house will typically save you thousands of bucks over a new one. After all, you’ll have a professional inspection before purchasing, so you’ll know the exact fixing costs.
The latest figures show that the average price for a new home is about 25% higher than that for an existing one. Don’t think twice and pocket $50,000 by buying a used house or apartment. On top of that, you’ll have a lower mortgage payment, and you can focus on saving for retirement. Pre-owned homes also help you lead more flexible negotiations and involve mature landscaping.
Last, if you’re planning to get a new best friend, why not skip the pet shop and visit a local animal shelter? By skipping pet stores, not only will you save a decent amount of cash, but you’ll also house an animal in need. The excellent news about shelter animals is that about a quarter are purebred.
Whether you’re up to save money or curb overspending habits, certain items don’t make sense to buy new. If you do some extensive digging, you will also realize that there’s no need to sacrifice quality for the price. Follow the above guidelines for items worth purchasing pre-owned, and you’ll be saving thousands of dollars in the long run.
Which items do you always buy second-hand? What sites do you prefer providing used products from and why? Share your experiences in the comment space below. Register for our newsletter and read some more budget-friendly articles to economize in various life aspects.
Is it better to buy new or used?
Savings experts claim that buying new is often overrated and spurred by excessive consumerism habits. Gently used items have a long lifespan. You can enjoy significant savings if you skip purchasing the item brand new. However, you must always bear in mind both the pros and cons of buying pre-owned.
What things can you buy used?
Buying second-hand is the first choice for saving money, either out of necessity or because you’re thrifty. There are many ways to save money by purchasing used items like clothing at thrift shops, pre-owned gift cards, electronics, gadgets, and books. When it comes to bulky items, consider buying your furniture, car, sports gear, and equipment moderately used.
What would you not buy used?
Though pre-owned goods can save you tons of cash, some things should never be purchased. Such items include bike helmets due to safety reasons. Avoid buying baby seats, cribs, and other children’s furniture. Mattresses and bedding are also crucial segments where second-hand is off the limits due to hygiene. Last, makeup and shoes are best for your health when bought new.
What does buying second-hand mean?
A used or a second-hand item is a product, which belonged to the initial owner. Such personal property can get transferred to a second or later end user for a significantly lower price. Also, buying second-hand means the things are no longer in the same condition as when new. Hence, shopping second-hand only makes sense when you’re getting good quality for only half the original price.