Sunday, September 28, 2008

Buy Used


#3 Saving Money Tip - Buy Used. Go Ahead. You can do it. Don't be afraid. Seriously. Buying used can save you up to 90% of the retail cost of something. There is no shame in it anymore. In fact, it's cool to buy used. If you're embarrassed, just say you are doing it to help save the environment. What to buy used? Well, let's see, if it's your first time, you want to start with things that don't gross you out. Hmm...how about lawn tools and equipment? That can't bother you. Need a lawnmower? Go to Craigslist and just look. Go to the farm and garden section and look under lawn mowers. Find one that looks good. Then go to one of the big box stores' sites and check out their prices. Would it save you money buying used? You betcha. Of course only if you need it and you were in the market for a lawnmower anyway. Other good places to buy used are thrift stores, yard sales, and consignment shops.
Once you are comfortable buying used things such as outdoor tools, you can look for more personal things that you were planning to buy such as a t.v., a purse, books. It may take awhile to become comfortable owning something that was owned by someone else but once you do, you will never look back. After all, you use used things all of the time. Ever go to a restaurant? Have you eaten on their dishes? They're used and used and used by thousands of people before you. Ever go to the airport and wait for a plane? That seat - thousands of tushes have sat on that seat before you. And the doctor's office? That magazine you are reading in the waiting room? Read by dozens of others before you got there. So seriously what's the difference if you buy it for your house? Most things can be cleaned thoroughly. And once they're cleaned, they become yours. Once you become used to buying used, you'll thank me. And there will be more money in your bank account, too.

In Real Life (IRL) - I used to be scared of buying used things. I was taught that used was second best or for poor people who couldn't afford new. I was taught wrong. I was first introduced to buying used things by my husband who likes to scour thrift stores in search of Meisen figurines (he's yet to find one). That was acceptable to me because he wasn't really buying for his use. Then I was next introduced to buying used when I had a baby and made friends with some other new moms. Some of them were buying used strollers and Eek - used baby clothes. I was horrified.

Then I went to one of those kids' consignment sales with one of the said friends and looked around. Hmm...lots of other people - nice middle-class people were buying used. But I still couldn't do it. I found one item that looked new and almost bought it, but in the end I put it back down. I'm not sure what my first used item that I bought finally was. I think I decided it was okay to buy something used that would be kept outside. After all, things get dirty out there anyway. I also decided that big plastic toys that can be cleaned easily were okay, too. Clothes were still a no-no. Yuck. Then one day I went into a consignment store and saw this adorable pink outfit - shirt and pants that I thought would look very cute on my daughter. I still remember exactly what I did. I picked up the outfit and then I called my mom on my cell phone and said, "Mom, I've crossed over to the other side. I'm buying used clothes." And once I did it, I was hooked!

I now go to garage sales nearly every weekend in spring and summer. I look forward to kids' consignment sales with a passion! I went to two sales yesterday (tell you more about that in a minute). My husband and I don't drive buy a thrift store without stopping and I scan craigslist almost daily for things we need. To show for it, my house is filled with craigslist furniture:

--a dining room set from the 1950's bought for $500. It includes the table, six chairs, a buffet, and a china cabinet. It's beautiful and I love it. I wouldn't have found one I like so much in a furniture store and even if I did, I would have had to shell out $2-$3000 dollars for it, I'm sure.

--a television armoire bought for $30. It matches the furniture style of my living room, has lots of storage and was sold by a motivated seller. It does the trick.

--A computer armoire in like new condition bought for $150. Same exact ones sell at those office stores for $500. Love it. I close up the thing and no one knows I have a computer in our den.

--Two bookcase bought for $80. I was looking for bookcases to match the style of our den and was shocked at the prices at those office stores. Two bookcases plus shipping would have cost over $200. We found two of the exact same bookcases (from two different sellers) on craigslist. And we pocketed the difference.

I could go on and on - two of our kids' bedroom furniture, our reel lawnmower, our beautiful outdoor shed.
Now back to yesterday's sales. I bought a Brownie Girl Scouts skirt for my daughter for $1.50. These are over $20 new! I saved more than 90%! And I bought a Brownie Handbook for 50 cents. They are normally $11 new - again I saved over 90%. I also bought a shirt for my son that he needed to match an outfit he has. It cost me 75 cents. Seriously. I don't care if he wears it once and it rips.

These are all things we needed and would have bought new had I not come around to the idea of buying used or as we like to say "preowned." Try it.

1 comment:

pax said...

Hmmmm..
It is hard to believe that you were ever on "the other side"!! :)
I was brought up the same way to buy only new...
but always liked yard sales ( all non clothing usually at them) but it wasn't until I was on my own and was taken to a thrift by friends to buy clothing for myself that I was hooked too and I also fell hard fast!!