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Four Reasons to Buy Used

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In our poor years, I used to shop at thrift stores and garage sales out of necessity – to buy clothes for the kids. Back then, I swore that when we made our money pile, I would never shop for used things again. The shops were smelly, I was embarrassed that I couldn’t afford new and it was time consuming to find the right items in the right sizes.

Now that we have made our fortune, I feel differently.

Here are four reasons I like to buy used

Yes, even used clothing.

No tax

Over the years we have paid the Federal government enough to buy dozens of new luxury cars and it makes us mad! We use every legal means we can find to keep our money out of the tax man’s hands. Buying used at garage sales and thrift stores means that there is no sales tax. Buying used automobiles and etc means a greatly reduced sales tax. We love it!

Lower cost

Obviously, you won’t be willing to pay as much for used items. The savings are sometimes ridiculous. I bought a rattan settee and footstool for $15 once – in perfectly good shape. That is at least a 90% reduction over in store costs (and no sales tax!). I snagged a 4 foot diameter, gorgeous Christmas wreath on another occasion for $10 – another 90% reduction. In fact, I found start up furnishings and dishes for our new condo several years ago, mainly from sales.

Better quality

Since I am buying used, I insist on getting the very best brands (why not, they cost the sames as the cheap ones). In clothing, I go for Ann Taylor shirts, Columbia sportswear, and Carhartt work clothes for hubby. I found an Epson scanner that just needed some free downloaded software to work, and lots of beautiful travertine floor tile for a bath remodel job I did on our Jack and Jill bathroom, all great quality items at bargain basement prices.

Thrill of the hunt

Any collector knows that hunting for that special object is most of the fun of collecting. For me, the thrill of the hunt extends to finding really cool treasures amongst other peoples trash. Strolling through neighborhood garage sales on a Saturday morning sometimes makes me want to empty out my house and start over. I see beautiful quality dining sets with matching serving tables going for a pittance. I see like new exercise equipment being practically given away. I scour through discards of books and dvds and find great reads, movies and exercise routines for a buck. You never know what you will find, which calls for an open mind and an empty van to haul your finds away.

I love the hunt so much, that for 3 years I ran an antique’s and collectables booth in an antique mall so that I would have someplace to cycle out some of my finds!

What won’t I buy used?

Of course, there are things I do insist on buying new. Underwear, socks and most shoes fall under that category. Make up, drugs, toiletries and other personal care items do as well. I usually get most electronics new – because you just never know what might be wrong with it or how buggy it might be. My son’s, however, do enough electronic hardware and software work to be comfortable picking up used items – knowing they can make them work.

The cleanup

To avoid bringing nasties into our home, everything I find goes right to the clean up and sanitation station when I get it home. Clothing goes right to the washer and dryer to remove any potential bugs. Hard items go to the dishwasher or get scrubbed with Lysol or other disinfectant. Things that can’t be washed are put in direct sunlight for a day before coming into the house.

What would cause you to buy used items? What tips do you have for finding them and making them safe for your home?

This post has been written by Marie from http://www.FamilyMoneyValues.com. Be sure to visit her site if you’ve enjoyed this post!

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AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

27 Comments

  1. I buy from Ebay all the time. Thrift shops in NYC aren’t worth it because they are becoming designer priced.

  2. Great article. Used does make a lot of sense when it comes to saving money. I saved a huge amount of money buying my last car used instead of jumping for new.

    • Good for you. That was a lesson it took us a long time to learn. Both of our parents always bought new cars so we had no personal examples of successful used car purchases!

  3. If I do buy new, from any store it is only if it is on sale. I taught my kids that if it is not on sale I won’t buy it because it will go on sale. Clearance racks can hold some great bargains also! Use rebates when available also!! There are tons of ways to save on everything and you should never pay full price!

    • Sounds like you are a great shopper! Better yet, you are actively passing on your knowledge to your kids, not just assuming they will absorb it from the air around them as so many do!

  4. We got our giant dresser and a beautiful dining table off Craigslist for a fraction of retail costs… no point in paying full price!

    • I’ve seen some really nice sets, even at garage sales. People combine households or settle an estate and just don’t have room for all the nice furniture.

  5. I’ve got to find a thrift store with a good clothing selection. Back when we lived in AZ (Tempe, just outside of Phoenix), I’d make the short trip up to Scottsdale and hit the thrift stores there…you’d routinely find high quality clothes with the tags still on them. In Toronto, we also had a couple good thrift stores where we found good quality clothes – I got a full length, lined wool coat for about $30 USD! Here in Chicago, there are TONS of thrift stores, almost too many. Most I’ve seen so far are not in the best neighborhoods and don’t have good quality clothing. 🙁

    • I’ve noticed that the stores next to the more expensive neighborhood have better stuff too. Maybe some of the Chicago readers can chime in on where to look?

  6. I still pay sales tax in most thrift stores and sales tax normally goes to state and local governments. Buying used IA a great way to save if you look for the good deals on high quality items. Some of the old stuff is the best made stuff you will find.

  7. I’m a big fan of finding used items on Craigslist. Buying used can definitely have some benefits if you find things that are still in good shape and are high quality.

    • I’ve been a bit leery of Craigs list since some of the news stories about attacks and thefts of people buying and selling from there.

      I do have some stuff I’d like to list – what tips do you have for conducting safe business from it?

      • That’s true, you can never be too careful! If I was going to someone’s apartment to look at furniture for example, I would make sure to bring a friend with me and I’d also give the address and time I’m going to my mom over text just so she’d have it and follow up with me if I don’t call her by a certain time (usually 15-20 minutes after the appointment). If it’s possible to meet someone in a public place first, I would also do that. This is not a full proof method for staying safe, but it’s worked out for me in the past.

        • I’ll try those….I want to sell some things (big things) so folks would be coming to my house. Hubby will be there with me, but do you have other tips?

  8. Our family buys used very often as well. Sometimes I don’t give my wife the credit she deserves, thinking that she bought new due to her pickiness with the used items. You are correct in your posting about buying used items – we love to get great deals!

    • I love it when I find brand new with the tags still on stuff at the thrift stores and garage sales. I guess people get this stuff for gifts and just don’t want it, or maybe the stores donate it for the deduction…

  9. I buy and sell on Craigslist all the time. It allows me to try different hobbies without putting out much money. I recently sold a camera I had purchased for an 8 month photography internship. I was able to sell it for just a little less than I paid for it and I used it for 8 months on top of that!

    Chase

    • Sounds like you’re wise beyond your years! Keep that up, and you’ll find a pretty nice nest egg in your future.

    • I’m pretty good at buying used but I have a heck of a time selling. How do you sell safely on Craigslist? I have some things picked out to put on there….

  10. Brilliant content to say the least. Obviously buying used things always has it’s own benefits as it ends up saving a lot of money at the 1st place. There are things like furniture, car, LCD that should always be bought second hand in order to save money. Truly useful article to look forward. I am genuinely grateful to have got to read such an unique content over. The tips are surely going to help me out in the long run. Marie

  11. There is a sense of challenge when buying something uses, trying to get something good for the best price, like your “thrill of the hunt” part. While I like hunting for used stuff online, I don’t have much interest in shopping used in a store. Can’t explain why, but I do always look in the clearance rack first.

    • I absolutely love it! I just furnished our basement and bought a TV for $150 total! Why by something new at 10 times the cost?


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