Buying used items isn’t something that everyone enjoys but it’s certainly something that everyone should consider. You can save massive amounts of money by buying secondhand including appliances, furnishings, toys, clothes and other needed items. Better-made items generally last longer meaning that you can lay out less (much less!) money for items that will give you more bang for your buck – sort of like the wins of a Jackpot Capital Casino download.
Regardless of whether you’re shopping for “gently used” items because you want to save money or because you enjoy the challenge of a second-hand shop, there are some tips that you should remember to make sure that you get a rewarding deal with the least amount of effort.
There are many different types of second-hand shops, both those that are trying to make a profit (Plato’s Closet, Value Village, Savers, Once Upon a Child, etc) that generally handle high-end merchandise that will make them more money and the non-profits shops (Salvation Army, Goodwill, National Council of Jewish Women, etc) where prices tend to be lower but the quality isn’t always as good.
Your choice of shop might depend on budget, location or a commitment to support a certain cause. It’s usually a good idea to decide, more or less, what you want/need before you visit the shop so that you’ll find what you are looking for and don’t end up spending money on extras (which defeats the purpose of shopping second-hand!)
If you are prepared to spend a little extra for something special, you can check out a consignment shop, where individuals leave items to be sold on consignment which means that the profit is split between the item’s owner and the shop, and a vintage store where items in good shape are sold but at higher prices.
Don’t ignore online retail sites that connect sellers with buyers. Apps like Facebook marketplace and other online venues can give you the chance to find almost anything online.
If you’re shopping for clothes, check the items carefully for stains, rips, broken zippers, missing buttons, etc. There are some things that you can remedy yourself (fix a zipper, replace a button) but if an item has a problem, it should give you leverage to negotiate the price down. Some problem may not be worth your while to fix but if you find a Gucci skirt with a broken zipper, it’s certainly worth the $10 to get the zipper fixed if that designer skirt costs a few dollars.
It may be tempting to buy things that you can’t use – if each item costs a few dollars, you might think to yourself that you can afford to buy something on the chance that you’ll lose those last few pounds or that you’ll find something to match it with later on. That’s OK once or twice but don’t make a habit of it because you’ll end up spending the money that you would otherwise be saving in useless purchases.
As with retail stores, you can often find even bigger deals if you shop out of season. Second-hand shops are the same as retail stores in that they want to move end-of-season merchandise in order to make room for the items for the next season. So try to plan ahead and shop for winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter.
Finally, if you do frequent vintage stores or consignment shops, you can get the look you want for less money if you avoid the big names. That Gucci skirt that you saw in the thrift shop will likely cost 5x as much – or more – if you find it in a consignment shop. On the other hand, you can find items of similar quality for less if you’re not looking for the big name tag.
Thrift shops often feature toy sections that are full of gently-used toys. Many toys are used for a short amount of time and then abandoned as the child grows older while other toys – legos, for instance – are almost indestructible. If the bright, shiny new packaging isn’t a requirement you should definitely consider shopping for toys at a second-hand shop.
You can also buy toys online. Do a search for “used xxxxxx” on ebay and you’ll be surprised at how many items you’ll find — toys that are in as good shape as anything that you’d find in a retail toy shop.
The question of whether to buy used electronics and/or appliances is a tricky one. Even if you try it out and it works, you have no way of knowing how old it really is or how much more life it has in the motor. If, however, you buy a product that is certified refurbished you have a guarantee that the reseller or manufacturer has repaired the item to ensure that it works like new. Thus, you get a working appliance or electronic device for a fraction of the cost.
There are a number of Internet sites that specialize in selling certified refurbished products. It’s a good idea to review the site and check online reviews to make sure that the site sells high quality items in good working order.
In general, if you’re going to shop for second-hand items, you might want to look at the excursion as a treasure hunt. You can’t decide on the exact make/model/manufacturer that you want first and then go out and find that specific item as you would if you were shopping retail. But if you adapt your shopping behaviors and strategies you can enjoy the process even more than if you were selecting what you wanted from a rack or shelf.
- If the store has a loyalty program and you think that you’ll be returning on some kind of regular basis, get a loyalty card. You can earn points on your purchases and then cash those points in for additional discounts or coupons.
- In some stores, you might be able to haggle a bit, especially small shops or if you find an item that has a defect (stain in clothes, scratches in appliances, etc) that may reduce its resale value. This is one of those times when it’s a nice idea to have a relationship with a staff member who may have the authority to make a price reduction. At any rate, there’s no reason not to ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
- Visit often. That way you’ll see the new items when they arrive.
- Shopping second-hand isn’t the right shopping strategy for everyone but in general, those who shop second hand find it to be financially worthwhile and fun.