Cutting coupons and diving headfirst into the sales bin aren’t the only ways to save a few dollars. You may save yourself time and money by buying used goods.
For some things, there’s just no point paying full price when you can find the same quality in a second-hand or used product that’s a fraction of the cost.
Here are a number of items you’d be better off buying used.
Like cars, new models of bicycles come out every season, which means you’re likely to see older models pop up online with lower price tags during colder seasons like fall and winter.
If prices at your local bike shop aren’t appealing, try Craigslist or eBay. But before you buy online, be sure to do due diligence. If an ad seems fishy or uses a stock image, the bike might have been stolen.
Textbooks can cost upwards of $US200 for some courses. For a pre-medical student with a full class schedule, that could mean dropping up to $US1,000 on reading material per semester.
We wouldn’t recommend going the used route on important items like car seats or strollers, but when it comes to children’s clothing, which is likely to get wrecked by smashed carrots anyway, there’s no shame in saving.
Try browsing reputable thrift shops in your neighbourhood or, of course, asking friends and family for hand-me-downs. And if all else fails, try re-seller sites like Swapbabygoods.com.
Everyone loves that “new car” smell, but the minute you drive a fresh car off the lot, its value drops by about 20%. And after just five years, fuggedaboutit.
“A used car that’s five years old can typically be about a third of the price of a new car, and the insurance is a lot less than it would be for a new car,” according to Investing Answers.
Buying used cars is an economical choice, but be wary of hitting the used car lot before doing your research. Sites like Kelley Blue Book are great places to get an idea of how much a used car should be worth.
Before you cart off a few thousand dollars worth of kitchen appliances from Sears, think about buying big ticket items from friends and family or online.
Things like refrigerators and washing machines are plentiful on Craigslist, and smaller kitchen appliances like blenders, mixers, and microwaves are easiest to score.
You’re in real luck if you have a pair of friends who recently moved in together. Chances are they won’t want duplicate appliances cluttering their cabinets.
Toys for your tots
Do your budget a favour, and skip Toys R Us for more affordable, used options from Craigslist, eBay, Swap.com, or your neighbourhood yard sales. Each is a gold mine when it comes to finding cheap but still usable cast-off toys.
Chance are your 5-year-old won’t remember whether the Tonka truck you bought him for Christmas was used or not when he’s pushing 30.
Re-seller sites like Craigslist are treasure troves for anyone looking for used furniture. And if you’re not willing to put up with flaky sellers or bed bug threats, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends to see if they’re looking to get rid of any furniture.
Thrift shops like Goodwill and the Salvation Army both offer furniture, but be sure to call in advance. Not all shops carry larger items like bed frames and dressers.
Remember, no bridesmaid should pay full price for a gown she’ll only wear once. What you can’t rent from sites like Renttherunway.com or Bagborrowsteal.com, check out consignment shops or thrifts stores for gently used formal wear.
For brides-to-be on a budget, check out the virtual racks on Recycledbride.com to score discount gowns and accessories that no one will ever guess were used.
Lucky fellas might score a tux for a fancy cocktail dinner and still be able to afford tailoring with the cash they saved by buying used. You can re-sell the garments you only wear once — just be kind to them so you’ll get as much of their value back as possible.
If you’re on the prowl for fresh DVDs, Blu-Rays, video games, or music, there’s no reason to buy them full price.
Electronics like game consoles and laptops are another story. You can certainly find excellent bargains by purchasing them secondhand online, but you likely won’t be able to get a warranty with them.
Before you head to over to Tiffany’s, do your bank account a solid and consider this slightly less whimsical option: the pawn shop.
Trust us, not all those shelves are filled with broken appliances and knickknacks of questionable origin. The fact is that jewels — especially diamonds — have a terribly low resale value.
That’s great news for the clever consumer who hits up estate sales or other resellers to find new bling.
If you’re in your 20s and you’ve never hosted or been to a clothing swap night with your friends, you are seriously missing out. Swaps are a great way to score designer gear you’d never be able to afford yourself.
If you’re unimpressed by your buddies’ fashion sense, then there are plenty of vintage or online swap sites like Bag, Borrow or Steal to quench your thirst for threads.
Be sure to scout the shops first, either by checking out their reviews on Yelp or stopping by in person. If they seem unorganized or have a reputation for crappy clothing, you’re probably better off avoiding them.
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