Shopping for gently used items to furnish, and decorate your home has never been easier or more affordable with all the online and local sources available. Thrift and consignment shops, yard sales, flea markets, pawn shops, websites, Facebook marketplace, auctions, eBay and other online sell groups make it easy to locate and purchase what you're looking for, at a fraction of the cost.
When you buy used items not only do you save money, but you're being efficient, recycling, and eliminating needless waste.
12 Things to Never Buy New
1. Picture frames, mirrors and artwork
Don’t overlook that outdated oak frame at your local thrift or consignment store. With a can of spray paint, you can modernize picture frames, and framed mirrors. Unframed canvas paintings have timeless appeal. The clean lines make canvas artwork a popular decorating choice for offices and homes. Local groups on Facebook make shopping for picture frames, mirrors, and artwork affordable.
Most thrift stores have an abundance of woven and wire baskets in all shapes and sizes. Baskets are especially handy for organizing household items on shelves. Use deep baskets to attractively house potted plants, or as waste paper baskets in the bathroom or home office. Instead of using wrapping paper or gift bags, fill reusable decorative baskets with fresh baked goods, seasonal fruit, or gift items. Getting ready for vacation? Fill a basket with a paperback novel, sunglasses, beach blanket, and carry to your destination. Take your own basket when shopping. Use decorative baskets to store wood, towels, or winter gear.
Unless you’re attending the book signing of a favorite author or friend, you can save loads of money by purchasing used books. Everyone knows how expensive textbooks are at college book stores. BookFinder.com makes it easy to find the textbook you’re looking for at the best price. Just key in the book title or ISBN, and it’ll give you various sellers and prices. If you read novels, nonfiction, or collect cookbooks, you can find like-new copies and digital versions on Amazon.com. Thrift store shelves are packed with cheap reads in every genre, including books by popular novelists.
You can also read fiction for free. Checking books out at the library costs nothing. Amazon often offers eBooks free for a limited time, before returning to the original sale price. Check groups and pages on FB for free eBook alerts.
4. Glassware, kitchenware
Thrift stores and yard sales are great places to replenish, or pick up extra glass, ceramic, and stainless-steel kitchenware: pie dishes, drinking glasses, casserole pans, measuring cups, pitchers, mixing bowls, etc. at a fraction of the cost.
5. Flower pots, urns, vases
If you’re like me, you can’t resist purchasing potted plants that are marked down at the local garden center. Bargain shopping for pots, vases and urns is a cinch when you scour thrift shops, and yard sales for attractive containers for live plants, and floral arrangements.
6. Wood and metal furniture
Craigslist is a popular site for buying used desks, file cabinets, bed frames, headboards, dining tables, chairs, patio furniture and more. Have you checked out Facebook’s Market Place? It is easy to use. From your smartphone you can view items for sale within a 40-mile radius or more from your location. You set the perimeters. When looking for a specific item, scroll through the items on Marketplace once or twice daily, as the best deals get swooped up quickly. A word of caution: Avoid buying used upholstered furniture, and headboards, unless you’re going to have them reupholstered. Never buy a used mattress, which can carry bedbugs.
7. Hand tools
Estate sales are one of the best places to buy used hand tools, like hammers, wrenches, screw drivers, and tool boxes. Auctions held at the estate site can be affordable ways to acquire tools that have been well cared for. Facebook’s Marketplace is another good source to search for the items you need.
8. Sports and fitness equipment
Treadmills, weights, and other fitness machines are often donated to thrift stores when the owners are unable to sell them. Archery equipment, tree stands, fishing poles, binoculars, and other hobby and sporting goods are also available at bargain prices via Craigslist and Facebook’s Marketplace.
9. Musical instruments
Need to purchase a flute, violin or other instrument for your student’s band class or music lessons? No need to pay retail prices. Upscale pawn shops and eBay are great sources for finding a selection of string and wind instruments. Shop Facebook Marketplace for pianos, guitars, drum sets, and other musical instruments too.
10. Clothing: Maternity, baby, and special event
Clothing that is worn once for a specific event, such as to a wedding or prom, is usually in mint condition afterwards, and can often be found for sale at less than half the original price. Used baby and maternity clothes are worn for shorter durations than regular clothing, and are garments that usually don’t see a lot of wear and tear. Wearing gently-used clothing instead of new, makes sense when you consider that you’ll also only be using it for a short time.
Financial experts advise us to never buy a new car. A new car depreciates the most in its first year. When you drive a new car off the dealer’s lot, it depreciates in value by up to 11 percent. Edmunds.com shares these car buying tips, “By the time a car is a year old, it has lost nearly one-third of its value. That’s bad for the new-car buyer, but a real savings opportunity for the next buyer. From the second to the fifth years of a car’s life, it loses less than it did in the first year’s depreciation drop. When buying a car that’s one or two years old, you avoid the biggest depreciation.”
12. Recreational Equipment
When you’re in the market for a camper, jet ski, pontoon, fishing or ski boat, keep in mind that recreational equipment like boats and yachts can depreciate up to 50% in the first five years. Shop for pre-owned campers and boats on eBay and Facebook marketplace.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is a nonfiction author, and editor of Journey to Natural Living. She is author of seven books including, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh from the Blender Recipes, and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Deborah has been a regular lifestyle feature writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
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