It is no secret that the pandemic is taking an economic toll on many people, but there are many ways to save that don’t require compromising on quality. For some products, there is just no point in paying full-price when buying second-hand is the altogether smarter choice in terms of quality, cost, and sustainability. We have compiled a list of popular items, that you and your budget would definitely benefit from buying second hand.
1. Exercise Equipment
Many people purchase items like dumbbells, treadmills, and ellipticals with the intention of starting a strict exercise regimen but fail to follow through. As this bulky equipment takes up a lot of space it often ends up being resold quite quickly, which means you can easily find very affordable quality gear on Craigslist or garage sales. Another option worth checking is whether there’s a local gym that is getting renovated - they might be selling old equipment at amazing prices. Don’t forget to research the brand and test the items before you make the purchase.
2. Designer Labels
If you have a passion for high-end fashion, buying second hand has plenty of upsides. Besides scoring designer items that you would struggle to afford new, thrifting is also a fun experience. You could host or arrange a swap night with your friends, or take a look at the many online and physical vintage shops. Buying second-hand clothing in general, designer or not could save you up to 90% of the expense, according to saving and finance experts!
With just a little DIY you could make an inexpensive pre-owned piece of furniture into the one you dreamed of which looks good as new. For upholstered furniture like couches, just make sure it is clean, comfortable, and sturdy. Flea markets, yard sales, antique shops, and websites such as Facebook Marketplace are essentially a gold mine for good quality used furniture that would save you thousands of dollars.
4. Gift cards
Buying a second-hand gift card might sound like an unusual idea, but it is actually becoming quite popular. Receiving a gift card you have no use for is very common, so whether you want to get rid of one or purchase one, there are a few resale and exchange websites like Raise, GiftCard Granny, or Giftcards.com. By using a resale site, you can save 10 to 30 percent on store credit at your go-to shops, or gift cards to give as presents.
5. Espresso Machines
You can make coffee shop level lattes every morning in the comfort of your own home without spending your entire budget on a brand new Espresso machine. There are perfectly good used models on eBay, Craigslist, and similar websites. For example, author Meg Nordmann told Reader’s Digest “We found our espresso machine for $60 on Craigslist four years ago. It was a $400 machine and was only missing the milk frother on the side. We were able to find a replacement frother for less than $8!”
6. Hand Tools
For tools that don’t have moving parts or electrical wires, you’d do well to buy them secondhand. Hammers, pliers, saws, screwdrivers, and wrenches will still do the job even if slightly used, and you’d be left with a heavier wallet. However, if a tool has a motor that can be worn down, buying secondhand will require more caution. If you still prefer to go for a used item, it’s best to buy it in person and examine the tool closely.
Books are one of the most popular items to buy second hand. It is especially practical for textbooks you would only need for one year. It won’t only save you a significant amount, but also a great sustainable habit. There’s a very high chance you won’t need to look far at all for the book you want. Check with your friends first, or opt for one of the local second-hand bookshops or countless websites. Plus, consider re-selling them once you are done to get money back.
Like clothes for the little ones, toys are often used for a very short period of time. That means it's often the case that many toys in good condition will be looking for a new home at a decent price. Manuals or other materials related to the toys can usually be easily found online. This is definitely good news for both parents and kids (who most likely will not even notice the difference). If you purchase a second-hand toy it is recommended to sanitize it before use.
9. Musical Instruments
If you or your child is taking up a new musical instrument, you can find a top-quality used instrument for a fraction of the cost of a new one. Oftentimes, kids take on instruments for only a year or two at a time, which means plenty of second-hand instruments are available, and you won’t have to make a big financial investment until you or the kid are ready for the commitment. A great place to start would be local pawn shops or used music stores. If you can’t find a deal, the options online abound.
Just like cars, new models of bicycles come out every season. This means you're likely to see older models pop up on sites for a fraction of the cost during colder seasons like fall and winter. If the price of a new bike feels hefty, do check eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. If you buy online, be sure to use due diligence. If an ad seems fishy or uses a stock image, the bike might have been stolen.
You can often find great deals at jewelry estate sales, which tend to be held online these days. Another place worth checking is the pawnshop. Yes, we know some of you are raising an eyebrow. But amid the shelves of broken appliances and questionable items, there is actually a good chance to find a treasure in the form of used jewelry. The fact is that jewelry — especially diamonds — has a terribly low resale value. Whichever way you choose to proceed, buying second hand is a great way to find some unusual, vintage, or custom pieces.
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