Shopping secondhand can save you money and reduce your impact on the environment. While there really low prices to be found at the thrift stores, there are few items you can absolutely purchase secondhand and know for certain you are getting a bargain.
1 – Baby Gear
Babies can be really expensive… or you can do what we did. We purchased the baby gear and clothing we didn’t receive from others at secondhand stores.
Some of our favorite scores are:
baby clothes – $1 or less at Goodwill and our local charity shop
baby carrier – purchased for $5 at a garage sale
high chair – purchased for $10 at a garage sale
hiking pack baby carrier – purchased for $100 (normally $300 retail)
Did our Little Guy suffer any because his gear wasn’t purchased at that posh baby boutique? Nope! He is as happy and as healthy as any other baby. Other than regular thrift stores and garage sales, stores like Children’s Orchard and Once Upon a Child are great! You can also shop online at thredUp and Schoola for gently used children’s clothing at great prices.
TIP:When purchasing baby gear and clothing secondhand, give the item a good look over. Make sure there are no stains, rips, or funny smells. If it is a toy or larger item, ensure that all the pieces are there and the item functions like it should. These items should last through the baby years of your kiddo and then some.
2 – Storage Soltuions
I love Marie Kondo as much as the next person, but after you declutter you absolutely need to organize everything. And not everyone has a big bag of tiny boxes to do that with. Sometimes purchasing those bins and tubs can get expensive. Especially if you prefer to not purchase plastic ones like Dollar Tree offers.
My favorite storage and organization score from the thrift store is a jar with a latching lid. It probably retailed for $10 brand new but I scored it for $1.50! I added a chalkboard sticker on top to spruce it up a bit. Another favorite find was small gift boxes without lids. At $0.50 a piece, who could say no to organizing even the smallest of things!
TIP:When you look for organizational and storage items, always have the space you are going to put them in mind. Take measurements if you want something to fit a very specific spot.
3 – Video Games and Movies
Over my brother’s lifetime, I bet he has saved thousands of dollars by purchasing video games secondhand. Stores like Vintage Stock and Game Stop always have the latest video games and low prices because they have already been played.
Stores that specialize in re-selling games and movies make sure that the discs are in great condition. The games are cleaned so no personal information is on them. When you take it home, it is like you are the first owner of the item! Bonus – you can sell back your game to these same stores after you’re done playing them.
TIP: Always do a price comparison store to store and look online before you purchase a video game. Sometimes you’ll find if the game is brand new (out within the last 2-3 months) it could be the same price new as it is used – so be aware! eBay typically has great prices on used games and movies as well.
4 – Books
To kill time I used to roam Barnes and Noble with a frosty Starbucks drink in hand, picking up whatever book looked good. Now? I always browse the book section at thrift stores looking for classics I’ve always loved or books no longer in print that I loved as a child.
Books at thrift stores and garage sales typically go for $0.50 to $2 a piece! What a steal! If I buy a book now and then three months down the road decide that someone else would love it more than us, I have no guilt about “getting my money’s worth” out of it.
TIP:If you’re after text books, I highly recommend renting from sites like Chegg or Barnes and Noble. Beware of fees and penalties while renting though. eBay, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Chegg also sell text books at good prices from individual sellers.
5 – One-Time Use Clothing and Accessories
I am guilty of purchasing clothing (mainly dresses) for one particular event with the intention of never wearing it again. Why waste all that money and resources on purchasing something new, when you can buy it used?
One of the favorite things that we have purchased secondhand that I consider to be a one-time use item is my husband’s suit. He purchased it about six months ago on eBay, had it altered and still has yet to wear it! (He works in a business office so I’m sure a formal meeting or interview will come up sooner or later). With an all-in cost of roughly $100 on a suit that regularly retails for $500, I’ll say it was a pretty good deal.
TIP:When purchasing any type of used clothing online (high-end or not) don’t be afraid to ask the seller some questions! You can ask for more pictures of the item, if they have pets or smoked in their home, or additional measurements of the item. They won’t be offended!
6 – Home Decor
Even if you have a very specific style at home, you can always find great home decor at thrift shops and garage sales… if you look at it with a DIY mind!
Some days, especially the days they put out new inventory, you can walk into a thrift store and find exactly what you were looking for. Other days you might find something that almost fits the bill but isn’t the right color or finish. Keep in mind that a DIY project can cost very little if the decor item you like is almost what you want it to be! Paint can be your new best friend.
TIP:If you find an item in a thrift store that is damaged but you know you can fix it, be bold and ask for a discount on the item. Yes, you’re getting a low, secondhand price anyways, but you’ll spend money fixing it up if it is something you have your heart set on.
What are some of the items that YOU always purchase secondhand?