Inside: Discover some of the best things to buy used to save money and get good bang for your buck.
The kettlebell craze caught me a few months ago. I was wanting a new challenge in my at-home workouts, but weights are expensive.
While I have bought stuff through Craigslist in the past, for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to check there for used kettlebells. Luckily, I found a nice 25 lb one for less than half the normal price. Done deal.
Buying used doesn’t mean you need to compromise quality. You can often get much better bang for your buck, or try-before-you-commit when buying used. Here is a list of 11 things you should always buy used:
Buying furniture used can save you a lot of money, and you can often get good quality in the process. In college, I bought a small end table and a dresser for $5 at an auction. And a couple years ago we got used solid maple end tables and a coffee table for a grand total of $100. Score!
When a business closes or redecorates, where do you think their furniture goes? If you live in a larger town, chances are there is a store that sells used office furniture. The other popular option is to watch for auctions.
We were amazed when going through these stores as they would have nice desk chairs stacked everywhere. Solid desks were abundant and filing cabinets of all sizes were tucked anywhere they would fit.
And, if you are the least bit handy, a bit of paint or fabric can go a long way to making the rougher-looking finds appear brand new.
Hand tools should last decades. A well-maintained (or hardly used) hammer, screwdriver or wrench will work just as well today as it did 10 years ago. Tools like shovels may only need a bit of sharpening to be good-as-new again. Buying used tools is a great way to get DIY supplies at home.
3. Sports equipment
Have you ever thought about taking up a new sport or, perhaps your child wants to try yet another new sport this year? If your kids like sports, you will know that sports equipment is expensive. Sometimes really expensive. So, buying used makes sense.
Even sports equipment not geared towards kids can be pricy. Maybe you are an occasional golfer. You go sporadically enough that renting is expensive but you aren’t ready to buy a new set. Again, check out the stores that carry used sports equipment and you just might luck out.
Other sporting gear in abundant supply are weights, treadmills, elliptical machines, tennis rackets, and bats. Check out resale stores like Play It Again Sports or sites such as Craigslist for some of the best deals.
4. Kids bikes
Kids love riding bikes. They also grow quickly and a nice new bike can easily cost $200+. You could spend a few hundred dollars, or, you can watch yard sales and online listings for used kids bikes. Most are in good condition and your little one can make good use of it for a few years until she is ready for a bigger bike.
5. Baby clothes
Speaking of kids growing quickly, babies and toddlers just can’t seem to stop doing that. Despite that, there is no need to pay retail for new clothes every few weeks. While this isn’t listed first, it probably is at the top of the list of things you should always buy used.
First of all, you’ll probably be inundated with clothes from the grandparents. Chances are, you’ll also have friends with kids just a bit older or bigger than yours that are ready to pass down the clothes their kids have outgrown.
Then there are the yard sales. Have you seen the amount of baby clothes you can find at yard sales?! It is crazy. That outfit that sold for $30 new is now $2. Or the $8 outfit is now priced at 50 cents. THAT is how you get baby clothes.
Borrowing books from the library is certainly something you should do, but there are some books you want to keep around. Whether it is a reference book, a cookbook, a textbook for class, or a small library you are building for your children, you’ll end up buying a few books.
Like baby clothes, used books are everywhere. From yard sales to used bookstores, snagging a good deal is easy.
My children love to go to a local used bookstore and sell their books for store credit. They can then use the credit to find new-to-them books at the store.
7. Craft supplies
If you are perpetually trying out new crafts, buying used isn’t such a bad idea. You can often find unused canvases for sale at thrift stores. Easels, stamping, scrapbooking supplies and many other things are often listed online.
Even used colored pencils are game. Just re-sharpen them and you are good to go and try out that used adult coloring book that only had one page pre-colored.
Just as kids outgrow their clothes, they outgrow interest in their toys. Once again, yard sales and thrift stores to the rescue. I’ve gotten (and sold) some toys in great condition. Last year we even paid only $1 each for some board games that are usually only sold in game stores for $20-$40.
9. Musical instruments
While the kids are in school, there is a very good chance they will want to try out an instrument. Maybe even for only a year. If you are past the rental stage (or that isn’t an option), then you need to buy an instrument. And musical instruments are expensive. But, you can get good deals on used instruments.
Perhaps that high school violinist has decided she isn’t going to continue playing in college. Or a neighbor down the street has a guitar that he hasn’t touched in 20 years. And a piano? I’ve heard some people will even give them to you for under $200 (sometimes free) if you haul it away.
But here, use your judgment. If you are unsure whether the instrument is in good condition, ask a music teacher if she would be willing to take a look at the instrument for you, perhaps for a small fee. She may even know of other places you can obtain a good-quality used instrument.
10. Picture frames and home decor
It seems like picture frames overflow the shelves at the thrift store. Find the shape and size you like and paint it whatever color you want. The same goes with candlestick holders, baskets and mismatched dishes and glassware.
11. Video games
Playing video games is fun, and even more fun with your kids. Trust me, they’ll either be amazed at how good a driver you are in Mario Kart or tickled at how absolutely awful you are at it.
The downside is those games easily cost $40-$60 new and often the kids (or you) tire of them after a bit. Thankfully, there are a fair number of places you can buy used games at a deep discount. Those same places will also usually buy your used games from you as well.
Hopefully, this list of things you should always buy used is helpful. Buying used doesn’t mean you are being cheap. For many things, it is just plain smart to buy used and save your money for more important things.
What do you like to buy used? Any great finds?