One of the easiest ways by far to save money on just about anything is to shop second hand. Shopping for previously used items is not only cheaper than buying new it helps to reduce consumption of new goods when perfectly usable items are already in existence. It reduces the amount of garbage entering the waste stream as well when we reuse and repurpose things.
Some of the best places to buy used goods are garage sales, consignment shops, community sales boards like Craigslist, and thrift stores. You may also be pleasantly surprised to find free goods from local Freecycle groups. You can buy just about anything you need second hand.
Clothing – Seasonal clothing needs seem less daunting and constrictive on our wallets when we buy second hand. Many times you can find brand name or brand new clothes and shoes at second hand stores or garage sales. Make a few trips a month and keep a list in your purse or wallet of things you need and what sizes. Ask about special sale days at thrift stores where they slash prices by as much as 50-75% for one day only. By being vigilant you can find just about anything you need for rock bottom prices.
Books – Reading can be an expensive habit if you like to buy books as opposed to borrow them but second hand stores and garage sales often offer very low prices for people of all ages. You can find children’s books especially, that have been well loved, for pennies. Online groups like Paperback Swap are also useful for finding the books you want for cheap or even free in exchange for one of your books you no longer need.
Kitchen Gear – If you like glass or ceramic food containers or refrigerator dishes like vintage Pyrex you can find some great deals at garage sales and on places like eBay. You can also cheaply stock up on dish rags, potholders, flatware, and dinnerware. Estate sales are ideal for finding complete sets of China for low prices and appliances such as crackpots and bread makers.
Home Décor – Furniture can be a big budget breaker but it doesn’t have to be. Take a look at second hand options and don’t be afraid to ask for a deeper discount. Used couches, end tables, coffee tables, and bookshelves are all easy to find generally. You can even search for specific items on Craislist and view pictures. There is just no reason to by new when you can get used items for such great prices. Other things to look for include decorative knick-knacks, picture frames, chairs that can be recovered, or any well used furniture that can be revived with a new paint job.
Toys – This is one of the biggest money savers. Children generally don’t mind something used as long as it is new to them and second hand stores and garage sales are havens for toys. Make sure to shop without your kids to stock up on gifts for holidays and birthdays.
There is no reason you have to sacrifice style or quality while shopping second hand and your wallet will be greatly appreciative.