Unlock your full thrifty potential with this fun guide! We’ve compiled a list of 24 things you absolutely do not need to buy new, and we’re sharing money-saving secrets and clever hacks that’ll help you save big. Join the movement and embrace your inner savvy shopper!
Life is expensive. There is simply no way of getting around that and frankly, it sucks. As we grow older, we start to realize just how expensive things really are.
And honestly, there is no real reason for it other than greed.
But, we don’t have to play into feeding someone else’s greed and we don’t have to empty our pockets to have what we need. Instead, we can do things like buying secondhand which gives us the chance to buy what we need at a lower price than we would pay buying new.
While there are certain things I would never consider buying used, there are also things I refuse to buy new. The reasons for why I won’t buy that item new run the gamut, but they’re all for one basic reason; it’s not worth it to buy them new.
Is it Safe to Buy Secondhand Items?
Yes. For the most part, it is safe to buy secondhand items. Most used products do not present any kind of health risk to you or your family. There are a few exceptions such as used mattresses, but they really are few and far between.
In fact, buying the products below used instead of new actually has more positive effects than they do negative.
What are the effects of buying secondhand?
Aside from keeping more of your money in your pocket, buying secondhand also helps to reduce waste. In today’s world, technology has contributed to a society that is used to immediate gratification and with that comes an incredibly high amount of waste. Secondhand purchases help to reduce that waste by not putting a new product in the home while a perfectly good used one sits waiting for someone like me to pick it up.
For kids, buying used also helps to teach the value of a dollar. When they can find the same pair of jeans for $20.00 cheaper at a thrift store, they learn the lesson that taking their time to find the right deal means their money can go farther.
Ask just about any money smart millionaire and you’ll find that a majority of them drive used cars. The math behind it is simple.
Simply put, new cars are overpriced. Combine the high price tag with how little cars hold their value and buying a new car becomes an incredibly bad financial decision. The moment you drive your brand new ride off the lot, it’s value drops significantly. Both of those equal up pretty clearly to the fact that buying a good running used car is by far the better buy financially.
In July, 2023, I bought a 2016 Wrangler JKU. I paid quite a bit for it, in cash, but I was also able to purchase it at a fraction of the price of a new Wrangler. It’s a Jeep so I expected to have to do some work to it. To date, I have only needed to change a headlight bulb and to replace one $40.00 sensor. For a vehicle that had less than 60,000 miles on it when I bought it, I’ll take that.
Buying the same Wrangler new would have run me upwards of $50,000 or more. Buying used saved me over $20,000 and I have an AMAZING Jeep to show for it.
Most thrifty people do not buy new kids clothes very often. As they were growing, my own girls only got new clothes twice a year and only 2-3 new outfits each time. The rest were secondhand clothes from my favorite online consignment store ThredUp, from our local thrift shops or from a garage sale I’d find.
It never made much sense to me to spend the money for new clothes each time when they outgrow them so quickly or are so hard on them they don’t last as long as they should.
Kids grow so fast that if you bought all new clothing for your kids you would go bankrupt very quickly.
Instead, buy used and/or shop ONLY clearance sales and save yourself big.
The money I save means that I’m able to afford to take them out in their snazzy “new” outfits to do the fun activities they love to do.
Have you priced new furniture lately?
Seriously. The markup is almost as bad as with a new car; especially with bedroom and office furniture.
Instead of buying new, find a good, quality used piece and save yourself quite a bit!
Usually you can find a really good deal on used furniture on Craigslist, but another place to check is your local Facebook groups.
Just a quick warning though: Stay away from used mattresses though unless you personally know that the person you’re getting it from is bug free. Bedbugs and other creepy crawlies are too hard to get rid of to risk it for a few dollars of savings.
Why would someone pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for jewelry when you can buy a quality used piece for a lot less? Jewelry is another item that has a high markup and most jewelers know it.
Case in point? My wedding set? We picked it up at a pawn shop for more than 80% off what the exact same set cost new and it is every bit as nice and sparkly as a new one.
Even better though is that the meaning and emotion behind it is the same as it would be if it had been bought new in the first place.
It likely means just a tiny bit more to us since we didn’t have to go into debt to buy it.
I don’t buy new books very often and with a couple of exceptions, I have not haven’t for at least six years, but I still have a very well-stocked home library and many full bookshelves. There’s really no need to with used book stores, libraries and other ways to buy used books so easily accessible.
We don’t restrict ourselves to not buying new books and in fact, we buy them new at Christmas, but instead, we look for a used option first. Not a single person in my family has ever had an issue getting a like new copy used copy of a book they wanted.
Personally, I buy used books from Thriftbooks most of the time. Their shipping is reasonable and I never fail to find a copy of what I am looking for.
Yard sales, thrift shops, and the many, many DIY home decor projects and crafts you can find online mean that there is very little reason for anyone to ever buy home decor new. As a matter of fact, the reason you can purchase home decor so cheap at yard sales is because by the time they make it to the sale table, the items have been collecting dust for a while. The seller is usually pretty happy to make any money on it at all!
If you can’t find the decor you’d like used, buy craft supplies and make it yourself! You’ll still save money and you’ll have the decor you want!
Video Games and Consoles
Video games and systems are on used item that can get very expensive very quickly if you’re only paying full price for them. Instead, hit up your local used game store and grab the games that you want for a lot less than you’ll pay retail. Even newer systems can usually be found for a lot less than what they would run you if you paid retail.
If you don’t have a gaming store nearby, check Craigslist, your local Facebook groups and even Ebay for what you need. Just be sure that if you’re buying person to person that you check the system or that you know the refund rules before you buy it just in case.
This one comes with a little bit of leeway, but for the most part, homeschool supplies can and should be bought used.
Things like videos for homeschool, books for reading assignments, art supplies, visual aids and in some cases even curriculum can all be bought used to save you big money.
If you aren’t sure where to start, check your local homeschool co-op or search Facebook for homeschool supplies buy sell and trade groups.
If you do have to buy new, be sure to check out places like yard sales or Teachers Pay Teachers. They both offer significant discounts on the items sold so it can help you save big. Even buying homeschool printables from Etsy can be cheaper than buying big curriculum books new.
There are also plenty of places for find homeschool curriculum on a budget to buy new from too.
Have a bit of home canning to do this summer or fall? Let me ask you this: have you priced canning supplies lately? Holy smokes they can be expensive!
Canning lids should always be bought new, but other must have canning supplies can all be bought used to save some cash. Actually, you can save money on lids as well by switching to Tattler reusable canning lids if you were so inclined.
If you’re buying a pressure canner or other larger piece of canning equipment, be sure you check it over thoroughly. If it’s missing a part or needs something replaced, you will have to address that with the seller before paying. It may still be worth buying if it’s a cheap fix such as picking up a new rubber seal. If you’re buying jars, check the rims for cracks or chips as this makes them unusable for canning.
I have never seen the point of paying retail prices for new dishes.
Maybe that’s because in my house they get broken easily, but even if they don’t get broken at your house, I’d be willing to bet you can buy the same exact set of dishes for a lot cheaper used than you would pay new.
It had been given to me, but I did not have a reason for it to collect dust so I sold it. The person that gave it to me spent well over $50.00 for it when she bought it new. I made $15.00 and the woman who bought it got a steal.
If you can’t find an entire set for a good price, consider going eclectic in your designs and doing a vintage mix or match. You’ll have awesome dishes and a beautiful decor theme for pennies on the dollar compared to what you’d pay new.
Formal events are nice, but is there really a reason to buy all of your special occasion clothes new? Probably not. School dances, weddings, funerals and more all usually require nice attire, but if you’re paying for each item new, you’re going to run up a fairly high budget.
Instead, check online marketplaces, boutique style thrift stores and even garage sales. You may just be surprised at what you find!
Camping gear is another area where new is not necessary provided you’re willing to do the footwork involved. Gear such as tents, sleeping bags, cookstoves, tables, backpacks and more can all be picked up for fairly good prices second hand.
When you’re looking to buy used camping gear, be sure you do your due diligence. Check and recheck the item to be sure it’s free of major rips or that it is not in need of a major repair. It does you no good if you have to spend major money to repair it.
Having a baby is usually a wonderful time for new parents, but the truth is that clothing manufacturers have created an entirely unnecessary market when it comes to maternity clothes. There are exceptions such as a good maternity bra, but most of your clothing can simply be purchased in a larger size to accommodate a growing belly.
With that said, if you do want a few pieces of maternity clothing, no one will fault you. However, you will only need that clothing for a few months. Instead of buying it new and paying a new price tag, grab the same items used and put the money you saved toward your new tiny one.
And speaking of babies, a surprising amount of baby gear is safe to purchase used. Products like baby swings, baby bouncers, high chairs, and strollers are usually a safe bet for used. Baby clothes and even baby blankets are another great used purchase.
With that said, there are two infant items you should never buy used. Do not ever purchase a used car seat or crib. Car seats are unusable once they have been in a car accident and there is zero way to tell if one has been. Cribs are often subject to recall because of faulty parts or bad measurements. Your child’s safety should always come before the desire to save money.
If you think cars are overpriced, homes are far worse. Not only that, but new homes are often the victim of fast construction which can lead to all sorts of problems later down the line.
And I personally take issue with how little charm most newly built homes have. Cookie cutter houses don’t look great. They look like they’re meant to fall in line with the rest of the world and I prefer homes that have charm.
Older homes, though, not only have more charm, but are a more solid buy. They have had the time to gain escrow and usually have a more solid construction to them. Better construction typically means fewer repairs.
If your kids play sports, you probably know how expensive things like ball gloves and cleats can be new. Instead, see if you can find those items in good shape used. Chances are your kids won’t care that they’re used, but your budget will love that you didn’t pay full price for them.
Small tools such as hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and even things like cordless drills can be picked up used at garage sales any day of the week. These items can get expensive if you’re buying them new, but with quality used alternatives, there really isn’t a reason to pay full price.
Small Kitchen Appliances
Small kitchen appliances such as mixers, coffeemakers, toasters and so on are a much better buy when purchased used. Most of the time you’ll get the same amount of use from them as you would if you bought them new.
Yard sales are the best place to find these things as thrift stores tend to really overprice them.
For those that like to bike a lot, check the usual haunts for used gear before paying new prices. Often you can pick up the same bike or gear for less money and because a huge number of people buy bikes, but never ride them, they’re often in like new condition.
Large Kids Toys
Kids ride on toys or cars, swing sets and other large toys are priced so much higher than they’re worth in stores. Instead, buy these items used if possible. Your babies will still love them and you’ll save quite a bit over their new counterparts.
Holiday Decor and Supplies
I made the mistake of buying a new Christmas tree in 2023. I paid over $100 for it. Now granted, I will get years of use for it, but had I not been rushing myself, I could have very likely found the same tree for a fraction of what I paid.
Christmas trees and other holiday decor get put up on Facebook Marketplace and other buy/sell apps every year. Save yourself some cash buying used and you’ll be smarter than me about it, lol.
Bedding such as sheets and blankets are generally okay to buy used and should be if they are in good, usable condition. New bedding sets can often run over $100 each and there is really no reason for that.
When shopping garage sales, be sure to look on the ground for bags. A lot of people simply throw bedding into a garbage bag and call it good. If you don’t look, you may miss them and could miss out on a deal.
As I said earlier, buying used mattresses is not a good idea if you can avoid it. Bedbugs are too rampant in this country and they hide well enough that buying a used mattress can often lead to an infestation before you know it.
Is it Safe to Buy Bedding Secondhand?
Usually, buying secondhand bedding is safe, however, because of the nature of the item, it’s important to take a few precautions before bringing used bedding into your home. Taking these steps is a bit more work, but will protect your home and family from things such as bedbugs and lice.
If they are not already, you’ll want to put them into a garbage bag and tie it closed tightly before bringing them into your home. You will also want to wash and dry them fully before bringing them into any main living areas of your home.
Everyone and their uncle sets goals to be healthier each January, but unfortunately, a lot of them never realize those goals. This can be a good thing for you.
It means that there is almost always a surplus of fitness equipment like treadmills and stationary bikes for sale used.
Outdoor vehicles such as boats are a lot like cars in price. They are over priced and lose value almost immediately. If you’re in the market for one, look used. You’ll get the same quality boat without the added cost of the word “new.”
Buying secondhand sometimes has a negative stigma attached to it, but there is zero reason for that to happen. Most items being sold used are just as nice as their new counterparts. The only stigma that should be attached to a used item is the positive ones for reducing wasted money and household waste.
Do you have things that you shouldn’t buy new that are not included on this list? If so, I’d love to hear what they are! Leave me a comment and tell me!