We often talk about saving money, but a lot of the time it can really come down to how we’re feeling that day. We head out to the store and we’re just not feeling well so we just grab whatever happens to be on the shelf. Unfortunately, thoughtless shopping is a great way to cause your budget to fail. For me, I try not to buy something new unless I absolutely have to. That’s actually a pretty common thing amount people who consider themselves thrifty. A thrifty person knows that a deal is a deal and that a good, quality used item that costs less is a far better deal than a higher priced new item.
I’ve mentioned it before, but there is a common misconception about buying used that causes a lot of people to spend more money than they need to. The reality is this. A used item, when clean and in proper working order, saves the landfill from a bit more trash and saves your budget from the cost of buying new. Obviously, I don’t buy every little thing in our home used. There are just some things that you shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean that I’m not always on the lookout for a great deal on something used that I do want or need.
Things Thrifty People Never Buy New
When you’re asking yourself if you should buy new or used, you need to consider a couple of things before you head out to shop. First, ask yourself if you really and truly need the item in question. If yes, then ask yourself if buying it new will actually serve a purpose or if you can save by buying used. Chances are, if it’s a larger purchase, you’ll find that buying used is the better way to go.
Cars – Ask just about any money smart millionaire and you’ll find that a lot of them drive used cars. The math behind it is simple. New cars are really, really overpriced plus the value of your car drops significantly as soon as you drive it off of the lot. Both of those equal up pretty clearly to the fact that buying a good running used car is by far the better buy financially. We drive a used car and our next one will be as well. It’s a 2010 that we bought in 2012 and the only thing we’ve ever had to do mechanically to it was put a starter on it. That $350 expense still doesn’t equal the amount of money we saved by purchasing used.
Kids clothes – Most thrifty people don’t buy new kids clothes very often. I know that I personally only buy my Emma one or two new outfits each year. For me, it doesn’t make sense. Kids grow so fast that if you bought all new clothing for your kids? You’d be spending a ton of cash every year. Instead, buy used (and/or shop ONLY clearance sales) and save yourself big. When I do need to buy Emma clothing, I shop ThredUp, Schoola and Swap. I’m able to get her very nice and very name brand clothing (sometimes designer) for super cheap. The money I save means that I’m able to afford to take her out in her snazzy “new” outfits to do the fun family activities that she loves to do.
Furniture – Have you priced new furniture lately? Seriously. The markup is almost as bad as with a new car. 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 yuckies are too hard to get rid of to risk it for a few dollars of savings.
Jewelry – Why would someone pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for jewelry when you can buy a quality used piece for a lot less? 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? The meaning and emotion behind it is the same as it would be if it had been bought new. Actually? It likely means just a tiny bit more to us since we didn’t have to go into debt to buy it.
Books – I don’t buy new books anymore and haven’t for at least four years. There’s really no need to with stores like Half Priced Books, places like Swap.com, yearly yard sales and the thousands of free kindle books that are available. We don’t restrict ourselves to not buying new books and in fact, we buy them new at Christmas and for homeschooling a lot of the time, but instead, we look for a used option first.
Home decor – Yard sales, thrift shops, and the many, many DIY projects and crafts you can find online mean that there is very little reason for anyone to ever buy home decor new. Instead, take the money that you would have spent on new, hit the used sales and buy some craft supplies. In the end, you’ll still have awesome home decor and money left in your pocket!
Video Games and Consoles – Hit up your local Gamestop 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 before you buy it to be sure everything works correctly.
Homeschool supplies – This one comes with a little bit of leeway, but for the most part, homeschool supplies can 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 yard sales. They both offer significant discounts on the items sold so it can help you save big.
Canning supplies – 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! You should always buy your lids new, but things like jars, tools and bands can all be bought used to save some cash. Before you buy them though, just be sure to check for any cracks in the glass, rust on the rings or any other defects that would make them unsafe to use. Also be sure you look for things like the actual canners and even dehydrators. I picked up my dehydrator for $5.00 at a yard sale and it works perfectly.
Dinnerware – 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. Don’t believe me? This past summer, my mother in law sold a brand new, never opened set of Better Homes & Gardens dishes for $15.00 at a yard sale that we held at our home. She spent well over $50.00 for it when she bought it new. 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.