10 Things Thrifty People Never Buy New

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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.

Saving money is a way of life for thrifty folks. So much so that there are certain items we NEVER buy new! These 10 things that thrifty people never buy new will have you saving money over and over again!

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.


Saving money is a way of life for thrifty folks. So much so that there are certain items we NEVER buy new! These 10 things that thrifty people never buy new will have you saving money over and over again!


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Stacy Williams

Stacy Williams is a 37-year old wife to a USAF Gulf War Veteran, mother of two teen girls and fur-mamma to a rescued pit bull. The face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family, she also owns and manages Long Haul Wife, Republic Preparedness, The Genealogy Queen and a handful of others sites. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome a drinking problem, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence, and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

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  1. Great tips! I’ll never buy a new car either! Be aware other furniture than just beds can get bed bugs! Couches and recliners can be a big problem too. Bed bugs are really bad here in the Denver area and are really hard to get rid of without professional help! I got them living in my last apartment. Still creeps me out!

  2. I love this post! I feel the same way and rarely buy anything new. Not on the list are toys and adult clothing. I buy almost all of my clothes at thrift and consignment stores. I also buy my little ones clothes and toys through a FB group where mom’s in my area share and sell everything to each other. As for furniture, auctions are a great source for home decor especially if you can envision something with a fresh coat of paint. There’s very little that can’t be found secondhand these days.

  3. Great list! I also buy all these things used…except jewelry – I basically don’t buy it!

  4. lisa kranick says

    PLEASE be aware that bed bugs can also be brought home in other furniture, even in wooden pieces, because they hide very well in cracks and crevices. The only furniture I’ll be used these days is from local sellers who can assure me convincingly that they have never had bed bugs.

  5. I got one set of Corell dishes because my mother and I picked out some that I just fell in love with. I now have both sets at my house and I love them every time I eat off of them.

    I have a half a dozen writers I’ll buy their books new, because I just can’t wait until they come out in paper or to the library. However, on the other hand, I pick up most of my books at the library resale place or Goodwill or some other thrift shop.

    I don’t have kids, so kids clothes and home school supplies aren’t on my shopping lists. I also don’t can, mostly because I have a black thumb.

    However, I make jewelry, and almost never wear any…

  6. I bought a dozen new plates that I wanted from the Dollar Tree, in deep red to use for company during the holidays. Beautiful dinner plates. I asked the store employee where they got them from, because they were very nice plates for only $1 each. He told me they came from Walmart. These same plates would have been $5 each at least . I paid $12 for 12… opposed to $5 x 12 = $60. 🙂 I also bought my everyday dishes on clearance form Amazon and Walmart (the same dishes by Rachel Ray) in a white with green pattern, for 12 people. Then I went back to the Dollar Tree to buy fill in pieces in plain white to mix in with the Rachel Ray ones. and saved at least $100. 🙂

  7. Great tips. We don’t buy new cars either (we have an 06 Caravan which we bought in 07 at 50% of the cost of a new 07, and a 1998 Honda Civic I bought in 2002 for about 2/3 the cost of new and we’re STILL driving!), buy most of books at the twice-a-year charity used book sale (yesterday got me a grocery bag stuffed full of new-to-us books for $13), and buy most other things used too. We have 4 kids and 1 income, plus homeschooling, so bucks are tight! We did spring for a new couch last year as we weren’t finding a used one plus there’s been huge bedbug issues in my area lately, but BOY my kids can trash a new couch just as fast as the trashed the 20+ year old we just replace (that we got for free). Totally not worth it!

    One thing, often you can get household goods for free, just by asking around. I’ve gotten tons of free canning supplies for free off kijiji & freecycle. I just stock up on lids when they’re clearing them out at 50%+ off at the end of canning season (about now). But we’ve gotten free couches, dining room sets, a gorgeous HUGE filing cabinet from an office (boy that thing was heavy!), a guitar, books books and more books, clothing, tools, etc. You’d be surprised!

    For clothing, it helps if you get together with friends and/or family and swap clothes. My friends and family have worked out a system, when child A outgrows stuff, it goes to child B in a different family. Those clothes then go to child C in yet another family. Then they come back to me for child D, etc. Each of my kids have a “circuit” their clothes seen to go through. The only rules really is that you give roughly the amount you receive so if you need to dispose of things that are too worn, you replace, usually from thrift shops and yard sales. I probably spend about $100 on clothing for my 4 kids per year, mostly for my oldest who doesn’t get many hand-me-downs, but I buy mostly from yard sales. There’s a house my in neighourhood that I stalk because they have a yard sale every year, and they always have stuff in her size!

    And finally, renos! We’ve been in a middle of a reno for a couple of years now (LOL, don’t ask), and our lastest used find? We paid about $400 for about 20 linear feet of beautiful solid oak cabinets that came out of a condo that was being renovated. We found it at the local used building supply store. They’re awesome cabinets, and includes lots of lowers that are banks for drawers and 2 pantries! Eep, I’m so exicted I’m getting more cabinets in my kitchen (and some in the dining room for homeschool supplies)! We saved about $2000 over low-end, melamine cabinets that we would still need to assemble and buy hardware for! We’ve bought recycle windows (playhouse), chairs (refinished to go with our 40-year-old dining room table given to us), light fixtures, and saved tons of money! Yeah, it takes elbow grease to clean it up sometimes, but well worth the effort!

    • We’re most likely getting ready to start a reno ourselves. 😉 I can’t wait to get started. There’s so much potential that it makes me burst lol.

  8. But how do you keep your home from looking like a yard sale heap? We don’t buy much new, but what we do we take care of and it lasts us a loooonnnng time. We bought new plates from Ikea ($2 a plate, woo!) they all match, and to date we’ve broken one that our cat knocked off a table. A *lot* of things at Ikea you can buy new for very cheap. Some people brag about only buying thrift store clothes, but they *look* poor and unkept, which kind of defeats the point. Also if you shop clearance and buy ahead for next year, and use coupons, target/wal mart/ and sometimes gymboree are almost as cheap at Goodwill here! Goodwill sells “fancy” little girls dresses (like Easter) for $9-$11 dollars. I got my daughter next year’s easter dress, brand new, with panties and no mystery stains or missing buttons, for $12 at gymborree. Why wouldn’t I do that? Got her brand new skirts at walmart on clearance for $1. I got her Christmas dress for this year on clearance at Target + a coupon off clearance plus a $5 off a $20 kids clothing purchase, so it ended up costing me $6. And I got her tw sets of pajamas and some tee shirts and a hoodie and something for a friends kid, ALL NEW. With the bed bug epidemic, buying furniture used is a gamble, and one I’m not willing to take. Have you ever had to de bed bug a house? It’s terrifying. And labor intensive. And costly.

    So yeah, for some stuff, used is fine. But if there’s a book by my husband’s favorite author coming out this year, we’ll find a way to buy it new in hardcover (birthday gift cards, etc) so he has a nice set. I’m not going to let my kids get made fun of for their clothes if I can help it.

    Like , CJ you’re doing your Reno yourself, but it’s taken you YEARS? How stressful and embarrassing is that? That deal you got is absolutely great, no question, but I would lose my damn mind if my house had “been in a middle of a reno for a couple of years now”. You have to factor in your time as a cost as well, because your labor and sanity are worth something. My husband used to do construction so I’m not anti DIY, not at all, but years? I couldn’t handle that.

    • We donate or pass a lot of it on to be honest. I love to barter for things that I actually need for the things we don’t. As for the thrift store shopping, if you are finding only out of date and tasteless clothes at your local ones, try others. My daughter and I wear very nice designer brands (I have Apple Bottom jeans on as I type this) and I don’t pay very much for them at all and I actually resent your implication that my child (or any of our children) are made fun of. My daughter is sleeping in Hilfiger shorts with a Ralph Lauren top. I paid less than $5.00 for the outfit combined.

      In truth, I’m not going to type an answer to every comment you had Weaver, I’m simply going to say this. Every one of us has a personal line as to how far we’re willing to go to save. Yours is apparently a lot different than mine or my average reader and while I’m grateful for the opposing viewpoint, I also read a lot of judgement in your comment. Like with CJ…maybe CJ enjoys doing the work and it has nothing to do with savings. I’m considering buying a $15,000 home that I absolutely love but that will also take me several years and lots of work to turn into my dream house. Why? Not for savings….because I want to.

      I don’t know your past and I don’t know if you’ve ever truly struggled in your life, but if not? Try not to judge those that have and learned from it.

  9. No true scotsman, huh?

  10. Don’t forget your Public Library for books, DVD’s, CDs, ebooks and more. My public library offer special services and programs for homeschool families and book clubs.

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