Becoming Debt Free in 2009

December 29, 2008

I’ve Never Purchased Used Items

Filed under: Shopping — ambercouric @ 2:01 pm
Tags: ,

Okay, I have said it.  I don’t have a reason other than I just have never bought something used.   Just about every PF blog out there recommends buying used as a great way to save money.   I’ve just never thought to buy used.  I’m pretty new at this reducing debt lifestyle so give me a little break.  I do want to explore the possibilities but the question for me is there anything I really need?  New or used.

Well, actually, I bought one used car -10 years ago a Volvo that I loved and paid cash for.  And two of our five houses were “used”.    My current house is in the “historic” district and is about 60 years old.  I plan to move once more in a few years to a new house.

Now, the point of this post is really to discuss buying used items from thrift stores, yard sales, craigslist, etc.  Even the items  I have purchased on eBay are new. 

I am not sure what items are bought used.  I know clothing can be purchased used.  I went to look in a thrift store the other day and name brand polo shirts for the boys were $3.99.  That seems like a good price but to be honest most of the shirts I buy are around $5 on clearance – same brand I found in the thrift store.  Shoes I buy on sale and I just don’t know if I could wear used shoes.  All of our coats were purchased on major clearance usually 80% off.  We only wear coats a few days a year here so there are great sales in January.  I did look at a particular new coat at the mall for $250 but I would never spend that amount on a coat.   I will have to buy Kennedy a good coat for his trip to DC but I am sure I can get a good one for less than $20.

As far as knick knacks around the house, I buy only what I really love.  I have a minimalist look – less to clean- so I don’t go shopping for things to decorate the house.

Most of my furniture was purchased new.  We  tend to buy something new once every few years.  The furniture that isn’t new was given to us.  We have a couple of antique bedroom suits that we dearly love but we didn’t pay for them.  My living room furniture I bought with the credit card this year.  I do wish I would have waited until I could have paid cash for it.  But I love it and will use it for many years.

My car was purchased new.   It is a Toyota.  I’ve had three Toyotas.  The first was in high school andmy dad bought it for me.  I drove it for 8 years.  My second Toyota I bought after my first child was born and we had that car for 10 years.   We had the Volvo at the same time we had the 2nd Toyota.  Now, I have another Toyota that is two years old.  Truth is I like having a new car.  I know financially it doesn’t make sense but because we keep the cars so long I think it is not such a bad thing.  Granted my next car will probably be a used car that is not more than two years old.  But I can guarantee that I won’t buy a new one.

Books would be fine to purchase used but I tend to just borrow from the libary.

Maybe it is because I don’t tendto shop a lot, but I have never really considered buying used as an option.  Another reason maybe because with our group of friends once we are finished with something we just tend to pass it on.    Our friends do the same.  Also, we have a couple of neighbors that we share with.  I don’t own a ladder but my neighbor owns 5 so we just borrow one when we need one.  About twice a year.  We have a GPS system and my neighbor doesn’t.  When they go on a trip they just borrow ours.

Also, my kids are too old for toys so I have no need for buying used toys now.  Maybe when they were younger I should have looked into used toys.  But for now their wants are more electronic in nature and we purchase those items new.

For 2009, I would like to evaluate purchases to see if buying used is a feasible option.  The only thing I can think of right now that we have plans to purchase is a fence for the dogs.  Can you purchase a used fence?  

 Do you purchase used?  What items do you purchase?  What type of savings do you see 20%, 50% or more? 

 I would love to know what I should look for.



  1. Well, it doesn’t seem like your too wasteful so that’s good!

    Comment by Movingonup! — December 29, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  2. I don’t buy much stuff used except books. I like finding notes and dates written in them. It’s interesting.

    Comment by Movingonup! — December 29, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  3. I buy most things used. Books, kitchen stuff, clothes, tools etc.. It takes a lot of hunting, because there can tend to be a lot of junk. But there usually is some good stuff! My favourite would be buying used wooden furniture, and refinishing it. You’d be surprised what some paint and new hardware can do!

    Most recently I purchased a $5.00 coffee pot that was still in the box. I also found a nice pair of winter boots, with the tags and the shoe stuffing still in place. 🙂

    Comment by frugal dreamer — December 29, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

  4. I don’t tend to buy used so much (with the exception of cars), but I will spend a lot of time hunting around for the best deal online. We also don’t buy much of anything spontaneously.

    We do have some used furniture (from college), but we are slowly replacing it as springs break on mattresses, etc. Sometimes we have found a couple great bargains on used furniture, but we make sure that it is something we really want before purchasing.

    Comment by moneyloveandchange — December 29, 2008 @ 3:40 pm

  5. I agree. You don’t seem wasteful, so if you don’t see the point then don’t buy used. Sometimes you just want the new things and that’s OK too.

    Clothing (if you’re a clotheshorse) is where you see a ton of savings, especially in coats. Coats are the only thing I’d kind of consider buying used save for some tops.

    Used furniture is fine too. Scored a great couch once for $300. Loved it.

    I only really buy used cars now or if the house is used.. or maybe food-related things like a processor… or maybe not.

    Fabulously Broke in the City
    Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver…

    Comment by Fabulously Broke — December 29, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  6. I buy a lot of things used. Books mostly from library sales, games for the kids (Nintendo DS, Wii, Leapster all bought used), clothing (I don’t buys shoes), my desk was used, I’m a purse lover so I have a couple of used purses.

    The tip is not to pick up the first thing you see and judge all by that items quality. You have to put a little time and effort in. Look for gently used items and you’ll be fine.

    Comment by Converting A Spendthrift — December 29, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

  7. I am with you, I don’t buy alot of ‘used’ items, but I love myself a good sale! I occasionally pop into the thrift store to see if I can find anything, but only find a few items here and there. I cannot do the used clothes/shoes thing. That kind of creeps me out, I know it shouldn’t, but I have a very small comfort zone…

    I agree with the others that it sounds like you are doing awesome!!

    Comment by PJ — December 29, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

  8. I just like getting a deal. However I get it. Although, with some negotiating, I usually get a better deal new then used.

    Comment by Jeff Medina — December 30, 2008 @ 2:45 am

  9. Hi there-I’m a great fan of thrifting for clothes and accessories, also furniture too. But sometimes, its easier and more cost effective to buy brand new. I suppose it does depend on the item.

    Comment by sharon rose — December 30, 2008 @ 6:02 am

  10. I also have been having a hard time buying used. Why would I buy clothes for dd used when I could buy them brand new if I wait for a sale for only around $1 more? But I do need to get out of that mind set… maybe that will be one of my resolutions… I could say to myself that it would help the environment if I buy used ~ kinda like recycling!

    good luck!

    Comment by jpkittie — December 30, 2008 @ 9:38 am

  11. Don’t forget that buying used isn’t only an economic choice. Buying used is also a good environmental choice. So, if your choices are a $3.99 shirt at the thrift store and a less than $5 shirt on clearance, the thrift store choice is better environmentally. Just something else to consider!

    Comment by SimplyForties — January 1, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

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