When we get in over our heads financially, breaking old habits can be hard.
One of the habits we may need to break is always buying new things. The appeal of buying things that are brand new can’t be denied. There is that smell of the new thing. There is the undeniable joy of opening the package of the new thing and taking in the beauty of the new “toy.”
But there is also something to be said about used items and the value that use gives them. In this article we are going to look at just a few ways you can save money by purchasing used items that still have a lot of life left in them.
The “new-to-you” used car
This is probably one of the top ways to save money. While we all would probably like to purchase a brand new car fresh off the assembly line, the reality is this: a new car loses value the second you drive it off the lot.
According to an article on Alternet.org, “As far as value is concerned, the old adage rings true: A car loses value as soon as you drive it off the dealership lot—up to 15% depending on the vehicle. It doesn’t stop there; by the time it’s four years old, the typical car retains only about half of its value. After that, however, the depreciation curve is much less steep.”
Even though the appeal of a new car is there, the fact remains that it just is not a super wise value. A used car is a much better value for your money and will retain its value longer, too.
If you are looking for a way to save money and you need a different car (notice I said “need” not “want?”) then a good used car is your best bet.
Thrift Store buys
I don’t need to spend a lot of money on new clothes to have a nice selection of clothes to wear.
Almost any town you go to has at least one thrift shop. Some are much better than others, but most of the time, you can find really nice clothes for ridiculously low prices. A like new pair of jeans can be less than a cup of coffee at the diner!
One thing that I do when I buy used clothing is to always wash it before I wear it. Even though I would guess that the majority of items you find at second hand or thrift stores is clean, why take the chance? Just throw it in the washing machine and make sure!
Many of the clothes that I wear to work are from second hand stores or thrift shops.
But thrift shops don’t just sell used clothes. You can buy used smaller appliances, home decor, tools and a plethora of other useful items if you shop around. Since thrift shops are very common, you can probably shop at a few different ones to get the things you are looking for.
Garage sale finds
Summer time is a perfect time to purchase gently used items as garage sales happen every week in many towns. If you are worried that someone might recognize an article of clothing you wear if you buy it from a local garage sale, then head out of town to shop at nearby towns sales.
You can often find used tools, knick-knacks, clothes, books and a ton of other items at a garage sale and save hundreds of dollars over buying everything new.
A yard sale or garage sale is also a good way to spend a few hours out in the fresh air rather than holed away in a shopping mall or big box store.
When you are looking at ways to save money, this may be one of the very best ways to do so because you can find such a variety of items at a garage sale.
Often, several people will hold garage sales together and that really increases the number of items you can find. Keywords to look for if you are looking through ads in the newspaper are: Estate Sale, Multi-Family Sale and similar phrases. One of my favorites is a “Moving Sale” because often the seller is very motivated to move their items and will take even less than they have things priced at.
Buying used appliances can be risky, but often worth the search. Every single washer and dryer that my spouse and I owe were purchased second hand. We saved hundreds of dollars over purchasing new and so far we have not had to spend anything on repairs.
That isn’t to say that we have always been so lucky. We’ve purchased used lawn and garden equipment like lawnmowers that worked great at the garage sale and stopped working the minute we got them home!
With any purchase of a used item, you take a risk unless it comes with some sort of warranty. Most garage sales and thrift stores do not offer anything like that although some might accept the item back within a certain time frame.
In my experience, the time and cost of a used appliance has beaten having to take my clothes to a laundromat to wash them. With children, we are constantly washing clothes.
Used will do
I am like anyone else, I like new things, but I also like the idea of saving money when I can. I find that 9 times out of 10, used will do and I don’t need to spend extra money on a new item.
When investing in used items, you should still shop around, maybe even more so than when buying new because you want to make sure you get the best value for your money, especially if there are no returns.
There are many times that used will do just as good as new and retain its value longer, too!
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About the author
Karin Nauber, is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has seven grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 11 years ago and has faced many challenges with the disease. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org.