Ten Things You Should Always Buy Second Hand

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Stop.  Don’t take that trip to Wal-Mart.  Stay way from Sears.  Avoid your local mall.  You might end up at those destinations eventually,  but first check out your local second hand store.  Once I got started shopping second hand I found it hard to go back to shopping retail.  I get satisfaction from (1) knowing I am getting a good deal, (2) knowing I’m helping charitable organizations, and (3) knowing that I can decide to save money and allocate funds to other categories in my budget that are more important to me.  I have included a list of the ten things you should always buy second hand.  These items are included because of their cost, quality, and availability at most second hand stores.

Photo by back_garage

Here are ten things you should look for second hand before new:

  1. Baby clothes. First, your baby is probably already the cutest thing in the world so you probably don’t need to fancy him or her up with clothes.  Second, have you ever noticed that kids grow really fast?  I can wear a pair of jeans for five years, but kids wear them for five months then get too big.  Ever wonder what happens to all those like new outfits.  Yep, they get sent to the second hand store for you to buy for $1-$3 instead of $7-$10.
  2. Books. If you are simply looking for a good read, your local second hand store probably has more than they know what to do with.  As a result, you can get used paperback from anywhere between ten cents and a dollar.  If, however, you are looking for a specific book you might need to go elsewhere.  But for those general good read cravings, head to the local second hand store.
  3. Ties. Sure, some of the ties were probably donated by your great-great grandfather, but they also have some great ties.  In most second hand stores you will have more selection than you would find at your local department store.  Typically you will pay $1 instead of $10-$15.
  4. Kids Toys. Now you need to be a little careful here because you don’t want to buy a broken toy that can endanger your kids.  Still, there are a ton of old toys that look like new.  Just wash them over with a disinfectant and let the kids have at it.  Guess what?  If your kids are like mine they will never know the difference between new and used.  Now at the same time, my kids would sometimes rather play with a plastic cup than anything we bought in a store.
  5. Kids shoes. Same idea as the clothes.  Little humans grow really fast which means they never even begin to break in their new items.
  6. Athletic gear. This could be anything from free weights to hockey equipment to running shorts.  I do a fair bit of running and don’t understand why I need to pay $20 for a pair of shorts when I can run just as fast in a $3 pair of shorts.  Hey, you can even get brand names if that is important to you.  Don’t pay a lot of money for something that functions to absorb your sweat.
  7. Household trinkets. Many women like to put a little of this here and that there.  They just don’t know exactly what kind of this and that they are looking for.  Second hand stores have so many items which match different personalities and tastes.  No one will know where you got it (unless you can’t resist telling them).
  8. Brand new department store items. I know of a second hand store that gets items from the local Target.  Whenever Target decides not to sell the clothing, toiletries, and toys they donate them to the local Goodwill.  At times the items are just not popular, but at times it is simply because of a season change.  Other stores just have some new items that were never opened.
  9. Suitcases. When I first started traveling I thought I needed good luggage because I was traveling so much.  But now, I have decided the opposite.  Because I travel so much I just need something cheap that will get me through the trip.  I have paid $50 for a suitcase and had a wheel break off the first trip.  So now I go to the second hand store and for $5 or less I can come away with a nice and perfectly functional suitcase.
  10. Non-electronic kitchen items like Tupperware, plates, cups, spatulas and so on.  You can easily inspect them and probably find a lot of choices.  If you find something you like, one cycle through the dishwasher and you are ready to go.


    • Craig says

      Yes, baby strollers are great. We actually have one right now that we bought at a local second hand store. That’s the one the kids fight over. Ignorance is bliss. Thanks for your comment.

  1. says

    We managed to find an ice cream maker attachment for our Kitchenaid at Value Village. We paid $35 for it and it still had the $135 price tag sticker from Sears. It looked to have been used once, if that.

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