Would you buy a used dining table, in excellent condition, if it meant saving $500? When it comes to thinking about what to buy used and save money, certain categories will save you more than others.
buying used mindset
Did you grow up in a family where buying used things wasn’t “appreciated”? Even if buying used meant saving money?
Or did you grow up in a family where buy used and save the difference was the motto?
Regardless of how you grew up. There are many things you can buy used vs new. So why buy used? Because you can and because you’ll be saving a lot of money if you do. Sometimes, we just get used to buying the new things that we forget about the cheaper version….the used version.
Buying used vs new will almost always save you money but some categories will save you thousands of dollars. So instead of giving away those thousands of dollars to other people (car salesman, CEO’s, government, etc.). Keep it for yourself!
my experience buying used
I grew up in a family that was 50/50. Some things my parents bought used, others they only bought new.
For example, my mom would only buy new clothes, furniture, and dinnerware. And for what they bought used, that was cars. My dad has only ever boughten used cars and has paid for them in full.
That’s how I learned my “never have a car payment” philosophy. I bought second my car in cash for $13,700. My first car, my dad bought in cash and I eventually paid him back. If you take a look at your lifestyle and most importantly your spending habits. They are probably very similar to how you grew up.
So what should YOU buy used and save money? These are the top 3 categories that if bought used will save you thousands of dollars.
what to buy used
#1 – buy a used car
Remember this very important fact. Your car depreciates (loses value) year over year. Which means your car is worth less and less every year. 99% of the time, you will lose money if you sell your car. Your car is not like a home where over a long period of time, it will be worth more (hopefully).
In fact, your car is worth about 50% less five years after you buy it. If you plan on selling your car in five years, are you willing to lose 50% of what you paid? Buy used and save money! Guys, this is a no brainer.
Buying a used car can save you thousands of dollars. As I mentioned, I grew up with this “philosophy” because that’s what my dad did. He’s always boughten used cars and has paid for them in full. Which also meant that he only bought what he could afford.
Buying what you can afford will also save you money in the long run. You won’t have to take out a car loan and pay interest. There’s a high probability you already have other loans (student loans, credit cards, mortgage, etc.) so why add another?
You definitely don’t want to buy a really old car and then have to spend a lot of money fixing it. My recommendation is to buy a used car that is 2-5 years old. That 2-5 year old car will be very similar to the current years’ model that is A LOT more expensive. This is where you’ll save thousands of dollars.
When you’re finally ready to make that big purchase.
- Do your research. Understand how much the car you want is selling for. Compare; year, price, miles, and accidents the car has been involved in.
- Go to a few dealers. See what the cars look like in person. Any dents or scratches you didn’t see on the pictures online?
- Negotiate the price. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. Especially if you’re paying for your car in cash! If they say no the first time, don’t be intimated to ask again.
#2 – buy second-hand furniture
I definitely underestimated the benefits of buying used furniture. When I moved into my first apartment. I had to buy furniture for every room and everything I bought was brand new. Why? Because I didn’t even think about buying used furniture and I didn’t realize until after that it was going to be spending A LOT of money.
As I mentioned earlier, growing up, we didn’t buy used furniture so I guess it wasn’t on my radar.
There are a few reasons you want to buy second-hand furniture:
- You can save hundreds of dollars. If you like a specific piece of furniture. Try to find it online second-hand for hundreds of dollars less! I didn’t think about doing this but it’s a great way to get exactly what you want for about 15-50% LESS. If you don’t know what you want yet, go to thrift stores and see what you like and don’t like.
- You can get great quality for hundreds of dollars less. When I was searching for furniture. I noticed that all of the “affordable” options were cheap products that were not well made. You think you are saving money but are you? Will you need to replace it 2-4 years down the road? If you do your search, you can find great quality used furniture for a fraction of the price.
- You may not need it for very long. If you don’t plan to live in your home for the next 5 years. Definitely don’t buy everything new. If you plan on moving, it may not fit in your new space or your style might change.
When it comes to searching for second-hand furniture. Go to thrift stores, garage sales, auction houses, and estate sales. Online, you can use Craigslist, OfferUp, or simply Google what you need.
You can be like me and simply not even think about buying used furniture but the next time you have to buy furniture, remember, buy used and save money.
#3 – buy used clothes
We spend so much money on clothes. Unfortunately, for most people, it’s become a bad habit. We just buy and buy. If you couldn’t buy new clothes for the next year would you survive? Probably 🙂
In a recent Yahoo Finance article, the average American spends $1,886 each year on clothes. That is approximately $157 each month. If you look back at the last three months, how much have you spent on clothes?
There are two great approaches to spending less on clothes:
- Buy used and save money. Clothes are a little like furniture because the “affordable” pieces are usually the ones poorly made and the ones that won’t last very long. That $10 shirt will really cost you $100 because you will buy it again, and again. If you don’t feel comfortable buying used clothes, I totally get it. I didn’t grow up buying used clothes so I didn’t love the idea but I’ve slowly introduced myself and have found a few gems. My latest gem was a beautiful 100% wool coat from LUBA for $12. I had it dry cleaned for $8 and my total for the coat was only $20. Can you buy a 100% wool coat for $20 today? No, definitely not. Give it a try, you will be surprised!
- Buy less and still save money. If you absolutely can’t buy used clothes. Then simply buy less. Cut your clothing budget in half. It may seem aggressive but trust me, you probably don’t have to spend as much as you do already on clothes. Remember that our spending has become more of a habit than a need. In order to buy fewer clothes, I simply became more mindful of what I was buying and asking myself if I really needed it. You will not miss that extra shirt, dress, purse, or earrings. Trust me! Slowly but surely you will become better at buying less and less.
3 things to buy used summary
If you buy used in the three categories below you are guaranteed to save money. And not just hundreds but thousands and thousands of dollars.
- Buy used cars. Buy a used car that’s about 2-5 years old and save thousands.
- Buy second-hand furniture. You’ll find used furniture in excellent condition for hundreds less.
- Buy used clothes. Or buy fewer clothes period. You can find great quality second-hand clothes in certain thrift stores.
It’s difficult to see the big picture when you’re in the moment but trust me, buy used and save money.
Have you boughten used in any of these categories and saved money?
If you’re looking for other ways to save money, check out, How To Save Money On Household Items.