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The Benefits of Buying Used

Certain costs and spending cannot be avoided. Your home needs heat, your family needs food, and your car needs gas. Many of us also like to spruce up our homes and our wardrobes from time to time and if you follow some of Janice’s tips, it doesn’t have to be too costly. However, more and more people are discovering yet another way to save money on items like clothing and home goods. The answer is buying used.

Many people may claim that they don’t buy used because there aren’t any thrift stores or consignment shops nearby; however, with online resources such as Craigslist and eBay and sites such as thredUP and Swap where you can buy and sell used clothing, there is no excuse.

There is no longer a social stigma surrounding shopping secondhand; shopping at thrift stores has become a trendy way to help save the planet and your wallet at the same time. In fact, according to industry statistics from NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals, consignment, thrift and resale shops have grown at least seven percent per year over the last two years. Goodwill Industries alone generated $2.69 billion in retail sales in 2010.

Some of my favorite places to shop used (and sell) are Buffalo Exchange (where you can buy, sell, and trade clothing and accessories), Urban Renewals (similar to Goodwill, but owned by Family Thrift Center), and Craigslist. Over the last few months, I have made dozens of great purchases at all of these venues. Some of my most recent purchases include:

  • Cube wood bookcase, $35, Craigslist. This was truly a great find because the woman I bought it from was located only about a mile away, and it was already fully assembled! Some quick research shows this bookcase would run me $150 if purchased new, plus the hassle of assembling it.
  • Leather Longchamp cross-body bag, free, Buffalo Exchange. I came across this gem when I was selling (in this case, trading) some clothes at Buffalo Exchange. I received $49 for the trade value of my items and spotted this used bag marked at $29. Similar, newer styles retail for $200+.
  • J. Crew cashmere sweater dress, $25, Buffalo Exchange. This dress is perfect for both work and going out on weekends. Most cashmere pieces at J. Crew retail at over $100.

I’ve also found things such as an Andrew Marc shift dress for $7.99, a skirt from Barney’s for $3.99, and basics such as plates and cutlery starting at $1. Trust me, if you look, you will find some hidden treasures and stick to your budget.

Do you shop used? What is your best used purchase?

ABOUT AUTHOR / Madison

Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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