The economy is shaky and inflation is making the task of buying basics — like groceries and gasoline — untenable for many families. There’s unfortunately very little that the average person can do to tackle these formidable challenges in full, but there are ways to lessen costs. This is true not only when it comes to the essentials in life, but also for trendy decor, designer clothing and even used cars.
Before you head over to the Salvation Army or another traditional thrift store to search for thrifted goods, consider all the other places where you can score good deals on preowned items. In some cases, you could find a better deal than you would in a thrift store, and you might find it easier to get exactly what you’re looking for, thus preventing impulse buys and wastes of time.
“These may also be referred to as secondhand shops, but either way they’re excellent places to look for gently used clothing, shoes and even furniture,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “These shops may be better than thrift stores because there’s often a team of people deciding what to take in based on its condition and ability to be sold, so you won’t necessarily find a lot of junk to sift through.”
“These can be gold mines for finding treasures, depending on the area you’re shopping in,” Ramhold said. “For instance, you may want to look at estate sales that are in the wealthier parts of town as they’re more likely to have quality items or rare finds at a fraction of the cost of shopping for new items or from antique shops. Estate sales may have solid furniture, rare books, one-of-a-kind trinkets, heirloom jewelry and more, all for relatively reasonable costs.”
“If you want to do all your shopping from home, you can certainly find deals online at sites like eBay,” Ramhold said. “In this case, though, you’re best served by looking for items like designer clothing, shoes and accessories, as shipping on those items will be much lower than larger or heavier items like furniture.”
“You might think Etsy is just for indie creators who are making and selling items, but plenty of people use it as a platform for reselling secondhand goods as well,” Ramhold said. “(Some Etsy shop owners) hunt down treasures from different areas and then resell them for reasonable prices through their Etsy storefront. This is a good way to find vintage decor as well as rare books and even one-of-a-kind jewelry for prices that won’t break the bank.”
Another great online destination for pre-loved items is Facebook Marketplace. It’s an especially good spot to search for used furniture in your area. It’s not uncommon to meet people who are in a pinch and need to offload an item in a hurry and, given their deadline, will be open to negotiating the price with you.
Buy Nothing Groups
“These are often local groups that you can join and trade goods or skills for things or services you need,” Ramhold said. “These can be a great way to declutter your own home while also finding valuable items that others may not be using anymore but are in excellent shape and still have years worth of use.”
Craigslist doesn’t have the best reputation if you’re looking for a date or a job — but it can still be a great place to find used goods at reasonable prices. Check it out if you’re looking for furniture, bikes or even cars. But always veer on the safe side: If you’re going to look at something in person, bring a friend and let others know where you are.
“These can require a decent amount of time as you may have to hunt through several stalls or dig through one stall’s wares to find truly great bargains,” Ramhold said. “But, if you have the time and patience for it, you can definitely find some hidden treasures. These are especially great for finding things like vinyl records, vintage decor and more — and often the prices can be a steal. Plus, many stall owners may be open to haggling, so you could get an even better deal if you have excellent negotiating skills.”
“This can be a great way to revamp your wardrobe without spending any cash,” Ramhold said. “You can group up with friends who wear similar sizes if you want, but you can also organize local swaps with others who are interested in trading gently used clothing without having to buy new items.”
Come all ye bold fashionistas and vintage apparel lovers to Depop. On this site/app you can find some very stylish goods. Often sellers hike up the price on rare clothing, but you can often find gems for a reasonable price — especially if you’re only shopping for staple pieces like jeans and coats and are looking for items with an original flair.
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