Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mommy 101: Buying Secondhand

The Mommy 101 posts are part of an occasional series in areas where we feel knowledgeable. Each mom brings her own set of life experiences to these posts and we hope that you can benefit from these tidbits. Read all of the posts in the Mommy 101 series here.

By Rachael

On Monday, I talked about ways to save money and get by on one income.

So let's say that you’ve made cuts to your budget. Maybe you’re eating more meals prepared at home, driving an older car, and couponing like a mad woman, but the money is still really tight. You should consider getting things that you need secondhand.

Here are six ways to take advantage of the secondhand market:

Secondhand Slide Love
1.      Buy things you need at garage sales. I get almost all my daughters’ clothing from garage and yard sales. They’re also great places to find inexpensive toys, and if you’re sneaky about it, you can buy nice toys and save them for birthdays and Christmas. Other good finds we’ve gotten from garage sales include a toddler bed, television antenna, small television for our kitchen, and speakers for our home theater system.

2.      Sell things you don’t need at your own garage sale. Be on the lookout for unused or unneeded items all year. As you come across an item in your home, put it in a box designated for your garage sale. At the end of the year – maybe sooner – you’ll have lots of things to sell. You’ll clear clutter out of your home and make a little money in the process. Get together with friends and pool your stuff so your sale will be larger and appeal to more buyers.


3.      Buy clothing at consignment or resale shops. Once Upon a Child is a great national children’s resale store. While their prices aren’t as low as garage sales, they are a good one-stop option when it comes to buying children’s clothing. The same goes for Goodwill and The Salvation Army.

4.      Buy things you need or want on Craigslist or eBay. We’ve purchased everything from backyard play equipment to video game systems on craigslist. It’s helpful if you live in a larger metropolitan area. Likewise, sell your unwanted stuff on these sites.

5.      Network with friends and family to get things cheap or free. This goes beyond hand-me-down clothing. Last fall when I was expecting my second baby, I wanted a stroller like this so I could take long walks around the neighborhood with the baby and my 3-year-old. I didn’t want to pay $150 or more for a new one, so I let a friend know I was looking for one. She in turn knew someone who was ready to sell theirs for an affordable price. Let your friends on Facebook know what you’re looking for. You may be surprised at what turns up.

6.      Host a clothing swap party. If you and your friends wear similar sizes, host a get-together where everyone brings a few items they’re willing to trade. It’s an easy way to update your wardrobe and find good homes for things you no longer wear. You can also try this with children’s toys. 


How about you? What things have you purchased secondhand?

1 comment:

  1. Another tip is to be on the lookout for things that are refurbished. Apple sells nearly all of their products refurbished for a pretty significant discount. I purchased a refurbished KitchenAid mixed about a year and a half ago for appx. $100 off retail and it looks and works as if it is brand new. It even included a 6 month manufacturer's warranty.

    I also scored a great Ikea table and chairs that would have retailed for $300ish for $80 on craigslist!

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