A family's journey of learning how to make a home, save money and be healthy… while having fun doing it!

Why It Makes Sense to Buy Used (At least for our Family)

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We spent this weekend in Chicago for our anniversary. We used some old Groupons (about 2 years old!) for Navy Pier. Isn’t the city/sunset beautiful? Our view from the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier:

ImageStunning. Seriously, I took this with a camera phone so you can imagine how much better it is in real life.

Then this morning, my amazing husband made us crepes and then we went out rummaging. Which got us thinking about buying used/refinishing, and the reasons it makes sense to us. Many people hate buying used/old things. I remember when Goodwill was unpopular when I was younger. You wouldn’t have been caught dead there. When I first brought up the idea of buying some of Aud’s clothes used, Greg seemed hesitant and slightly grossed out. After he finally came with, and saw the value in buying used children’s clothing, he now questions what everything will be worth someday when we re-sell it.

Here’s a list we came up with our reasons to buy used:

1. Guilt: You don’t feel the same guilt that you do when your child’s clothes are sold/given away/ruined, because you only paid $.50-$2 for them if you buy them gently used. I always have a harder time going through Aud’s clothes when I know how much I paid for something. It makes me wonder if we really have an emotional attachment to our children’s clothes (I think sometimes we do) but I believe that part of it is also monetary. I’ve never felt bad about selling/donating Aud’s clothes that I bought second hand, and, if I don’t feel like having them in my condo/storing them, I can just donate them without losing a ton of money.

IMG_3815

My cuties outfit in this picture is second hand.

2. Depreciation: Sure, cars depreciate, but clothes and furniture do as well, if not at an even greater percentage. Typically clothes and furniture won’t even be worth half of what you paid for them. We have dressed Auds in higher quality-brand clothes since the day he was born, a large amount of them being Ralph Lauren, 77Kids (now Ruum) and most of his higher-end clothing has cost about $.50-$1. And guess what we sell it on Ebay for? .50 to $1. each item. We didn’t figure this out right away, and spent way too much when he was a baby that we could have been putting away for his college fund. When you have your first baby, you don’t really realize that you’ll be lucky to stuff them into something for 3 months.

943766_10200290686082563_1067353327_nWe got this near-perfect condition radio-flyer second-hand for $15!

3. It’s Eco-friendly! I’m sure you knew we were going to say this, but doesn’t it make way more sense to save something from the trash and make it beautiful/reuse it again?Plus, it keeps junk out of our landfills!

4. It Saves money! Not only does it save money, but you can typically pay for something used with cash also which means no credit card debt! I love this example of saving by buying used cars with cash to save/someday afford your “free” dream car. Check out the video here.

5. Quality: you can typically get used items for much lower prices than you would buy a lower-quality item for the same amount, or more. For example, a used Ralph Lauren Sweatshirt (bought one for Auds today) cost $.50. A sweatshirt at Walmart or a lower quality store usually cost at least $4. A cheap, particle-board dining table cost around $100-$300. We bought our solid wood, Pier one dining-table used off of Craigslist for $20. We refinished it, and it looks like new now.

Before:

IMG_2403And after:

IMG_2508

I’m glad it’s finally “hip” to re-finish and re-use. But it can also be a way to save your family a lot of money, and save for some bigger items (a house, tuition, a vacation). We don’t buy everything used- but we are trying to be more conscious about buying used to save money and make a better planet for Auds.

Things we typically wouldn’t buy used:

  1. Anything made of cloth that couldn’t be thrown in the wash machine right away (furniture, mattresses, curtains) could carry bacteria, bedbugs, dander, or scabbies (ick!).
  2. A Crib or furniture for Auds (we like to register it, so we’re up to date on recalls)
  3. Camera equipment (in case it was dropped/damaged)
  4. Swimsuits (ick-factor)
  5. Shoes (shoes mold to the previous owner’s feet. If you buy them used, this can throw off your posture)
  6. Makeup (bacteria)
  7. Electronics (We wish we felt better about buying electronics used. The one time we did buy a refurbished product, we had problems with it from the start) Maybe someday!

Things we love buying used:

  1. Gently-used kids clothes
  2. Clothes for us
  3. Non-upholstered furniture
  4. Home decor
  5. Cars
  6. Specific one-time use items (example: a formal outfit for Auds for a wedding)
  7. Books (seriously, anyone want to borrow some? We have a small library!

So what about you guys? How do you feel about buying/refinishing used items? Do you love it, or not really your thing? Anything you wouldn’t buy second-hand?

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4 thoughts on “Why It Makes Sense to Buy Used (At least for our Family)

  1. Love it! I bought a really adorable dresser with a cabinet door and refinished it for Alaina’s room. I painted the cabinet door with chalkboard paint and she uses the cabinet part to hang up her dress up clothes. I got in on FB from a yard sale site for $30. It’s just so much more exciting when you can personalize things too!

  2. I totally agree with you. When I was a kid my family didn’t have a lot of money and we got a lot of our furniture and books from garage sales, and it was definitely “uncool” and frowned upon. But now it’s gotten so trendy! I still love going to neighborhood garage sales and finding stuff to refurbish now.

  3. I loved all of these reasons and they definitely agree with why I buy used as well. There are a few things I buy new but it’s pretty rare. The other thing I love about used is the history. With new it’s all very one sided. I love that my used things have a history, kind of like picking up a used book which is pretty much a story within a story. ^_^

    • We couldn’t agree more! My favorite is used children’s books- you can always tell when they were well loved and well read, and I love seeing names in them or little drawings. I actually bought a used book at a rummage sale once that had one of my childhood friend’s names in it! I couldn’t believe it! (not from her parent’s house or anything- they had bought the book at a rummage sale as well)

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