Monday, November 16, 2009

Penny Pinching Tips: It is not shameful to buy used

I know lots of people who wouldn't be caught dead in used clothing, think buying used shoes is both unsanitary and unseemly, and who don't even consider used when their dishwasher breaks.

If you find yourself on a tight budget, though, you might consider re-thinking that.

Benefits of buying used:

--You get higher quality stuff for a lower price. If something still looks good in a thrift store, it's likely that it either was never used or was a higher quality item than the same $5 will get you at WalMart.

--It's good for the new, healthier economy we're trying to build. When you buy an item from an individual who is selling (like a car or a washing machine), you not only get the history of the item (unlike at a used car lot or appliance recycler), you also put cash into the hands of another person, which they can then use right away. You don't invest in corrupt corporations, pay people who use credit to weaken the economy while enriching themselves, or spend twice in interest what you spent on the item. You also help a fellow penny pincher (if you buy off craigslist) or a charity (if you buy from a charity-run thrift store). Also it helps your own local economy in many cases (unless you are ebaying it), putting money back into your home town, which strengthens it (instead of lining the pockets of the CEOs of big companies).

--It helps drive down over-pricing in the "new" market. By forcing the producers and sellers of new items to compete with the sellers of used items, the prices for new things (when you HAVE to buy something new) are lower. It's simple supply-and-demand economics.

--It helps the environment. Every item that is bought used is kept out of a landfill. It also replaces an item that would have left a carbon footprint in its production and delivery (the new one you'd have to buy if you don't get the used one!).

--If you love having a lot of something, you can get twice as much. Love shoes? Why not get that pair of Merrells, or the Diesels, for $15 instead of $150? For the same $150, you can get TEN pairs of shoes.

--If you don't need or want a lot of something, you don't have to go without. Better to have shoes than not, right?

If you are convinced that buying used is lower quality, not really that much cheaper, worn out, out of style, ugly, unsanitary, too hard to find what you want, or distasteful, TRY IT. None of those is really true. I remember the delight of a friend who had resigned herself to old, ugly clothes because she couldn't afford new when I sent her over to the local thrift store. She came back with 4 flattering, stylish, new-looking, high quality skirts for less than the cost of one new cheapo one. She felt pretty without breaking the bank.

Places to buy used: Local thrift store, local want ads in the paper or online, craigslist (and sites like it), ebay, consignment shops, garage sales, church rummage sales. Check out what's in your area.

If you're still unsure, look at it this way: everything you own is used the minute it leaves the store in your bag. Wash it once, and it is no different than much of what you will find out there used. You already ARE wearing used clothing, running a used washer, driving a used car. So what's the difference?

1 comment:

medieval.woman said...

I love buying used clothes for kids. They grow out of stuff so fast that I don't want to spend full price on anything.