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Who likes to secondhand shop? Me, that’s who!
I don’t know if it’s generational (rejecting previous generational value of excess) or cultural (not all countries have the luxury of a secondhand market), or just my personality (let’s call this, “frugal!”), but I absolutely LOVE to scan secondhand options before buying anything new. I find no shame in a great secondhand find and actually feel a sense of pride when I discover a high-quality item my family needs at a lower price. I figure, if I can reuse an item that would otherwise be discarded AND save money in the meantime…I don’t see a downside!
I look at it as my way of using the resources I’ve been blessed with wisely and hopefully setting an example of gratitude for my daughter.
Here are my Top 10 Favorite Secondhand Finds, in no particular order:
- Vehicles. My husband and I have never owned a new vehicle. Not because purchasing a new car was necessarily beyond our reach, but because we find value in gently used vehicles that have already taken their obligatory notch down the depreciation scale. Did you know that new cars begin depreciating in value the moment they are driven off the car lot? Truth is, I don’t need that kind of stress. I’ll let someone else start that process for me, then I’ll take it from there once things even out a bit. All joking aside, there is nothing inherently wrong with buying a new car, so if you’ve done that, please enjoy it! However, before you make your next vehicle purchase consider a used car as a viable option for your short-term (sticker price) and long-term (insurance payments) budgets. You can find find unexpected deals at the used car lot, word of mouth and Craigslist, just to name a few.
- Treadmill. One of the most meaningful gifts we have received was completely unexpected and completely free. We were over at a family from church’s home for Bible study one evening. The husband of the family pulled my husband aside and mentioned that he’d tried to singlehandedly move their treadmill into his truck to drag it to the Goodwill donation center, but he couldn’t lift it. Absolutely understandable. Those things weigh a ton! He asked us if we’d like to take it off their hands because they just weren’t using it anymore. We happened to have just started homeschooling our daughter and I happened to have just made a big change in my work schedule, so we found ourselves at home more than we’d been previously. We also happened to have a really good spot to put the treadmill, where we’d use it often. This part was key for me. I am not a fan of bringing anything in our home that will simply take up space and not serve a purpose or add a sense of joy and well-being. We said, “Yes!” My husband helped the other husband move the treadmill in our home, and we’ve been using it regularly ever since!
- Quilts. One way to decorate your home on a dime and to reduce, reuse and recycle is to find a beautiful secondhand quilt to lay on the guest bed or hang on a wall. Some quilts are made in a factory and are beautiful, but some have been handmade with love years ago and just need a second chance and a new home!
In our guest room, I have a generations-old quilt from my mom’s side of the family used as accent bedding, as well as an afghan one of my maternal great-grandmothers crocheted. We also have a handmade quilt from my dad’s side of the family in that room. When my grandparents came to our new house for the first time and saw the quilt, they immediately recognized it and they seemed genuinely thrilled that we were still using it!
The room isn’t decorated in a particularly antique style, but these pieces fit in perfectly! Bonus: I found the quilt rack at the Habitat Restore! You can look for quilts at flea markets, antique stores, garage sales and of course, you own family’s basement and attic.
- Clothes. If you’ve visited this blog before, you already know what a fan I am of secondhand clothing! You also may recall that I love “modest fashion.” I really like certain brands because of the way they fit. Some of these brands are a bit pricey, so when I can procure them for less, I’m all over it! Secondhand stores like Style Encore, Clothes Mentor, Once Upon A Child (for kiddos), Goodwill and ThredUp.com are right up my alley. Time and time again, I’m pleasantly surprised at the fantastic finds! Learn the virtues of becoming a Frugal Fashionista here! I have even started selling secondhand clothing and other items on E-Bay! Side note: I do not recommend shopping for the sake of shopping and then telling yourself that you saved a ton of money because you happened to buy secondhand. Spending $5 on a $50 pair of jeans that don’t fit properly and that you really don’t need just means you wasted $5. Wait to shop until you truly have identified a hole in your wardrobe, then check out secondhand options to fill that hole. In fact, you can start by Shopping Your Closet! I put together a little information card called “6 Things You Need to Know to Win at Secondhand Clothing Shopping.” If you’d like to get it delivered to your inbox, please click here. I hope you like it!
- Furniture. Friends, do not go spend your hard-earned moolah on new furniture until you have first checked secondhand stores, estate sales, garage sales, moving sales, and your own family’s basement and attic! Especially in this day and age where rustic is cool, gently used furniture can be the answer to avoid debt when you move into your first home. When my parents downsized several years ago, one of the sweetest things they did was offer for my family and my sister’s family to come over and choose some furniture and household items for our own homes. Needless to say, we jumped at the chance, even though we were both relatively settled by that point in our lives. We treasure the pieces we choose and still have them in our homes today. Bonus: When my family moved to a new house later on, the breakfast room table and chairs we’d been given from my parents no longer worked for us. However, my parents also had recently moved and as luck would have it, the table was perfect for their breakfast room, so we passed it back to them!
- Books. I have a handful of books that I plan on keeping for a long time because I know I’ll go back to read and refer to them, or because they hold sentimental value. But most of the books I read will never be read again, and for this reason I’m a supporter of buying, selling and trading secondhand books. You can visit a secondhand book store, e-bay, or arrange a book swap. I recently attended a book swap party at my sister’s house. She invited several friends from church and the community. Each lady was encouraged to bring one or more books with her to trade, but everyone was invited to enjoy coffee even if they didn’t have any books. We chatted and visited, then drew numbers to play a “dirty Santa” style game see which books we’d end up taking back home. It was awesome! I highly recommend this type of activity! Bonus: You can do this with books, clothing, accessories, etc.! Also, purchasing your textbooks used can save a lot of money!
- Musical instruments. I can’t speak for all instruments, but I do know something about our secondhand piano. Friends, pianos are expensive! My parents sacrificed for the benefit of my sister and me many times throughout our childhood and one of example was when they purchased a piano for our home so we could take lessons and practice. I ended up pursuing piano with a bit more interest (although my sister was a diligent music student!), so when it came time for my parents to let the piano go, it came to stay at my family’s house. Like the treadmill, the piano is heavy. Since having the family piano in our possession, “we’ve” had to move the piano several times, for home improvement projects and when we’ve moved to different houses. And by “we,” I mean my husband and our long-suffering friends from church who came to help! That being said, I am sooooo grateful for our piano! I still play a bit, but our daughter really takes advantage of the opportunity and is learning so many songs.
- Lawn mower and tools. Here again, check out secondhand shopping outlets before purchasing any tool or lawn care items. A lot of times, when people move, they do not have a way to transport their larger machines and tools and would rather either sell them or bless a family who needs them. We’ve been on both sides of the fence. Before moving, we passed along some heavier items that we weren’t getting as much use out of from our garage. Likewise, my parents graciously passed along a super awesome lawn mower to us when they moved.
- Video games. Friends, I do not care a single bit about video games. I don’t enjoy playing them and I’m no good at them anyway! But, we have a Nintendo Wii that is probably 10 years old now. They don’t manufacture many new games for this system because most people have newer systems that aren’t compatible with ours. But…there are other people in our house that do enjoy playing the Wii and do relish a “new” game every now and again. What to do? Buy secondhand! They’re inexpensive and much more readily available! We happened to be in a bookstore while on vacation last summer and randomly realized that there was a used video game section which we took advantage of.
- Wedding China. When my husband and I got married, we didn’t register for china, because we didn’t think we’d use it. However, several years into our marriage, we were presented with a very generous opportunity we couldn’t say no to. My grandparents were downsizing, they offered a complete set of beautiful china each to me and to my sister. It was so meaningful for me to sit with my grandma and carefully pack up the china and some other household goods. We made the decision to dedicate two cabinets in our kitchen to the china set instead of storing it in boxes. We wanted to see and use it and in so doing, remember my grandparents. My parents also gifted our daughter their wedding china, for her future home and husband. It’s a meaningful and functional way to pass along a legacy to future generations!
Inheriting and purchasing secondhand items for your family is a fulfilling activity that can add heaps of meaning to your life and save you tons of money in the meantime!
Please follow Accounting My Blessings on Pinterest to view my Secondhand Shopping board and the Accounting My Blessings E-Bay Store to get more ideas!
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” John 6:12
Gracia y paz,
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