Frugal Workshop Podcast #2: Shopping the Second Hand Market

by - July 16, 2019

Good morning and welcome to the second podcast of the Frugal Workshop blog. I'm your host, Belinda Richardson and I want to welcome you and all of my readers from Frugal Workshop. I'm so glad you decided to join us.

Today we are going to be talking about saving money by shopping the second hand market. And what I mean by second hand market is buying already used items at places such as yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, etc. 

What I love about the second hand market of course is that I can get the things we need inexpensively. Last week I described the system I used to buy my daughter's clothes the first two years of her life. I stocked up on each size at yard sales and tucked them away in my attic.

Something else that I did during that summer when I was pregnant was I bought my ex a Nintendo game system for Christmas. I bought the game system new, but I scoured pawn shops to buy the games inexpensively. 

Now you might think that pawn shops are a little bit undesirable, but you can find good deals there. I was able to buy him twice as many games as I would have if I had bought them new. 

If you need to have a relatively inexpensive Christmas the second hand market can give you a lot of options and many times you can even find new items to purchase. 

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Now I don't know about you, but sometimes when I buy something brand new I experience buyers remorse over the money that I spent, but I don't feel that way when I buy something second hand. If I have remorse over something I've bought second hand I can always turn around and resell it at my own yard sale and recoup the money I spent. 

In fact, I often do this with my home as it's an inexpensive way to decorate. You can scour the market and find all sorts of things you like. You can then decorate your home with these items and when you grow tired of them, resell them at your own yard sale and start all over again. It can be a fun and cheap way to decorate your home.

Oftentimes new items promise more than they deliver. Of the few times I have purchased clothing retail, I have found that most of them have fallen apart after the first wash. As someone who does not pay retail prices often or easily, this is especially disappointing. When you buy something on the second hand market, you are purchasing an item that has stood the test of time. You know that this item has most likely survived being worn and washed and you are purchasing a quality piece for a bargain price.

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Whether you buy from yard sales, thrift stores, or flea markets there are so many benefits to buying second hand. 

The first and most obvious benefit is that you are going to save money. It is no secret that you can find items on the second hand market anywhere from 50-90% off retail. I can't tell you how many items I have found at yard sales for a quarter that I know cost more than $10 new!

Saving money is not the only benefit of shopping the second hand market. For example, did you know that new clothing often has a chemical coating to keep it looking new in the store? When you are purchasing items second hand, you are not being exposed to these chemicals as much as you would be in a retail store.

Speaking of chemicals, when you shop the second hand market you are doing a great service to the environment. Phenomenons such as rapid consumerism and fast fashion have been a drain on our planet, filling our landfills, increasing our carbon footprint, and maximizing the amount of water used in production.

When you shop the second hand market, you are giving new life to an item that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill. It has been said that buying a pre-owned garment extends its life by over two years and reduces carbon, waste, and water footprints by 73%. That is huge! 

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Do you remember when Amy Dacyczyn wrote about buying her twins brand new bunk beds? She said after a few months they looked as rough as the second hand ones she had seen while she was shopping for the new one she bought. 

The moral of the story here isn't to never buy anything new, but rather try the second hand market first. You can always buy something new later if you feel like you can't find what you need on the second hand market. But if you're wanting to save money try the second hand market first. 

Also rather than buying new stuff try to reduce what you need. Make one kitchen tool do the work of three. Carol over at CT on a Budget was just writing about using a pastry blender to make egg salad rather than using one of those egg slicers. 

Reuse items, recycle, repair, make it over, make do, and do without those things you think you need. 

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Another topic I wanted to discuss today is where to look for yard sales. We find them on Craigslist, Facebook, local newspapers, community bulletin boards, signs posted around town, The Yard Sale Treasure app, which is great because it maps out the location of the yard sale on your choice of google or apple maps and even lets you mark each yard sale you’ve already visited. 

We keep our eyes and ears open at all times when it comes to yard sales. One church yard sale that takes place here every year advertises about one month in advance, so when I see their sign I make sure to mark it on my calendar as soon as possible.  

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Places where you can find second hand goods include...

Flea Markets - My Mom and I always did the flea markets on the weekends when I was growing up. My Dad was a custom knife maker and we sold his knives for income back then. 

Flea markets can be a treasure trove of good and useful items. And you can always haggle the price down if you want to, which can be great fun. 

Thrift Stores - People donate good usable items to thrift stores everyday and it is to our benefit to take advantage of this opportunity. I have found items at a deep discount that I was both able to use personally and to resell for more money. 

Now the thing about thrift stores is they are there to make money for many of their charities. So while you will be able to find items cheaper than you would at retail prices, you won't be able to get the best prices there. 

Yard Sales - Why do I love yard sales so much? Because it has saved me so much money over the years. The reason we save so much money is because we go to numerous yard sales over the course of the summer. We will probably go to over 250 yard sales every summer. 

Last week I told you about how I saved money on baby clothes for the first two years of my daughter's life. Amy Dacyczyn wrote that over 50% of her children's clothes came from yard sales and she only spent $50 annually to clothe her family. 

People who hold yard sales do so for several reasons such as to make money, to declutter their house, and to get rid of stuff. If you're lucky enough you'll be at one of those yard sales because oftentimes items sell inexpensively. 

Pawn Shops - as I said earlier these may be less desirable to some people, but you can find good deals here. People who need money sell items here inexpensively and you can save money by picking them up. Tools, musical instruments, dvds, etc. 

Facebook Marketplace - We've both bought and sold items on the Facebook Marketplace inexpensively. I bought a Vitamix mixer on there one time for about $300 less than the retail price. I had wanted one of them for years and my patience finally paid off. 

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What sort of things can you buy second hand? Turns out there are all sorts of things like clothes, tools, appliances, textbooks, toys, dvds and cds (although my daughter tells me cds are dead), jewelry, shoes, musical instruments, furniture, and the list goes on. 

If you're looking for name brand kitchen items like Pampered Chef and Tupperware you can find them just about everywhere. Just a few weeks ago I was able to find a Breville juicer for 75% off the retail price. Also, I found my Kitchenaid stand mixer years ago for $50 at a close out store and it was brand new in the box. 

In fact while I was standing there with the mixer in my hand, the cashier was on the phone with another customer who was asking if they still had the mixer. So, that was a case of being in the right place at the right time. 

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Buying second hand is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I think it's something to be proud of. By shopping second hand, you are reducing your carbon footprint, saving money, and purchasing unique quality items. The second hand market is rapidly growing. Sites such as eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, Offer Up, and more are making it easier to find items second hand. Stats tell us that 1 in 3 women are purchasing second hand clothing and that number is growing every day. 

As clothing stores such as Dressbarn and Cache continue to close their doors, their loyal followers are searching the second hand market for their brand. Shopping second hand and vintage is becoming trendy. You can often see thrifters brag about how little they paid for their outfit on Instagram, and I think this is great to aid against the stigma against pre-owned items and clothing. 

In order to save the most money you would be better off buying only those things you truly need. But if you are in the market for something, definitely try the second hand market first and save yourself some money. 

If you would like to discuss something I've spoken about on this podcast please feel free to DM me on Instagram. My handle is @frugalworkshop. Or you can always comment on the Frugal Workshop blog or email me at Bar2969@gmail.com.


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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