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New things are nice to get, but sometimes when you buy used you can save a lot of money and get just as good quality. Here are the ten best things to buy used or previously loved.

Everyone likes getting new stuff, and of course you have to buy some things new, like groceries and underwear! But there are so many times when buying second hand, gently used, or previously loved items (whatever you want to call them) makes a lot more sense.

There are plenty of areas where you can save a lot of money, but still get the full value, when you buy things that are previously owned.

Here are 10 items that are smarter to purchase second hand:


Okay, we don’t tend to call pets ‘used’, but it makes a lot of sense to offer a new home to an animal that needs one instead of buying puppies, kittens, and other companion animals.

For every animal that needs a new home, there is a family that is perfect for him, but do be careful.

The most wonderful dog in the world came to us when he was five years old and had never lived in a home with children. He was a mutt that turned out to be gentle with babies of all ages and all species, from humans to chicks!

On the other hand, another dog, just over a year old, came from a family with two children and we had to rehome him with a single man who specialized in rehabilitating violent pit bulls. (For the record, I don’t think that breed is inherently violent – the first, gentle dog was also part pit bull!)

Decades ago, we spent six hundred dollars on a purebred beagle pup. While she was a lovely dog who lived far longer than she reasonably should have, she really wasn’t any better or more loving of a dog than the old mutt we got for free.

Millions of dogs and cats are euthanized every year. Instead of spending several hundred dollars on a pure bred puppy, save your money and bypass the floor-wetting, boot-chewing stage.

If you just have to own a pure bred animal, you’ll be happy to know that 25% of shelter animals are pure bred.


This is not something that a cookbook author should admit but … I almost never buy books new.

The library is actually your best bet – it’s free!

Used bookstores are popular, and there are even used bookstores online. That includes textbooks, too.

Plus, selling back your books and textbooks when you’re done makes their final cost even less!


Have you priced out what a new bicycle costs?

New models come out every year and last year’s model will always be marked down, so even if you don’t want to buy used, you can still get a slightly older model and save a lot.

Or you can buy a slightly used bicycle and save a lot more.

Your home

Some people thought we were crazy to buy an old house, and perhaps you don’t want to buy a century-plus old home in need of love and restoration. From restoring old windows to removing nasty vinyl siding, there’s a lot we have to do and it’ll certainly cost us.

So why did we choose to buy used … or in our case, vintage, antique, old?

Well, if you price out the cost of building a home versus the cost of buying existing construction, you’ll find that existing homes are usually considerably less expensive per square foot than new. Many new homes actually lose value over their first few years. Finding a nice home in an established area can save you a great deal of money.

Oh, and our house – the truth is that we got a 2800 square foot, four bedroom house for a song, and even the considerable restoration costs we’ll put into it over the next few decades are nothing compared to building a home like this new. In fact, with the wealth of hardwood and original fixtures in this house, I don’t think we could recreate something like this.

And while we’re working on the restoration, we still get to live in my dream house.

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Children’s clothing

This is true for all children’s clothing, and I buy almost all of my children’s clothing from Value Village or local consignment stores, but it’s especially true for baby clothes.

Infants grow so fast that their clothes are barely worn before they’re outgrown. In fact, ask any mother – sometimes babies outgrow clothing before they even get a chance to wear them.

Check out used clothing stores and save a bundle. If you want a nicer quality of clothes but are willing to pay a bit more, you’ll still save at consignment stores.

Oh, but the best clothes for children are free …. put the word out that you’re willing to take gently used children’s clothes!


Okay, you don’t want to pick up furniture that’s sitting at the curb waiting for the garbage truck. Ick – that’s an invitation to bring bed bugs or worse into your home. I don’t care how desperate you are for a sofa. Don’t take home that one sitting out on the curb.

But do you know what happens when people move? Quite often, especially if they’re moving long distances, they don’t take their practically new furniture with them.

Your town likely has Buy and Sell groups on Facebook – these days, that’s the fastest way to find out who is looking to give away or inexpensively sell furniture.


You can save an incredible amount of money with a slightly used vehicle. Most of us are aware that the full price of a new vehicle, especially once all the extra fees are added on, can be as much as a small house.

One way to get all of the warranties and benefits of a dealership purchase with the savings of used is by purchasing a ‘Buy Back’.

That’s what we did with our Ford Flex. We got a fully loaded all wheel drive with heated car seats and GPS – it was perfect for our family and it had only 8800 kilometers on it. (Heated car seats? Why, yes, dear reader, I live in Canada where it gets very, very cold in the winter – a warm bottom while driving is one of those luxuries you never appreciate until you have it!)

Because this amazing vehicle was a Buy Back, we saved thousands of dollars and got it for about half the cost of a new one.

A Buy Back simply means that a company bought the vehicle, used it very gently for up to a year, and then sold it back to the dealership. The dealership then cleans it up, makes sure it is in like-new condition, and sells it at a profit. It’s a new car in all ways but price.


While we don’t buy a lot of toys, I always start my shopping for Christmas or birthdays at …. the children’s consignment store.

Last year we bought a toy kitchen for about ten dollars, a fifth or less of what it would have cost new. This year my best friend was delighted to find a full set of Disney princess dolls for my daughters and she spent only a few dollars on each.

Truthfully, many children get so many new toys that their parents are constantly dropping off ones that are “old” but still essentially new. Take advantage of that.


A very good friend calls herself a magpie – she loves bright and shiny things.

But she doesn’t have the money to head to the jewelry store and hand them her credit card for a ring or two.

Instead, she hunts around yard sales, pawn shops, and flea markets for inexpensive treasures to buy used, and she saves a lot!

New jewelry is much more expensive than used. You can find great pieces for half of the new price or even less.


Most tools don’t get a lot of use. If you’re not in a hurry, you’re likely to find any tool you need for a lot less money. Flea markets, yard sales, pawnshops, and the classifieds always have used tools for sale. Remember to check estate sales as well.

Don’t be afraid to purchase used items. Be knowledgeable about what you’re getting when you buy used and you’ll be satisfied with your purchase. The keys to getting a really great deal are being aware of what things are really worth and being patient.

If you’ll get out there and look around, you’re sure to find a great deal.

You might even enjoy the process.
Just Plain Living
New things are nice to get, but sometimes you can save a lot of money and get just as good quality by buying used.

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