Buying great items for well under what stores sell them for is one of life’s great pleasures. Having something you really want to get, pouncing on it when it appears on Craig’s List, haggling a little with the seller, and then bringing it home for a fraction of the store price (legally I might add). Pure. Joy. In case you haven’t broken into this unknown glory, let me help you get your feet wet.I have a TON of things that I’ve bought secondhand. There are so many options available for buying secondhand these days too. Consignment sales (such as the M.O.M.’s bi-annual sales), individual garage sales, community garages sales, secondhand stores such as Kid-to-Kid and Goodwill, Craig’s List, eBay, Freecycle (totally free), and more that I’m sure I haven’t even tapped into yet.
In my experience children’s secondhand stores tend to be a little more pricey than I like. For example, I went to one in my area called Cottonwood Kids and found a Leap Frog music table that I had been wanting for my son, Cameron. Normally these are about $40. The one in Cottonwood Kids was being sold for $20, which is still a great deal, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay it. I resisted and the next day was rewarded at a garage sale. There it was in the dewey morning grass. I rushed over to check their price on it as if it was the last one on the shelf at Black Friday and low and behold, $3. THREE DOLLARS??!! I snatched it. Oh man, that little table still puts a smile on my face.
I have had success with a couple pairs of shoes at some children’s secondhand stores though. If you want a nice looking pair of name brand shoes, these kinds of stores are a good place to look. I also got a bumbo from Kid-to-Kid for $20 and they are $39.44 on Wal Mart and $43.99 on Amazon. It was something I really wanted, so I was willing to settle for 50% off.
Craig’s List and garage sales are where I most often strike gold. Partly because if it’s not the perfect price you’re looking for, you can haggle. I probably haggle about 95% of the time. I’ve talked people down $10 on a 250 piece Mega Bloks bin, $5 down on a Little Tikes lawn mower, $50 down on our couch, $100 down on our bedroom furniture set, and the list goes on. That’s all on top of the money you’re already saving just from buying something used instead of brand new. Don’t be afraid to put an offer on the table!
The other beauty of Craig’s List is that if it’s a fairly common item you’re looking for and you don’t love the price the seller is stuck on, you can just pass it over and wait for another one to pop up. Your Craig’s List shopping can be as leisurely as you want it to be.
For instance, I’ve been checking Craig’s List about once a week for the last month looking for a great deal on a double umbrella stroller to use when we travel. Most of them are in the $40-$60 range and since I don’t need it right now I’m fine just hanging out for a smokin’ deal. If nobody gives it to me by the time we travel for Thanksgiving, I’ll settle for the $40 range.
My last suggestion for any secondhand shopping is to know your prices. I normally refer to Amazon for customer reviews and Wal Mart for price matching because they generally have the lowest prices. My handy-dandy smart phone makes this super convenient as well. If I see something at a garage sale that I’m interested, but don’t know a lot about I can just look it up right then and there to make sure I’m getting a great deal.
Shopping secondhand does take more effort because you have to do a little more research and hunting, but it can save you loads of money. Plus, the bragging rights are sometimes priceless.
Shop on, Mom.