Are you hesitant to buy second hand items? I used to be. In the past couple of years though I’ve re-discovered the joys of shopping for second hand items. It has the double benefit of saving you money and knowing you are doing something good for the environment. Buying second hand I also feel good knowing that if an item is wrong or doesn’t fit I’m not out much money and can donate it or pass it down to a friend. I could also bring it to a thrift store, sell it at a garage sale, or sell it on eBay and maybe even make a profit off of it.
Today I went to a church rummage sale and got 4 pairs of pants for myself, 10 shirts for myself, 1 fleece hoodie for my son, 3 paperback novels for myself, and 1 wooden peg puzzle to have on hand for the little girl I sit for. The items I purchased were only $0.25 a piece, with the exception of the books, which were just $0.10 each. I spent a total of $5.00 for everything I bought ($4.30 for the items plus a $0.70 donation). I estimate by buying these items used I saved over $200.00 (and that’s a conservative estimate)! The clothes included pieces from Old Navy, Gap, Columbia, Liz Claiborne, IZOD, and Eddie Bauer. The only thing that would have made me happier was if there had been more clothing items suitable for my boys, but really I can’t complain having practically purchased a new casual wardrobe for myself for just a few dollars!
Some tips for going on your very own “treasure hunt”:
1. Get there early if you can. The best items always go quickly. Try to hit the sales on the first day when they open. I was fortunate today because I didn’t have to work and my children were at school so I had the opportunity to get there as soon as it opened. If you are searching at a thrift store try to find out which day of the week they put out new items and which day of the week they mark items down and hit it on either one (or both) of those days.
2. Give yourself plenty of time for your hunt. I spent about 2 hours at the rummage sale. Depending on what type of place you are going you may need 5 minutes or several hours.
3. Take a buddy with you (make sure they aren’t the type that are going to complain if they’re done before you are though). They can help talk you out of items you don’t really need, give you feedback, help you check items over for stains, holes, missing pieces, etc., and possibly help you carry items if their arms aren’t already full!
4. Bring reusable shopping bags to carry your items in. Your arms get tired if they are piled full of clothing or other items and you need both hands free for searching.
5. Bring cash with you. Some places may accept checks and credit cards but unless you are sure go to the ATM and get some cash. I don’t know of any place that will turn down cash. Plus it is easier to stay on budget if you’re not tempted to write a check or use a credit card.
6. Only buy what you would buy at a retail store. It is so easy to get sucked in to buying items you don’t really need or want just because they are inexpensive. If you purchase items you wouldn’t normally purchase you’ll just end up getting rid of them after they collect dust in a closet somewhere for months or years.
7. The exception to tip #6 is if you see an item that you know will have good resale value or is valuable. You may want to consider purchasing an item you don’t like if you think you will be able to make a good profit off of it.
8. Check everything over thoroughly. It’s not such a great deal if you get it home and one or more of the items has an issue that cannot be repaired. Don’t skimp on quality just because the items were previously owned prior to you buying them. You can find items that are in gently used, like new, and even new condition when you dig around.
9. Have fun with it! If it becomes overwhelming or you find yourself not enjoying it, call it a day. Your time is worth something too!