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I am a second hand addict. In my opinion, there’s no better place to shop than yard sales, thrift stores, auctions and Craigslist. While it’s great to save money on second hand purchases, for me it is also about the thrill of the find. When Little A and I go “yard- saling”, we always talk with excitement in the car about what treasures we will find that day. We’ve been able to find quite a few things our family needs while second hand shopping and for a mere fraction of the cost of buying things new at the store. Here are a few of our best finds PLUS eight tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years saving money by buying second hand.
Saving money buying goods for the homestead
We’ve been able to find a lot of great deals for second hand items we need around the homestead. We live in a rural area so the yard sales in our region are often full of great homestead tools and supplies compared to yard sales in town. I always find yard sales with garden tools and supplies. There are also occasional yard sales where folks are moving or downsizing their ranch or farm. These sales have great finds from animal supplies to tack, fencing supplies and even great heavy duty clothes to wear on the homestead. Last month I scored a couple large metal animal crates for cheap and we use them when we need to quarantine a chicken or transitioning our baby chicks to live outdoors full time.
Last year my favorite find was an amazing sun hat to wear when working outside. It was like new and looked like it was never worn. I paid a whopping $5 for it. I came home and looked the brand up on the internet and found out it was $68 brand new! I especially love this hat because it is so big it keeps the sun off my face AND shoulders! Plus it has a chin cord to tighten up and keep the hat on my head since the wind really whips through the homestead late in the afternoon.
I also found a great little garden harvest basket for 50 cents at a moving sale. This basket is perfect for Little A to help carry when we do our garden checks every day to harvest any ripe produce. We used it all season last year and can’t wait to start using it again this year!
We went to a yard sale last year near the end of the sale. The family still had a lot of stuff left and was moving so the mom gave us a lot for free. Our best score that day was a heavy duty Radio Flyer red wagon with all terrain tires. It had one small spot of rust so the mom just gave it to us even though I would’ve paid for it. Look at what this thing sells for, we got an amazing deal!! We use this to haul garden supplies, produce and Little A back and forth to the garden.
Saving money buying stuff for kids
Kids clothes, toys and books are some of our favorite things to buy second hand. Since kids grow so fast, I often find clothes for Little A that have little to no wear so they’re like new without the high price tag. Little A loves to read and we often find great kids books for 25 cents a piece at yard sales.
The best find for Little A last summer was a yard sale where I bought her a barely worn pair of Bogs boots for $1, a pair of Keen sandals for $3 and a brand new pair of pink cowgirl boots. I paid a whopping $5 for these brand new pink cowgirl boots and it was worth every penny. Little A absolutely loves them and wears them everywhere. We love them too since she can take them on and off herself, although she’s still learning to put them on the right feet sometimes!
8 tips for saving money by buying second hand
Over the years as I’ve shopped for second hand items, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks I’ll share with you here.
- When going to yard sales, check the local Craigslist and newspaper ads for sales. Make a list of addresses for the sales. I like to make my list of addresses in order of location. This way as we’re driving from sale to sale, we can just go down the list to the next sale in that area and not be trying to figure out which sale to go to next while sitting in the car wasting precious bargain hunting time!
- Inspect items carefully for holes, wear, stains or damage. If you find damage and think you can fix it, sometimes you can negotiate a lower price for the item.
- If you buy something that needs fixed, make sure you know how much it will cost to fix it and if it is worth the price.
- If the item smells like cigarette smoke, there’s a good chance you won’t ever be able to get that smell out. I’ve tried a gazillion things and it just isn’t worth it so if it smells smoky, just don’t buy it (unless that stinky smell doesn’t bother you!)
- Ask yourself before you purchase if you really need the item. You can find some great deals out second hand shopping but just because it is a good deal doesn’t mean you have to buy it if you don’t really need it. I know some second hand shoppers who buy and store things just because it was a good deal and end up having lots of stuff sitting around they never use for this very reason!
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate! If you’re buying a bunch of stuff from someone, often they will be willing to give a lower price for buying a lot. I personally don’t try to negotiate price down on everything I buy since yard sale prices typically are already super cheap. But if I’m buying a bunch of stuff, let the bargaining begin!
- Make sure you bring cash in small bills or change to yard sales.
- A lot of times I like to get to a yard sale on the first day when it first opens to find the good stuff. I’ve also discovered that going to a yard sale near the end of the last day means you often get some really good deals and even a bunch of stuff for free.