Buying brand new versions of many consumer goods makes sense, but in other cases we make routine exceptions for buying used items. Homes and cars, for example, have useful lives well beyond the needs of their original owners, who eventually pass them on to someone else. Even if we did want to build a brand new home for every owner, it wouldn’t be a sustainable approach, quickly filling the landscape with buildings and bankrupting buyers paying brand new prices for their homes.
If we make exceptions for homes and vehicles, settling for gently used versions of these big-ticket items, why not adopt the same mindset when making other purchases?
The consumer cycle moves quickly, prompting purchases that replace existing versions of the items we use. Technology, for example, is relentless, continually bringing new capabilities and features to market. As a result, tech-heavy consumer goods push buyers to seek the latest and greatest advancements in each electronics category. Smart phones, tablets, televisions, video games and other household electronics are upgraded regularly, bringing slightly used models to market. In order to save money on many of the consumer goods you buy, consider pre-owned devices, whenever possible.
It is up to each shopper to draw his or her own line, when it comes to buying used goods, but those who embrace pre-owned goods are in line for big savings.
Person to Person Convenience
The information age presents advantages for those seeking used goods. In the past, the process linked buyers and sellers by phone, or through newspaper ads offering used items. Today, however, Web-based resources streamline the process, creating real-time marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay, which serve as sales conduits between private parties. Using these and other venues, sellers post descriptions and images of items for sale, enabling shoppers to efficiently evaluate various items.
Shipping and buyer protection also help accommodate private sales between individuals, who are more likely to engage in second-hand commerce when they are covered during the process. EBay, for example, offers dispute resolution and financial guarantees for users, protecting them in the event of an inaccurate description or other transaction issue.
In-person sales are always “buyer beware” in nature. As a result, it is essential to inspect goods before handing over payment. Check each feature and ask questions about the history of the item being sold. When meeting sellers, it is important to meet in public places – and always take someone with you.
Thrift and Rummage
The second-hand tradition is alive and well at thrift shops and rummage sales, where countless pre-owned items are bought, sold and traded. In addition to home furnishings and other useful household items, rummages feature gently used clothing. In most cases, sellers weed out worn goods, offering only like-new used items.
Devices and Gadgets
Electronics manufacturers keep pace with public demand, regularly creating new versions of popular items. In some cases, drastic redesigns lead to the new releases, but more often than not, updates are subtle, offering only slight improvements. As a result, usable second-hand phones, televisions, music storage devices and other trending electronics are regularly available on the used market.
To save money on electronics buys, evaluate the way you use technology, honestly assessing your need for state of the art devices. If you can get by with yesterday’s models, second hand savings are within reach. In fact, the flow of used goods includes certified or refurbished models serviced by authorized manufacturer representatives. These versions often include limited warranties and other assurances about the integrity of the used devices.
Frugal shoppers save money on various consumer goods, turning to the second-hand market for deals. Person-to-person sales, thrift marts and online venues create ready access to quality used items, leaving money in the bank for savvy second-hand buyers.