Using the secondhand economy to save money

Garage Sale

Nowadays, many people take advantage of websites such as Kijiji and Facebook, garage sales, or secondhand stores to save money on gently used items. These places can be a great resource to find a great deal on items, but care must be taken to ensure you’re actually saving money, and not spending your hard-earned money on an item that will need to be re-purchased shortly.

What types of items should I buy secondhand?

Furniture can be a great thing to buy secondhand, as you can save a great deal of money on quality used furniture. See a piece you like that has seen a little love and needs to be repaired? You can reupholster chairs, or give furniture a coat of paint to freshen up your secondhand furniture.

Books are another thing that you can buy used. There are plenty of used bookstores you can frequent, and many charitable organizations hold book fairs throughout the year, allowing you to get a great deal on previously owned books.

Looking for some tools for a project around your home? New tools can be very expensive, but it’s easy to get a great deal on a set of used tools. Try your luck on Kijiji or on a local Facebook buy and sell group to find a quality set of used tools for your next home improvement project.

Baby gear such as clothing and toys are great things to buy used. You can often find these items at garage sales, online, or at secondhand shops.

So what should I avoid buying secondhand?

While mattresses can be expensive, it’s important not to buy them used. You spend a third of your life sleeping, so a mattress collects dust, skin cells and bodily fluids that are impossible to fully clean. Used mattresses also put you at risk for bed bugs, and an infested mattress can put you on the hook for extremely expensive exterminator fees. Protect yourself and buy a new mattress.

Makeup is another item that you always want to buy new. Using secondhand opened makeup exposes you to harmful bacteria that puts you at risk of an infection.

Car seats and cribs should be bought new. With car seats, it is impossible to know if the car seat has been in an accident, which can put your little one at risk.